Everything Changed that Afternoon

By: Katelyn Colter

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It was my junior year of high school. I was walking home after school on a wintery day, and the walk was pretty short since I lived five blocks away. My mom recently had a knee replacement surgery, and I was supposed to go home right after school so I could drive her to physical therapy. To give you a picture of how I looked walking home, my backpack was so full I couldn’t zip it up, I had two clarinet cases, I was carrying a textbook in my arms, and I was bundled up in my winter jacket and a hot pink hat. At that time, I also had a hand-me-down cell phone. It was a flip phone, and the battery lasted about five minutes before it would shut off.

I was two and a half blocks away from my house, and I noticed a steel gray car slowly driving behind me. I was walking on the sidewalk on the left side of the street, and when I looked back, I noticed the car was driving on the left side, the wrong side, of the street. Even though it was a side street, I was starting to get a little freaked out. At the end of that block, the car pulled off to the side, and a man stepped out of the car. I immediately tried to call my mom. She answered and I told her I would be home soon and that I loved her, and then my phone died. It was unusual for me to say “I love you” since my family doesn’t say that over the phone. I didn’t tell her I was being followed. I didn’t try to call the police. All I could think of at the time was that I was going to get home safely, and if the guy tried to get near me I would knock him out with one of my clarinet cases.

The man got back in his car and drove closer to me because I was further away from him. At this point I was one block away from home. I turned my phone back on and called my mom again. I told her I was almost home, but since I was carrying so much I was walking slower than normal. I told her she could start getting ready to go so that when I got home we could leave for physical therapy right away. My phone died again while I was talking to her. Again, I didn’t tell her I was being followed, but I believe I was crying at the time. I think I tried to hide it from her, but she may have picked up on the fact that something was wrong. I never did ask her if she could tell something was wrong.

For the last block I had to walk, I had to turn the corner. The man following me pulled his car off to the corner and stepped out of his car again. When he did that, I was very certain he was going to follow me on foot from there. I walked as fast as I could, which was not very fast with all the stuff I had. I kept looking behind me expecting to see him there, but he wasn’t. I still remember the exact feeling of relief I had when I stepped in the back door to my house and locked it behind me. I dropped all my stuff in the kitchen and went into the living room where my mom was sitting. I sat down on the couch in a state of shock. My mom knew something was wrong right away. The second she asked me I started uncontrollably sobbing. I eventually calmed down, and we called the police to report it, but I was in a state of shock for at least a couple weeks. The police never caught the guy. I never again walked home from school alone. I’m so unbelievably relieved that nothing serious happened to me, but this experience has definitely changed me. I’m always on guard, and I continue to look behind me when I walk anywhere.

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3 thoughts on “Everything Changed that Afternoon

  1. Very horrifying story. One of the most terrifying things to me is being followed or the feeling that someone is behind you. It is interesting how sometimes you feel someone looking at you and don’t even realize you turned around until you do it. I wonder how people reacted when they didn’t have cell phones or the ability to call 911 in the palm of their hand. This story is definitely scarier because your phone kept shutting off and there was no easy way to get away from the man. Glad you are safe!

  2. It’s weird there are so many creepy stories about stalker after school. Its strange because it is broad daylight, yet these stories still happen. Being followed is one of the most frightening things, and it is kind of interesting how innate we are to sense the feeling of being followed. We are like programmed to be paranoid about others.

  3. This is the kind of horror that really gives me chills and makes me unsettled. Nothing else has the power to do so quite as much as the idea of real stalkers, particularly those preying on children or young women. The threat is all too real, something that we read about in the news daily, experience walking down the street, and watch in movies. It is truly an inescapable persistent threat that is difficult to understand unless you ahve experienced it. I can remember so many times, growing up in New York City, in which i was nearly running down the street for fear of a strange man and eyes around me. It’s sad i think.

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