Alone at Night

Alone at Night from LetsNotMeet

This is the original reddit thread where I wrote the story; this is a slightly edited-for-grammar version.

I was around 16 when this happened, so 12 or so years ago. I’d just gotten my license and had come back to my mother’s house to work on a paper because her computer was faster than my father’s. It was getting a bit late, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary, so I wasn’t nervous one way or the other. I took a break from the paper and headed to the main bathroom, which was at the back of the house. The wall parallel to the door faced the back yard.

It has a small window in it, and just as I was about to turn on the lights, I heard a noise. Not especially close, or loud, but it was coming from somewhere in the back yard, closer to the house than the small patch of dense trees that acted as kind of a buffer between the street my house was on and the one that runs parallel to it

. I went to the window and looked out, at first seeing nothing, but then a shape ran across the yard, which I didn’t think too much of at first because I lived in a pretty typical suburban area and my house borders two streets. It wouldn’t be uncommon for kids to cut through my unfenced backyard to get to the other street. But even though I rationalized what it could be in my head, I was still a bit uneasy. I was home alone, and neither parent would be home soon (both parents worked 2nd shift in aerospace companies), which left me a little bit paranoid.

I went back to the living room, which had a huge bay window facing the front yard and a glass door to the back yard. For a few minutes, I heard nothing else, so I started to relax. But then, I heard soft noises coming from near the back door. Like someone stepping really quietly, trying not to make a sound.

Cue the adrenaline. I called my dad and told him as softly as I could what was going on. Part of me felt like I was overreacting, but the other part just knew something was off. He had someone else call the police and stayed on the line with me as I got my keys and made my way to the opposite side of the house, where the driveway and my car was. He didn’t want me leaving the house, really, but there was no way I was staying, so the plan was to get to him, then drive back together to meet the police. I can’t describe how badly I wanted to get out of that house. The worst thing that I could do, it seemed to me, was wait inside until the police got there or whomever was outside decided to come in.

When I went to get into my car, my whole body was focused on just unlocking and starting it, then tearing the hell out of my driveway. Thankfully, no horror movie cliches kept the engine from turning.

My dad’s company was a short drive away, and when I got to him and we went back to the house, we were met by the police…who had found the house lit up. Every light in every room on. Every door, even to the attic and the basement, open. But nothing was taken or touched, which to me is the scary part; the fact that whoever it was wanted to fuck with my head, or my mother’s, since it was her house. It just scared me, and I never slept well in my mother’s house after that. I was more than a bit relieved when she moved.

I Was Almost in a School Shooting

To start, I’d like to give a little description of my where my story took place. I lived in a southwestern Missouri town with the typical middle-of-nowhere feel. The town itself had a population of only 2,000, and it was just big enough to have its own school district. There were about 200 kids total from pre-K to 12th, and we all shared the same campus. The school was divided into high school, junior high, and elementary wings.

I was in junior high at the time. The building that housed us was old and falling apart. It looked as if someone cut a straight hallway out from the main campus and built a breezeway between them. Because of that separation, it was closer to the street than the other wings.

Specifically, I was social studies when the headache-inducing doorbell sound started. We all had been through intruder drills before. Us students packed into the corner and shut off the lights, while the teacher locked the door. She hushed us as we all sat bored and annoyed on the floor. We were, admittedly, being loud.

It took probably 15 minutes of continuous dinging for the idea to sink into our little 13-year-old minds. This was not a drill. After that, most of us were silent, and even the teacher hunkered down with us away from the door.
I whispered to my friend as she clung to me, “we are going to die.” To that, she started crying. I don’t know why I said it. It was as if I was in a trance.

30 minutes in, we heard distant popping which faded into nothing. The clump of us shook together. I recall this nasty emptiness in my stomach. The chime of the intruder alarm seemed as far away as the pops, though the speaker hung overhead. We could do nothing but wait.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the voice of the principal came over the loud speaker. “Please remain in you class rooms,” and that was all.

High off of existence, us kids sat on the desks laughing loudly and talking nonstop. The teacher abandoned her lesson and rested behind her desk. I imagine she felt the same relief as we did. It took a little over an hour, but the school called all the parents who then came and picked up their children.

We didn’t realize at the time how close we came to dying. While we were studying state history, a shooter had been on his way to the school to kill as many people as he could.
He stopped his truck on the road about a block away from the junior high. He was in the process of removing all his weapons when a good samaritan stopped to see if he was having car trouble. The good samaritan was shot from point blank range and died at the scene. The gunshots quickly alerted police. They were able to hold the shooter at a standoff until an exchange of fire left the shooter and one officer dead. If that good samaritan hadn’t died, the shooter likely would have made it to the school.

In the end, three people died that day. It’s sad, but I’m thankful. There are no happy endings in that evil, cursed town, but there are lucky ones. That day all of us kids got lucky.