My great grandmother lived in a small town right smack dab between Fresno and Bakersfield, and a few miles away from the town was a prison,
so the inhabitants of the small town ran the gambit from sweet elderly people who missed their grandchildren, people who have chosen farmer as their career, and then you had the ex-cons.
But she lived very close to a lot of cool stuff, like the mountains being my favorite thing she lived pretty close to.
So, often, I'd stay with her, making sure she was okay as she lived alone, and after spending a day with her, I'd then flock to the mountains.
I made sure to stop by after to see how she was doing again, which she never minded, because she never remembered my last trip to see her.
I had wanted to take a trip with my girlfriends up to the mountains where my great grandmother lived by, but there'd be boys.
My mother was a rape survivor and was nearly murdered by him, but she seemed okay with me going as long as I called her when I got to my great grandmother's, before I left for the mountains,
before I left for my great grandmother's again, when I got back to my great grandmother's house, and before I left to come home.
A lot of calls, but hey, it could have been worse, my mother could have said no. Like my daddy. He just said no, that he didn't trust the boys who were going up to the mountains.
Even my grandfather didn't want me going.
My grandfather had been a rock star and a drug addict, who even now as a lawyer kept his long hair that was carefully tousled and held in place by some alchemical hair product,
and was afraid that'd he'd been a bad influence on me and would lead me to do some shit I'd regret, like how he was with my mother.
She'd never touch marijuana before she met my grandfather, and the only time I've seen her not around the stuff was when she was pregnant with my little sister. But she didn't regret it.
My mother had a talk with the both of them,
and she seemed to get through to the both of them - there was a long running joke in my family that my mother was not only married to my father but to my grandfather as well.
He sure treated her like a wife - in a non-sexual or romantic way! So, I was off to the small town.
I stopped in a large town to do some shopping as my little sister's birthday wasn't too far off. When I got back into the car, I noticed that I had spent way more time shopping than I had hoped.
I got back on the road and called my mother to let her know why I'd be calling so late.
My mother and father both seemed pleased I was taking an extra step in my responsibility, and it made me feel good.
Ah, to be sixteen again, right?
I turned on the radio and listened to the song's bass groan out of the speakers, and before I knew it,
I had pulled into the small town and pulled into the local Taco Bell that was a block away from my great grandmother's house.
I texted my mother a picture of where I was to let her know a call would be coming her way sooner rather than later.
She texted back saying eat first then call - I did take after my daddy in that regard, always getting short tempered when I lacked food in my belly.
I entered my great grandmother's house, it was dark, normally she had every single light on except the guest room and bathroom light on.
I saw at the end of the hallway the blue light from the TV was glowing in her bedroom, and figured she had gone to bed on the early side.
After I got done eating, I stepped into the backyard to call my mother.
We chatted about the drive and what I had gotten for my sister, then we said good night and she told me to have a safe trip to the mountains tomorrow and that her and daddy loved me.
I close and lock the back door, and go to the hallway, so I can go to the guest room where I'd be sleeping; but in the doorframe of my grandmother's room was a tall man,
face covered with a pillow case. I run back to the backyard and tuck myself into my grandmother's shed.
I could hear him inside, it sounded like he was a cat on a three in the morning run, with the exception that it sounded like he was breaking furniture and screaming.
But I was more concerned with calling 911.
The woman dispatches a car and some back up to my grandmother's house, but the woman asked me to describe the man, and I would never forget him, I still haven't forgotten that shit-heel.
I explained everything from what he was wearing to the pillow case mask.
The woman then tells me to stay where I am and that she'll be sending back up.
It turns out, they knew exactly who had broken into my grandmother's home, a convicted murderer had escaped, and when he had done this in the past, he wore the pillow case of his latest victim.
He strangled people and took their pillow cases.
Needless to say, I didn't go to the mountains the next morning.