I was 15 years old, working in aisle 5 tidying up the stacks of paper plates on the shelf. It was probably about 8:00 or so. Late enough to be dark outside.
Off to the right, I saw him pass by my aisle. His appearance shook me. I closed my eyes and knew there was something about him. When I opened my eyes again he was standing right next to me, his face inches from mine. I couldn’t move my shaking legs. I held onto the shelf in front of me to keep me from falling down.
“Boo,” he breathed, “Did I scare ya?” He laughed quietly.
I didn’t move. Didn’t respond. Only stared.
He laughed again and walked past me, out of my aisle.
I was still frozen, shaking, eyes closed and now praying.
God, tell me which way to run. Where can I run that he won’t be? Which direction did he go? What do I do?
I opened my eyes to figure out where to go, but I didn’t have time. He was approaching me on my left now. He walked toward me never taking his eyes off me. He swayed low and his steps were very slow, but very direct. This wasn’t how normal people walked. This wasn’t how he normally walked. This was just to scare me. It worked.
I wanted to run. I would have if I could have moved at all.
I don’t remember what he said. I probably couldn’t hear it over the pounding in my chest. He made a remark and then stood up straight, and walked out of the store.
Then I ran. I ran to the back room where my shift manager, Brian, stood, hand on the phone ready to call the police. He had been watching from the back. He saw the guy walk in. He watched him leave. I was still shaking.
“You okay?” he asked. I nodded. I went back to stocking the shelves.
I don’t know how to fully describe this person to you. I can tell you how he looked. He was white, shaved head, dressed entirely in black with chains dangling. Black ink ornately swirled and scrolled around his eyes, cheekbones, forehead. Eyeliner. Tattoos. Piercings. He was carrying a half-empty bottle of something alcoholic. His headset was hanging around his neck and the music was loud enough I could hear it plainly as he taunted me.
It wasn’t just the way he looked or acted, though both were frightening enough. He had a presence about him I will never forget. He was clearly from a very dark and very black place. He was full of darkness. Around him there was a presence of evil.
I’ve often wondered why he picked on just me that night. There were plenty of other people in the store he could have taunted and menaced. Okay, maybe the 15 year old skinny blonde girl in aisle 5 was an easy target. But it seemed he came up to me, he chose me, for some other reason. Did he know? Could his darkness somehow see the Light I so fervently prayed to that night?
I wouldn’t see him again. Months later I came in to work and Brian pulled me aside.
“Remember that guy?”
He didn’t have to say which one. I knew who he meant.
“He won’t bother you anymore. He’s in federal prison now. I guess he’s a known satanist and there were warrants out for his arrest.”
It was the scariest moment of my life. Nothing has ever shaken me quite the same. But it makes me wonder - his darkness was so clearly visible. What happens when I walk into a room? Does the presence of Christ pour from me and affect people to that same degree?