I don't know that I use the word 'creepy' very often to describe events. Yet recently, two events stood out in which I used that word heavily.
The Man In The Grass
It was a warm afternoon when my brother Haven and I decided to go for a run. We ran single-file along the narrow country road, myself in front to be the pace-setter. We had gone about half a mile when I heard a rustling in the grass to my right. I looked sideways, expecting to see a deer or rabbit on the other side of the barbed-wire fence. Instead, a man sat straight up, suddenly, in the tall grass. He was older and shirtless. His eyes connected with my face and I looked away. I looked forward and kept running. Now, I partly wish I would have ground to a halt, stared him down and demanded some sort of an explanation by my presence alone. But at the time, I felt an urgent need to get out of there. In a weird way I almost felt as though my presence was the one which needed apology, as though I were intruding on him. A sense of wrongness tinged with fear propelled me forward, and when we were about a quarter mile away I finally turned to Haven and said,
"Did you see ..."
"The guy without a shirt? Yes." Haven nodded emphatically.
"At least no shirt, possibly less clothing than that."
"Agreed. He looked at me and I just looked away."
"Same here. Creepy."
We kept running: two miles and we turned around, three and a half and we both scanned the grass for the strange man. We slowed down, looking and looking, curiosity and a need for answers overtaking any cautiousness. But we saw nothing. Even so, I was grateful that on that run I had Haven with me, his footfalls always echoing close behind.
The Missing Headlights
My friend Meredith and I have a tradition: one-day road trips to the beach and back. It doesn't matter if it's summer or winter, we pick a place and go, because our souls are both soothed by the sea. Heading home, it was nearing midnight and we still had about an hour of driving left. We were driving between the long stretches of highway which link Texas cities, roads which are surrounded by fields and occasionally pass through some tiny town. I was driving in the left-hand lane and there was a car ahead of me on the right and what appeared to be another behind me on the right, though the headlights were dim and the person was sticking right inside my blind spot.
"Just checking: there's a car in my blind spot, right?" I asked Meredith, in case I was seeing a reflection instead.
"Yes, he's been staying right there, though I bet you could get around him," Meredith answered.
I drove a little faster until the car was behind me.
"He's missing a headlight, that's why I was having a hard time seeing him," I remarked.
Eventually I passed the second car, and when that car moved into the left lane I moved into the right. Suddenly, both cars were behind me in both lanes, and I realized that they were each missing their left headlight. I pointed it out to Meredith.
"Oh that's weird," we both said. "Creepy."
"The cars look the same too," Meredith observed. "That's really weird."
We drove in silence, those two twin headlights following along behind us as I wondered at the strange coincidence. Honestly, my mind went to movies I've seen where two cars work together to trap an unsuspecting driver and run him off the road so they can rob him blind. It was late, we were in the middle of nowhere, and those two matching sets of headlights were bizarre, spooky. I managed to put some distance between us and we finally came upon another car driving that highway.
"If this car is also missing their left headlight I will officially be creeped out," Meredith said. I agreed. Thankfully, that car was normal, and I think we both gave a sigh of relief. Just having that other car on the road made things felt a little better, a little safer, a little more normal. When we stopped to switch drivers, I saw one of the missing-headlight cars drive past, away into the dark where we never saw it again.
I like answers and explanations. But of course, those are not always provided. Sometimes, we're simply left to wonder ...