This story might not be very frightening but it made a great impression upon me.
I have lived most of my life in the State of Georgia but from 1993 to 1996 I lived with my father and my stepmother in Litchfield Park, Arizona.
It may be worth noting that the reason for this was that there was a domestic abuse situation in the home of my mother in Georgia. The "Powers That Be" contacted my father. My sister and I were hastily placed on a flight with very few belongings.
My grades in school were always very good up until then for the simple fact that studying and doing homework was the best way for me to "shut out" all of the chaos around me.
When I started high school in Arizona, my math grades started to slip in a big way. I had a lot on my mind. I had very serious questions going on in my mind about the life that I left behind in Georgia.
Shortly after arriving in Arizona, I made a lasting judgment of my father. The impression that he gives off is of a highly intelligent and highly creative person. Creative in an artistic way and creative in abstract thought. At the time, he worked as an instructor within Palo Verde Generating Station. A Nuclear Power Plant. He is retired now.
Unfortunately, I also quickly found him to be very emotional and prone to snap decisions. In other words, he says many things that he comes to regret later. I probably don't need to say that, even now, we have a relationship that is under strain. We have a great history of misunderstandings that we share together.
One of the things he said to me that he later came to regret was: "If you get another bad grade in math, you'll be sorry!"
From the hellish environment that I knew of in Georgia, "sorry" could have meant any number of terrible things. As it turned out, his threat made my concentration even worse and my report card reflected that. I was too afraid to get on the school bus home.
At the time that I was living there, the students of Litchfield Park from the 10th grade and up had to go to "Agua Fria Union High School" in Avondale. I was too afraid to be available for a confrontation with my father at home. It wasn't likely that he would forget to ask me for my report card.
My best plan of action was to "mill around" in the vicinity of the high school until dark and then head home. I reasoned that he would be worried about me and that it would outweigh being angry about my math grade. It was a terrible and selfish idea. It wasn't my finest moment.
I wandered around and found myself in a desolate looking area well before sunset. It was far away from the road and behind some buildings but it was roughly in the direction I judged to be towards my house, which might have been six miles away.
In this area, about fifty feet away from the nearest structure, I came upon a mountain of shoes. There were hundreds of them. As I looked at them, I could clearly see that there were matches to be found amongst them.
I went closer to the mountain of shoes with the intention of walking the perimeter but a loud and authoritative male voice shouted: "STOP".
I jumped back. There was no one around. The sun was still high enough in the sky that I knew no one was around. I knew that the voice had come from either the mountain of shoes or from very close to my face because I felt the sound waves from the word. As soon as I jumped back, the top of the pile tumbled down a bit, though I had never touched it.
I ran from the area. When I ran between two buildings, I was in such a hurry that I ran through and obliterated an old, dried up wooden fence and fell on the street behind it.
I was seen by a police patrol car while I was on the street and they brought me home. I told them that I missed the bus. These were the days before everyone on Earth had a cell phone and it was a plausible story that I said nobody answered when I called.
When I got home I explained to my dad about being afraid to show him my report card. When I told him what had happened with the shoes he said: "It was your self conscious. You should know your old dad only wants the best for you."
How the heck should I have known that I wasn't going to face some kind of abuse in Arizona too? By that time my experiences had made my faith in adults abysmal, at best.
I still got a punishment for the grade. I had to go in the back yard and pick up, what seemed like, a hundred rotten lemons off of the ground from under his lemon trees, replete with fruit flies.
He didn't remember to punish me for my lack of faith.
My math grades improved after I was finally able to talk to my mom again. I was and still am a great reader of all kinds of books. Right now I'm reading "Titus Alone" by Mervyn Peake.
Thank you for reading my story.