TheySayImZack Thread

This is a tough one for me, because I'm 39 years old and I should have gotten passed this by now, but it still creeps me out.

When I was young, eight or nine, I had a good small circle of good friends, but in the evening after dinner, you didn't go to your friend's houses to hang out. You stayed home, and you played in your yard or whatever.

It was 1984, and it was the summer. A nice evening, and pleasant as far as Long Island summer evenings get. It was about 7, fully light. My parents were out at a late evening MD appointment, so my grandparents (who lived with us) were minding me for the evening. I was an avid bike rider, and I rode my bike everywhere. It was my favorite toy. My grandparents let me take my bike down our lightly traveled road, and come back. Repeat. That was fun for me.

I decided to mix it up a little and take this little well-traveled path that led from my road to the parking lot of a large church. From there, I would go through the parking lot, hit the main drag for 100 yards, and then turn into my road. A nice little "circle" if you will.

This night I did just that, spending a few minutes practicing my balance and tight turns in the large expanse of the empty church parking lot. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a man in the distance coming into the parking lot from one of the two parking lot exits. He's older - at the time I guessed that he was in his 50s. He had gray/white hair. He was tall, enough so that I thought (stupidly) that it was my Dad for a second. I biked toward the man, and realizing it wasn't my Dad (obviously) or anyone I knew, I casually turned around.

At this point, even at 9 years old I sensed something. Something was wrong. It happened very quickly - my perception, I mean. Within an instant, this man was now chasing me and he was very angry/evil looking. For his age, he seemed to be running at quite a clip. On my bike, I was able to put modest distance between him and myself - he was gaining ground while I started out, but once I was up to speed I could outrun him with modest effort. Had I been on foot, I don't know what would have happened. It was one of those situations where your legs feel like they can't work properly---like "dream running".

Before I exited the parking lot and gotten to the main road that I mentioned earlier, I considered ditching the bike and banging on the church's Registry door. I was always told that all the Priests are usually there, but it was desolate. So, with the guy still running, I said forget it and I kept biking. Got to the main road, made the left onto it, and then the left onto my road.

At this point, I was making another decision as I saw the man running trying to cut me off by jumping the fence that was located adjacent to the church property and my road. I had a good friend who lived at the first house on my block. I was making a decision whether or not to ditch my bike, and run to their door for help. Seeing no cars in the driveway, which was uncommon for them, I decided against stopping and kicked it into overdrive and peddled my ass off the 1/4 mile more I needed to go to get to my own home. As I peddled away, I looked to my left toward the chain-link fence and flipped the guy the bird, who was about 20 feet from the fence on his side of it. At the time, that seemed to make the most sense to do.

I got home, visibly shaken and disturbed. I told my grandparents, and I believe they told my parents and my Dad went out looking for the guy, but in retrospect, that single incident creeped me out quite a bit for some years after, and even mildly as an adult. It actually held me back to a certain extent; there was a period of a few years after this where I didn't want to ride my bike there anymore. It took another year after that where I gained the courage to get a paper route and deliver papers that included a route through the church parking lot and to the surrounding road to where I surmised the man lived. That's just a guess though.

As I sit here retyping the story as it happened I feel myself getting anxious. Obviously, this story still creeps me out.

I suppose someone should have called the cops that day. It didn't happen. I never saw the man again. I do firmly believe that the choices I made that evening at 9 years old enables me to sit here today and type this. I believe that something very bad was going to happen to me that evening had I been caught by this man. Whenever I do think of this story, I give myself a little pat on the back that I made some solid instinctive decisions that night which potentially saved my life.

edit: spelling, but I'm sure there's more I didn't see.

tldr: biked away from a potential kidnapper who chased me in a deserted church parking lot