It was the night before Halloween.
I was a senior in high school. It was one of those nights when my two best friends and I each had told our parents we were sleeping over at one of the friends’ houses. No one expected us home until the next morning. And that’s all I could think about as the shadowy figures came closer and closer.
The streetlights hit the midnight fog, cascading the parking lot in an eerie glow. My best friend, Kitty, was the first to notice the three tall figures in the shadows. My natural inclination was to run. But our other friend, Legs, recently had shattered her femur playing volleyball and was in a cast. We wouldn’t be running anywhere.
At first, the figures looked like ghoulish apparitions. When they were right behind us, we could see what had made them look obscure in the distance. The three men were wearing black pants, black shoes, black hoodies and black gloves and had covered their faces with masks like the one worn by the killers in the “Scream” movies.
The men stayed on our tails, remaining 10 steps behind us as we power-walked through the parking lot.
“What do we do?” Kitty asked. But there was nothing we could do. Legs could only walk so fast in her cast. So we just kept powering forward, cursing our own stupidity.
We came up to a parked car in a nearly empty lot. Legs and I went around to the right of the vehicle. Kitty went around to the left. Once Kitty was isolated, the three masked men charged her.
Kitty screamed. She ran around the car, threw Legs to the ground, elbowed past me and kept running, smack into a tree.
I helped Legs stand, and we hobbled over to Kitty. We immediately found ourselves pressed against the tree, with Kitty by the “Scream” guys.
The men took our purses. No problem. But when they started to grab at our bodies, Kitty began screaming, “Who are you?”
The ringleader of the masked men said, “Kitty from Locust Street! No way! This is crazy!” the masked ringleader laughed. He slapped his hands together and removed his mask: “It’s me! Chuck.”
Kitty explained to us later that Chuck had been her next-door neighbor before she moved to my neighborhood a few years earlier.
“So, how’s your mom?” Chuck asked.
And that is how I was almost mugged the night before Halloween.
As the three men walked away, Chuck called out, “Really nice running into you, Kitty. Tell your mom I say hi.”