I am sure most of you who are listening to my story won’t believe a word of it. I wish I could be like you, or at least be the way I used to be. Unaware, ignorant, sceptical... wondering. But, after what happened to me, I will never ever see things the same way again; I don’t think I can ever be alone again. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to leave this place.
I had been visiting a friend of mine. We spent the night eating pizza’s, talking about our crushes, playing on social media on our phones and enjoying a night in. Our town is small and near the seaside and my friend lives a little way out of the city, where there is more nature and winding roads that go on for kilometres with big plots of land and trees bordering the streets. Animals like to run out and cross the road at any given time. Meercat, monkey’s baboons… small buck. It’s a wild country here.
It all starts around 11 pm. I’m tired and ready to go home. It’s dark, and the road is lit up by the glow of the full moon and my headlights. I’m playing this song …. (insider song). I looked down at my radio for a split second to turn it up, and when I looked up again, there is a creature standing half in half out of my lane. Not small like a meerkat or mongoose, but it looks more like a big monkey, possibly a baboon, with long dangly arms and crooked, bent legs. I get closer and realise it’s not going to move; it all happened so fast. I slam on breaks, and my car skids off the side of the road into a nearby bush. As I am skidding, I hear and feel a thud beneath my car; I’ve hit it, I know I’ve hit it. Sound Q 1: Screeching car breaks (crash)
My head hits the steering wheel for a brief moment. My eyes are closed, and through my eyelids, I see a yellow glow flashing, light to dark, light to dark. It’s my car’s hazards, the amber light flickering. Lighting up the bushes in front of me with each beat. From darkness to amber. Darkness to amber. It takes a few seconds to realise where I am, and I look in the review mirror. There is blood trickling down my face. It was a hard knock. The amber lights still flickering on and off, lighting up the grass patch behind my car; while still looking through the review mirror, I can see how deeply I was in the bushes and off the main road. And there is was a mound or heap of a body lying just off the road behind me. “I hit the bloody baboon,” I think to myself.
I touch my temple and wince at the pain. I try to find my phone to call home, but my phone’s dead. “Shit.” I shouldn’t have been wasting my time on Instagram judging everyone’s lives. The thought rushes past my mind, followed by my mom’s “never leave home with a dead phone, what’s the point’ “Shit”. I’m sitting, my eyes closed and trying to get in some deep breathes to decide my next move. The amber light still flickering on and off … on and off. I can see the shadow light up behind my eyelids.
I jump, my heart racing now, even faster than before. What was that! It must be a branch or something that has fallen on my roof from the impact. I think, trying to calm myself.
Again, I jump. The impact sounds like it is coming from on top of my car. “Another branch”. I tell myself. Or monkeys coming to investigate. I look up at the review mirror, my breathing so heavy now. “What the?” The heap, the body of the creature, is no longer there. I turn around in the car quickly to check through the back window to get a better look. The heap is gone.
Again, but this time from in front of the car. Slowly turning my head, the amber light flickering on and off on and off. I am frozen; starting my car isn’t a possibility for me. I was still in shock from the accident, and everything I have mentioned so far happened so quickly.
Immediately I turn my head; looking forward, I make eye contact with two eyes peering over the top of my car bonnet. Peeking over the hood. Each amber flash lit up its face, and I realise this isn’t a monkey or baboon, it’s a man, a man, and when the amber light goes off, for those split seconds his eyes, the whites of his eyes stay fixed on mine. I freeze. It must have been seconds, but it felt like an eternity. We don’t take our eyes off one another, and slowly with each amber flicker, his face changes. A creepy smile begins to grow on his face… I can’t see below his nose, but I can see the corner of his lips peel up.
Shit! I whisper without moving my lips. The only thing that makes sense is that this man was injured; he crawled to my car and around it and is now looking at me for help. But I feel ill; I know that everything is wrong at this moment. His eyes fixed on mine as he starts to crouch up and over the bonnet, closer towards me. Strangely, it looks as if only his head is moving toward me and his body staying where it is. He moves closer with each flicker of amber light… His smile, his fuckin creepy smile growing bigger and bigger, and his eyes sparkling as he moves closer to the window. I scurry for the keys that are still in the ignition, I try to turn, but nothing happens. The engine doesn’t even make a sound. It’s dead.
I start crying; my tears are streaming down my face, uncontrollable; I’m not even sobbing; they are just running. The man’s face is coming closer to me; his eyes are sparkling with excitement. I’m shaking, my hands wrapped around the keys; I try to start my car. Nothing. The amber lights flickering on and off, on and off. This man, in unison with the flickering, starts to tilt his head from side to side, still looking at me, like a dog listening to its owner. What happens next? I wasn’t expecting, let alone to come out of me. I scream, a noise so wild and filled with fear, it doesn’t even sound like it is coming from me. The strange figured man shoulders drop, his smile turns into a frown, and his eyes grow cold and weary. He looks like a child in a playground whose friends have just told him they don’t want to play with him anymore. Is stop screaming. They won’t come out anymore. My heart thumping in my head, the amber lights flickering on and off and on and off. I can’t move. I’m frozen. My hands shaking as I try to turn the keys again.
Then the man slowly moves away from the bonnet of my car; he moves like a stretchy piece of dough slowly back into place. His eyes lookout, and, at that moment, I muster up enough courage to try one more time to start my car. It’s either car starts, or I make a run for it.
My hands still covering the key, I tearfully try one last time to turn the ignition. The man stops moving and turns back to look at me. His smile is back, and his eyes lit up with a crazy fierce look of excitement. “Please, please stop” the words come out my mouth. There is a moment of absolute stillness. As if someone pressed pause, but just for a moment. And then, with his smile and wild eyes, he lifts his entire body up onto my bonnet and pulls himself right up against the window.
He still wants to play; he is not done with me. All my senses are telling me to run, but I am frozen. Like in a dream, when you need to run or scream, and you can’t. His eyes, yellow and his body crooked and soft, pressing up against the window. He lifts his finger and starts tracing something on the window… in blood. My eyes following his finger … my, my eyes, my nose… my mouth. He is tracing my face… he is tracing my face! But, he draws my mouth…. smiling. But I’m not smiling. I have one last moment of sanity and realise that if he is bleeding, he is injured, and I can hopefully outrun him.
My eyes are locked to his, my breathing heavy and body trembling; I fumble for the lock. His watery eyes and crooked smile stay fixed to mine. His head tilting from one side to the other in unison with the hazard lights flickering on and off and off.
My hand is on the door handle, and I count to myself 1….2, but before I can get to three, he pushes his head hard against the window in front of me. BANG!
I scream and push open the car handle, jump out, and run; I am running so hard. My chest is burning, the tarmac is hard underneath my slippers, and the moonlight keeps the road lit.
I don’t look back, I feel like he is right on my heels, but I can see the amber glow flickering on and off behind me.
My natural fear of the baboons and monkeys disappear; all I can do is run as fast as possible through the hilly road with bushes and trees surrounding me. At the same time, I make my way toward the faint glow of the city lights. If I can just make it to the top of the hill, there is a “Bush bar”, I’ll be alright. I need to get there to people. I still don’t look back; I can’t stumble or slow down even for a moment; I am sure he will grab me with his weird rubbery arms.
Finally, I hear the murmur and buzz of the bar, my throat on fire, my breathing heavy, I’m trying to speak to the first people I see, but I can’t seem to catch my breath. I keep moving, stumbling over tables, pushing past chairs and finally at the bar. Everyone’s eyes on me, everyone looking at me confused; I realise it must be the blood. I grab a jug of water and gulp it down, still trying to breathe. Looking behind me in case he followed me inside. I manage to tell the barman everything that has happened to me, and he calls the police, who rock up about 30 minutes later. I tell them my story too. “Okay, ma’am, let’s go find your car.” I hesitate; I don’t know if I want to go back. But I’m stronger now and feel so much safer with two armed policemen. So, we drive back down the road to my car. I’ve explained the hazards, the blood on the windscreen and how far my car went into the bushes. The police slow down as we approach a vehicle parked neatly on the side of the road. “Someone must have stopped to look,” I say to the policemen. As we pull up, I realise that it is my car. Perfectly parked on the shoulder of the road, hazards off, no sign of the dead animal, or bloody smiley face or any sign that I was in an accident.
They look back at me and continue to search through the bushes … shining the light on me ever so often. I’m confused. I don’t understand. “He must have cleaned everything up, moved my car,” I say to the policemen.
“Have you been drinking, ma’am?” They start asking me all sorts of questions, including where my car keys are.“I left them in the car; that’s how the guy moved my car ….” The officer tries to open the door, but it is locked. “But I didn’t lock it… I ran for my life; I didn’t have time to lock my car.” They don’t believe me. Frantically I start blabbering and touching my pockets to prove to them. I hear a jingle; I pull out my car keys. How do I have my car keys?
I look down at my hands; they are trembling. “I know what I saw, officer, there was a man, I hit him, I damaged my car, it wouldn’t start, there was blood, and he drew a face, my face in blood on the window. “
The officer takes the keys from me, gets into my car and starts it up. Both looking at me, annoyed. “Your car has not been in an accident. There is no sign of trouble or a flat tyre, and no one has been around these parts; we don’t see any evidence of this tall, dark figure either. Now I think you should get in your car and head on home.”
“But.” I try to get a word in, and the police officer puts me in my car. He closes my door. I start to drive. The lights from the police car behind me flickering blue light on and off on and off. I’m still shaken up but so happy to be alive and finally on my way home. After a while, after passing the bush bar, the police turn off and go down another road. The same song as earlier comes on, and I turn it up to drown out the evening events. Everything seems like a bad dream now. Maybe I was wrong, maybe nothing happened, perhaps I am just tired. I take in a deep breath, and my body starts relaxing. I touch my head and wince again. I take my hand away, and there is blood on my fingers; I did bump my head.
I look up in the review mirror to see my wound, and I see him looking back at me with his crooked smile and crazy eyes. It’s him. The only difference is his smile looks brighter and more excited than before … his grin slowly moving closer to me in the review mirror.
He hasn’t finished playing with me yet, the red lights flickering on and off on and off.