It is not hard to give me the creeps. I hate walking up stairs after I just turned the lights out. I have to make sure the wardrobe is closed before I go to sleep. I’m that guy that has the violent overreaction to walking through a spiderweb. But lately I’ve been trying to be a bit more rational about these kinds of things.
We live in a gentrifying neighbourhood; note the present tense. At times there are some moderately shady people around. The odd time someone will throw an apple at you from across the street, but for the most part they are harmless. After a two and a half years I thought I could handle walking past anyone in my neighbourhood; I was wrong.
I was walking home from work earlier this evening and was powering on listening to the latest episode of the James Altucher show. I rounded the corner and was about to cross the road when I spotted her. Now it is not unusual to see people around the streets a bit after dark, but something really weird stood out. This lady was standing perfectly still in the middle of the footpath. It was so strikingly weird that I stopped in my tracks. I was about to cross to the same side of the road but I started to get the heebie jeebies. How strange to see someone just standing in public. Not checking their phone. Not looking around for someone they’re about to meet. Just standing.
I think she saw me stop. It was hard to tell in the half dark. I keep walking along the footpath I was on. I felt suddenly cold. Not uncommon in winter, but it was rarely this rapid. I wasn’t sure if it was an optical illusion or not but I felt like her eyes were following me. After a light post broke our sight line, I wasn’t game to look back and powered forward. I still felt chills on my neck.
Eventually I got to the next road and I looked back. She had started walking, thankfully in the other direction. But her walk was fucking weird too. It was a zombie-esque walk; a very deliberate walk, like the intention was to not fall over. I had flashes of paranormal activity and the walking dead in my mind. I know that rationally things like that just aren’t true, but I still take comfort that I did what I could to avoid finding out. I guess I still creep out easy.