From the Archives: Nightmare on My Street

Back by popular demand, the best ever Halloween Post!
 Happy Halloween, weenies!

*Originally published October 2010*

So, since I’ve hung up my P90X bands, I’ve started running in the mornings. My running partner and I have yet to work out a system beyond late night texting to let one another know whether or not it’ll be pairs or singles. Unfortunately, this particular morning, I missed the text and waited like a weirdo in front of her house for 10 minutes before setting off on my own. When the newspaper delivery person rode through and chucked the paper at the house, she gave me a wide walk before hustling double time back to her car. What can I say? I’m a menace in my Nikes and my head scarf.

Of course, I know that a single female running in the dark is a bad idea. I’m by no means invincible, but seriously? It’s 5:50 in the morning. I strongly doubt that any ne’er do wells have set their alarm clocks to leap out of the bushes at me as I trot through a residential neighborhood. Besides, I’m really stubborn and if I’ve gotten up, gotten dressed, and gone outside, I’m going running.

So, I start my route, sticking to well lit streets and pretty even terrain. There was a little haze burning off from the streets since the air was warm and the ground was cool from the previous nights rain. The sky was dark, tinged with pink around the edges and the autumn were leaves sticking to the ground like post-its reminding me that fall is indeed here (you like the image I’m setting up here, don’t you?).

I like to run in the middle of the street so that I can keep an eye out for people, dogs, and other neighborhood flotsam and jetsam. Even in daylight hours, I play this game with myself where I mentally call out the make and model of the car I’m approaching so that if, God forbid, someone throws open a car door and makes a grab at me, I’ll at least know what kind of trunk I’m being stuffed into.

I’m moving right along, not quite race pace, but steady just the same. I don’t have my iPod with me, I’m just listening to my own breath and the throbbing of my blood in my veins. As I’m going, I keep hearing this “thwup, thwup, thwup,” behind me. I slow up a bit looking behind me, immediately thinking, “No, dummy! Turning around slows you down. Didn’t you see ‘Scream’?” I cast a quick, furtive glance over my shoulder. Nothing. My heart starts pumping a little faster, my strides become a little quicker, and my brain calls roll for all the whack-a-doos it can name — Michael Meyers, Freddie Kruger, Chuckie. . .

But the thing is, no one was there.

I think all the Halloween paraphernalia placed on neighborhood lawns is getting to me. I keep moving, but again, I hear, “thwup, thwup, thwup.” It’s coming at some odd intervals and now, I’m really starting to freak out. Maybe I should pick up the pace a bit. I could see one of the ROTC units from ODU up a head doing their 5 miles. If I hurry, I can catch up with the stragglers and use them for cover. Maybe trip one of them, sacrifice the youth for my own survival. I kick it up a bit.

Thwup, thwup, thwup.

Short of stopping dead in my tracks and turning in a circle à la Jennifer Love Hewitt in “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, I pump my legs a little harder, mentally recalculate the shortest distance between where I am and the house. I bee-line it for the front door.

Thwup, thwup thwup.

I’m headed home, all but in a dead sprint when I realize that yes, I’m being followed, but not by someone. It’s something. It’s something far more scary than a man with a hook for a hand or a hockey mask over his face.

It was my own backside.

A sweat-induced booty clapping chasing me down the street.

I’ll probably have nightmares about this for the rest of my life.

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Originally published at Hilary With One L.