Cliche Horror (creative nonfiction)

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He must have seen me in the crowd after the hockey game, but by being fixated on the players that were making their exits and signing autographs for kids, I hadn’t noticed him. Distracted, I missed anyone taking a special interest in me. Being alone, I certainly didn’t do anything to draw attention to myself. Completely amused by a group of grown men geeking out like teenaged girls, giggling and bouncing around while taking turns getting their pictures taken with the visiting team captain, I wasn’t on guard.

I left the arena late. I was that lone woman walking toward her car in an empty parking garage that sent a chill up my spine. Looking over my shoulder, my steps echoed against the concrete. Nothing was there, except the fluorescent lights overhead. Only a few steps to the sanctuary of my car, parked near the elevators, I quicken my pace. But, if horror flicks have proven anything over the years, it’s that the inside of a car provides only the illusion of safety. Once inside, just to quiet my inner paranoia, I glanced into the backseat. All clear. My relief brought with it a sigh and, then, a nervous giggle. Since when was I so high strung? I chalked it up to my imagination. That was a classic bad horror movie mistake. So, I started the car and drove up the spiral center ramp of the arena garage and washed it all out of my mind in seconds. Another misstep.

Ten seconds later, two levels up, and just inside my peripheral vision, I saw the figure of a guy coming toward me. White t-shirt. Red shorts. I had plenty of time to make it by him. The fact that he was out there registered, but I didn’t really focus on it. But, then he sped up. He practically jumped out in front of my car. I slammed on my brakes. He threw his hands onto the hood and the crash sent a jolt straight to the core of my bones. Our eyes met. I knew I hadn’t hit him, but just barely. The look on his face was blank, but I got the feeling he wanted to talk.

He looked like he recognized me. He looked down at me and started to make his way from the front of my car to the driver’s side window, holding my gaze.  With his motive unknown, in the few precious moments I had left before he reached my door, my mind went into fight or flight overdrive. But, something different about this encounter stood out. I wanted to roll down the window and ask him if he was alright. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. But what about the bad horror movies?

Now, face-to-face with possibly a deranged, kamikaze stranger in a deserted parking garage, I felt trapped.

I held his gaze, watching for the second his body stepped past the hood of my car. The moment he did, I gunned the throttle. The car whisked by him and up the next concrete ramp. I clipped his wrist with my driver’s side mirror. As I reached the top of the ramp, I glanced into my rear-view mirror expecting him to be gone because everything about this was creepy. To my surprise, he was standing at the bottom of the ramp with his hands thrown up into the air. I stopped, again. I still wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Yet, I couldn’t risk an open confrontation and drove off. I wasn’t about to die in some sort of awful parking garage horror flick cliché. Perhaps, I overreacted. If it hadn’t been his intention to frighten me, he realized a moment too late. It all went wrong. I escaped and no one followed me out of the garage.

I can’t remember the face of the man who jumped out in front of me that night. But, driving home, I thought that, perhaps, the man was actually a stranded fan. Chances are his car battery just needed a jump. Under the examination of that possibility, I suddenly felt ridiculous for my hysterical reaction.

But, then, again, maybe that was the set-up. Cliché horror movie murder averted.

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Published by

Jenn Whittaker

I am an author dedicated to fiction, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, and reviews.

9 thoughts on “Cliche Horror (creative nonfiction)”

  1. Tough call. The MC (you?) probably did the right thing. Maybe call the cops on yourself? I once had a fairly amazing solo bike crash where my bike wound up on a parked car’s hood. I didn’t know what to do so I left. I still feel bad 25 years later. I know I scratched up that car, but I was afraid I’d be blamed for every ding in the finish.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this a few days ago and it has stuck with me since then. Being a woman is more challenging than most men can understand, right!? I really like your writing. It’s so well crafted, well timed, and you write with such vivid imagery. I was especially impressed by how you kept the tension going by hinting at what was coming next at the end of each paragraph. I was on the edge of my seat! I can’t wait to read more of your writing. I belong to this writer’s community which has been life-changing for me and I thought I’d just give you a heads up about it, in case you are looking to hang out with some other supportive bloggers who write. It’s called Yeah Write (www.yeahwrite.me) and they have all kinds of cool things going on, most notably a FREE weekly writing challenge (competition) for nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. It’s such a friendly and welcoming group filled with excellent writers who gently comment on one another’s work. Anyway, I sound like a commercial. LOL. Like I said, I’ll be eager to read more of your writing. For now, Happy Holidays! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Holidays to you, too. Thank you for taking so much time to analyze each part of my story. And thank you for giving me a heads up about the writing community. I look forward to checking out that community of writers because I am looking for a support system.

      Like

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