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My eyes fly open and I lay still, listening. 

Crunch. Crunch. The distinct sound of footsteps approach. 

A million thoughts race through my head…the gate’s locked. No one is camping near me. I am completely alone.  The bathroom is in the other direction. The couple in their camper won’t hear me scream…

The steps draw closer and Rocky growls. 

A light  shines  into my tent. 

“Hello,” I call. “What do you need?” 

Inside my intestines clench.

The light goes out. 

Rocky barks frantically.

The footsteps continue–Hard soled, landing heavily in the dry dry earth. 

I grope in the darkness for my light and turn it on.

The foot steps are alongside my tent.

I grip my tazer in one hand and knife in the other. For the first time ever, I wish I had a gun. 

My heart pounds so hard  that it drowns out the footsteps

I don’t breathe. I don’t  move. 

The footsteps move away and down into the wash that runs alongside my campsite. 

I set the tazer on my lap and pick up my phone. Should I dial 911? I look at the screen…No Service. 

Silence.

Minutes pass.

Silence. 

Half hour passes. 

I unzip my tent and shine my light around my site. 

Empty. 

I lay down. 

The footsteps move out of the wash and back toward my tent. 

I stop breathing. 

I pray.

The steps move away. 

I grip the knife handle. I’m on the ground. I’ll go for the femoral artery. No bones to protect it. 

Silence.

An hour. 

Silence.

Two hours.

I lay down, still clutching the knife.   

2:50 in the morning. I hear the snorting of a wild pig.

3:15–I smell a skunk. 

4:50 — Digging and snuffling near one of the trash cans 

6:00 — daylight

Lesson…I will never again choose the isolated campsite. 

FYI:  NOT kidding.