"I was a bank teller when I was in my early 20s. In NYC, the tellers are behind 'glass' walls and separated from the lobby. It was a normal day, and as I glanced over at the queue, one guy caught my eye. He wasn't a regular customer; he was dressed normally, but there was something about him that got my attention. I remember thinking he was probably a bank robber, so I took a mental note of his clothing and I tried to stall the customer at my window because I didn't want to help the robber. Naturally, my customer walked away and the robber came to me. He passed me a note and a paper bag. The note said 'Give me all the 50s and 100s and no tricks or I will shoot' but didn't show a weapon.
The way it worked in my bank was that the 'glass' started about mid-chest height, maybe four feet off the ground, so that if someone had a weapon they would have to raise it up over the counter for the teller (and everyone else) to see it, and couldn't intimidate us with the ol' finger-weapon in the pocket move.
The rule was that if they had a visible weapon then to just hand them the cash and nobody gets hurt. (The cash in that situation would also include a packet of exploding red dye that would detonate once it passed through the door to outside. If there was no visible weapon we were supposed to say a code word and then duck down under the counter and press the silent alarm. The dummy I sat next to started laughing and asking why in the world was I on the floor, and all I could do was say the code word and mash the alarm. The robber got spooked and ran out empty-handed.
I don't know what it was about the guy that told me he was a robber. He was giving off subtle clues, possibly body language, but I saw him for just a couple of seconds and I knew what he was up to."
"A couple friends and I met a cute guy at an anime convention in Chicago that we attend every year. Nothing too crazy became of the friendship, but my friend and the guy flirted a bit and hung out one-on-one a couple times. I'm not sure how seriously she considered pursuing him. But one year when we saw him there, he was acting funny. Pretended he didn't know us, straight up lied and said he didn't know our names. But he also kind of smirked when he said it. I knew he was messing with us. I can't describe it, but I got this bad feeling about him because he was acting like a guy I knew in high school who was a bit of a sociopath, who'd lie and mess with people just to see the reaction. The guy from high school tried to kill his guinea pigs when he didn't feel like putting them up for adoption. He was a scumbag, but he was a scumbag with a very particular way of talking and acting, and this convention dude was just like him in some of those ways.
So, as it turns out, my feelings of distrust and caution were right. A few months later, the dude was arrested for kidnapping his girlfriend and torturing her in his apartment for two months. He was caught and charged with attempted murder."
"My mom woke up screaming on the morning of 9/11. My dad was up, as usual, getting ready to go to work -- he worked on Wall Street. My mom told him he needed to call in sick because she had a bad feeling that something was going to happen if he went in. I think we all thought that just meant he was going to get fired or something. My dad and I are both rational and tend to scoff at stuff like that, so he kept getting ready and eating breakfast, as usual, to catch his train. My brother managed to oversleep, meaning someone had to drive him. My mom leaped at the opportunity to make my dad drive him to school, meaning he'd have to catch the next train out. He watched the towers fall from Hoboken, right across the water. If he had taken the earlier train, like he wanted to, he would have been in the building as it came crashing down.
I asked my brother about it years later, whether he remembered oversleeping that morning. He told me that he had almost forgotten how mad he was that morning at my mom. While my dad and I were eating breakfast, she had gone to my brother's room and told him to sleep in. Didn't stop her from screaming her head off at him when she finally did go wake him up."
"We were 15 years old, my friend and I went to shoot hoops near this massive church that had a park. We are happily playing around on the court. I remember shooting the ball, missing and the sound of it bouncing away. My friend and I looked at each other, and we both felt it. This sudden sinking/nervous feeling. It was quiet. No one was around.
This car comes cruising into the car parking lot next to the court and just sits there. We can see two men in the car. We try to ignore them and keep playing. After maybe five minutes, the passenger side door opens and this guy stands up and calls out, 'Come here for a second.' My friend looks at me and I look at him. We know this wasn't good, something was wrong. He picks up the ball and starts walking away.
The guy in the car yells, 'Hey! Come here! I've got something that you might like!' We walk faster, heading past the church. He gets back in the car and it continues to cruise toward us, this time faster.
Just as we drop the ball and run, the side door of the church swings open and about 20 to 25 middle-aged blokes come walking out. All laughing and chatting away. The car slams on the brakes. One of these guys looks at us and looks at the car and says, 'You boys ok?' The car calmly turns around and cruises away.
The men who came out of the church were a men's choir who had been practicing for some competition.
At first, I thought the guys in the car were just going to bash us or rob us. But when I was older and telling a friend he said, 'Pretty sure you avoided being kidnapped mate.' Sent a chill down my spine."
"When I was 12 years old, my sister and I went to visit our father for the summer. We were supposed to return home to the other side of the country in August. He decided not to take us home and instead enrolled us in school. The courts would later define this as 'kidnapping.'
My father was not a nice man.
For several months, I had to communicate with my mother and friends back home in secret. If he found out, it wouldn't be good. I knew that she was in the process of talking to lawyers and stuff so we could get back home. She told me that it was going to be any day.
Meanwhile, my father told me to clean my room. I was a messy child.
I got out of school one day and, to my surprise, he was waiting for me. I usually walked home and he didn't get to the house until 4 p.m. As soon as I saw his truck, I knew something wasn't right.
He drove me home in a tense silence. He asked about my day and I answered, knowing he was way too calm. When we got to his house, he said he wanted to go to my room with me. We went upstairs and asked me to look at my room. He asked if it looked clean and I said that it did. Then he flipped my mattress over, revealing the underside of the bed. That was not so clean. I nodded and said I understood.
He hit me so fast I never even saw it coming.
'I don't think you do understand,' he told me, jabbing a finger in my face. I was holding my stinging cheek and I was crying.
My father then destroyed my room. He took all of my clothes out of my closet and threw them across the room. He pulled drawers out and dumped out everything in them. My Teen Titans trading cards were ripped up. My diary was thrown across the room. My drawings were torn in half. One drawer scratched my leg and it started bleeding. I still have a scar.
My room was wrecked.
Then he backed me into a wall and told me that if I didn't have this room put together by the time he got back from work, he would do so much worse to me and my little sister. I thought he was going to kill me. Then he left for work.
That night I heard from my mom. The reason he was so mad was because social services were coming for us so we could go home. I was home within a week."
"When I was 12 years old, I started dating a girl I lived next to that I fell in love with. Her father went to prison for fraud the following year, and her mom was big into illegal substances now. It was sad to see because our two families were such amazing friends. Hers was all together, and it was sad seeing them get destroyed. My mom was going through a divorce too, so it wasn't helping matters.
Emily's mom started to beat her. She stopped going to school and all, so I used my key to the house when I got home or during weekends to make and bring her food. I saw her mom leave 30 minutes earlier than usual and I hadn't finished making food yet. I usually always go over right after she left.
I waited 30 minutes to finish her lunch/dinner and while I was bringing it over on this beautiful day my gut was wrenched more than ever. I had a feeling of doom for some reason as I was coming over. I unlocked the door and when it opened she was on the floor, with this liquid coming out of her mouth. Her eyes were wide open and you could see the tears. Half the crap in the living room was knocked over and destroyed.
She committed suicide by overdosing on several medications and I was the one who found her."
"It was my birthday. I was turning 13 or 14 years old if I remember correctly. My parents are divorced and had been for several years when this happened, so my mom got me for an hour on my birthday night. A few months prior, I decided I wanted to live with my dad and hadn't seen her in awhile because I was scared of her.
I got into the car. My mom looked happy to see me, but she seemed a little off. We got to the end of the street when she started flipping out and screaming while vigorously banging her head on the steering wheel while continuing to drive.
I was scared and feared for my own safety, so I tried to get out of the car, but she grabbed my hood on my jacket and yanked me back in the car. She yelled at me to put my seatbelt on and started driving fast, so I couldn't get out. I have never been so terrified in my life.
We drove around town at high speeds while she accused me of moving to my dad's house for the money, and offered to take me to expensive restaurants so she could 'buy me back.' I refused every offer. We spent the entire hour with her driving crazily around the area. I was so scared that I had 911 type out on my cell phone, just in case.
When I got home, my mom drove off without saying a word. My stepmom and father asked me how it went. I burst into tears. Hands down worst birthday ever. Overall, I should have trusted my gut feeling and not gotten in the car."
"Once I had to get up early in the morning to go on a trip for my job. It was about 3:30 in the morning, and I had forgotten to get gas the night before. I stopped at a gas station about a mile away from my house because it was well-lit and it was in a nicer area. Anyways, I was pumping gas, and then I got the weirdest feeling that I needed to move. I moved behind my car and then away from it and then I noticed this huge guy hiding in front of my car. He was sneaking towards me when I got the urge to get away from my car. I was alone, and I'm just a small girl. I almost always have mace or something with me if I am by myself. This time I had a knife and pulled it out and started screaming bloody murder for him to get away from me. Then he started moving closer to me. I screamed louder, and an attendant came out who called the cops. Definitely one of the scariest moments of my life."
"I was playing a game in my room, and I felt a bit weird, so I went to the window and looked outside. Nothing. So I went to the front door, and, lo and behold, my front yard was completely on fire. I live behind my neighbors, and they have a large backyard, about 200 yards across and 100 yards deep. The entire thing is on fire. Turns out my neighbor had walked away and the wind picked up, catching the dry grass on fire. They had put out a good bit, but they were both wheezing loudly and about to pass out; they're both not in the best shape.
I go and get my dog that was outside, bring him inside, and stick him in a cage. I then run to our workshop, grab a rake and an old Carhartt jacket and get to work putting out the fire with two other people. We put out the entire yard by hitting it with a jacket and then knocking it completely out with our shoes and a hoe. Slam jacket down, beat out with the hoe, over and over, for about an hour. I got it out before it spread to the thick brush around their yard. Should it have caught fire, it would have destroyed the woods near my house, and possibly caught fire to my home. It was about four feet from hitting the brush. If I wouldn't have been there, the chances of them putting it out were slim-to-none."
"I was living with my father and his wife after my divorce and subsequent withdrawal from psych meds. My kids were living halfway across the country. I was vulnerable.
My father abused me growing up, and his wife had done time for assault, but I was desperate enough to give them another chance. The first few months, everything felt great between my stepmom and me. I confided in her and almost looked up to her. Then she lost her job and things changed. I chalked it up to her being depressed and slightly unstable due to the job loss, but a few friends pointed out that it seemed like she was manipulating and possibly sabotaging me. I stopped confiding in her and just let her think what she wanted.
In June, I picked my kids up for five weeks. Immediately after bringing them up, I started to get a bad feeling about her. Her behavior was becoming manipulative, she was starting fights between my father and me, and started making comments that had no logical basis. A week later, I woke up from a nap and heard her bad mouthing me to my kids.
We got into a fight, and she told me once the boys went back to their dad, I was no longer welcome there. The next four weeks were a living nightmare -- she started slipping a bit more and making violent comments to me when no one was around, starting verbal fights and telling my dad I had started them causing him to scream at me for hours. I was scared.
I was supposed to move out on a Friday. She was controlling it all; even had arranged it so that my kids wouldn't be seeing any of my other family before returning to their home state. I didn't have a car and felt powerless and stopped sleeping completely because I didn't trust her. Everyone kept telling me that yeah, she was unstable and has a record, but they didn't think she would get violent. I couldn't share the feeling I was in danger.
A friend and I moved my stuff out the day before while she was having outpatient knee surgery. When she and my dad got home, they started screaming at me and throwing my remaining belongings into the street. In the middle of this, a neighbor came over and told us that my cat (whom I couldn't find) had been hit and killed earlier that afternoon. My dad is still screaming about how worthless I am as he goes to get my cat's body. While he is in the neighbor's backyard, my stepmom starts stalking me like a cat stalks prey. Seeing as how she just had knee surgery, I didn't think she could get her hands on me so while I'm slowing backing up calmly telling her not to touch me. I didn't stay far enough away I guess. She lunged and got me in a headlock and started dragging me into the house. Self-defense class kicked in and I got out of it and ran across the property and called 911. I had no idea where my kids are at this point, but it was me she had been after, not them, so I didn't think they were in danger.
While I'm on the phone with 911, she goes and finds my kids, tells them our cat is dead, and that they need to come with her. Gets them in her SUV and pulls up to the corner where I am waiting for the police and starts taunting me that they are upset and I need to get in and come with her and what kind of horrible mother am I that I won't? Then drives off with them.
I will just say that aside from my cat obviously dying, everyone was okay. My dad called my stepmom and told her I had been on the phone with 911 when she drove off with the boys and she got home before the police caught up with her. I declined to press charges seeing as my kids had been through five weeks of a living nightmare and I didn't want them to spend their remaining time with me sitting in a waiting room while I filled out paperwork. But I have never forgotten the increasing sense of fear I felt and I will never, never doubt that kind of instinct again. I don't know what she was planning or even if she knew herself, but she clearly wanted to harm me. Thank god I figured it out before she did."
"I was 16 years old and lifeguarding at a water park, when a hot chick in a bikini was flirting with me. When I finished my shift, she said she wanted to make out in my truck. Maybe 20 seconds in, she wanted to fool around, but I didn't have any protection. 'I don't care, just stick it in, even if it's quick.' Red flags go off, and I dropped her back off at the park. School started that fall and she transferred to my school. Turned out she was pregnant and was trying to pin the pregnancy on me."
"I was run over by a football payer for walking where he was trying to drive my final semester in college. While unconscious on the ground, I lived a different life:
I met a wonderful young lady. She made my heart skip and my face red, I pursued her for months and dispatched a few jerk boyfriends before I finally won her over, after two years we got married and almost immediately she bore me a daughter.
I had a great job and my wife didn't have to work outside of the house. When my daughter was two years old, she [my wife] bore me a son. My son was the joy of my life. I would walk into his room every morning before I left for work and doted on him and my daughter.
One day while sitting on the couch I noticed that the perspective of the lamp was odd. It was still in 3D, but just wrong. (It was a square lamp base, red with gold trim on four legs and a white square shade). I was transfixed, I couldn't look away from it. I stayed up all night staring at it, the next morning I didn't go to work, something was just not right about that lamp.
I stopped eating, I left the couch only to use the bathroom at first, soon I stopped that too as I wasn't eating or drinking. I stared at the lamp for three days before my wife got worried. She had someone come and try to talk to me, by this time my cognizance was breaking up and my wife was freaking out. She took the kids to her mother's house just before I had my epiphany. The lamp was not real. The house is not real, my wife, my kids, none of that is real. The last 10 years of my life are not real.
The lamp started to grow wider and deeper. It still had inverted dimensions and took up my entire perspective. All I could see was red. I heard voices, screams, all kinds of weird noises, and I became aware of pain. The first words I said were 'I'm missing teeth' and opened my eyes. I was laying on my back on the sidewalk surrounded by people that I didn't know, and many were freaking out. I was confused.
At some point, a cop scooped me up, dragged me across the sidewalk and grass and threw me face down in the back of a cop car. I was still confused. I was taken to the hospital by the cop and underwent CT scans.
I went through about three years of depression. I was grieving the loss of my wife and children and dealing with the knowledge that they never existed. I was scared that I was going insane as I would cry myself to sleep hoping I would see her in my dreams. I never have, but sometimes I see my son, usually just a glimpse out of my peripheral vision."
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