It was about two months ago when this happened.
Recently it got very cold in the mornings to go out for my runs so instead I started running in the evenings, and that comes with its own set of problems. Not that I’m complaining or anything, but running alone as a young girl at night is something that my parents always worried about. When my dad found out, he gave me a flashlight and a pepper spray thing that I still haven’t figured out how to use.
The first week or so of running at night went smoothly. The only thing I found uncomfortable was running with my music on because of the nagging feeling that somebody would be running behind me and I wouldn’t know it so I started lowering the volume until I finally decided to run without music and instead had to hear myself breathing loudly as I ran through the streets of my new neighborhood.
It was a Monday, and it was especially cold, with the fog starting to roll in. That’s what its like in southern California, which most people don’t know. The fog near the coast is for real. I kind of like it, but everyone that I ask hates it because of how slow traffic gets in the mornings because of it.
My short run route took me down my street, through the edge of a park, the sidewalk part, and then around another street that would end up near a main street before I turned left again to make the roundtrip back to my house. It all went around an elementary school with large fields.
Coming around a corner by the park, I could see the figures of three men with hoodies hanging out by the benches that were near one of the bathroom buildings of it, which were closed. Through the orange lights of the park that lit the basketball courts, I could see that one of them stood up and pointed at me. I could hear them laughing in the distance. Suddenly my blood rushed away from my face as I saw them stand up and walk toward me. Their silhouettes growing larger as they approached me. I had to cross the whole side of the park in order to go back to the street where the houses were or turn around, making it obvious that I was running away.
I don’t understand my reasoning behind this, but I decided to keep going by running faster. But then I changed my mind about going straight through the edge of the park and instead turned into the parking lot of the elementary school. Since they were doing construction, the gates were wide open and I could simply cross through it to make it back home instead of going all the way around. I don’t know why I take so long to decide things like these, especially when there is no time to think. I’m the same way at four-way stop signs and when I have to choose a parking spot.
But in the end I just went for it. All of the lights in between the many rows of buildings were lit and all I had to do was get through the school and I’d be safe and sound back home. I turned back to see the thre e silhouettes stop before crossing the street of the edge of the park. I got closer to the building, which I assumed was the administration office, in order to hide from their view and kept walking in deeper into the campus, when I finally gathered the courage to turn back, I saw the tiny shadows walking away from the edge of the park, I assumed they were going back to their bench.
I felt a little relieved, but my hands were a little shaky and I could still feel that cold rush of adrenaline. All I had to do now was go through the school and find the back gate, which I had seen was open when I started my run.
I slowed down but I swear even my legs felt tingly and wobbly from the scare I had just been through. I calmed myself down, walking through what seemed like the main walkway of the school. This was an exterior school, with separate rows of classrooms all labeled with number going by tens. I was in the 20s wing, walking toward the 30s, then 40s. I couldn’t help myself and turned left to look down the rows of classrooms that ended up at the start of another field, I kept imagining the many kids that had been through here, laughing and running around.
But as I crossed the 40s wing, I caught something out of the corner of my eye. I don’t know if you have ever walked directly across an aisle of a supermarket at the same pace as someone else and you end up looking at each other through the end of the rows several times. That’s what this was like. Another dark shadow, walking slightly ahead of me, but across the row of classrooms, which was maybe made up of five or six classrooms. I felt my heart beating on my neck as I thought of what I should do. If I slowed down enough, maybe they’d get far enough ahead and I wouldn’t have to bump into them. So I slowed down, careful not to make any noise as I inched along, when I heard a series of steps echoing closer and closer in front of me.
A small shadow took over the cement walkway in front of me before I finally saw what it was.
It was a young girl, maybe nine or ten years old coming out of the 50s wing ahead of me and running straight into the dimly lit blacktop play area and toward the darkness of the field. I could hear her shoes against the pavement. I heard her thin voice as she seemed to talk to herself as she skipped along. I stood there, frozen, watching her run deeper and deeper into the darkness and fog until she vanished.
I probably ran faster than I ever had in my life as I got to the back gate and right through it to cross the street back home. I run while there’s still light out now, right past the school. And I can’t keep myself from looking toward the fields of that school. I don’t know why I’m like this.
— Sponsor —
It arrived by my doorstep. No, we aren’t starting the second story yet, I just wanted to take a minute to talk about our sponsor that made this episode possible. Welcome the new year with new flavors so you don’t get bored of the same old food. I’m talking about hellofresh. With over 23 recipes every week with a large variety of ingredients and cuisines, you’ll always have something to look forward to. I told you recently about Green Chef, the meal box, remember? Well it is now owned by HelloFresh and I finally got to try and it did not disappoint. With all the writing and recording I’ve been doing to prepare for the new year, I thought that I would be too swamped to even cook, but then I found about HelloFresh’s Easy Eats, which solves the problem right up with things like Oven Ready and 10-20 minute meals, which took care of it and now I’m out of excuses.
I got some great recipes in my box, but by far the best one for me was the chicken over garlic parmesan spaghetti. Now I’ve made spaghetti a million times, but not like this. This dish felt like restaurant style but without the mystery of knowing how they cooked it. And I need clear directions when it comes to cooking, so the photos they attached to every step of the cooking process was incredible. Try America’s #1 Meal Kit for yourself! Go to HelloFresh.com/scarystory10 and use code scarystory10 for 10 free meals, including free shipping. All you have to do is go to HelloFresh.com/scarystory10 and use scarystory10 for 10 free meals, including free shipping.
Thank you, HelloFresh! Here is the link HelloFresh.com/scarystory10 and use code scarystory10
The following story will continue right after this. Thank you so much for listening!
The YouTube Video
I’m old enough to remember when we would all gather around someone’s laptop back in high school to watch a funny video on YouTube. I’m talking about like the numa numa kid before it hit a million views type of thing. It was like the wild west of YouTube at the time, and things used to be a cool kind of weird. I don’t know how else to describe it. But there was one video that changed everything.
One of my friends had recently gotten one of those iPhones, I’m talking about the first ones that only worked with AT&T, and he could watch YouTube and that movies that he ripped out of DVDs on it. After school one day, while hanging out by the front lawn of our high school where the tables were, my friend spilled over his can of soda. I thought he was choking on something because I could tell he wanted to say something but couldn’t find the way to do so. I didn’t know what to do as I saw him stand up and hold his hands up to his ears as his eyes filled with water, he seemed to be in pain and unable to breathe.
Then I heard a scream and someone crying.
On his phone, the video showed a crappy camera on the floor of what looked like to be a kitchen. A woman in a light green dress seemed to be taking up most of the frame when suddenly she jerked in a weird way upward, and then got dragged slowly across the floor. A trail of bright red blood being left behind, almost painting the yellow tiles with the diamond designs on the floor with the brightest red you can imagine.
The cries faded until it stopped. Then a man laughed and the video went dark, with the end of the video being the refresh button to play the video again.
Darren had calmed down by this point and I was still figuring out what to do before Amanda grabbed the phone and hit the replay button on the touchscreen. I had never seen something like that before in my life, and I was sure that I had to tell someone about it. Back then we didn’t know about reporting videos and I’m sure that many other people didn’t know either. I was so angry and confused as an odd rush of cold blood ran through me. I felt like throwing up.
We talked about it some more, mostly trying to get Darren to explain to us how he found it. He said it showed up on a popular list, but I didn’t know what that meant. Darren and I used to walk the same way home together and we thought that maybe we could get to the video one more time in order to report it to someone, but his watch history didn’t have it anymore. It had the page though, outside of the app, but it said that the video no longer existed.
I still don’t know what happened that day, but I really hope it was fake.