A chilling true story
|Have you ever been on the precipice of death?
It was an age ago, I was still a teenager.
As most teenagers do, I partook in marijuana from time to time and this night was no different.
There were about half a dozen of us having an impromptu joint smoking session at a small wooden picnic hut on the beach behind our old high school; a fairly common practice among my group of friends.
My close friend Landon and I decided to leave just past midnight and because my house was closer, we decided to go there for the night.
To walk from the beach to my house would normally take us only about half an hour or so; in our intoxicated state however it took us fair longer to walk up the main road, about halfway along I saw that it had past one o'clock in the morning, and our buzz was just starting to wear off, leaving us in that weird halfway state of mind, that calm light-headed near lucidity where everything feels strangely dream-like.
A bit further up the road, we noticed a small, middle-aged man walking a bicycle; he told us that his name was Ivan.
Ivan seemed friendly enough, especially to a pair of dropkick stoner teenagers.
We walked and talked about god knows what for a moment before we hit the intersection connecting the main road and the industrial estate.
That was when we saw three large pieces of lumber resting upright against a log railing; Ivan explained that the lumber was his and that he needed a hand transporting them a short distance as he had his push-bike with him.
We didn't see anything wrong with giving this kind stranger a hand and so Landon grabbed one whilst I grabbed the other two; me being the bigger of the two of us.
A little about myself before I carry on with this tale, I stand at a little over six-foot-five and at the time weighed around two-hundred-and-sixty-five pounds; due to my intimidating size I didn't worry about walking around in the dark.
As big as I was though, I was never what I would consider a fighter; not that I ever thought of myself as a coward, I just never understood the need for confrontation without provocation to defend against.
Back to the tale, so we grabbed the lumber and hauled them about thirty feet or so to the other side of the road.
This was our first big red flag.
I looked at Landon, noticing that he thought the same as I.
Why did Ivan want us to help him move these sleepers such a short distance?
Thinking that something was wrong, Landon and I said goodbye to Ivan and tried to walk away from him although he didn't take the hint and began following us anyway.
Not wanting to seem rude, we kept trying to subtly hint to this fellow that we wanted him to leave, but all of our attempts were in vain.
As we passed a large pie factory near the end of the road he pulled out a large piece of flint which he had fashioned into a make-shift knife and began talking about how easy it was to skin people alive, how easy it would be for him to skin us alive.
Near the small piece of bush-land, at the end of the estate road, Ivan lunged at the pair of us with his flint knife, thankfully he must have been slightly slowed down by the weight of his bike and so missed the both of us.
This finally sounded the warning bells in our brains, a lot later than it should have, but remember that our judgement was grossly impaired by the large (for us) quantity of weed that we had smoked previously.
Adrenaline took us over and Landon and I took off down the only way that we could, hooking a left and booking it as fast as our legs would carry us; hoping that eventually we would find another opening to my street.
The earth dropped off into a deep concrete channel on one side of us, a high wooden fence on the other, whilst in front of us lay an obstacle course of monstrous towering trees, thick low-lying bushes and large solid heavy stones.
I realised that I had lost track of Landon as I somehow leaped over a five-foot high fence as if I were an Olympic hurdler, hooked a swift right and continued to sprint home as fast as humanly possible.
I entered my kitchen and paced around in a panic before suddenly remembering the phone in my pocket and that Landon had a cellphone on him.
Worried for his well-being, I tried calling him multiple times to no avail.
Something was wrong, he just wouldn't answer.
I was half expecting the worst when Landon came barging in through my front door.
The first thing I did was ask how he was, he told me he was fine then he told me that he had tripped over a few feet into our nature strip sprint and hid behind a bush.
Supposedly Ivan had run after me for a short while before walking back to the road and blowing a small plastic whistle that he had pulled out of his pocket.
A moment later a white transit van pulled up out of nowhere, the seemingly enfeebled Ivan tossed his bike in before stepping into the passenger seat and yelling out an expletive at the driver before finishing up with, "we didn't get them."
Landon watched as the van drove off before waiting a moment and running as fast as he possibly could to my house and meeting me here.
I asked him why he didn't answer his phone and he said that it was on silent and that he didn't even hear it ringing.
"We didn't get them."
This one line terrified me then as it still does now, especially as it first trembled out of Landon's mouth.
What the hell did Ivan and his mysterious accomplice want with us?
Did he actually wish to skin us alive and if so, for what purpose?
None of that really mattered though, we survived and that was all that mattered.
We never heard from Ivan ever again.
As far as I know he's still out there somewhere, getting other stoned teenagers to help him move lumber in the middle of the night, stalking them, then doing god knows what to them after he's captured them.
Over the years Landon and I grew apart and we have unfortunately fell out of touch although I will never forgotten that fateful night that we escaped Ivan's clutches.