I don’t really know how to start this quite real “Halloween” tale. The timing was perfect for this pre-Dia de los Muertos, holiday. The situation however, I assure you was quite surreal. As I was driving at about 9:00 pm on a country road not 1/2 a mile from my house in a quiet section of North Charlotte, I had to slow down from about 35mph to a crawl. I had my mind on picking up my 11 year old daughter, from a friends house after a hay ride and some Halloween fun. I knew she would try to manipulate me into a later bedtime, this was standard operating procedure after a night of fun, and I had to think ahead and execute well, to enforce my idea of what was the right thing to do! There were no lights on this section of road but I noticed a young teenage boy was walking in my direction in the middle of my side of the road. My first reaction was that as I slowed he would have time to make his way over to the shoulder – there is no sidewalk, in fact this is not a section of road where you would normally see people attempting to walk, much less in the pitch dark. But, he didn’t, he caught me by surprise. He moved over, only a bit, still walking forward, now beginning up an incline, to the center double yellow line. This momentarily paralyzed me, as it brought other elements in to play. I now noticed the car- or cars, I’m sure there was more than one, but not sure beyond that, coming in the other direction – had almost come to a full stop as well. I saw their headlights with one part of my mind, but I was keenly focused on this teenager with dirty blond hair, disheveled, or course, in jeans and a sweatshirt or layered shirts of some sort. He looked to be somewhere between 14 and maybe 17 – a rough estimate. As he advanced, and I realized that, with in safety boundaries, there was really nowhere for me to go! I mean I may have cruised by him by the slimmest of margins with him tight roping it on the center lines, but I thought “I can’t risk it.” – The cars coming in the opposite direction must have sensed the same thing, as they didn’t pass him either. In an instant, the whole episode didn’t last 90 seconds, it became terrifying for me. The pedestrian, seemingly realizing my paralysis began walking more deliberately at my car, back into the center of my lane, staring me down as he strode. I fumbled for the stick shift, and put the car into reverse. He began to trot or jog up the incline, right toward me, not more than 25 yards away. I engaged the reverse gear with increasing urgency, riding the clutch all the way, not risking the dreaded stall! Fully engaged, I was now burning rubber going backwards up a small incline and heading around a bend. No street lights behind me, should I see any lights I new it would mean oncoming cars and almost certain disaster. I noticed the smoke from burning rubber go past my passenger window as my head was now in a fixed position turned about my right shoulder glancing for the ditch that would be the road shoulder, and alternately out my rear window. I now thought almost nothing of the pursuer, as I prayed for preservation. I wasn’t sure what the kids’ intentions were, but I was very worried that I knew what would happen if another car came barreling around the unlit curve that I was now traveling on, backwards no less.
I finally seemed to be around the curve, and mercifully I could see a drive, that I was familiar with, with the help of some ambient light shed from the street lights, on the nearest main road not a 1/4 mile away. I backed in accurately, put it in first then second, then third all the time looking out my rear window into the pitch dark. Now though, I was headed in the proper direction away from this seeming nightmare. Could it be over. I thought for sure it was. I had survived. If this was “Halloween” the movie, or Night of the Living Dead” or “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” I would have turned it off! But I couldn’t – it was just over. I pulled into the driveway of the nearby Fire Department, I stopped and calmly, or so I thought called 911. They were calm, I comparatively was not. My hand, I’m sure was shaking. I gave them all the details I could and they said they would have a patrol check-it out. I set out upon my journey, only the long way this time. And, just as I realized I would pass the head of Kelly road, where this had taken place, midway between Oakdale and Pleasant Grove, I was curious. But, I was just secure enough to turn my head in that direction. It was after that I noticed a police car, just at cruising speed, cut across Oakdale onto Kelly. That was timely I thought. And, of course I wondered what he would find.
Of course I wondered for my own forensic curiosity. But I also wondered whose child, and in what condition he was – that I encountered. Was he in need of help? had I misread his advances? Was he intoxicated or otherwise impaired? – almost certainly – I feared. Did he need my car, money or what? – Maybe he just needed the attention. I am glad it wasn’t my child. And, I’m glad it wasn’t yours.