Serial killers have both fascinated me as well as (more so) scared the crap out of me. However, I find it fully comforting that I can read the gruesome tales about a serial killer from a Wikipedia page, and then close it and go about my day with not a worry in my head.
But imagine running into an actual serial killer? The mere thought of it sends a shiver down my spine.
For Redditor whitneycat, this was more than just a thought; It actually happened.
The Escape from the Railroad Killer
I posted this a while ago in the Let's Not Meet sub, and someone suggested you guys might enjoy it too. This is one of the two scariest things that ever happened to me.
I was 19, staying late at the college darkroom to develop some film for my photography class. The photography building (once a tobacco warehouse) was a dark, rickety hulk near some lonely railroad tracks in a little-traveled part of campus.
I finished developing my film close to midnight and headed out, nervous as always to be alone at night in this deserted part of town. It was dark; several of the streetlights around the parking lot were out, and the few that remained were phoning it in, putting out a weak flickery light that did nothing to reassure me as I headed toward my car.
I heard him before I saw him, a scrape of feet on asphalt. He said, "Hey, can you do me a favor?" I startled and dropped my keys, and he mumbled an apology for scaring me. I noticed he was wearing a jogging suit and limping. "What do you need?" I said. He hobbled a step or two toward me. "I think I sprained my ankle. Could you take me to the ER?" The university hospital was a short distance down the road.
I hesitated. The guy looked perfectly pleasant, and he did seem to be in pain. But I'd recently finished a book about serial killer Ted Bundy, who lured some of his victims by pretending to have a broken arm and asking for their help carrying books to his car. When they leaned over to put his stuff in the passenger seat of his VW bug, he knocked them unconscious with a crowbar and stuffed them inside. This scene played across my mind as I looked at the guy. It also occurred to me to wonder why the hell anyone would want to jog in this creepy part of town.
"I'm sorry, I can't do that. But I could call somebody for you. There's a phone in the photography building there."
"There's nobody to call. I just moved here, I don't really know anybody. Can't you just drive me? It's right down Limestone Avenue." He leaned against a car and winced as he reached down to rub at his ankle.
"I'll call you an ambulance," I offered.
"No! I can't afford that, I don't have health insurance. Can you just drive me? I'll pay you twenty bucks."
There was something in the way he said this last bit, something...wrong. Like that exercise in my acting class, where we had to recite "Mary Had a Little Lamb" as though we were delivering a tragic monologue or a furious rant. There was a tone rising up that didn't quite match the words he was saying, a raw urgency that reached down inside me and hit the panic button hard. There was a moment of silence.
"I can't help you," I said. "I'm leaving." I gripped my keys, thinking I might be able to use them as a weapon if he came at me. I kept my eyes on him as I speed-walked the last few feet to my car. He watched me drive away, still leaning against that car, a flat expression on his face.
Away from the dark parking lot, driving through campus with my music turned up, the fear faded. I started to feel a little guilty for leaving the guy there, although I knew I'd done what my mom and dad would have wanted me to do. I was about to turn into my dorm parking lot when I realized I needed to pick up some stuff for breakfast the next morning, so I turned around and headed back in the direction I'd come. About a minute down the road, my stomach clenched. There was the guy in the jogging suit, running along the sidewalk. His ankle was perfectly fine.
Later that summer, two students at my college were attacked by those same railroad tracks; the girl survived, but her boyfriend died. The man who attacked them was a serial killer dubbed the Railroad Killer by police--his real name was Angel Resendiz. He murdered dozens of people across several states, many of them near railroad tracks. I didn't see his mug shot on TV until years later, but the picture broke me out in the same icy sweat I felt when I saw that guy running down the street. I can't be 100% positive, but my gut tells me I escaped a serial killer that night.
Whoa! Is anybody else freaking out? I clearly remember reading up on the monster of a man that was Ángel Maturino Reséndiz and why he received the moniker "The Railroad Killer."
I suppose the best thing is to take this as a lesson from someone who most definitely escaped a serial killer. Don't ignore them; listen to your instincts, and you can most certainly save your life.