What if your life suddenly became a slasher movie? My life isn’t a slasher movie, but while I was living in Inglewood, California I did have a slasher movie moment including a terrifying shower scene, the power being cut, someone unseen walking through the halls, and an escaped killer on the loose. Life is more bizarre than fiction, and I have certainly found that to be true. Even though it was only two hours of my life and I obviously survived, it doesn’t make it any less creepy and straight out of a horror movie, and here it is, my slasher movie moment.
I lived in Inglewood, California when I was 22 and 23. It was a three bedroom condo that was very LA. I had two roommates: Marissa, another ravishing redhead (I mean seriously, tall, ridiculously thin yet with subtle curves, total model material) who was two years younger than me and Marcus who owned the condo (and was about ten years older than me). For the most part I have good memories of the condo. Marissa was nice and Marcus was harmless (a gay flight attendant who was kind of high maintenance but he was almost always traveling). Every now and then there were tiny spats like who ate my x, or it was X’s turn to clean the bathroom, but just the occasional small, and as far as roommates go, usual stuff.
I had been living there for six months when it happened. I was home alone in the condo and had plans to go on a date later, so I was getting ready. Marcus was out of state (as usual) and Marissa was in San Diego, where she worked as a stripper. She told me not to expect her until the next day. It was four in the afternoon, and I wanted to hurry and take a shower because my hair, being long, unruly curls meant it took a long time to dry. My date was picking me up at 6:30pm.
I am not a panicky person, but my past has kept me alert always. I checked the front door before I started the water, to make sure it was secure. The deadbolt was in place, the knob was locked and the chain was in place. Even though it was quiet and still light out, I still felt uneasy. I chalked it up to pre-date jitters and hurried to the bathroom.
Fifteen minutes later, while I was finishing up with my hair I thought I heard something. I wasn’t sure, so I paused and poked my head out of the shower curtain, waiting. And there it was again.
“Hello?” I called, trying to sound steady. I scanned the small bathroom for a weapon, while telling myself I was being ridiculous and to chill out. My heart pounded so fast in my chest it drowned out the sound of the water that was still running. I shut the water off, and tried to focus on the sounds I could hear, which weren’t much. There was the unmistakable sound of footsteps in the hallway, outside the bathroom door and a little to the left. I may be deaf, but just like the mom who can lift a car to save her children, my adrenaline leant me powers of hearing so precise it could have been bat sonar. Nothing.
I tried to take a deep breath, but couldn’t relax so instead I just tried to hurry up and finish my hair. A few minutes later as I was rinsing off, there it was again. Someone was in the hallway and by the sound of the footsteps it was a man, nearly double my weight, who was trying to be stealthy and failing miserably. The guy was in front of my bedroom, which was a few feet down the hall from the bathroom door. I wasn’t sure if I should call out again or pretend like no one was home.
I still wasn’t done with my shower, but threw on an oversized T-shirt so if I had to make a break for it, I wouldn’t become a public spectacle. The only thing I could find that made sense as a weapon was Marissa’s curling iron. I didn’t have my phone and I couldn’t just camp out in the bathroom waiting for whoever was out there to leave, because I still had doubts nagging at my brain, telling me I was just scaring myself for no good reason. The place had been quiet for a few minutes, so I took a breath and opened the door, walking quickly and with a purpose to the front door. When I got there I stopped, it was still locked, deadbolted and the chain was still in place. We were on the third floor and there was no balcony. So, how could someone have gotten inside?
All of my muscles were still tight, nerves humming, ready to react. I opened the door and took one step out into the hallway. The hallway was empty and nothing had been dropped off outside our door. I shook my head, both incredibly creeped out and angry with myself. But working as a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victim Advocate before I moved to California taught me people were capable of crazy things, and my own experiences taught me that while I could get scared or paranoid at times, my survival instinct was top notch. So, I checked the entire condo out, but swapped the curling iron out for a steak knife from the kitchen. I also started cursing myself for not getting a taser.
The condo was small and I searched the common areas, Marissa’s room (she didn’t have a closet) and then my room and closet, and last Marcus’s which was at the end of the hall. Nothing seemed out of place or disturbed, so I grabbed my cell phone and went back to the bathroom. I still needed to finish rinsing myself off. Back in the bathroom, I locked the bathroom door, and left the shower curtain partially open, not caring about the floor being wet. Even though I was rinsing my hair and washing my body, my eyes never left the door.
I finished my hair and was just finishing up when I heard the noise again. This time the footsteps walked right past the bathroom door. I clutched the shower curtain, trying to figure out what to do when suddenly there was a loud crash and then the power cut out. I was surrounded by pitch blackness (there wasn’t a window in the bathroom). I slowed my breathing and time went in slow motion. I shut off the water and slowly made my way out of the tub. I counted the steps it took to reach the bathroom counter, and felt for my phone. Once I grasped it, I hit the home button so it lit up the bathroom slightly. I kept the phone on the counter and kept hitting the button once it went off, while I dried myself off with one hand and held the knife in the other. Once I was dry, I put on jeans and a shirt the same way.
The lights still had not come back on, but again the place was quiet. As soon as I opened the bathroom door I bolted to the front door and as soon as it was open dropped my knife, leaving it inside because I didn’t want to run through the halls of the condo building holding a sharp object. I took the stairs and was outside in under thirty seconds. Catching my breath, I saw a lot of people outside looking past my building, across the street. I went over to the crowd and asked, “What’s going on?”
“Some idiot crashed into the power line across the way,” came the response. I looked over and sure enough saw a car had smashed into the power line and knocked it over. It was hard to see at first because four police cruisers were partially blocking it from view. That must have been the crash I heard, I realized and started to relax a little. The entire crowd was muttering about the man who crashed, and when the power would be back on. Supposedly the guy was just out of prison (one story was he had escaped from prison) and he had stolen the car he crashed.
I felt kind of sick, realizing that the lights would be out for awhile, but also felt better that I knew what had happened and it had happened outside of my condo. I went back upstairs to the condo, locked and chained the door again, and made sure all of the curtains were open. It was still incredibly sunny out and that served as enough light for the time being. I was sure it would be fine until my date actually picked me up. I went back to the bathroom to get ready, but had to leave the door open because there was nothing I could use for a light (we didn’t have any candles) and I couldn’t get ready in that kind of darkness.
As I was doing my hair, I felt that creep factor again. I felt like Jennifer Love Hewitt as she is drying her hair and Ben Willis walks by in the other room. She can’t hear him, but some kind of survival instinct causes her to react instantly and look up.
I kept darting nervous looks to the hallway – there were even a few times I totally did the ‘quick look around’ and the place was quiet, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t alone. Then I heard it again, footsteps, and then a shadow loomed in front of the bathroom door and I knew someone had just entered the condo and judging by his shadow he was in front of Marissa’s room, which also meant he was blocking the entrance. I grabbed the curling iron (I returned the steak knife to the kitchen earlier) and quickly jumped out into the hallway, ready to strike, when…
“Whoa, Michael – it’s me!”
“What the hell are you doing here, Alex?” To be fair, I still considered clocking him with the curling iron. I didn’t like him, and he had scared the shit out of me.
“I- I- I…” He stuttered.
“Were you in here earlier, before the power went out?”
He avoided my eyes. And I kind of wanted to throttle him. He nodded.
Alex was Marcus’s best friend, even though half the time they couldn’t seem to stand each other. But they were both too lazy to actually be frenemies. Marissa and I tolerated Alex, sometimes we got along, but most of the time he was this annoying fourth roommate who told us how he could take better care of our boyfriends and constantly judged our every comment and action, as if we asked. I think I disliked him more than Marissa though, because he was always eating my food or leftovers from when I would go out or from a date. Marissa didn’t have this problem because all she ate was tofu (no joke, she was the first hardcore Vegan I ever encountered).
“You’re not supposed to be here unless you clear it with Marcus,” I said sharply. “And he’s gone, so why are you here?”
He was bored or just wanted to come over or some other stupid reason and I told him to leave. I warned him if he ever came over again when I was home alone again, I would pop a testicle and ask questions later.
After he left I felt instantly better, and hoped for once that my date was kind of dull. I had more than enough excitement for one day, and I didn’t want any other surprises.
I am happy to report that that is the only time when life imitated the ‘art’ of slasher films. And I think it was enough. I covered all the bases: a criminal on the loose, lights out, a creep skulking around in the shadows and a shower scene. Here is to never having another real-life horror movie moment again! But I am curious – has anyone else ever experienced their own slasher movie moment? I would love to hear about it! 🙂