During the fall of 2004, my husband and I were volunteering in our Church’s Bible School. Since my husband had to work his normal job until five, I drove a separate car and met him at the Church. By mid-week, we were both tired and looking forward to the weekend.
Wednesday night was like any other. My husband taught his class, I helped with the crafts, afterwards we helped clean up after the service and then we headed home for the night. Night blindness hits me occasionally so I normally follow my husband in case I have problems on the road.
It was a warm night. The sky was lit up with a million stars and so I drove with my window down and my radio blaring. As we crept up Rutledge Pike, I sipped a cup of lukewarm coffee and enjoyed the peacefulness of the rolling hills and lowing cattle.
Yet as we neared the intersection of Rutledge Pike and Owl Hole Gap Road, my peace suddenly dissipated like a vapor when I spotted a tall willowy blonde standing in the middle of the highway. Sitting up straighter, I wondered why my husband wasn’t braking. I thought he might be deep in thought or looking off the road, as he is prone to do on occasion, but either way I knew I needed to get his attention.
I began flashing my lights and blasting my horn. My husband tapped his brakes once, but continued driving. Fearful the woman might be hurt, or abandoned, or even possibly drunk, I began to slow down.
With trepidation, I watched my husband’s car race past her, missing her thin frame by mere inches. Mumbling a curse, I slammed on my brakes and slid to stop beside her. Through my open window, I gazed into her pale face and noted the thin smile on her lips. As if in slow motion, she reached out one hand towards me and this small gesture sent fear racing down my spine.
Visions of a car jacking, a serial killer, or something even worse, something I didn’t understand nor even wanted to consider, tumbled through my mind. Flooring the accelerator, I raced for home. Blaring my horn, I careened up the dirt driveway and slid to a screeching halt inches from my husband’s car. Surprised by my abrupt arrival he raced over to see what was wrong. I explained about the woman in the road and convinced him to return to the scene with me.
As we approached, I could see the spotlights and flashing blue lights of two police cruisers. Pulling up alongside one of them I rapidly explained about the woman standing in the road and asked if she were okay. A bemused look crossed the officer’s face and he patiently explained that another motorist had called in a similar report. Yet search as hard as they may, the police never found the woman or any sign that she had even existed. This is a rural area with no taxis, no pay phones, and on that night there was very little traffic. Now every time I drive past this spot on the highway I find myself wondering who the tall willowy blonde woman I saw was.