Talk to Me

Talk to Me


I was walking alone in the woods one night when a voice called out to me from behind a tree.

“Hello. Talk to me.”

The sound of another person in that particular stretch of nothingness startled me. That’s an understatement, actually. I nearly jumped out of my fucking skin. It was late, past midnight kind of late, and I was miles outside of the nearest town. So I kept it moving.

But the footsteps followed.

“Talk to me.”

I didn’t want to run. That’s one thing I’ve learned from years of dealing with crazy strangers in the city. You don’t want to look scared. You never want to appear bothered by them at all. Because that’s the one thing they want, right, a reaction? A reaction keeps them interested, involved, a part of the conversation. My trick has always been avoidance. Complete and total disregard. And it paid off for me up until that point.

So I didn’t run. I walked at a steadily increasing pace.

But the stranger still followed.

“Talk to me.”

Something about the owner of that creepy little voice sank below my surface level knowledge – beyond the obvious and aforementioned setting and circumstances. It felt like it triggered something primal. Almost like the healthy cows avoiding the sick ones in the pen. Every fiber in my being told me that the owner of that nasally little whine needed to be kept away, far away, avoided at all costs. He was a sick cow. Sick in ways my body couldn’t quite understand. But sick in ways that could hurt us.

I wanted to run. I wanted to sprint. I wanted to get the fuck away from there as fast as humanly possible.

But the quicker I walked, the quicker the footsteps followed, confirming my suspicions.

He got his reaction.

“Talk to me.”

He sounded angrier, so I increased my pace.

“Talk to me.”

He didn’t like that.

“Talk to ME.”

He was agitated. Crazy people hated to be agitated. I knew that much. I knew I had to get away. But there was nowhere to get away to. Better to keep him calm. Better to not appear agitated. I slowed down.

“Talk to me.”

I still couldn’t see him. It’s not like there were any fucking lights out there. I kept a helmet light, of course, readily attached to match my neon clothing that might as well have been a bullseye. But I wasn’t about to shine the light on the face of whoever or whatever the fuck was following me. I didn’t think I could handle that shock.

“Talk to me.”

The footsteps rustled the path as he moved. He was closer.

“Talk to me.”

“Talk to me.”

“TALK TO ME.”

Look, I don’t know how to say this without coming across as a cocky jerk. But I’m a big guy. I can defend myself. I’m not some poor defenseless victim. Part of the reason for me walking alone in the woods, in the middle of the night, is because I believed my experience and hip attached hatchet would protect me. So it is with the utmost arrogance, regrettably, that I finally answered my stalker with a resoundingly confident.

“Go fuck yourself.”

He didn’t like that.

Not one bit.

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I wanted to eat them back. The pair of feet behind me hit the path in a second. I was sprinting before I knew if he was sprinting. I couldn’t see him. I could only hear him. The path was narrowing. I needed to keep my eyes on the ground to avoid the roots and stumps and trees and branches. All the while, the voice, that God awful voice, screeched his sermon, over and over, relentlessly and breathlessly in a shrill tone that threatened to shatter my eardrums the closer it got.

“Taaaaalktometalktome. Talktometalktome. Ohhhh you’re gonna talk to me.”

A fork came up ahead. Path A led to a high school. Path B led to nowhere. I took the former.

I could feel his breath behind me. The voice always had such a sing-song quality to it before, like a parent chiding a toddler. Now it was guttural, like a heavy metal band working out a new singer.

“Talk to me. Talk to me, talk to me. Ohhhh get over here, pretty boy, you’re gonna talk to me.”

With that last bit, two massive arms tackled me to the ground.

We struggled for a few minutes. I got up and tossed him off me. That was when I saw the wolf mask. I struggled for my hatchet. I thought I had a chance. But there wasn’t enough time. Do you know the funny thing about being stabbed? You never feel the pain. At least not in my case.

*

I woke up in a hospital bed this morning.

A nurse told me that somebody called the ambulance on an anonymous tip. They found me outside the local high school, about twenty miles from where the attack happened. I would have bled out if they didn’t.

There were bite marks all over my legs and arms.

The doctors took my clothes off while treating me and it took a while to get them back. When I did, I pulled my wallet out the front pocket, looking for the insurance card. Instead I found a note taped to the front fold. It has since been turned over to the local police.

“Please talk to me.”