As I walked along the fence-line of the pasture, I glanced across the dark field and realized with a jolt that there was a person on the other side of the pasture.
It was the middle of the night out in the middle of nowhere- Four Forks, Texas. I had snuck out to an older kids house to hang out and smoke cigarettes and was now navigating the back pasture in between the woods and a neighbors’ property on the walk home, when I noticed the shadowy figure. A million thoughts ran through my head after I had dropped to the ground- wondering if I had been spotted.
Who could it be? What were they doing out in the woods in the middle of the night? After a bit, I cautiously poked my head up and- gasp!- there was nobody there. Had I really seen someone? If so, where did they go? Before I could even begin to calculate all the possibilities of this development- gasp!- the person poked his head up.
We all have subconscious parts of our brain that observe things like distance, speed, trajectory, direction and so on that constantly observes, calculates, and adjusts. These are calculations made in milliseconds. It is how we are able to perform highly- skilled motor functions like sports, riding a bicycle and driving a vehicle. That part of my brain told me that where this head had poked up wasn’t right- that either there was another previously unseen person or persons- or this person had scooted along the ground at an unnatural scooting speed.
Before that millisecond was over, I had calculated that I didn’t like either prospect and had already sprang to my feet and ran as fast as Bondo was capable of at that time. After some of the adrenaline/terror jolt began to wear off, I cautiously looked back over my shoulder. The person was now upright again, in the middle of the pasture and trotting towards me. This development enabled another adrenaline/terror jolt to push me to previously unknown speeds.
As I approached the barbed-wire fence separating the pasture and the neighbors’ property- I briefly considered leaping over it and felt as if I could. But having had a bad experience previously with that feat, I deftly spread two strands and quickly leaped through, as any country boy who has ever fled a bull or goat is able to do.
Straightening up on the other side, I stole a quick glance, and was heartened to see my mad dash had increased the distance between us. I squinted and tried to see who, what this was. It was so dark, all I could see was a silhouette- not unlike a warrior in Braveheart- plodding steadily towards me!
There was no longer any doubt this thing was after me as I hit a panicked sprint once again. I didn’t stop until I had completed the long run through a twenty-acre pasture, another fence, a five-year acre yard/field before finally reaching my road. I stopped, lungs burning and side throbbing and scanned the shadowy dark landscape. No sign of my pursuer.
After a fright, often times there is a let down reaction that causes the person to become aggravated or angry with the cause of the fright. Not seeing my follower anymore brought a temporary cockiness. I walked deliberately down the road now, scowling as I continued scanning around.
My bravado was temporary, for as I searched the darkness, I realized that I couldn’t see the back fence-line- meaning my follower could not only be paralleling me- but could in fact, since I was now casually strolling- be already ahead of me and ready to spring out on the road ahead of me!
Sprinting again, I didn’t stop until I was at my driveway. I looked around once more, before going in and posting up by the hall window.
As I sat there watching, I began to remember little things. Neighbors with missing chickens, an unoccupied work shed mysteriously burning down. I remembered my little brother woke us up one time claiming there was a ‘black man throwing gravel’ at his window.
And then, I saw the figure walking down the road in front of our property! Ducking down as far as I could while still being able to see him, I was relieved as I watched him continue down the road. Then, the relief turned to horror as he stopped in front of our neighbors house and then began walking up their driveway towards their house.
As I watched, I frantically considered what I should do. Before I could decide, he stopped, turned around, and walked back to and on down the road.
I stared down the road for what seemed like hours, before waking, slumped up against the wall under the window. I peered around everywhere frantically. Nothing.
It was a long time until I was able to sleep the whole night again. I wasted a lot of time staring out that hall window at night.
And I never went through that pasture again.