What had happened before was not important now. It was truly in the past. The only thing I could hope for was that no one would bring it up. The odds were in my favor, though, as only four people knew my secret, not counting me. My mom, my dad, my little sister, and Tori. But rumors traveled fast.
It all started when I was seven, the age my little sister Rebecca was now. I'll admit, I had been watching too many cop shows and was a bit paranoid. But I was seven! I could be easily influenced at that delicate age.
I thought a car was following me one night as I was walking back to my house from Tori's house. They weren't very far from each other, and our neighborhood was safe. It was gated, secure, and everyone there was friendly. Tori and I had been watching a scary movie marathon the night before, and I was still a little unsettled. I loved them, but they scared the heck out of me.
As I walked home that night, all I could think about was that unlucky girl in all the movies. The one who decides to go out for a walk in the middle of the night or see what's banging around downstairs. I kept referring to myself as her, since it was getting dark out, no one around, the wind swirling, shadows dancing. The adrenaline was fizzing throughout my system, causing my brain to go somewhat haywire.
Then a car slowly pulled up about 50 feet behind me, illuminating the shadows I had become so familiar with. The scene raced through my head, and I thought I knew that someone was about to abduct me in the night, though it was only 6 PM. I ran away from the car that chose not to pursue me. I ran away from our little development on the outskirts of the woods. I hopped on the first walking path I could see and kept going and going.
But after about 5 minutes of running as fast as my little legs could carry me, I tripped on something, something that was too dark to see. I tumbled down, down, down. I didn't realize there were hills in that forest, but discovered in that moment. I rolled into the pond at the bottom of the hill, screaming for someone to save me, but knowing no one could hear me. When I sank, I couldn't find my way back up.
It was then I realized the seriousness of the situation. I fought, clawing my way back up to the top of the water, gasping for breath. When I found it, I lay there on my back, floating. I didn't dare move. I controlled the heavy chills running down my spine, afraid that if I made the tiniest motion that I would die.
After who knows how long, I started seeing dilusions. Hooded men, dressed in black, circling the water. I tried to scream out, but I couldn't. My lungs were frozen. So I floated there for hours, just watching them.
Of course my parents found me after they called Tori's house, stating I had not come home. Police searched the forest and saw me. I went into years of intense therapy after that. For some reason, I could never accept that the figures I had seen that night were not real. I knew in my mind that they had been watching me, waiting.
I came to learn that I was lucky to be alive. And, to only please the ones who loved me, accepted that I had been hallucinating. But it took a long time for me to recover. One, I had extensive injuries from my fall. And two, I was a very headstrong child.
But I finally had my life back, and I was determined to make the most of my freshman year of high school.