I always hated taking the bus from my dad's house when I was in middle school.
Where he lived is hard to explain..basically there's a highway and on one side you have the Bay lined with affluent water front houses and the other side was cheaper, kinda swampy land.
Mostly woods with trailer parks and run down houses. Rich side/poor side type deal.
We lived on the bay side but the only bus stop nearby was across the highway and down a small dirt road.
It was the end of the line, farthest away from the school busses will go, if you lived any farther you were in another school.
This meant I was the first stop in the mornings as the driver made their way towards school.
To catch the bus I had to walk down the street, cross the highway (one lane each way, not bad) and make my way down this dirt road.
Mind you this was all before 5 am so especially in winter months it was still pitch black out when the bus came.
The old dirt road was kind of creepy, even in daylight. It had that country feel like you were in the middle of nowhere.
I had grown up there and spent a lot of time on family land in alabama as well so it wasn't anything I felt too afraid of,
I just didn't particularly like being there alone in the dark a few mornings every week.
I walked to the bus stop one morning and everything about it seemed wrong. From the time I walked out the front door something seemed off.
I made my way to my bus stop and stood there waiting, not able to shake this creepy vibe. There's no houses around this spot just woods on both sides.
I start hearing something in the woods in the distance behind me. Something moving through the brush, but very slowly. I kept hearing it. Something would move a bit then stop for a while.
At first I thought I was just being paranoid, but I could definitely hear something and my mind was filled with thoughts of what it could be. A snake? No sounds like steps.
A dog? No wouldn't move like that. A pig? Sounds like it's stepping too carefully to be a pig. I kept looking back but it was pitch black and I couldn't see much of anything.
Every time I turned around it seemed to stop for a bit then proceed when I faced the other way.
Whatever It was seemed to be watching me, and it seemed to be getting closer.
I'm really starting to get creeped out. I keep telling myself I'm just being paranoid, it's just a bird or something, Whatever it is will go away etc.
Where is this Damn bus already? Minutes were starting to feel like hours the closer this thing got. It didn't seem far off, just walking one step at a time inching closer.
I felt like a mouse being stalked by a cat.
It suddenly got really quiet. I heard a twig break right behind me. Whatever this was is now just inside the woods directly behind me.
I froze out of fear, fully expecting some wild animal to leap out at me. I kept my back turned, hoping my backpack would help shield me from whatever was about to jump me.
That was when I heard It. Clear as day, absolutely no doubt in my mind what that was anymore. It was a cough. A human cough. A muffled human cough.
I now knew there was a man hiding in the woods directly behind me. It was unmistakable.
Panic sunk in. This has been going on for a while and the noises would stop/start when I would look around.
This person was inching closer to me this whole time and trying to muffle his coughing so I wouldn't hear it. There's NO way this is someone here innocently.
I didn't know what to do. I turned around facing the woods bracing myself to be attacked, still unsure exactly where this person is.
I want to run back to my dad's (heavily armed) house but I'm scared they're waiting for me to turn around to leap out.
Just as I'm about to book it the bus turns on the street, lighting up the area with it's headlights. I stayed facing the woods until I heard the bus door open directly behind me.
I jumped on that bus and hauled it straight to the back seat. I knew it was unlikely someone would follow me on to the bus..
but if they did I was Damn sure getting out that emergency door and to my dads real quick and in a hurry!
I made it all the way to the back before I realized the bus had already driven off and I was safe.
I sat in the back corner of the bus thinking about what had happened the whole way to school but I didn't tell a soul.
I was still in shock that it happened, and didn't want to be embarrassed if people didn't believe me. I don't think I ever rode the bus from that stop again.
Years later I found out that whole area around the dirt road is FILLED with sex offenders and other criminals.
My best guess is that someone had seen me at that stop before and was there waiting for me. Probably a pedophile.
Maybe they hesitated too long? Maybe they were sneaking up too slow? Maybe they panicked after the cough or the bus came too soon?
I'll never know, but it creeps me out to this day knowing someone was watching me and I cringe to think of what could have happened that morning, so close to home.