I was never much afraid of anything. An avid hiker, a championship swimmer, and I even went sky-diving once. But I was never as terrified as I was when someone decided to terrorize me in my home two years ago.
I’ll never forget the first night it happened. It was a Sunday. My parents took off to England that afternoon to visit my elderly grandmother who still lived there. Since they’d be gone a week and a half, and I had a new job that I couldn’t take time off of yet, I was to stay home and look after the house. I was just out of college a few months prior, and still living at home while I saved up for a place of my own.
The property my parents lived on was fairly isolated. It had a long, winding driveway that extended about a half-mile from the road. Our nearest neighbor was probably 2 miles away. In the living room, the couch was right under a big bay window, and that’s where I found myself on this particular night.
I was flipping through channels on my parents’ 55 inch TV while sipping wine. Glancing through the texts on my phone, it was a quiet night. Just one text from my boss, “Maggie, can you be at work at 8:30 tomorrow instead of 9?”. The answer of course, was yes.
I must have dozed off and woke up around midnight. I clicked off the TV and too lazy to go upstairs to my bedroom, I turned back over on the couch and went back to sleep.
I woke up suddenly at 3:32 AM, a loud noise jolting me out of a sound sleep. It took me about 15 seconds to process that someone was at the window, directly above me, pounding on the glass repeatedly. My blood ran cold and I felt my heart beat in my throat.
The window was positioned in such a way that while it was right above the couch, someone looking in shouldn’t be able to see me without lights or unless I moved. I stayed completely still as the pounding continued. I was so terrified, I didn’t even want to use my phone because I didn’t want whoever was out there to see the light.
After about 2 minutes of pounding on the glasses, tears in my eyes, the terror grew to an unimaginable level when I heard a second person pounding on the front door. The front door was on the same wall as the bay window, just down the house in the room next to the living room. It took everything in me not to scream, but at the same time I don’t think I could have screamed even if I tried.
This went on for 45 minutes until about 4:15 when the bangs abruptly stopped. I had so much adrenaline running through my body, I couldn’t bring myself to even look at my phone until daylight, which came around 7. This was winter in northern Michigan and this was private property. There was no reason anyone should have been outside in freezing temperatures pounding on my parents’ window.
Thankfully my parents’ garage is connected directly to our house, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have gone to work. As I backed out of the garage, everything looked completely normal. It had been too cold to snow in the past week, so there were no footprints.
I tried to rationalize what happened all day at work. I absent-mindedly answered the phone, made copies, and tried to pinpoint who could have been out there.
It wasn’t my parents, as they alerted me that day that they had landed safely in London. Besides that fact, they of course had keys. All of my friends were out of town that I knew of, and none of them are the type to do that.
I really didn’t want to go back to the house alone that night after work. But by the time I had picked up some Chinese take-out, gotten home, locked all the doors and checked twice, and poured myself a big glass of wine, I was calming down a little. I told myself it must have been a fluke. Some idiots messing around drunk. It didn’t make any sense why drunk people would be on our property in the middle of the night, but who knows? Maybe it was someone attempting to be funny, and failing miserably.
I drew the curtains and kept the TV on all night this time. But come about 2:10 AM, I knew what had happened had not been a fluke, because it happened again. Pounding on the same window. For about half a minute. Then pounding at the front door. Carefully, this time I picked up my phone and dialed 911.
It wasn’t until about 2:45 that the police showed up, and the knocking had ceased about 15 minutes prior. I begged them to look around the property, which they did. This is the part where I wish I could tell you they found some dumb teenagers, out in the woods not wanting to get caught smoking by their parents, who wanted to scare the shit out of a young woman by herself. But they didn’t. They found no sign of anyone.
The next day, I had a very awkward conversation with a male co-worker of mine. I knew that Jeff was single and had a place in the city. I let him in on what was going on and he was genuinely concerned.
“I hate to ask this of you,” I said, hands trembling. “But do you think you could stay over?”
Jeff showed up at about 8 PM with some snacks. We ended up talking until 1 AM then falling asleep, on separate couches in the living room. Nothing happened.
And Jeff stayed with me for the next 3 nights, and nothing happened. I bought him lunch on Friday at work for all his trouble.
By then, my parents were due back in town the following Sunday, late. I was starting, if you can believe it, to feel slightly better. Then it happened again.
1:37 AM, pounding on the bay window in the living room. By this time, I was not only afraid, but so livid. I pushed the fear aside and let the anger do the talking. I screamed, at the top of my lungs: “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT FROM ME?! GET THE HELL OFF MY PROPERTY OR I WILL BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF! I’M ARMED!” Honestly, I was not armed, but as angry as I felt, I wanted to fight off whoever was out there.
I thought for just a moment that was it, but not 3 minutes of silence passed, and there was pounding on both the glass and the front door. Then someone started banging on the side of the house.
That’s when I realized, whoever was out there was trying to terrify me. This was not simply some dumb kids having a laugh. This was a psycho, or group of psychos that knew I was alone and knew I was terrified.
Hiking some of the most treacherous trails Michigan had to offer, nor swimming across the lake every year for swim team in college, nor jumping out of a plane, the earth getting closer and closer could not have prepared me for the fear I felt that week.
The day my parents got back, my dad went into the city and bought 2 motion lights, and had surveillance cameras installed at the front and back of the house. Later that month, he bought a gun. I rest easy now, knowing that these things exist, but I will never forget the feeling of utter terror I experienced that night.
That was 2 years ago and since then there has been no incident. I moved to the city in a small apartment, surrounded by neighbors and noise. Who terrorized me on those string of nights remains a mystery. They say that the only thing to fear is fear itself, but right now my biggest fear is not knowing.