Day 5- addendum: the Creeper

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. 

Memories of a Road Trip

Trip Checklistroad trip2

  • Take car to mechanic
  • Snacks
  • Clothes
  • Extra copies of Troubled Spirits
  • Kindle
  • Books
  • Papers for Work
  • Toiletries
  • Dog food
  • Disposable urine bag

Today’s the day. My car is in tip-top shape and everything on my list is tucked away. I’m ready to begin my trek to the Carolinas!

Are you wondering about that last item? Well, there’s a story behind that…

I like to drive at night. Thanks to years of working the night shift, staying awake isn’t a problem. But boredom is. And when I get bored, I drink lots of water.

On my last trip to the Carolinas I left at 11 PM determined to make it across the George Washington Bridge before 5 AM. The roads were clear and I was on track to meet my goal, and then….I missed an exit.

By the time I got back on course, my timeline was in jeopardy.

Which is why I sailed past the next rest area, ignoring the gentle nudge from my bladder.

By the time I was inching my way across the George Washington Bridge, my bladder was ranting.

photo credit: Justin Kearns
photo credit: Justin Kearns

And when I reached the other side of the Hudson River, my bladder was in tantrum mode.

Desperate to appease my ballistic bladder, I searched for a restaurant, gas station–anything.  I found nothing.

And then I spotted it!  A tiny store on a little road running parallel to 95. I was saved! I steered onto the exit and onto a ONE WAY ROAD going the opposite direction from the little store.

“Don’t panic,” I told myself.  Waves of heat rolled through my body. Beads of sweat covered my forehead. My bladder forced me to keep going.

I tried to ignore the fact that I hadn’t seen one business–not one.  I saw a sign that said ‘Central Park Avenue’ (or something to that effect). I couldn’t tell  for sure, because I was so distracted by the demands of my bladder that I could barely focus. A little voice inside my head whispered, “You shouldn’t be here.”

Dilapidated buildings filled the streets before me and common sense over-rode my bladder.

I turned the car around.

My bladder screamed.

I pulled over. No one was in sight.

My eyes fell on the object responsible for my distressed bladder–the insulated water cup…


FullSizeRender

As I embark on this journey I endeavor to drink sparingly and listen closely to my bladder so that I will not be forced to use the last item on my list (even though it was gifted to me by the truest of friends).

photo credit: Garrick Ridlon