I woke up today and thought “Yeah, why NOT share my most embarrassing personal story online for potentially anyone to access and read?!” So here we go.
It was the summer of 2011. I was 15 years old in rural western Connecticut. I was in high school living with my two awesome parents and my five siblings on a steep hill surrounded by trees. My grandfather had just given me my first pocket knife, as he heard that I was interested in whittling. I thought I was a hot shit bad boy with that thing! The fact that I was an overweight 15-year-old girl was irrelevant. Add a hand-me-down leather jacket from my mom into the mix, and I was a total bad boy.
The other important information to this story? Nobody is actually cool when they are a teenager.
But my cringe moment? I was obsessed with werewolves, and told everyone that I was one. This always earned an eye roll. My brother STILL teases me for being a furry.
As a werewolf baddie when there was a full moon, I would wait until night time when there weren’t as many bugs out and it was cooler from the hot summer sun, and go on a walk through the woods behind our house down to a beautiful little stream between the hills. I found it a peaceful getaway from a house of eight people. I looked at cool rocks, saw animal tracks in the mud, and listened to the babbling water. Sometimes I would dip my bare feet in the cool running water. It was nice, dammit!
Of course, I took my leather jacket with me to protect from all the thorn bushes – there were A LOT of them – and my pocket knife to cut through certain parts of underbrush or even practice whittling. Being out of the house at night time was enough of a rush for my developing brain, but the pocket knife and jacket really sold it. I took a flashlight too, to see where the heck I was going in the night. Full moon helped, but thick tree coverage didn’t.
So now you have the scene. Young Emi, believing herself to be a werewolf, going on full moon walks to the creek to relax and think that I was super tough.
I went down one night thinking it would be like any other: a chance to be myself and get close to nature. It went great! Up until I went home.
The directions were simple, I lived in the middle of nowhere. Downhill = stream, then go uphill until you see the house lights and bam. Then a tick check and shower.
So I went back up the hill after my little stream meditation.
I saw the house lights, so I pushed through the thorny underbrush until I was close enough to hear voices.
“I saw it too!”
“It’s moving around!”
…And those were not my family’s voices.
This was the wrong house. I was coming up through the woods with a flashlight at the neighbor’s house.
I turned off the flashlight, hoping they would lose interest and leave me so I could alter my path to the right and go up to my house.
“Did you hear that?”
“Are they hiding?”
“I saw something!”
“Should we call the cops?”
My internal dialogue: SHIT you gotta be fuckin kidding me!!!!
But hey, I was a tough guy. I had a jacket, a knife. Should I defend myself?? No, that would be bad. What if they find me? Do I give a fake name? What if I get arrested? Would giving a fake name to a cop get me in more trouble?
My heart was racing, and I decided to hide behind a tree, crouching down, hiding my flashlight and knife until they went back inside. I couldn’t hear much else of what they said. Perhaps the coast was clear?
Then it got worse.
I heard the sound of their ATV revving up.
Yeah, we were country, alright.
At least two ATVs started tearing through the woods in search. I panicked more and stayed hidden, betting my odds on how soon they found me vs if they could get me if I made a dash for it. Who knew if these guys were armed? What would they do with me?
I stood up to make a run for it in the darkness… and was immediately caught in a flood light!
“Hey! What are you doing here?” a man demanded of me. I couldn’t see him, seated behind the bright industrial lights.
“I was just going for a walk and I got turned around!” I raised my hands, almost pissing myself.
“Where’s the rest of you?!” He yelled.
“We saw a bunch of flashlights! Where’s all the other kids you came with!”
Clearly he thought I was a much worse hoodlum than I had thought of myself, coming out in a group to do something spooky, illegal, dangerous or all of the above. Shit man, I wasn’t that cool!
“I came here alone! I’m just on a walk! I live right up there!” I point out in the North where my house lights are.
He looked up then back to me.
“Do your parents know you’re out here?”
“Yes” Hey, I might have been a bad boy, but bad boys love their mamas and tell them when they’re going on a werewolf full moon walk so they know they’re safe.
“Ain’t nobody else out here? We were gonna call the cops!” He still sounded threatening. Like you BETTER not be up to anything or lying to me, young miss.
“I swear, it’s just me!”
“Then get the fuck out of here!”
“Okay!” I was shaking. My heart was racing. I could die of adrenaline. He revved the ATV and I jumped, flicking on my flashlight.
Time to take the quickest route home RIGHT NOW, IMMEDIATELY.
Only problem? It was a thick patch of thorny weeds and vines as high as my chest.
I jumped and tried to push through them, trying SO HARD to not cry from fear and pain. Then I had to swim through these weeds and brush like my life depended on it, because it very well may have!
I booked it for the house, panting and sweating.
Burst into the living room, told my mom everything. She texted the neighbor’s wife, and smoothed the whole thing over. Apparently her husband’s brother was over, and the two had had a few drinks when the kids spotted the flashlight. My mom assured the neighbors it was all just a teenager looking to escape the chaos of my siblings, at night when the summer air cooled off, and the cops were called off!
Another day saved.
I had the best mom ever and was more careful in the future. Now we can all laugh at my cringey werewolf roleplay together!
P.S. Thank you, Amanda, for calling off the cavalry and being understanding. Sorry for the spook.