When I was 4 we lived in a house next to a large field. At the back of the field was a small house enclosed by a white picket fence.
The walkway to our house continued on to that little house, but my mom always told me to stay away from it.
One day I was drawing on the paving stones of the walkway with chalk, and the chalk rolled downhill toward the gate of that fence. I remember being reluctant to go after it, but I did anyway.
The chalk was just on the other side of the gate. I reached my arm up under the gate to snatch up the chalk. I already felt bad, because I was disobeying my mom. I could feel eyes on me.
I looked up to see our neighbor glaring at me from his front window. He was bald with a scraggily black beard. I saw the glint of metal in his hand, and I abandoned the chalk to run in my house.
I didn't tell my mom.
Not a week later a SWAT team stormed that little house to arrest that man. I can remember the sound of the officers running right past our house.
I was on our porch, and when they came through my mom jerked me back inside.
Once the man was in custody the officers milled about. One of them came to our house to speak with my mom. I was in the other room, but I could hear clearly.
The officer asked if the man had ever interacted with me. My mom told him no. The officer revealed the man was on the run. He'd murdered a little girl about my age one state over from us.
We moved right after that to a house with its own fenced in area.