I was about 14 years old. Â I used to babysit the kids who lived across the creek from me. The creek was large enough that I had to canoe across it, maybe 40 feet wide and about 6 to 7 feet deep. Â I babysat these kids regularly, sometimes as late at 2:00 a.m. Â I’d paddle over in the daylight, and I’d paddle back in the darkness.
I then made the poor choice of riding my bike to the neighborhood theater with my friend and watching FRIDAY THE 13TH. Â Yes, we were underage, but it was the neighborhood theater and we knew all the ins and outs of sneaking in to R-rated movies.
The movie horrified me. But it didn’t really connect with me until that final scene where Jason comes out of the lake and pulls the lone survivor in. Â That was it. Â I was traumatized for life.
The next weekend I had to paddle over to watch those children. Â The trip over was fine, in a sense. Â It was daylight, but I still had Jason in the back of my mind. Â I somehow convinced myself I would be able to paddle back without any issues.
1:30 a.m. approached and the parents came home. Â It was time for me to go back to my home… in the canoe.
I walked to the canoe that was tied to the bank. Â I looked to the black water. Â I didn’t want to go out there. Â I was terrified. Â My senses were at full alert. Â I could see the silhouette of my house. Â The window to my parents bedroom was dimly lit as my parents always fell asleep with the T.V. on. Â I hoped they would randomly look out the window to watch me, as if that could help.
I slowly crawled into the canoe. Â I untied the rope and grabbed my paddle. Â I stuck it in the water very slowly, and gently pulled myself through the water trying not to attract any attention. Â I was half way to the dock. Â Ripples of water projected from the paddle due to my hands shaking. Â I was almost there.
I then heard a thud and felt something hit the canoe. Â I was in tears. I looked into the water and saw a round black mass floating next to me. It was somebody’s head. Â I was almost sure it was somebody’s head.
I poked it with the paddle and it just bobbed in the water. Â I jabbed the paddle into the water and began to paddle home as fast as my arms could move. Â I was frantic. Â I pulled the canoe close enough to the dock for me to jump from the canoe. Â I ran for the back door. Â I didn’t even tie the canoe up as it floated back out to water.
I made it into my house. Â I was still alive. Â I went straight to my bedroom and sat on my bed, wiping my eyes, trying to regain control of my breathing.
The next day I used the rowboat to search for the canoe that had floated away. Â I found it resting under some trees about one hundred yards away. After that I had my parents drive me to my babysitting jobs, or rode my bike until I was old enough to drive. Â I never got back in that water after dark. Â My nights of camping out on the dock with my fishing pole were over. Â FRIDAY THE 13TH had ruined me.
Oh, and that head… it was a large piece of firewood that had slipped off of a neighbor’s dock.
UNK SEZ: Stutz, thank you so much for this beautifully written TRAUMAFESSION! I gotta say it kinda gives me the creeps. It reminds me of all the times I thought I heard a noise in the house or thought somebody was following me in the street, all the times my brain wickedly decided to erase the line between real life and all the movies I’ve seen and the books that I’ve read. Just remember, decapitated heads that turn into driftwood are fine, it’s driftwood that turns into decapitated heads that you have to watch out for!
UPDATE: Check out Stutz’s blog THE MONDAY REPORT!
Excellent story! This is precisely the reason why it’s been years since I’ve dared go back to Camp Crystal Lake of the Giant Skull.
It does seem that the man in the canoe pictured had apt time to steer away from that giant looming skull in the lake. Whatever happens to him now can only be blamed on his slow decision making skills.
Um yeah, I don’t remember the loghead being that big.Â But, it probably felt like it at the time.
Stutz, I may have gone a little overboard with my illustration but I was inspired by your incredible descriptive literary powers!
This is one of the scariest stories I have ever heard. It sort of reminds me of the time I was visiting a friend who lived in upstate New York and went to a baby-sitting gig with her. The kiddies were asleep so we watched THE SHINING. When the parents got home at 10 or 11 o’clock we had to walk back to her house in the dark – in the snow. All we could think about was Jack Nicholson popping out of the bushes with an axe!
Doesn’t it make you look back at your youth and ask yourself: “What the phuck was WRONG with grown-ups in the ’80s????????????” Don’t you think either our folks or the people we had just babysat for should have driven our teenage asses HOME at the end of the night???? No, they paid us our three bucks an hour and then sent us home in the pitch black storm on foot or pitch black water in a rickety old canoe! I’m sure that sh!t wouldn’t “float” today!Â