It STILL Freaks Me Out!

The house I lived in from the time I was 6 months old until the time I was 14 was a perfectly normal suburban Atlanta house. In fact, one of the few things that made the house unique was the driveway: the house sat at the bottom of a sloping hill, and the driveway was fairly long by suburban standards. There were also gaslights next to the driveway: one at the top of the hill, by the road; one about halfway down the driveway, at a small bridge that crossed a creek; and one more close to the house at the edge of the carport.

(click to enlarge)

Here’s a crappy Google Maps picture of the house. The top of the driveway is to the right. The two large trees on either side of the driveway (in the center of the picture) are about where the bridge is, and the house itself is lost behind vegetation. The gaslight at the top of the driveway is gone now, but you can see the black pole still sticking out of the ground where it once was.

One night, in late September or early October, between 8:30 and 8:45, my mom asked me to take out the trash. There were two bags, and since I was a little kid barely taller than the trash bags, I decided to make two trips.

Of course, since it was around October, it was completely dark outside. Aside from light leaking out from the sliding glass door by the kitchen, and a streetlight at the back of the property (put there, I assume, so that Georgia Power could find the transformer), there was no light at all.

I walked towards the trash cans and just happened to look over at the second gaslight, the one by the bridge. And there I saw a man leaning against the bridge. He was wearing ratty jeans and an old army coat that still had service patches on the sleeves. He had dark blonde hair, which was styled in a kind of “mini-mullet”, more of a “I haven’t been to the barber in months” haircut than a conscious style decision. He also had a bushy mustache a few shades darker than his hair. He wasn’t very tall, and was very skinny. He looked to be in his early to mid 20s. I just stood there and stared for a second, opening and closing my eyes to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. I even saw that he was smoking a cigarette, which was in his left hand. I saw him lift it to his mouth and take a drag, and the tip of the cigarette grew brighter as he puffed on it.

Like this guy, only without the sideburns and a shorter mullet. And scary.

I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do! I quickly walked to the trash cans, which were made of metal, and in a cart, like this:


I put the first bag of trash in the can, then slammed the lid down as hard as I could. It made quite a sound, which I hoped would make the man run away. I ran back to the house as fast as I could, and didn’t dare look in the man’s direction. As soon as I got inside the door, I started shouting:

“Mom! Mom! There’s a man outside! He’s by the bridge and he has long hair and he’s SMOKING A CIGARETTE! Mom! Mom! Mom!”

Mom, of course, wasn’t buying it. She said that there was nobody out there, that I was just imagining things, that I wasn’t getting out of taking the trash out and if I made something like that up again I’d get a spanking! I was explicitly ordered to take out the other bag of trash.

I cautiously crept along the side of the house, ninja style, with the second bag of trash. But finally, I ran out of cover and had to go out in the open. I took a few steps and looked towards the bridge… and there was nobody there! I exhaled in relief and smiled, wondering how I could be so silly. With a giant weight lifted off my shoulders, I walked to the trash cans and dumped the second bag of trash.

I turned to walk back, and took two or three steps back towards the house. But just then a strong gust of wind started up. It was then that I heard the sound:


There was a storage shed about 20 feet behind the trash cans. Someone had tried to break in to it a year or so before, while we were away on vacation. I guess they tried to pry the door open with a crowbar, because their efforts warped the door, and from that day on it wouldn’t close all the way. My mom came up with the idea of putting a cinder block in front of the door… to keep it from flying open in the wind. Like the wind we were having at just that moment. And now…


The storage shed door had blown open, and was banging against the side of the shed! Oh no, I didn’t dare turn around to make sure, but was very familiar with the sound. After all, sometimes we’d need to get something or the other out of the shed, and wind would come along and…


I ran back to the house as quickly as my little legs could carry me. I told mom about it, but again she didn’t believe me. I ran upstairs and locked myself in my room. I remember trying to calm myself down, thinking that the guy was just cold and needed a place to stay. Eventually, I worried myself to sleep.

The next morning, I got up and dressed for school. Instead of taking the garage door as usual, I took the sliding glass door instead, and headed towards the bus stop. The shed door was closed, and the cinder block was propped up against the door, exactly as it should have been.


EPILOGUE: I want to say that I kept on talking about the incident for several days afterwards, and, in a bid to shut me up once and for all, my mom went to the shed a few days later. But instead of finding everything as it should be, she found some moving blankets piled across the back of the shed, as if someone had tried to make a pallet out of them. I even want to say that she found an empty soda bottle and a couple cigarette butts on the floor. But, unlike the main story – which I assure you, actually happened – I can’t say for sure whether the follow-up actually happened, or if I just imagined the whole thing.

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