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I grew up in the forested eastern area of North Carolina called Wilkesboro. It's the kind of place where you can drive through miles of windy mountain roads and never see one streetlight. It was 1998 and my sister was in her booster seat sleeping in the back of this ugly green minivan we used to have. She was about 4 and I was 11 at the time. My mom was driving and we were coming back from a nearby town about 20 minutes away. IT had gotten dark and I had been this way many times
before. The only thing before our house were thick woods, and a few back roads with houses. There weren't any stoplights and very few streetlights until the main road.
It was fall and I remember the glass of the car window was cold. I'd sit there listening to the radio just staring outside at the dark tree tops whizzing past. My mom and I would chat about whatever came up and listen to the radio. A bright flashing colorful lights started to flicker in the rear view mirror and the interior of our van light up with color. My mom and I said nothing to each other, but at the time I thought we were being pulled over.
It's the part that bothers me the most and as much as I try I can't wrap my brain around what happened. Ahead was a turn off into a back road. My mom turned pulling into the patch of dirt next to the pavement
Everything in front of me had changed.
Where had the back road gone?
The lights from the van shined onto the main road where we just came from.
Out of the corner of my eye, outside the window...
I thought I could just make out a dark shape in my peripheral outside the car.
My mom was silent.
Sitting in the car I could feel there was a figure next to me outside the window. There were no words or sounds. It just stood there, and ... I didn't look at it.
Then it left.
My mom slowly pulled to the right side of the road. crossing the opposite lane.
"What did the cop want?" She said nothing.
She had her hands on 10 and 2 starring at the road. I thought maybe she hadn't heard me.
"The cops, what did they want? "
My mom is always such a chatty person but in a dull uninterested manner she just said ..."what?"
We paused for a short time at the stop sign. It felt a bit longer than usual seeing as there were no cars in either direction. My window was still down and as I felt the cold air on my skin more up as we picked up our speed. Pushing the button I rolled up the glass. It took me a few minutes of constant similar phrasings of the question before I understood that she didn't even know what I was talking about.
According to her there were no cops. And thinking about it now, I never did see a police car or a cop, but there was such a strong suggestion in my mind that we were being pulled over in the beginning. My mind raced for explanations. Okay, there was no cop, I conceded to my mom for the sake of answers. I
asked her "Then why did we pull off the road? Again, my mom had no idea what I was talking about. This had just happened not a minute ago and I could still feel the chill from the window being down, which it wouldn't have been since it was so cold that day. But what about the stop sign? There were no stop signs before town on that road and we still had a ways to go driving in the darkness. I was so upset and
confused now she started saying there was no stop sign....
But that's when the conversation had started, rolling up that window at the stop sign. I could accept
there wasn't a cop but I knew we had pulled over and then somehow ended up turned around and pulling up to that side road off of our original route.
My mom was unusually quite the rest of the way home and it seemed every time I tried to speak with her I was met with a short monotone voice. My sister was still asleep.
Starring out the window I was angry and confused with the gears in my head trying to figure out some logic to the whole thing.
After getting into town my mom seemed to return to normal and I asked about the whole thing one more time. She didn't seem to remember me even asking about it and looked at me like I was going nuts. I never brought it up to her again.
But what are the parts of the encounter I don't remember. Whatever happened between pulling off with lights behind our van and the van all of a sudden facing the opposite direction. I would have chocked it all up to being a dream if I didn't know for a fact I was trying to talk with my mom while I rolled up the window cause it was cold as hell outside.
Please be careful driving in the middle of nowhere guys I wish you safe travels every time you embark onto those dark roads.