During my junior year, I lived just two or three blocks away from my high school, just off one of the busiest streets in town. It was a dangerous road during the day, but at night, everything became empty and quiet, with maybe only one or two cars per hour, especially as it grew closer to midnight. After midnight, the street would slowly fill up again by the hour, until the street was a traffic jam at the busy stop light for school at six or seven in the morning.
The night hours were always so peaceful. The stars had a habit of calling me to walk beneath them ever since my sophomore year, in a different neighborhood. I found the walks calming, and always gave me time to think about whatever may be happening in my life. Usually, I would return home with a great idea for a new story, or a new drawing. Sometimes it was enough to help me sleep. One night, however, ended up giving me nightmares instead.
It felt like a normal night as the sun went down. I had just finished eating dinner, and mom was out working late as she did every couple nights, as a karaoke hostess for bars. I put on my coat, and grabbed the house keys, making sure I didn't forget my phone or the narrow PVC pipe that I used in case I needed to defend myself. Leaving the lights on since I'd only be a short while, I stepped out onto the welcome mat and locked the door.
As usual, I opted to walk through the yard instead of down the driveway. It was a more direct route, and not as crowded as having to squeeze through the extra cars we didn't need. I had only gotten halfway across the grass when I noticed a black car pull over right in front of me, making me stop and hesitate.
Who is this guy? Why is he pulling over? I thought to myself, feeling anxious.
The man looked like he was maybe in his thirties, and was looking down at something in his hand. He didn't seem to have noticed me. I assumed he was looking at a text, or some directions on his phone, so I waited patiently. When he started to pull away from the sidewalk, I resumed my approach, and by the time I reached the sidewalk, he had made a full U-turn, and was in front of me once more.
At this point, time seemed to slow down, as the man, who appeared to age twenty years suddenly, turned and looked me straight in the eyes. His mouth opened wide, and the man - in that moment, not looking like a man at all. but a monster - let out the most inhuman screech I had ever heard.
I stood in shock as he drove away, struggling to wrap my mind around what had just happened. I'm still not sure why, perhaps to pull myself out of the shock, I yelled at the car as it passed through the stop light a few blocks away.
I hadn't expected the driver to hear me. But he did, somehow, and responded with another screech. It was enough to send me running back inside and slam the door shut, too terrified to go back out for the rest of the week.
Since then, my stomach churns and I become unreasonably frightened whenever I see a black car at night. It's even worse when I'm alone, or when it's slowing down or pulling over near where I'm standing.