I was followed into the woods

As children, we are all taught to trust adults. Whether it be our parents or guardians, relatives or teachers, we always have been told we could trust these people. However, not every family friend you meet can be trusted.

I’d like to say that I am a female, fourteen years of age, as of me writing this. When the story happened, I was around five or six years old.

When I was little, I always went to work with my father on Sundays for many reasons. A few of them being because I didn’t want to be bored at home and only hearing the whirring of my mother’s sewing machine, as that’s what she did on Sundays. Sew, sew, sew. Another reason was because behind my father’s work, there was this wide expanse of forest. Trees for miles and miles.

I lived in a town where nothing really ever went sour. Everyone sort of knew everyone around and people let their kids play outside after four by themselves. It was quite peaceful and I enjoyed it as a kid. I mean, I still do now, but I am more cautious than I was a long time ago.

This particular Sunday really didn’t seem off, until I asked my father if I can go back into the trails in the woods. You see, there was this paintball park right next to my father’s workplace and all these long trails were being built so that when the park was opened and everything was finished, players can go back into the woods to do some shooting with the paint balls. However, since they were closed on Sunday, my father let me go back there. Honestly I sort of wish he didn’t.

Like I mentioned earlier, I was five or six years old at the time. So little me was skipping down the trail, landing in puddles where it rained the night before. I never went too far, since I knew where to stop when in started getting a little too dark under the canopy of tall tree leaves.

I was passing a small clearing to the right side where a log was, when I noticed I heard footsteps behind me. Turning around, as I was a curious little child, I saw it was one of my father’s friend’s brother. Now, what I did not know was that the man that stood behind me was very messed up in the head.

I went from staring at him in confusion to greeting him politely. For this story, I’ll call him Bob.

“Hi Bob! Why are you back here? Did you want to look at the trees to?” I asked him, still a little unsure. He shook is head and walked ahead of me, sitting against this fallen over log in the clearing. Bob turned to me and asked; “It must have been a long walk. Would you like to sit on something?” His face had a small grin on it.

Now, as a child, I was very, very innocent. Back then I thought magic did exist and, well, thought he brought along a chair or something. So, being the naive child I was, I asked him; “What?”

He looked down to the jeans he was wearing and unzipped the zipper in the front and his private part was out. Even as a child, I knew something was terribly wrong here. “Nevermind.” I said, quite weirded out. I then started walking quickly the other way back to my dad’s work.

He shouted behind me; “Come back here!” and before I knew it, I was being chased.

This man, Bob, was quite overweight. Not to be rude, but it was true. I ran like a bat straight out of hell away from him as he jogged about 20 or so feet behind me. In his right hand he held one of those Swiss Army pocket knives, I believe they are called. You know, the one that the blade goes into the handle and such. He threw it behind him and gave up trying to get to me.

I made it to the treeline behind my dad’s work, and he wasn’t up there. He was at the paintball trail entrance. thinking that’s the way it led out. Instead of meeting me, he met Bob. He then asked Bob what he was doing, but my father told me he said nothing.

I only remembered this story recently and have told both of my parents. My father pointed out that he also always went into the room where I’d watch some cartoons and lay on the bed with me in strange, inappropriate positions. Not only that, but he always felt up my cousin’s arm whenever they were around.

We haven’t seen Bob in a while, but I’d rather not meet him again.

 

The skate park

Around the time of this story I was like 9. This happened in Idaho at my local skatepark. I’m not a big skater but my brother was and I had some friends there too. One random day a car showed up in the skatepark parking lot.

Everyone thought nothing of it and went on with the day. That same car went there and parked in the same place everyday. On the second week that the car was there a skater lets call him Jeff.

Jeff was behind the car and saw a man taking pictures of kids crotches. Jeff told the man to stop and he did for that day. I told my mom about it and she went to the skatepark the next day. The man had his wife with him that day. My mom told the man to stop taking pictures of the kids forever.

His wife showed my mom pictures of kids doing tricks but those were printed out. We never asked what was on the camera.

The same man bought a skateboard and started skating.

But that’s not all, he was walking by a girl stretching and doing the splits and said in a weird tone “Damn, girl,” Jeff fought the man out of the park and he ran. I don’t wanna know what could’ve happened to someone if Jeff wouldn’t have been there. It still gives me chills till this day.

Almost Kidnapped

I’m a sixteen year old girl and I’m five foot two, and this experience happened to me two days ago. It was spring break and I went on a trip with a teacher and friend from school for a robotics trip in Denver. The first 3 days there were no problems and everything was going great, we had fun working and meeting new people from other towns and states. We got the place set up for the competition the first two days and on Saturday started taking it all down.

On the last day after all the games were over one of the teams stayed to help us clean and take it all apart. They left around 9 pm that night and the rest of the volunteers stayed to help. Around 10:30 pm most of the volunteers went home and it was only a few of us and the people who were driving the trucks to take the parts for the games. While we were finishing up I started getting a strange feeling like someone was watching me and as I looked around I saw one of the truck driving guys looking at me. I felt my heart skip a beat and I got cold. The man was probably in his late twenties and had a beard and long reddish brown hair, and probably around six foot tall. Thinking since I was in a big city maybe he was just trying to figure out if he knew me I ignored it at first.

Within the next 30 minutes I kept getting that feeling and I looked over again and we made eye contact and I awkwardly smiled and the look on his face was almost sinister. We kept working and I started feeling sick and I was looking for my teacher to ask if I could go get some water and as I was walking around I wasn’t looking and I accidentally ran into the man, not noticing who it was I said “I’m so sorry, I wasn’t.” Then I paused as I looked up to see his face, he looked at me with the same creepy smile and said “Oh it’s quite alright, beautiful. You know, you’re very pretty. How old are you?”

I felt like screaming, I was so scared. I politely replied that I was sixteen, and tried to walk away. He caught my arm and said “you look a lot older… But you know, I like younger girls.” At that point I was pale and screaming in my mind. I looked up at him and forced a little laugh and walked away. When I was walking to get a drink I saw him following me up the stairs, I started running. I didn’t realize he was behind me when I was getting a quick drink and planned to turn right around and run down the other set of stairs.

As I was turning around to get ready to run, he grabbed me and pinned me against the wall and covered my mouth and started kissing my neck saying how beautiful he thought I was and how he didn’t want me to be scared of him. I was scared and angry that he thought he could force himself onto me like that and I bit his hand as hard as I could and I kneed him in the dick and slipped under his arms to run away. He angrily grunted and tried to grab at me again and ended up pulling my hair but lost his grip. I sprinted down the stairs skipping three steps with every leap down.

Once I reached the floor I sprinted over to my friend and she said she was about to go looking for me because they were ready to go. We were walking out of the doors when she saw my eyes were tearing up and she asked me what was wrong, I didn’t want to be there another minute so I told her I was just tired and my eyes were hurting and we left. Nobody knows what really happened to me that night. The only thing I have to say is you have to be careful when you’re in a new place, and don’t go anywhere alone.

My Best Friend’s Father

Up until I was 11 I had a best friend, like most kids do. We’ll just call her Julia. She was in the same class as I was in school, and lived only a few houses away from me. I’d met her around grade 1, and we’d been inseparable since we met. We had the same interests and they both developed as we grew up.

I had my first sleepover with her when we were roughly around 9 years old. Her mother had met my parents, we had playdates with each other at one another’s houses, but it was our first sleepover together, which was like a whole new experience. Nothing exciting ever happened, other than me meeting her father for the first time. He was tall, sandy blond hair and he wore glasses. Overall, he was a fairly nice man.

Back then, he didn’t seem weird and I didn’t get any vibes from him. Looking back, I remember some weird things now. He’d always disappear from the room once we came in. Whenever he did stay, it was for a few minutes, before he started fidgeting and shifting.

Moving on, after that first sleepover myself, as well as a few other of our mutual friends, were all invited over for another sleepover. There were around 3 or 4 of us girls, all in my friends basement, as her room was too small for all of us. I remember at one point during the night, one of the girls had to go to the bathroom. It was fairly early, around 7 or 8 o’clock. Julia directed her to it, just a small room up the stairs and down the hallway.

She left, and we continued talking until she came back. When she came back, she was kind of shaky. She was a bit pale, and had a confused expression on her face. She approached Julia and tapped her shoulder. The girl asked Julia if she could call her mother, to come pick her up. We were all disappointed, and urged her to stay, but she declined profusely and was on the verge of tears.

Julia’s mother called the girl’s mother, who picked her up around 10 minutes later. We were all standing around the porch, saying goodbye to her. Julia’s mother apologized about the girl not wanting to stay, and suggested that maybe she could visit when she was feeling better. Eventually, Julia’s father came to say goodbye too. He stood behind Julia, his hands on her shoulders. I didn’t notice at the time, but thinking back to it now, Julia seemed very uncomfortable around him as well. He was smiling at the girl, who had dipped her head anxiously when Julia’s father showed up.

After the girl was gone, we continued our sleepover as normal, before morning came and we all went home.

Around a week later, while on the weekend, my mother approached me. She told me that I wasn’t allowed to go to Julia’s house anymore. She said I couldn’t have sleepovers, playdates or anything.

When I asked her why she said, “Her parents and I got into a fight.” As a child I thought their fight would end soon, like how Julia and I would argue, before getting over it less than a day later. I kept my hopes up and continued asking my mother, day after day if I could go back to Julia’s house. She said no every time.

Of course, I still spoke to Julia at school. All the time.

One day, she got sick at school. I volunteered to go with her to the office to call home.

When we got there the lady at the desk said, “I’ll call your father, to come pick you up.”

Julia seemed to panic at her words and before the lady had a chance to pick up the phone she said,”Call my mom, please. Not my dad.”

As an adult, like I am now, that would’ve gone up as a red flag, immediately. I don’t know what was wrong with the woman at the desk, as she just shrugged it off and called her mother instead. I stayed with Julia until her mother showed up.

Julia and I had very close birthdates. Mine is on March 15th and hers was on March 9th, so usually, we’d have a shared birthday party. It was less work for the parents, and more fun for us. For my 11th birthday I, like always, expected a shared birthday party. As you might have guessed, we didn’t have one. In fact, I didn’t see Julia for the entire time between around March 5th and around March 23rd.

When I asked my mother about it, she passed it off. After March 23rd, she showed up again. We talked again and when I asked her about her disappearance, she got mad at me. I apologized, thinking that maybe she had to visit a family member, as I remembered how she always hated visiting family. I never knew why, but I always assumed it was just because of how smothering aunts and grandmothers can be.

Julia and I didn’t talk for a while. We kind of began to drift apart, speaking occasionally. My mother told me that’s just what happens sometimes to friendships and I remember her being happy that I wasn’t as close with Julia.

I also remember being suspicious. Yes, she was drifting away from me, but she was drifting away from everyone else, too. Not getting new friends. Just sitting by herself, ignoring everyone, doing her work.

Her silence never stopped news from spreading, though. About a month later, we all learned that her parents had divorced. I approached her on the day I heard about it. I told her I was sorry.

She said, “My mother is moving away. I’m going with her.” I was shocked by what she said. In the end, I wasn’t as devastated as I thought I was going to be. We’d grown too far apart for me to be extremely upset.

Anyways, I never learned where she moved away. But a week or two after she left, her father was on the news. I never saw it as a child, but I recently approached my mother about it.

She explained to me how at Julia’s sleepover with the other girls, the girl who had gone home had left because when she went to the washroom, Julia’s father followed her. Apparently he touched her for a few minutes, even hit her once.

My mother told me she confronted Julia’s mother about it. Her mother was in denial and just said it didn’t happen, that her husband was good.

My mother also told me that during Julia’s disappearance, her father was being investigated and that they kept Julia indoors for the entire time they suspected people were watching her father. I’m not sure if that’s how things work with suspected pedophiles, but I would’ve burst into that house and arrested him on sight.

My mother said that after Julia’s mother finally accepted that her husband was a child molester,  she divorced him. I learned that he was touching Julia as well, explaining her skittish behaviour. My mom told me that after Julia and her mother had moved, her father was on the news because he was arrested, for being a pedophile, amongst other things.

I never really thought about that situation when I was younger. I only really thought about it recently, how suspicious everything was. I really hope that wherever Julia is now, she is safe and happy. No doubt, she would’ve been scarred by those memories, I just hope that they don’t affect her for the rest of her life and I hope her father rots in jail.

 

 

Stranger in the Woods

Last summer, I had my first kiss. It was with Luke, my older brother’s friend. Luke was an okay guy, he was kind of a pushover, but he made me laugh and seemed to enjoy my company.

My brother, Alex, had an attitude problem, most teenagers did. I was a crybaby when I was little and he was insensitive, so we didn’t get along too well. Over the years, he’s mellowed out and my skin had thickened, but our relationship always felt like we were standing on thin ice. I’ve always wanted to have a more positive relationship with him.

I didn’t tell anyone about the kiss. It was meaningful to me and I didn’t want the local kids to know. I kept quiet, and so did Luke. He didn’t seem to care all that much about the kiss.

My twin sister, Grace, somehow found out about it, and was furious to know that Luke was acting as if he didn’t care at all. I told her I was fine with it, even though I was a little bummed out. And with some convincing, she calmed down. Her anger towards Luke lessened, but didn’t completely disappear.

We lived in Florida, and people associate that with hot, sticky, and humid. In some parts, they’d be correct, but the part I lived in would get casual breezes during the summer. It was just cool enough where you could actually go outside and not immediately die of heatstroke.

There weren’t a lot of trees where I lived, there would be a cluster of palm trees at the most. Sitting in the shade was almost nearly impossible. However, there was this giant lake that was located down the road from my neighborhood. There wasn’t enough trees to call it a wooded area, but it was relaxing to walk through.

A high school girl’s parents owned the area. So, while her parents were away on a business trip, the girl, Caroline, threw a party. I was surprised her parents left alone for the week, most parents didn’t do that around here. Maybe they didn’t care, or maybe they told their neighbor to check up on her from time to time. I didn’t know. All I knew was that I really wanted to go because Luke would be there. I knew it’d probably be seen as a little desperate, but my sister wanted to go as well so if the plan backfired I could always spend the night with her.

Alex was automatically invited, and let us come after we pestered him for hours. Caroline’s parents had a lake house, and was it was huge compared to our home. The lake itself was murky and dark. Of course, this was a high school party, so there were drunken kids already taking off their clothes to go swim in the dirty water.

Grace was excited to be there, she seemed to think that tonight was going to change her life forever. I just rolled her eyes at her overly-dramatic attitude and went searching for Luke. She seemed to already know who I was looking for when we first walked through the door. She had just clicked her tongue, then said gently but sternly, “Be careful.”

I quickly smiled at her before darting my way through the surprisingly small crowd of teenagers. Everybody was likely outside, getting drunk off their asses. I looked around the room, not letting anything distract me. When I saw him I tried to get his attention by waving, but then I noticed that Caroline and him were chatting. The conservation looked… heated.

I watched the pair for a whole two minutes, Caroline getting more and more handsy with him. His wide eyes landed on me, and our gazes locked very briefly before I turned around and quickly made my way towards the entrance.

“Hailey!” I heard him yell over the loud music, but I just shook my head in denial and walked faster.

When I saw an opening in the crowd, I ran down the front porch steps. I had been so happy to have Luke see me in my new dress, what a waste of $25!

“Hailey, wait up!” Luke called from behind me. “Please let me explain!” I didn’t listen though, I just kept running.

I was determined not to cry, at any means. I went out behind the lake house and let the empty trees keep me company. My flats were dirty from the damp dirt, so I took them off and threw them at the ground in frustration. I was also irritated by the sweat that had build up in the Floridian heat.

It was strangely quiet, I didn’t hear anything in the trees or bushes, just kids hollering near the lake. It was relaxing. I inhaled deeply, wanting to calm myself down. I went over to collect my shoes, which I had thrown further out into the trees. I wanted to hide behind one until the party was over and my brother came looking for me.

I heard footsteps behind me and I already knew who it was. “Just go away Luke. I don’t want to talk to you right now.” I felt Luke’s hairy arms wrap around me. That was a thing I usually joked about with him, about how he never saved his arms and legs, but everywhere else. I almost smiled, but the wet trails on my cheeks weren’t from happiness. “Just go back to Caroline.” The way I said it sounded kind of bratty but I didn’t really care at the moment.

A familiar, yet distant voice yelled, “Hailey? I’m sorry, okay! I fucked up! Where are you?”

I froze. My stomach dropped and my blood when cold. The guy behind me wasn’t Luke. I tried to break free from his arms, but his hold tightened. I smacked him upside the head with my shoes, but I was at a weird angle and it just annoyed him. A callused, sweaty hand covered my mouth before I could say anything. I felt a certain appendage press hard into my back. My heart was pounding as hot liquid leaked from my eyes.

I kicked at his hairy legs and clawed at the arms that held me. Red, angry trails were left behind, but he held on tight. I threw my head back at his face, hoping my skull would hurt him. The hand that covered my mouth loosened a fraction, but it was enough. I bit down as hard as I could, until I tasted blood on my tongue. The man let go of me for a split second, but by the time he realized I was free, I was already screaming bloody murder.

What happened next wasn’t that eventful. I found Alex and yelled at him to take me home or else I would tell mom and dad about the party. He glared at me, but I didn’t fucking care. I was crying and hyperventilating and I just wanted to go home. Grace was no where in sight, so my brother reluctantly went to go find her.

Luke found me, asking me what the hell happened when he saw that I was crying. I shook my head at him and sobbed. He offered to take me home and I agreed, not wanting to be at this damn lake house for any longer. He sent Alex a quick text, then led me to his car.

The car ride was silent, he didn’t ask about anything and I didn’t offer. Luke didn’t even finish parking before I got out of the car and ran towards my front door. I had a spare key attached to my necklace, and relocked the door once I was safe inside.

I don’t go out to parties anymore, not even the ones that are within my neighborhood and are indoors. I never told my parents or Alex about the man. I told Grace after five months of me getting terrified by everything. No one else noticed my jumpy behavior, that’s due to the fact that I spend all of my time locked inside my room now. I don’t like to talk about it. Grace said talking would help, but all it does is make me more scared to go back outside.