Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Hallow's Eve Tale

The only excuse for this story is the Full Moon, which was Friday, October 22nd. 

I stayed late at work...again.  I taught my first Confirmation class this morning, so Friday I was trying to get all my ducks in a row.  Leaving the house at 7 am this morning was bad enough, I wanted to make sure I was ready and didn't have to leave any earlier.  So around 6:50 pm, I shut down the computers and prepared to call it a day.

Driving home was fun, as the full moon guided my way, and my brights, too.  I saw some animals, of course, but mostly I was calculating my week's hours: from Sunday to Saturday I worked 56 hours and I spend 13 hours with Thomas.  Bummer of a work schedule for both of us!  A few of those thirteen hours were a bonus because I went to work late just, just so I could see him.

As I alertly watched for animals and their headlight-reflecting eyes, I moved through Philmont and into the "S curves".  Right before the UU Bar Ranch and Rayado, there is a nice straight and gradual drop for at least a mile and a half.  This is always a fun place to look out on Miami.  As I approached this straight away, coming out of the curves, I noticed a truck on the side of the road - no lights on, no people who I could see.  I imagined it was some guys scouting for elk and deer, as hunting season has begun. 

As soon as I passed, the lights came on, and the truck began to follow me.  Now of course, the truck is going to follow me.  There are only two logical things it would do - head north or south.  But something about the timing, the darkness, the full moon....I got a pit in my stomach.  I thought about all the crazies and got nervous.  Something just didn't add up.  I pulled out my cell phone and thought if the truck didn't turn into the ranch or Rayado, then I was going to call Marie and Dave. 

It didn't turn.

I tried Marie and Dave and got no answer.  I knew Thomas would be at work, and I was afraid to go home alone if I was being followed.  No answer there, and as I tried Daniel and Julie next, I lost service.  I kept checking the phone, but no new bars appeared with service for another phone call.  I tried to drive as quickly as I could without being negligent.  I rounded the lake and felt like the truck was gaining on me.  I was just trying to remember to breathe, but paused long enough to lock the doors.  As I passed Clearview, the truck seemed to be slowing down, and it did in fact allow quite a gap between us.  It didn't last long, and as I approached my road, I was in utter panic for how close it had gotten. 

I felt sure I would find Mike and Alice home, so I slowed down for their driveway.  I made my way slowly down the driveway to watch what the truck would do.

It slowed down and turned in behind me. 

I was panicking; my heart was racing.  The truck stayed to the right, as if going to the neighbors' house.  I knew that the other drive made a loop around the property and would head me off at the gate to Mike & Alice's, so I dashed on to the "L" created by the garage and cistern, grabbed my bag, locked the door behind me, and ran into the house. 

I startled Mike & Alice, and it was all I could do not to cry.  I told them how scared I was, and we watched out the window for headlights.  I refused anything to eat or drink; I just needed to calm down.  I stayed for an hour, talking about this and that, getting and giving updates.  After an hour Mike followed me home a ways behind me.  There was no sign of any other vehicle lurking.  I ran into the house and began closing the blinds.   I noticed headlights on the highway that weren't moving, but couldn't see.  I moved to a different window and could see a couple of trucks.  I saw Mike's truck pull away from the other truck, but knew it wasn't "the one" because it had a trailer of 4x4s on the back.  It turned out to be hunters who missed their turn for the hunting lodge.

When all the blinds were pulled except for the ones in the TV room that faced the highway and our road, I called Mary and talked for a bit.  Then I called Daniel about something else.  Since he was waiting for Julie to get home from a game, I told him my story and how nervous I still was to walk away from the window.  He said that I should call Mike & Alice's neighbor to see if it was them behind me.  I wasn't sure about the idea; mostly I was afraid to hear that it wasn't them nor any company they received at that time.  He gave me their phone number anyway.  And I called. 

I got their voice mail and left a rambling message.  I suggested I was being foolish and had gotten spooked when a truck came onto the highway after I passed.  It turned in behind me at the driveway off the highway, and if it was them, would the call and ease my fears?  No answer.  Were they screening my call or were they not home?  I paced. 

About five minutes later the phone rang.  Oh yeah, they had noticed a car in front of them, and it did turn in the same driveway right before them.  They had stopped to take a leak on the side of the road and didn't even realize the coincidence of our driving so close.  Phew!  Phew!  I did feel foolish then.  I was relieved, but I also realized that had I turned on to my road or Marie and Dave's or Daniel's, had I turned anywhere but Mike and Alice's driveway, I would have know they weren't following me.  How silly and foolish, indeed!

I called Daniel, Mike and Alice, and Mary to let them know everything was okay.  I felt pretty shaken up still, but had the wherewithal to start a fire, pour myself a glass of wine, and start a movie.  Thomas was home shortly after I went to bed, and I relayed the story to him...a "funny" story, as I called it.  I blame the full moon for spooking me...really, I am not that paranoid...

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