Death. Not a very uplifting or cheerful topic, is it? I find myself looking back on my life lately. I’ve been doing it a lot. Must be a sign of getting older. This morning I was in the throes of remembering my first brush with death. I have no idea why I would be thinking about that. It’s not a good memory. But, it is a memory that will always be with me.
It might not even be my first brush with death. It is the first one that I know of. It takes me back many years. It started with my first job. I was 18 and just two weeks out of high school. My mom and I, as usual, were not getting along. She gave me an ultimatum. Get a job as soon as possible or get kicked out of the house. Yeah, a bit harsh. That’s just the way she was. To me anyway. But I digress.
She told me to put in a job application where she worked, she would put in a word to a manager friend. Her thought being if I worked at the same place she did I would have a ride to work. I also think, but this is my personal thought, she could keep an eye on me also. Heaven knows why she thought she had to. I had to have been the most boring kid around. I wasn’t a party girl, and I didn’t date. I read. A lot. But, again I digress. Sorry about that.
Anyway, that next day my sister took me to put in my job application. I talked to my mom’s manager friend and got hired that same day. I would start work the following Monday. That was at a J.C Penney warehouse. Not the most thrilling job, but at the time it paid good money. And that is where my story really begins.
That first Monday I was introduced to all the people I would be working with. There was a girl there that was a few years older than me, her name was Lynn. In the coming weeks we became fast, best friends. She lived with her parents also. Both of us were eager to be on our own away from parents. Finally, adults!
After about six months we both decided to find an apartment that we could share. She had a car so transportation was no problem. We worked together, got along great and saw no problem sharing living quarters. We found a nice 2 bedroom apartment soon after and moved in. It was great! We both felt we had freedom at last! We got hand me down furniture from family. Managed to buy a few things to make the apartment “ours”, and called it home.
We lived there for a year. Moved because of a man bothering us. (That’s a whole new post). Found a better apartment with security, and moved there. We lived there for quite a while, if I remember right we were going on our fourth year there. That’s when things started to go wrong. Got bizarre.
Lynn and I were best friends. We did everything together. We even went on camping vacations together, taking her niece and nephew. It was some of the best years of my life. It’s hard to find a friend like that. One who understands you and you understand her. We were sisters more than friends. She spent a lot of time with her family, and I would go along. She had two really great older sisters. We’d play card or board games for hours. It was a lot of fun.
Then like I said, things got bizarre. Lynn came into my bedroom one night. It was really early morning, like 2 or 3 am I remember. She woke me up and said something had scared her. I got up and we went into the living room. I sat her on the couch and asked her what scared her? She said she saw an “evil, Ronald McDonald” in her room and he was telling her to do bad things. She was really shaken.
I took her back to her room, turned on the lights and checked the windows. We lived on the second floor. Hard to get in those windows and they were locked tight. We looked under her bed and in every nook and cranny in that small room. I wanted to show her it was just a bad dream and that it wasn’t real. That’s how scared she was. She had been ill the preceding week, with some sort of bladder infection or something. I remember the doctor had her on some sort of pills. Antibiotics I would think. Anyway, I managed to calm her down and got her back into bed. She went back to sleep and I went back to my room, a bit worried but shook it off.
Things seemed to be back to normal. Then a few days later I was watching TV. Relaxing after work. Lynn was in the kitchen. She came in the living room looking distressed. I asked her if she was okay. She wanted to turn off the tv because it was bothering her. I didn’t have it very loud, so I wondered how it was bothering her. She said it sounded like it was blaring and it wasn’t making any sense and it bothered her. Could she turn it off? I said sure, by now seeing how much it WAS bothering her.
She sat down on the couch and asked me if she could tell me something. I told her she could tell me anything, that’s what friends were for. She said last night she saw the “evil” clown again. It was in her bedroom and saying terrible things to her. I remember feeling my heart speed up, I knew this wasn’t normal. And I didn’t think it was because of the pills the doctor gave her. I was getting scared for her! She said the closer it got to bed time the more scared she was becoming. She didn’t want to sleep in her room that night. She couldn’t!
We decided to call her parents and ask if we could stay with them that night. Maybe, we reasoned if she slept in her own bedroom at her parents home she wouldn’t be frightened. For me, my thought was if something was really wrong with Lynn, I would have her parents there to help. I was getting scared for Lynn. I never thought I should be afraid OF Lynn. Not till later that night. Then I became terrified. Terrified I was going to die.
We made the 45 minute drive to her parents home without incident. Lynn was beginning to relax and so was I. When we got there Lynn went to her girlhood bedroom and I tried to explain to her parents what was going on. They became as worried as I was. Her father decided to call her doctor in the morning and ask if there was a possibility that her pills were causing these hallucinations some how.
Lynn decided to sleep on the couch in the living room. I would sleep in her bedroom. Her reasoning was, if she couldn’t sleep she could watch tv without bothering anyone. We didn’t see any harm in that, as I had to be up in the morning for work. So we all went to bed as it was getting late. Her parents always closed their bedroom door, I left mine open.
I must have fallen asleep fairly fast. I know I was emotionally exhausted. I felt safe and I felt like Lynn was safe. The doctor would be called in the morning and Lynn would be all right.
I don’t remember what woke me up. Some slight sound I think. Yes, it was a rustling sound. I do remember that I woke wide awake. But didn’t move. It was like my subconscious knew I shouldn’t make a move. I slowly turned my head towards the bedroom door and saw Lynn crawling on all fours in the doorway. She had some pieces of my clothing in her hands, almost like she was scrubbing the floor with them! I watched her as she crawled out the door and slowly went down the hallway towards the living room.
I couldn’t believe my eyes! I blinked my eyes open and closed thinking I must have imagined what I saw! I lay there wondering what I should do, if I could do anything? I must have laid there for a while with my mind going in a thousand directions. Unsure what I could do. I heard another noise. I laid completely motionless, with my eyes half closed, my heart beating fast.
The bed faced the open doorway, so I could see through half closed lids that Lynn had crawled on all fours back to the bedroom. She didn’t have any clothes with her, and I remember wondering briefly what she had done with them. What I saw next took all thoughts except ones of survival out of my head immediately. Lynn rose up at the foot of the bed and in her hand was a knife! It looked like the biggest knife there was from the kitchen! All I could see was a black silhouette of her standing with that knife clenched in her hand because the light from the hallway was behind her.
My breath stopped. I was afraid to make the slightest move. Looking back I believe that was the only thing that saved my life that night. I didn’t move.
We stayed like that, Lynn and I, for what seemed like hours, but was only for seconds in reality. To this day I don’t know what made me do what I did next. I really truly don’t. I said her name very softly. Lynn? Hardly loud enough to make a ripple in the blackness. Lynn? I questioned. I saw her shadow relax. I felt her relax. She didn’t drop the knife, but she relaxed. I began to breathe again.
She walked to side of the bed, I can remember my heart pounding so loud I thought it would either explode or jump out of my chest. Instinctively I knew to stay still, stay calm. If I stayed calm she would stay calm. She laid down beside me on the bed. That big butcher knife between us. She told me in this eerily still voice that she was so tired. That the clown wouldn’t leave her alone. That the clown told her that she should kill me. She didn’t want to kill me, but he kept demanding that she should. She was tired of fighting him.
I had to get help some how. I gave up the idea of yelling. I knew she would kill me and maybe her parents if I yelled. I don’t know how I knew this, I just did. Then I thought if I slowly got up, talking to her softly and slowly got out of bed then got to a phone somehow. I could call 911 and get her some much needed help. I decided I had to try. I started to sit up so I could get out of bed. All the time telling her quietly that I could help her. If she would let me up I could help get rid of the clown.
I was almost sitting up when she grabbed me by the throat and forced me to lay down again. Lynn was a big girl. I was 5 foot tall and about 130 pounds. She was 5’10 and about 180 pounds. She was big boned and very strong. Normally she was the kindest person I knew. Sick as she was, she wasn’t Lynn. She was something else. Something that wasn’t nice. She held me by the throat and whispered fiercely in my ear. “Don’t get up and leave. I will have to hurt you if you try that again!” She held my throat so tight I couldn’t talk. So I just nodded my head that I understood. Thankfully she let go. I stayed where I was.
We both laid there for hours. Never talking. Except for a murmur from Lynn now and then. Like she was whispering to someone I couldn’t see. Finally I could hear her parents moving around in their room. I didn’t know whether I should be relieved or worried. I heard their bedroom door open then close. Then I heard her dad shout her name. I heard him swearing then call for Lynn again.
Looking back, the only reason I can figure out why Lynn changed back to herself at that time is from so many years being conditioned to answer her father in a respectful way. She heard her dad calling for her and she got out of bed, without the knife and went to her dad. I picked up that knife and hid it in the closet! Then I got dressed and went looking for Lynn and her father. When I got the living room I was amazed! During the night Lynn somehow got every ones clothing and shoes and made a gigantic pile in the middle of the living room!
Her father was talking to her and telling her he was going to call her doctor and get her in to see him as soon as possible. For the time being she looked more her normal self. Just very confused and scared. Believe me, I knew how she felt!
I had to get to work, I couldn’t miss even though I wanted to stay and help someway. But I talked to her parents and they convinced me to go to work and come back there after wards. They would take Lynn to see her doctor. I didn’t tell him about what happened to me that night. Not at that time I didn’t. I hadn’t even had time to sort it all out myself. I was tired and I was scared for Lynn. I decided to tell them later when I got off work. I was (naively) thinking that things would be okay then. After Lynn got her medicine straightened out, things would be back to normal.
I was wrong.
(I will continue this story tomorrow. It’s a true story and it has further telling to be done) The conclusion can be found here https://jlroeder.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/my-first-brush-with-death-conclusion/