October is my favorite month. The weather in Arizona finally makes the change from sweltering to perfection. Neighbors come out of hiding because they are no longer limited to indoor spaces. Salted caramel hot chocolate comes back to Starbucks (forget all that pumpkin spice!). And of course, we get plenty of spooky stories and events for Halloween.
In honor of October, I will share some real life creepy stories from my childhood. Both, oddly enough, involve my cousin and shadowy figures. The first happened when we were 11. We were on our way to a friend's party and we were running late. My aunt asked us to wait in the driveway by the car and she would be out in a minute. As we waited and chatted, a black sedan drove by the house. Nothing too unusual, except that it slowed down when it saw us. We eyed it, but it drove on and turned the corner. A minute or two later, the same car came back-- we realized it must have circled the block. Again, it slowed down. It was dark outside, so we couldn't make out details, but we could see there were two people inside the car. It looked as though it would turn the corner again, but instead it turned around and stopped in front of the house. We could see the shadow of the person in the passenger's side reaching down for the handle to open the door. I remember feeling a jolt of panic and thinking, "Do we run inside? Or maybe they just need directions or something?" Right at that moment, my aunt came outside. The car sped off. "Who was that?" My aunt asked. My cousin and I stared at each other in shock for a moment and explained what happened. To this day, I'm so grateful she came outside right then. I have no idea what would have happened, but anyone who circles around two young girls and makes a run for it when an adult appears can't have good intentions. The second happened when we were 13 or 14. My cousin and I would often retreat to the orchard at my grandparent's house because it felt like our private sanctuary where we could talk and giggle about the things tween girls like to talk and giggle about without adults or brothers bothering us. This particular outing happened at dusk, and the orange sky peeked through the mottled treetops as we laughed under the cover of citrus trees. At one point, we heard a strange sounding laugh--a very male laugh. We looked up and saw the silhouette of a person sprawled out in the tree above us among the dark shapes of the leaves. This image is still burned so vividly in my mind! I thought it was my older brother trying to be a pest, so I called his name and asked him what he was doing. There was no response. That's when I glanced out past the orchard into the field and saw that my brother was there, along with our other older male cousins. "That's not my brother!" I shouted, panic now in my voice. My cousin and I both screamed and started running back toward the house. I glanced over my shoulder and saw a man jump down from the tree and run to hop the fence. For some reason, I can clearly remember that he was wearing sneakers with red soles and shoelaces, and that his jeans looked dirty. To this day we have no idea who that was or why he was peeping at us from the grapefruit tree, but I'm once again grateful that nothing horrible happened. Have a creepy story to share? I would love to hear about it in the comments!