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-I can barely type, my hands are shaking so violently that my fingertips just skate over the keyboard. I've had tunnel vision for the past hour and a half, the voices of the police bounced around in my skull. I did my best to answer them, even showed them the video, but all my answers were stock, like a record on repeat, I was somewhere else.
I need to back up, to collect my thoughts and explain to you what happened. It's easy to forget that for some, nothing has changed, their world isn't falling apart before their eyes. It was around 9 pm last night, I had just gotten off of work and was heading home when my phone rang. I struggled to pull it out of my pocket and hit the answer button, silently cursing the rain that was pounding at my windshield, drowning out the call.
"Hey John, do you think you can grab some eggs on the way home? I was thinking about making a quiche tomorrow morning." a muffled voice rang through the speakers. The voice belonged to Jessica, my girlfriend of going on four years.
"Yeah, no problem babe." I yell over the pounding of the rain. "I'll stop by the gas station, be home in 10."
"Ok, and while you're there... do you think you can pick something else up for me?"
"Sure, what is it?"
"Uh... I ran out of... hygiene products..."
I couldn't help but smile, such a way with words. "No problem, Jess. I'll see you soon."
"You're the best, I love you."
"Love you too."
I lowered the phone from my ear, and clicked the red button. Two new notifications popped up, saying I had two missed calls from my friend, Richie. I tossed the phone into the passenger seat. He was going to have to wait, another call in this storm just may be the death of me.
I pulled in to the gas station and parked my car, grabbing my phone and holding the collar of my jacket over my head as I ran for the door, feet slapping against the wet concrete. I threw the doors open and let out a long sigh as I shook my jacket off, squinting in the stark neon lights.
"Hello, can I help you find anything?" said an old woman that looked and smelled like she just eats cigarettes at this point.
"No, thank you." I say politely, holding my breath as I pass the counter towards the fridges. My phone dings as I'm looking through the eggs and I glance at the screen, which read that I had a snapchat from Jessica. I unlocked it and opened the app, clicking on the red square. A picture of Jessica in her bra popped up, with the caption "a reward for being such an amazing boyfriend." I smile as the timer runs out and the picture disappears. I notice the purple icon in the bottom right and click on it, three new stories posted. I shrug and click on the first one. It was a guy from highschool, someone I hadn't talked to since then, with an hour long story of him at the club, zooming in on various women and cackling manically.
"Anything to showoff your social life, creep." I mutter to myself, and click on the next one. This one belonged to a girl at my work, which featured a picture of a glass of wine and her cat, posed almost too perfectly to be candid. The timer runs out and shows one story left, posted by Richie five minutes ago. The little preview was almost completely black, except for one area that looked as if it were being lit by a flashlight. I clicked on his name and the video opened.
My suspicions were confirmed when a nearly dark screen played, followed by the click of a flashlight, illuminating the hallway. I recognized the hall as the one outside of Richie's bedroom, I could barely make out the photos hung neatly on the wall. There was no talking, only the soft thuds of boots on the carpeted floor. The circle of light paced back and forth between the walls, almost as if it were dancing. The video ended and the next one began, now inside Richie's bedroom. The light hovered over Richie's bed, empty and with the sheets thrown over. The light moved to the other side of the room and paused on his nightstand, where a picture of Richie and his girlfriend sat, the harsh light from the phone glaring against the glass. I remember that day, I was the one who took the picture. This time there were two sounds.
Whoever was taking the video was humming softly, to what sounded like the song from Twisted Nerve. The other was almost inaudible, but with the volume all the way turned up, sounded like heavy breathing and whimpering. The timer ran out and played the next video, which began with the light darting quickly to the closet across from his bed, the humming pausing for a moment, before starting up again, twice as loud. The closet became brighter and brighter as the light moved closer, pausing for a second as the man finished humming the high notes, whimpering clearly audible now, before throwing open the door. My stomach dropped as I stared at the small screen, which displayed a battered and sobbing Richie huddled in the corner of the closet.
"P... please just leave me alone, I..." He stuttered, but was cut off as a gloved hand came into view, the light shining brightly off the polished leather.
The hand was holding a gun.
Richie's head rocked backwards as his brains exploded onto the back wall, eyes rolling into the back of his head and blood pouring out of his nose like a crimson waterfall. I screamed and jumped so violently that my phone fell out of my hands, clattering face down onto the floor. I gasped for air and clung to the shelf for support, gurgling and coughing playing from the speakers of my phone, before a second gun shot rang out and the video ended.
The air seemed to stand still as the only sounds in the gas station were the hums of the refrigerator and my heavy breathing. I could feel the color drain from my face, my fingers turning ice cold.
"Sir, are you ok?" the old lady asked with a concerned look. I jumped at the sound of her voice and looked up at her, her concern turned to fear as she saw my expression.
"C... call the police." I mumbled, unable to recognize my own voice.
"Is everything ok? What happened?"
"Please... Just..." I started, before collapsing to the floor. I heard the woman gasp and begin dialing the phone. I propped myself up against the shelf and stared blankly at the eggs in front of me, thinking of everything and of nothing at the same time. It had to be some sort of sick joke, right? I glanced over at my phone, willing myself to pick it up, to see another missed call from Richie with a voicemail telling me that he couldn't believe I fell for it. I raised a shaking hand and grasped the cold metal object, before lifting it and turning the screen towards me. The screen timer had expired and I was faced with a black mirror, staring at the stranger in the reflection.
"Man, he looks shitty. I'd hate to be that guy." I thought to myself, before pressing the home button. Snapchat immediately opened back up, proudly displaying another entry to Richie's final story, posted 30 seconds ago. My finger was shaking so violently that I missed the button several times, before finally tapping it. This one was a picture, a close up of Richie's face. All the live had drained out of his eyes, and the wall and carpet surrounding his head was nothing but red. Positioned just above the bullet hole was a text box.
"First person to view this story is next."
The phone slid out of my hand and rested on my leg. I didn't know if I was the first to watch it, the videos had been up for five minutes before I viewed them, but I didn't care. The only thing I could think about was how Richie had just added his mother to Snapchat a few months ago, in an attempt to get her more into technology.
I could see the flashing red and blue in the reflective glass of the fridge. The woman pointed over to where I was and two uniformed men walked over.
"Sir, what's wrong?" one of them asked, kneeling beside me. I tried to speak, but my mouth was too dry.
I slowly turned to face him, staring deep into his eyes, before muttering "2243 Glencove Drive" and pointing at Richie's story. The cops glanced at each other as one stood and took my phone. He watched the story before calling it in on his radio.
The rest of the night is a blur, I remember Jessica arrived at the station a few minutes after I got there. She was crying and holding onto me, but I just wasn't there. The cops held onto my phone for evidence, recording the story into their own files, before returning it to me.
"Is there anything you need, John?" a cop asked. I looked up and recognized him as Dillon Mully, Richie's lab partner in sophomore biology.
"No... I'm ok. Thank you." I mumbled, before standing and taking Jessica's hand. "I think I just need some rest."
"Of course, if you need anything at all, don't hesitate to ask."
I nodded without saying anything and lead Jessica to her car. She was still sobbing and telling me everything was going to be alright, but it was just reverberating around my head. We got into the car and drove home, in complete silence aside from Jessica's sniffling. We pulled into the driveway and I shut off the car and sat back in the seat.
"I... I just can't believe it..." she whimpered.
"Yeah." I replied, one of my famous stock answers.
"Let's go inside, we can talk, or not, whatever will help."
"I think I'd like to be alone."
She seemed taken aback, "John I don't think that's a good idea..."
"Please, I'll be in in a few minutes." I said. I know how it must've looked, but it wasn't like that. I just needed to clear my head, before I said or did something I'd regret. After a few failed attempts of changing my mind, Jessica got out of the car.
"I love you John, I want you to know I love you more than anything in the world."
"I know, I love you too sweetie."
She closed the door and made her way up to the front door, glancing back a few times before stepping inside. As soon as the front door closed I burst into tears, holding my face in my hands and digging my fingernails into my skin. I could only think of the two missed calls. Was he calling for help? I was on his speed dial so he may not have had time to dial 911, I was his only life line and I let him down.
I could have saved him.
I felt my phone buzz in my pocket and I raised my face from my hands, breathing heavily and glancing down at it. I had half a mind to destroy the thing once I got it back, but I decided against it, I'd have funeral arrangements to help set up. I pulled it out of my pocket and glanced at the screen, feeling that familiar feeling of dread and anguish as it notified me that I received a new snap from Richie. My hand began to shake once again as I unlocked it and opened snap chat. The police searched Richie's house top to bottom, but his phone was no where to be found. I sat there for what seemed like hours, staring at the message from the man who murdered my best friend, summoning the courage to play another video from this psychopath. I finally gained the strength to hit the play button, before dropping my phone onto the floor of the car, and sprinting into the house. The message was a video of my house, of Jessica talking to me and walking up the stairs, of me sobbing in the drivers seat as it slowly zoomed in until my face took up the entire screen, five words written out in the text box.
"Jonathan Newport, lucky number seven."
Even now as I sit here, in the lobby of Saint Andrew's hospital, typing away on my phone, I still wonder how this could have happened. The events of the past twenty four hours have been nothing short of a horror film, and not one of the comically bad ones, but the ones that will keep you up at night. For me, it was going to keep me up for the rest of my life. Though my hands have been cleaned, I can still see the blood on them, there's so much I can no longer tell what is mine and what is not. I feel anger, despair, regret, but most of all, useless. The stitches along my knuckles and cheeks are killing me, but not nearly as bad as the pounding in my head.
But hey, you should see the other guy.
I'm not here for me, I wish that this trip to the hospital, with dozens of cops standing around and asking questions I don't know the answer to, was only for me. But it's not, and that's my biggest regret of all.
Sitting around with my thoughts will only drive me insane, so I may as well put my time to good use and finish my story, and just maybe prevent something like this from happening again.
I jumped up the stairs to my house and burst through the door, looking around frantically.
"JESS? WHERE ARE YOU?" I yelled, glancing in various rooms. "WE NEED TO CALL THE COPS, I..."
I ran into the kitchen where Jessica was sitting at the table, phone laying on the surface with Snapchat open. She looked at me, face as white as a sheet.
"John, what's going on? I... I'm getting these messages from R... Richie..."
I grabbed her phone and looked through the instant messages. There was a picture of Jessica taken from the back window, accompanied with a text box saying "Call the police and I kill you too."
"Fuck. FUCK!" I yelled, heart feeling like it was going to burst out of my chest. "Ok... ok we need to go, if we hurry we can make a break for the car and..."
"John, please tell me what's happening." She said, voice shaking with fear. I stopped and took her hand, clasping it between mine.
"The guy who killed Richie, he... he said something about the first person who viewed the story would be next. He's still got his phone and he's right outside."
"What? but how did he find out where we lived?"
"He's got his phone, Jess! He probaby had out address in his contacts."
"We don't have time for this! We've got to lea..."
We were thrown into total darkness as the power shut off, Jessica screamed as I stepped back against the wall, holding my arms out in front of me.
"JESS! Are you ok?" I yelled out, waving my arms blindly in front of me.
"Yes, I can't see anything..."
"Just stick together." I say, trying to sound calm. My eyes were beginning to adjust and i could make out Jessica's figure a few feet in front of me. I began to make my way toward her when the room suddenly lit up. I shielded my eyes and looked in the direction of the light, which was coming from Jessica's phone sitting on the table. I heard her shuffle towards it and pick it up, whimpering softly.
"What is it? Jess, what is..."
"It's a message from you."
"What?" I reached down and patted my pocket, feeling for my phone, before groaning.
I left it in the car.
"What does it say?"
"It just says... 'two for one'"
I jumped as a loud creak resonated throughout the house. Jessica gasped and I clamped my hand over her mouth, listening. I recognized the creak as the loose floor board directly inside the front door.
"Fuck..." I whispered, trying to hold back the urge to panic. I could feel Jessica sobbing in my arms. I slowly began to walk backwards, tracing my finger along the counter that I knew lead to the back door.
I ducked into the pantry as the kitchen suddenly filled with light, coming from what I could only guess was the flashlight on my phone. A dark figure stepped into view and I quickly closed the pantry door, the harsh white light from the phone seeping in through the crack. I held Jessica closed as we both held our breath, the footsteps growing closer and closer. I heard the familiar "ding" as he began recording, humming softly.
"I'm going to hold him off, you make a break for the back door." I whispered, the light getting closer and the footsteps getting louder.
thump. thump. thump...
"Don't argue, it's our only chance." I snap, jumping slightly as he threw open the closet door directly across from us. "As soon as your outside, hide and call the police. I'll come find you."
thump. thump. thump...
The light was shining through the crack so brightly now that I could make out Jessica's face, tears gleaming from her cheeks. I didn't know if I was going to make it out of this, but I had to make sure she did, nothing else mattered.
THUMP. THUMP. TH...
The footsteps paused, in front of the pantry, the shadow of the figure seeping into the room.
I starting breathing heavily, standing and facing the door. The humming was barely muffled by the door, but it was clear that he was right outside, finishing the high notes. I watched the door knob slowly turn, Jessica gasping behind me.
Adrenaline pumped through my veins as the door began to open and I threw myself against it, smashing the solid wood into the man's face.
"UGH!" he cried out and stumbled backwards.
"JESS GO!" I yelled and sprinted at the man, who began to raise his gun. I planted my shoulder into his chest and tackled him back into the counter.
I heard Jess scream and fall to the ground, dragging down the silver ware drawer with her with a loud CLANG.
"FUCK!" I yelled, wrestling for the gun as the man hit me repeatedly in the back of the head with his other hand. I planted my foot against the cupboards below the counter and pushed off, toppling to the ground and pulling the man down with me. He lost his grip on my phone and it tumbled to the ground face up, throwing us once again into complete darkness. I groaned as his fist slammed into my head repeatedly. I had no way of seeing when the blows were coming and I begun to lose my grip on the gun. I spun around, pinning his arm that was holding the gun between me and the floor. I was beginning to lose consciousness as the blows kept coming and coming, filling my mouth with blood. I yelled out as I found his wrist and bent down, sinking my teeth into the skin as deep as i could. He howled in pain as my mouth filled with his blood as well, trying to wrench away from me. I threw my elbow back and caught him in the nose.
He groaned as his nose snapped and his lost his grip on the gun, falling back. I grabbed the gun and turned to where i thought he was...
The instant light from the muzzle flash revealed that he was right next to me, wearing a balaclava stained with red. He swung and i managed to duck just beneath it, swinging the gun around slamming it against his head. He cried out and fell back against the counter. I turned once again and fired a shot, the window above his head shattering and pieces falling to the floor. He planted his foot into my stomach and pushed me backwards, I yelled as the gun slipped out of my hand and skittered across the floor, into darkness.
"Fucking die." A deep voice growled, picking up the phone and shining the light at me, blinding me momentarily.
As soon as the video began recording he was on me, pressing his free hand into my throat while shining blinding light in my face. I gasped as his hand cut off my windpipe, clawing at his arms as I choked for air. He began humming again as he struggled to hold me down, my legs kicking at nothing.
"Hm Hm hmhmhm. Hm Hm hmhmhm..." He muttered as the light moved closer to my face, but to me it was beginning to fade. I coughed as my final breaths began to leave me, arms swinging wildly. I winced as something cut my knuckles, that I recognized as a piece of broken glass. I frantically searched for it, sliding my hand along the floor and I began to feel cold. My fingers finally grasped it and held it tightly, cutting my palm. I grunted as I put all my reaming strength into kicking upwards, catching the psychopath in the groin. He groaned and momentarily let go of my throat and the phone, which fell to the floor, but this time facing down, illuminating the whole scene before me. The man was sitting on top of me, holding his groin and swaying slightly, thick blood dripped from behind his mask.
I screamed as I threw myself upwards, swinging my arm in an arc and sticking the shard of glass deep into the mans neck. He gasped and gargle and blood sprayed from the wound, stumbling back against the counter behind him. I stood as quickly as I could and hobbled towards the back door, leaving the gurgling man behind me. I felt for Jessica along the way, but she was no where to be found, I could only hope she made it outside. I stumbled out the back door and collapsed on the grass, gasping for air. I could hear police sirens in the distance, I had never been so happy to hear any sound in my life. My face rested on the cool grass, breathing heavily as I regained myself.
"Ma'am? Are you there?" a voice sad behind me, I slowly turned my head to see Jessica's phone laying in the grass, a 911 call still running. A limp body lay next to it, hand outstretched towards the phone.
"J... Jessica." I called out, slowly dragging myself towards the body as the sirens grew closer.
"J... Jessica." I called out, slowly dragging myself towards the body as the sirens grew closer pulling onto my street. The grass became wetter and wetter as I pulled myself closer to her. I could make out that her shirt was stained around the abdomen in the moonlight.
The cops arrived seconds later, two coming to us but the rest going directly into the house, guns drawn. They tried to pull me off of her, but i was hysterical, I couldn't tell if she was breathing.
The ambulance took us both to Saint Andrews hospital and checked us in at 2:45 am. I was given some stitches and they checked my windpipe for permanent damage, but I seemed to be in the clear. Jessica was brought in to surgery immediately, the doctors said the bullet missed her vital organs, but their main concern was the amount of blood she lost.
"I've seen people come back from worse." The doctor reassured me.
The cops told me that the man was no where to be found when they searched the house, only signs of a struggle and a whole lot of blood. They later found his body about a hundred feet from our house, he tried to crawl away and quickly bled out. The cops identified the man as Andrew Cullings. I'm sure you'd like to hear that he had some personal vendetta out for the people he killed or that there was some master plan, but there wasn't. He was just a known psychopath who should have been committed long ago, and we payed the price for it.
So here I sit, waiting for Jessica to get out of surgery, typing away at my phone which had just been returned to me, the videos once again taken for evidence. It saddens me to think that I almost completely forgot about Richie, that I lost my best friend. Almost getting murdered can mess up your mourning faze, but it came back full force, and I know I will never be the same person again, even after I've moved on, and neither will Jessica. I just hope that we will be able to support each other in the coming days.
It's going to be rough.
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I was about 12 or 13 years old. One time I'm walking to my psychiatrist for my weekly appointment. Its a half hour walk and after dark. I enjoyed walking, especially after dark when things were quiet, peaceful, and slow and no one else around. No, i didnt live in a dangerous neighborhood nor did my walk take me through any dangerous neighborhoods.
As I'm about half way to my destination, a car, a cadillac, comes driving down the street. Some people, both male and female, in the car are sticking themselves half way out the windows and are taunting me and jeering me as they drive by. A bunch of people in their late teens or early 20s. I ignore them and keep on walking. About a minute or two later, the same car comes down the street again and those people are jeering me and taunting me again. I dont know who they are. Maybe they live in the neighborhood. I still ignore them and keep walking.
Another minute or so goes by and again they come driving down the street, taunting and jeering me. Now I'm worried. They're circling the block over and over, deliberately focusing on me
As soon as they reach the corner and make their turn and are out of sight, i duck behind some bushes in someones front yard and wait. The car comes again down the street. This time, not seeing me walking down the street, theyre not jeering. They pass right by me in my hiding place and turn the corner. I think they think I've finally reached my destination, one of the houses on the block, and went inside and as a result, drove away. I thought wrong. Stupidly i leave my hiding place and go back to walking on my way to my psychiatrist. I shouldve stayed there behind those bushes much longer because i hear the car approaching. They spot me and start taunting and jeering me again. They turn the corner.
This time i run towards my destination but i know i wont get far before the car and those kids catch up with me again. So to that effect i decided to hide again behind the bushes in front of an apartment of an apartment building. This time resolving to stay there for good until the thugs in the car gives up their searching for me. I'm hiding there behind the bushes for not long. Maybe about 30 seconds or so when the guy whose apartment it is, pops out from his apartment, asking what I'm doing hiding in his bushes. At first he probably thinks I'm a burglar or something, but i explain to him how I'm walking to my psychiatrist and how I'm being followed and harassed by a bunch of kids in a car, which was why I'm hiding in his bushes. The guy can instantly tell from the tone of my voice and my facial expressions that I'm telling him the truth. He can see how scared I am.
Just then the car comes down the street and pulls right up at the curb directly in front of us. They look at me and the guy I'm with. Not a mean looking guy (in his late 30s-early 40s), but tough and serious looking enough. He's not wearing a shirt. But he's wearing a sleeveless undershirt which reveals that this guys upper body is very well toned, slightly muscular, and no fat.
I'm looking at the car and I realize that its missing a few people inside. The car doesnt look so full now. The guy I'm with just gives them a mean stare. He asks me, "You know them?" I explain that no, I dont know them at all. I havent the slightest idea of who they are.
Just then, as the car is sitting there, about 3 of them approach walking from the other direction. The car was traveling east to west. Those 3 were walking on foot from west to east. So thats why the car seemed not so full. They were looking to escalate the situation. They werent satisfied with just driving by and taunting me. They changed tactics. A few of them got out of the car up ahead and started walking towards me while the ones in the car took another turn around the block. Their plan now was to physically trap me in between themselves and their car. Perhaps grab me and drag me into the car with them for whatever reasons. But seeing my tough guy guardian angel with me, the kids walking towards the car instead got into the car and it took off.
The guy offered to stay with me for a little longer or if i wanted to, to duck into his apartment to stay there until i was sure that it was safe to continue on my journey. I had a feeling that this was the last I was going to see of those guys and their car and i didnt want to be late for my appointment. So i thanked the guy for his offer, but declined. And decided to head on my way. The guy went back into his apartment and closed the door. I looked at the closed door and hoped that I didnt make a mistake by turning down the guys offer of better safety, because I was still scared. Thankfully I was right about not seeing the car again. The rest of my walk I was unmolested.
I reached my psychiatrists office. I told my therapist about what happened. He insisted on calling the police. The police came and took a report from me. Thats the last I heard of it. On my way back home, i usually took the same route that i came from, up the same streets. But this evening, i varied my way home, taking some different side streets to walk on. Never saw that car or those thugs again.
Here is, via google street search, the very spot I hid. That door was the guys apartment. That grassy area behind that low black metal fence on the left was where the bushes were that I hid behind. Back then the bushes in that spot were way tall, wide, and thick. Enough to hide a 12-13 year old kid behind. If I hadnt ducked behind those bushes, I would have walked right into their trap and God knows what they had in store for me once they had me trapped.
I've been reading stories on here for awhile now and figured I'd post my own. I had to get my brother to help recount this as I was 12 at the time (and scared shitless as a result). This happened about 6 years ago, as stated I was about 12 and my brother was 26 at the time. My brother had been serving in the U.S. Army for several years when this happened and was deploying to the Middle East on his 2nd deployment if i remember correctly. Also of note was that he is a Green Beret and had recently (3 or 4 months prior to this trip) completed the Army Special Forces Qualification Course (Robin Sage and all that), and by then was an active duty SF Engineer Sergeant. Definitely not someone you'd want to fuck around with. Given that we both grew up with a passion for the outdoors, he thought it would be nice to take me on a backpacking trip in northern Alabama (the Sipsey Wilderness for those familiar with the area) before he left for 9 months. The trip had gone smoothly up until the 3rd night we were camping out. Around 8pm we had our camp set up, eaten dinner and were sitting by the fire talking about typical boy shit- guns, girls, etc. For some reference, our spot was about 50 yards from a large stream, and about 50 yards downhill adjacent to the large path. Our camp, the stream, and the path formed a triangle of sorts. This was summertime in Alabama, so it wasn't quite dark yet when two guys, who looked to be in their late 20s wandered up and ask if we had seen any hogs while we were hiking around. Given that this is rural Alabama, we actually had seen some farther into the wilderness area and told them so. Even though they were relatively polite (my brother called them "good ole boys") I got a seriously creepy vibe from them-dirty clothes, greasy hair, scraggly facial hair, etc. I think they probably looked like they belonged in the movie "Deliverance." They kinda hung out for a few minutes, maybe a little longer than they should have- looking around, asking us questions like how long we had been out there, how long we were staying, and what looked like them kinda sizing us up. They then abruptly said goodbye and walked away. I didn't necessarily feel threatened by them, and I know for sure my brother didn't, but I still felt uneasy about the whole thing. Fast forward 3 or 4 hours. My brother and I had gone to sleep and were nestled in our tent when I woke to the sound of multiple dogs barking. I've always been a heavy sleeper and they sounded like they were only about 100 yards away. My heart immediately started pounding and I kicked my brother through my sleeping bag and asked if he was awake/had heard the dogs. He responded "I'm awake, they've been getting closer for the past hour or so, just lay still and don't make any sounds." Needless to say, 12 year old me was about to shit my pants. We would also hear sporadic shouts from several different sources but neither came any closer. A few minutes later my brother whispered, "They're just hunting for hogs, they use the dogs to pin them down and then they shoot them." This gave me some relief, but not much. Somehow I managed to fall back asleep. The fact that they were doing this at night was a huge red flag my brother later told me, but I think he was just trying to keep me calm. Fast forward what was probably another 3 hours, around 2am. I had managed to sleep pretty well after first hearing the hog hunters when I woke up to my brother squeezing my shoulder firmly, saying "wake up, put your shoes on quick and follow me, be as quiet as you can." My heart immediately went back to racing because I heard the dogs and voices in the distance, farther away than before but still distinct. Not asking any questions I did what he said and as soon as we were out of the tent he told me to get on his back (this was a breeze for him after rucking with God knows how much weight in the Army). We snuck about 50 yards into the woods towards the junction of the path and the stream and crawled into some bushes. It was up a hill so we had a pretty good elevated view of our campsite. I remember as we were laying there how loudly I was breathing and how quiet he was when I heard the very distinct sound of a pistol slide racking. I looked over and my brother had his pistol (a HK USP that he gave to me a few years after this story took place) and was watching the campsite and surrounding area. I started to whisper to him when he put his hand over my mouth and pointed at the campsite. The group of hunters had been steadily approaching our camp and by this time (30 or so minutes) had reached it. There were 5 of them and like 3 or 4 dogs. They all looked relatively young but two had either rifles or shotguns and the dogs were going crazy, obviously having smelled our scent. For those of you who are backpackers/campers, nobody who comes up on a random camp in the middle of the night with dogs and guns and has good intentions. I knew this, and my brother knew this. I was scared shitless. I couldn't make out what they were saying, but my brother later told me they were talking about us, although he hadn't heard any specifics either. They lingered for about 20 minutes shining flashlights around and talking to themselves when my brother put his mouth to my ear and said "If they come towards I want you to turn and run as quickly as you can, don't stop, don't look back, stay off the trail and look for the flashing lights" (I didn't know what he meant by this but that'll come later). I knew I could make it back because he had taught me 'land nav' pretty well. He then handed me a flashlight and told me not to take the red filter off. He told me later that the red filter helps preserve night vision and cuts down ambient light so it would be harder for someone to see from a distance. At this point I was so scared I almost started crying, but at the same time had a rush of adrenaline and what I think now was confidence that he thought I could handle myself. We laid there for awhile longer when out of nowhere they started screaming "WHERE YALL AT?!?!" and firing into the woods at random. My brother dragged me back behind the crest of the hill and threw himself on top of me. Thankfully our position on top of the hill we were protected from any gunfire. They shot maybe 5 or 6 more times and then started walking back the direction they had come. They got maybe 100 yards away when I heard a blaring siren and saw emergency lights flashing through the woods. Turns out my brother had called the Forest Service Office on a satellite phone my family has for emergencies while I was asleep and they had sent out Forest Service officers and game wardens to our area of the wilderness. The Sipsey Wilderness is about 25,000 acres in size so it took them awhile to get there on the dirt roads. When we saw the game warden truck my brother signalled them with the light and pointed them in the direction the hunters had gone and the guy sped off shining his spotlight through the woods. As soon as they were all gone we went back to our camp, packed up our shit and waited by the path for the game warden to come back, who then gave us a ride in his truck bed back to the main staging area. On the drive back my brother told me how brave I had been and that we would talk about it with our parents the next day if I wanted to. I asked him not to do that because I thought they might never let me go camp again. Creepy rednecks in the woods, lets not meet again, you might get shot next time.