A few months ago, in the fall of 2017, I’d lost my job as a tow operator for a higher end company. My boss told me that due to me living over an hour away from work and not enough work to go around, I would lose my position with the company. I’m a pretty easy-going guy, I kept my head high and thanked him for the opportunity and took my leave.
A few weeks went by, I had some small jobs but nothing serious or long term. I was starting to get discouraged, even desperate. I’m 23, a college dropout. I live at home and help my handicapped mom around the house. Working blue-collar has always been my thing. I’m good with my hands, I solve difficult problems with ease,
I enjoy working long hours as I really don’t have else going on for me so towing fits. I know a few guys who own their ow companies, yet it’s a very seasonal industry here in Minnesota. Anyone who’s been in and around Minneapolis could tell you, the tow trucks are in full force in the fall and spring, when the college kids come from out of town and usually park in the wrong areas. Yet, in winter work is scarce. Kinda goes with the weather.
If it snows, good, I’m busy. If not, I’m out of luck. you may think this has nothing to do with what happened to me a few weeks ago, but it helps you understand why I went where I went and what convinced me to go…and not come back.
After filling out many applications, an old acquaintance finally offered me some work. Bills were getting late and I needed work and he had some. The job was pretty simple. Pick up 2 cars a night, do some paperwork, drive a few hours out to the drop location, bring the truck back and go home. Simple enough, but only 50$ a night. I didn’t exactly care much, I needed the money and I wasn’t going to make any sitting at home, so I readily accepted. I show up to the guy’s place, he’s got a F650 Flatbed tow truck ready for me. I know my way around a rollback so really no instructions were necessary. By the time I start heading to the pick-up location, it’s already getting dark.
Here in the northern USA, it usually gets dark around 5pm this time of year.
I don’t mind the dark, it just makes life harder as I have to hold a flashlight while I’m working. Either way, I was no position to complain, so I got to work. A few minutes later, I’m loaded and ready to go, I get my GPS set and I hit the road. My drop point was a good minute outside of Red Wing, Minnesota. It’s a nice town, there’s a shoe company that started there and it brings in a fair amount of tourism but nothing serious. Anyway, it’s a 2 hour drive to the drop point. so I’d spend about 4 hours in just driving alone.
The drive there was nothing special, lots of open country roads, a few stop signs, but really nothing worth seeing. I get past Red Wing and I see my location, a real load of “nothing special”. It’s pretty much a few acres of land, filled with cars claimed by insurance companies, that’s fenced in, with a gate up front and a combination lock holding it shut.
Upon my arrival I immediately noticed how dark and quiet it was. only a single light coming from a shed that’s maybe 100ft from the gate. It wasn’t just dark and quiet but eerie. Not creepy like an abandoned house, but I definitely noticed a weird feeling creeping up in the back of my mind. I wasn’t really in the mood to explore, I was just looking to do my business and go home. I position my truck and hop out to get the two cars unloaded, and that’s when I noticed the sensation, it wasn’t the eerie vibe I’d notice when I unlocked the gate. it was more of a gut feeling that was screaming “Hurry up and get going”. Needless to say I put a bit more hustle in my step than usual and got out of there.
The whole drive home, I couldn’t stop thinking about how that place had made me feel. I’ve been in an out of the woods all my life, gone camping in forests that were darker and older than some dinky lot of cars, but why did such a ‘plain jane’ lot give me the creeps? The next day, I’d forgotten all about the feeling from the lot, showed up for work, loaded the truck and I was on my way.
I arrive in a timely manner, and as soon as I got out to open the gate I noticed the strange feeling again. Only tonight, it felt as though I was being watched, or studied by some unseen entity. I continued with my work as usual, only I was hindered by the feeling of being watched accompanied by a worried feeling. I kept searching my surroundings for a fox or a feral cat or anything that might be observing me do me work. I nothing, the flashlight beam produced no eye shine from any critter that could be in the lot. I finished my work and returned home for the night.
My third run was different, I had to make the trip twice in a single night. I think it goes without saying how I felt about that idea. I did the usual, and pulled up to the drop point, hopped out to open the gate, and I heard rustling. it caught me off guard as the area was pretty desolate, not much ever came or went with the exception of me. I froze, and listened. What I heard almost sounded like something stumbling among the cars. Bump. Bump. It was faint, distant, but still, it was there. I was a bit unnerved, but relieved when I remembered I had my pistol in my bag.
I usually bring it everywhere, but more for the comfort of having it with than the idea of ever needing it. I pulled in and stopped when I saw what was in the distance before me, a few cars had the doors open. They were unharmed, just open. Odd enough. As I went about my work, I heard the noise again: Bump. Bump. and the sound of gravel being displaced. I understood what was going on at that moment.
Or so I thought. “Fucking crackheads” I muttered under my breath as I started to go get my pistol. I grabbed it out of the truck and tucked it in my waistband, waiting to hear the noise again so I could make my presence well known to whatever drug addict was living in these junk cars. All was quiet for a few minutes, but the sound came again, only off to my left this time, and decently close at that too. ” Hey!” I started. “I’m not here to bother anyone!
Go about your business, and I’ll be out of here shortly!” No reply. They must be high or something, I thought. I close the gate and leave whoever was in there to do what they were doing. 4 hours later, it’s about 1 in the morning.
During my work, I’d forgotten about the sounds from the lot and I was exhausted. I pull in, open the gate and get started when I heard a car door forcibly close.
I froze, cold sweat forming under my stocking cap. It all came back to me at that moment and I was more awake than ever. Whoever was there with me, was probably trying to intimidate me, I get it. Druggies don’t want anyone snooping around. I stood there, petrified at what the outcome could be. I didn’t want to shoot anyone, and I didn’t want to let whoever know I was armed.
I just wanted to get in and get out. I wasn’t about to go back to my work, where I’d be stationary with my back turned to the outside world.
I decided that I was going to go confront this person and let them know I’m not a threat and to let me be on my way without trouble. I grabbed the flash light and my gun and went to where I heard the door close. “H-hello?” No response “Hey man, I just wanted to let you know I’m just here to drop these cars and then I-I won’t be back. So let me be and I’ll let you be.” I backed myself to my truck, assuming the peace was made. I dropped my load without hearing anything. “Cool.” I thought to myself, no trouble.
As I went to lock the gate, something passed in the light of the truck’s headlight. I paused, hoping to get a glimpse of the person back there, to maybe give the police something to go off of, so I can return without incident in the future. I was about to leave when something that I didn’t expect to see caught my eye. Antlers. “Deer?” I thought.
“I was, I? Scared of a deer? That made my night, I’d frightened myself over a deer passing through the lot.” I broke out into a hysterical laughter inside the truck. Then, I had an idea, one that I should have thought over. A decision I deeply regret. I was going to get out, and go see if I could get a closer look. Judging by the size of the rack, that’d would have to be a huge buck.
I had to see it. My enthusiasm for nature and wildlife overtook my thought process and I started towards the area I saw the deer heading to. As I was about half way across the lot, the trucks headlights illuminating most of the area, I stopped.
How could a deer open doors? Why would a deer be out here? There’s no food, just gravel and cars.
Why would a deer make any noise at all? Typically, they’re quiet animals. Then the one thing that really struck fear into me crossed my mind. The door that slammed shut. That would not have been the outcome from a deer. Not unless the deer was blindly fleeing…a predator? I really did not wish to go any further. All I wished at that moment was that I had ignored what I saw and got out of there. I started backing towards the gate, and I heard a loud THUD come from my right. I was terrified.
I was in the middle of a large lot, littered with hiding space for a predator or a crazy drug user. I shined my light to where I heard the noise, nothing. Nothing at all. I saw nothing. I heard nothing. I was outside enough to know that silence is not a good thing to hear when you’re outside. I drew my weapon, held it tight, ready to defend myself from whatever may come my way. My way to the gate was slow, cautious, and very, very, deliberate. I was careful to make each step as quiet as possible. I listened for anything. anything at all.
When I got to the gate I heard it. It wasn’t human, It sounded hurt, almost. Heavy, labored breathing, a shuffling, like something trying to quickly limp in my direction.
I wasted no time waiting for whatever it was to get near me. I ran as fast as I could and jumped in my truck. What I saw as I was backing out of the drive, at the gate will haunt me forever. I saw a mangled deer, standing upright, it appeared to be hit by a car. But there was no fur, just skin. Pale skin, pulled tight over it’s bones, no visible muscle mass, literally just SKIN and BONES. The most terrifying part was the roar or howl it let out as I drove away. It sounded like a person screaming and a wolf howling. It still haunts me to this day, I’ll never forget that sound.
I’m not a believer of the supernatural, but I do understand that there are parts of this world, better left in the dark.