Monday, October 24, 2011

Jail Bait

One day after school, my neighbor ventured across the pastures to play. Like so many other times, we watched tv, tossed the frisbee around for our dog Sam, climbed the wooden walls to the hay storage areas in the barn—very dangerous—and ventured behind the pond to see what we could discover in the run-off.

We jumped into piles of hay from heights that could break something if we hadn’t landed just right. We collected tadpoles from the stream and laughed as they wriggled in our hands.

We were kids, and fun was the only thing that mattered.

As the sun was setting and the tall grasses radiated with a golden hue, it was time for my friend to go home. Mom and Dad would return from work soon, which meant dinner and whatever else they had planned. Probably bathing and bedtime.

My friend and I ducked between the barbed wire fence and exchanged confused looks when her dogs started barking hysterically.

“Don’t they know it’s just us?” I asked ready to bolt for my house. No way was I getting bit by a dog.

She called out for the mangy mutts to shut up, but they continued on as if they didn’t even know we were coming.

Gripping the cold metal wire, I held the fence open enough for my friend to slip through, but we both stopped dead in our tracks.

Living in a trailer without plywood secured to the bottom of it, like ours, gave my friend and I a vantage point neither of us could have imagined. Someone jumped from her back deck, clad in black boots and dark-blue pants, and took off running, jingling all the while.

“Who?”

She looked at me, eyes-wide with panic. “No one’s home but me.”

“Run!” I screamed, trembling while holding the fence open for her to come back through.

We locked hands and ran all the way back to my house, jumping through the fence so fast we didn’t take the time to worry about the wounds the barbed wire inflicted.

Mom and Dad weren’t home yet. There was no one we could call. The police wouldn’t make it to the middle of nowhere fast enough. We were defenseless. I thought about my dad’s gun, then remembered what happened the last time I shot it.

“Don’t you have a knife or something? Anything? We can’t just sit here and wait for whoever that was to kill us.” My friend gasped for air, skin as pale as the cotton in the field next to us. Her hands were frozen and grasped permanently around my arm. “What about your dad’s machete?”

The fools we were, we grabbed my dad’s machete and instead of locking ourselves in the trailer with it, calling the cops anyway, or waiting for Mom and Dad to get home, we ventured back to her property.

I swung the gigantic, rusted knife through the grasses without chopping any of them down. The blade was dull. Just like our plan. My friend’s dogs weren’t barking anymore, there wasn’t any jingling, and we certainly didn’t spot a murderer waiting for us, but what we did see once we reached her fence was our courage run away.

We walked back to my house and waited for the adults to swoop in to rescue us. While we were daydreaming of all the ways we were going to die, I turned on the tv and saw a news report that had my blood running cold for weeks.

Breaking News: Convict escaped local jail and is on the loose in the Lone Oak area. If you see a man . . . .

I didn’t hear any more, didn’t see any more, past those words. I just knew whoever the escaped convict was, that’s who was in my friend’s house, running away in his black boots and dark-blue pants.

When she finally made it home, the only thing missing was money. Isn’t that what a recently escaped criminal would need?

That’s what I thought.

27 comments:

  1. Man you lived dangerously!!!

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  2. I was pretty ridiculous. But after that day, being home alone was pretty scary.

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  3. Yikes! That was scary...you were kids and I'm sure your plan sounded good at the time. So glad he kept on going.

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  4. I am too. We were not smart!

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  5. Could really relate to your childhood...certainly sounded familiar ;) Well, up until the escaped convict. Glad we never ran into that particular problem! That must have been terrifying. Very well-written, too - your transition from sunny, care-free day to one with all-too-many cares was great! As soon as I saw "Gripping the cold metal wire," I knew something bad was coming. Glad it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

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  6. Things could have gone all kinds of bad. So glad they didn't. Wow. What a scary thing to live through for anyone, much less a kid. Thanks for sharing Krystal!

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  7. As usual, Krystal, an excellent story!

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  8. scary and hilarious!
    -Hollee

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  9. Two girlies going back to the house with a machete is such fodder for one of those scary movies where you yell at the screen: "What are you doing? Don't GO THERE!" lol. So glad you ended up safe. :)

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  10. Neat! Not a good idea, going back, though! :)

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  11. Anonymous10/24/2011

    sorry about the money, but you forgot to mention the cookies i got. oh and the use of a private toilet for the first time since going in.

    I think the statute of limitations is now up so i think I am safe but just in case going with anonymous.

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  12. Jonathan-you like that shift huh? :-)

    Debra - if you think this is bad, you should read some of the other things I've done in my life...guess I should write those stories, too!

    David-thank you so much. I'm so happy you always come here and enjoy what you read!

    Mrs. Sweet - <3 Hollee. So glad you commented...it means the world to me. Please, visit often!

    Kellianne - I should totally write a screenplay for a scary movie. I did lots of things I shouldn't have!

    Ron-We were too young/stupid to really think the better of it.

    Anonymous-Creepy. That is all!

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  13. Sheesh! (A) that's scary and (B) you guys were freaking NUTS! Did they ever catch the escapee?

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  14. It was scary! I have no idea whether they caught the guy or not. I'm sure they did. It's funny how THAT detail doesn't reside in my brain. Probably because it didn't matter to me as a child. But the sound when that man hit the ground with his boots, and the jingling, and the pace he ran away....those things are all permanently lodged in my head.

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  15. Cool story Krystal...sometimes we do mad, bad and dangerous things as kids...it's good to have the freedom for this...it makes us the adults we are...tell us more Krystal!

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  16. That is pretty scary. Me and a friend walked in on some burglars too once. I'll never forget the mix of emotions - scared out of my mind and mad as hell too!

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  17. Very creeptacular. I'd say lady luck was watching over you that day.

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  18. I wish my childhood had been as eventful.

    Well, on second thought....

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  19. Holy sh*t! And you guys were going after him with a dull machete? Wow. Scary, scary. You have some crazy ones, girl. I love every one of them.

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  20. "The blade was dull. Just like our plan." - I loved this. Great little tale and you recount it beautifully. I also thought it was funny you made note that climbing the walls to the hay storage was "very dangerous" while chasing after a burglar was merely dull. This is like a passage of a kids adventure story. Great stuff.

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  21. Aww, Amberr! I'm so glad you like my life stories. We were fearless...sort of. I think it's funny how I'll run away screaming from a snake yet walk head first into a situation that could get me killed! ;-)

    Gareth, thank you for visiting. Hopefully my true-life stories highlight how kids prioritize "danger". LOL. Glad you enjoyed!

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  22. Hi Krystal, I was your slug today.

    Anyway, an excellent story. I remember some similar scrapes but nothing so scary. I can't imagine you carrying a rusty machete though.

    I'm looking forward to reading more of your work.


    Danielle

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  23. Scary story I'm glad despite all you were safe.

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  24. Damn, that is scary. As a kid, I walked in on my house being robbed. It was scary, but I never saw the bad guys face to face. They went out the back while I came to the front. Happy you two are safe.

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  25. Hi, Danielle! Thank you so much for visiting, following and commenting! I can't wait for you to read more! Enjoy. Hope to bump into you in the slug lines soon!

    Sheilagh - Yes, despite the stupid things we did, we're alive. My "bravery" didn't end there either. Lots of stories like that.

    Draven, when I was younger than this...2nd grade maybe, I was a latchkey kid. Came home from school and found the front door wide open. THAT time I didn't go in!

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  26. This sounds like a version of the movie Halloween. The convicts name wasn't Mike Myers was it? ;)

    That is very creepy, though I think I know you well enough to easily imagine you grabbing a machette or a pitch fork and going after the guy.

    :)

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