This is a true story that happened several years back when I was 13. This was a time when I was growing up in New York. We actually had a summer house on Cape Cod, and spent every other weekend there. If we could. Cape Cod is a peninsula off the East Coast of Massachusetts. It becomes very busy, even crowded, during summertime.
But during the winter season, it becomes empty. The majority of houses in our area are owned as summer houses. So during winter, the houses are still there, but the people are not there. In contrast to New York, there are only street lamps on the single main road in this town. The main road goes from the town center to the beach.
Aside from this road, all the others are dark and very black at night. Also, Cape Cod extends out into the Atlantic from the mainland, forming a bay, Cape Cod Bay. Not only can one watch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, but can watch the sunset over Cape Cod Bay on any given clear day.
Another effect of being surrounded by ocean is that there is very little man-made light at night. The stars are so clear, that the milky way is clearly visible spanning across the sky on clear nights.
This story happened during the vacation period between Christmas and the new year. The Christmas celebrations were finished. There was plenty of leftover turkey and pumpkin pie. We got a bit of cabin fever with all the Christmas food and family on one evening.
My older sister who is 7 years older than I, 20 at the time, came up with an idea to take a walk to the harbor, which was about a 20 minute walk from our house. The harbor can be fun because we can walk out on the docks and walk among the boats. While I was a bit creeped out to walk around a deserted beach town on a cold winter night, I also thought it would be fun to get out of the house and maybe even be exciting.
We headed out. Across the street from our classic cape cod cottage, is a field with a forest at the other end. At night time, I would also have a little fear that there could be a psycho watching from the tall grass.
Perhaps he would have an ax. But while it kept my nerves wary, I knew it was my imagination. But still, icy wind blowing on tall grass is a perfect setting for some horrors. Add to this a moonless sky with a million sparkling stars and the milky way above, and the horror setting is at level Stephen King.
We walked out to the main road, went a bit down the road and then turned to walk down a side street that leads to the street that dips downhill toward the harbor. This side street runs along the backside of a long hotel. It's more like a two level motel, painted light yellow, that has a pool. It is well situated in town, so can be full of life during summer.
On this December eve, the hotel was closed for the season, completely dark and several windows are covered with plywood for protection. My sister mentioned that a hotel that spans an entire block, but is partially boarded reminds her of a horror movie.
Like one of those slasher films where the characters make all the wrong decisions and walks into the worst of dark places, just to find their worst nightmare come true.
At the end of the street with the hotel, we continued to the left, which is a long road downhill through the woods to the harbor. This isn't a pure forest, because there are houses set back from the road, with an occasional driveway. Many of the driveways have reflectors, on a rock, a fence or just standing on a metal stick.
These reflectors reflect back the headlights from cars. I mention this because, we could not see any of them or anything. It was pitch black in the wooded area, and the road seemed to continue into the black. Come to think of it, we had not seen a single car or a single person or a single sign of life since we left our house. my nerves were on edge.
I was only 13 at the time, and although my nerves were screaming I tried to stay calm, because I wanted to seem tough to my sister. The woods along side the road were particularly nerve-racking. The trees come right up to the asphalt on each side of the road. They provide many opportunities to hide someone or something.
The houses beyond the woods were dark, because rarely did vacationers come here in winter. I started to notice that my sister was also starting to lose her nerves. And that's when I felt it. I felt a flush of energy move up the back of my neck.
It makes it feel like the hairs are sticking out on end. This is a feeling I get when I am being watched. It's hard to describe this feeling, but I still get it today, sometimes when someone is looking at me from behind. It's either some kind of sixth sense, or it's just my imagination working with some intuition.
We were now midway into the wooded area, down the hill towards the harbor. I was starting to lose my shit, and was just about to stop pretending not to be freaking out and tell my sister, let's go back, when she suggested it.
She said, 'It is late, maybe we don't have to go all the way to the harbor?' I replied back, 'ja, plus it's kinda creepy and dark down there.' The back of my neck was shivering, and I felt my body shutter as it wrestled between acting relaxed and flipping the switch to fight or flight mode. My sister replied, 'ja, very creepy, come on, let's go back to the house, we can see the harbor tomorrow.'
We turned around, and she grabbed my hand and we started walking fast back up the hill. I remember that she held my hand so tight, it hurt. And my sister never holds my hand, I can't think of another time she did this. And this is were the story takes a deep dive down the rabbit hole.
As we got towards the end of the wooded are, my sister screamed out 'I've got a knife and I'm not afraid to use it.' And she did not lose any rhythm of her fast walk while saying this, we crossed a street now, and headed onto the street with the backside of the closed two level motel.
My sister continues speed walking and looks back. She let out a little panic noise and looked back again. She then commanded me 'don't look back.' I was utterly freaking out at this point. Aside from the eerie vibe of the dark empty street and my own inner panic, I had not actually seen anything out of the ordinary ...with the exception of my sisters completely insane behavior. Then she said, 'when I say run, you run, ok?.
We were almost at the main road, a block from our street, and she said 'RUN!' We booked it. She let go of my hand and both broke into the best sprint we could do. I could hear our foot steps banging the asphalt, and could also hear several other steps banging in the distance.
We cut around the grass area to a shortcut toward our street and ran through the front yards of our neighbors house to make a bee-line for the front door of our house.
We made it. We both ran in and locked the storm door, which is mostly glass. I was panicking, but not sure if there was anything or if we were just going crazy. It was a strange transition from outside, which was terrifying to inside the warm lit house which seemed safe.
I was questioning what happened in my mind. I could sense that my sister was also questioning herself whether there even was a threat or we both just lost our minds out there. I asked my sister what she saw, and she said there was a man that was standing at the edge of one of the driveways.
We walked right by him on the way back. She said that when we were behind the hotel, he crossed the street and was following us. She said he was looking right at us and although we were walking very fast, he was gaining on us. She explained that it doesn't make sense that a man would be standing out there in that dark wooded area.
Honestly, I really don't understand what happened that night. I am not sure how much of what my sister said is true, if she was seeing things or not. One thing for sure, I realized that I prefer walking to that harbor during daylight.