When I was about 8 years old, my mother and I lived in a small town, in a building with small apartments and rooms that people could rent, live in or leave whenever, my mother was super poor so it was all we could afford, a tiny apartment with neighbours changing every week.
My then best friend Kassandra who was also 8 years old used to come spend the night every Saturday. We would usually go play in the long corridors of the building in the same floor as our apartment and if it wasn’t cold and rainy we’d go out in the parking lot to play. That’s what we did that day but my mother didn’t like it when we weren’t close to her so after ten minutes of playing, I told kassandra we should get back in before we got in trouble.
Just as I was opening the entrance door to the building with my keys, some tall thin man, in his thirties (I couldn’t remember much of him but he definitely didn’t give the creepy pedophile vibe) literally appeared out of nowhere from behind us to hold the door for us, we thanked him, obviously thinking nothing of it, I never saw him before but like I said anyone could rent and leave even if it was for one day so it wasn’t weird to see someone I wasn’t used to seeing around. He kept smiling and started talking to us and following us to the elevator, he was genuinely smiling like he was so happy to see us and talk to us. As we waited for the elevator to come, he kept asking us questions like “what floor do you live on?”, “What’s your name and age?”, “How long have you known each other for?” Just random questions to which we responded truthfully.
We went in the elevator, he pressed on floor 2 and I pressed floor 4. When the door of the elevator closed, he started getting creepier, he told us how pretty we were, how he liked our hair, how it was perfect that I was dark haired and my friend blonde, he told me that I seem to have a really nice body, how nice that I was tall and slender. This didn’t come across as weird/creepy to my 8 years old brain because a very friendly old female neighbour that used to live next to us always told me how I should model for kids clothes and she used to say she wished she had my body when she was younger. So him giving me compliments about my body wasn’t a red flag, I smiled and thanked him.
Floor 2 was his floor, the elevator opens and he prevents the doors from closing again, no one was around, now I was starting to think that he was being weird. He told us that he worked for TV and he was a photographer for magazines. He said he was quite reputed and that he dealt with models, celebrities etc… He said that he thinks we have potential and that that’s why he complimented us, he said he thought we’d make it big if he took pictures and videos of us, that we’d be on magazines and on TV, he said he’d take pictures of us in a bikini and cute little dresses. My friend was excited about it, I was too but for some reason I was very skeptical.
He told us to follow him to his room and we’d see how he wasn’t bullshitting us, that he’d show us his professional camera and he said he was used to taking pictures of kids and that he made some of them very popular, he said he had candies and toys we could keep. I said that I should talk to my mother first. He said “no, don’t tell your parents, parents want you to stay in school, only tell them after I took pictures and videos of you two, and when your parents see them and you become popular, they will be okay with it!” That’s exactly what he said, I remember every single word and I am 23 years old now. The whole “I made kids popular before”, “your parents will see the pictures and videos”, “you’ll be on TV and magazines” thing sounds very creepy and sinister now that I know what he actually was.
Before I could say anything else, my friend walked out of the elevator and told me to come, he was grinning at me and he said “come on, it would be a shame if your friend got famous and not you” and we ended up following him to his room because of my friend, I didn’t think it was right to just leave her.
His room was down the long ass corridor, how convenient that it was so far from the elevator and stairs. He opened his room and there was a camera on a tripod in the middle of the room in front of the bed, there were toys mostly girly toys and stuffed animals on the desk next to the bed. At that moment I thought he was actually telling the truth but as I was looking around and as I glanced at him, grinning like he just won the jackpot and gesturing us to get in, I had a really bad feeling, my guts told me to leave right then. I didn’t know what a pedophile was then, I didn’t even think about him possibly wanting to hurt us or touch us, I just knew that something was off and I listened to my guts.
And so without saying anything I grabbed my friend’s hand and started to back away saying that my mother is probably worried about us and we should be home now. He didn’t say anything, we walked back and you know when you’re walking in a dark corridor or somewhere else at night and you feel like something is going to grab you from behind and you get goosebumps? That’s exactly how I felt and so as soon as I heard his steps following behind us, I started running without even warning my friend, obviously she started running too and I slammed the door to the stairs open and in the corner of my eyes I could see him coming after us.
I literally jumped on the stairs until floor 4 with my friend asking me why i was running and saying that I was freaking her out, he stopped running after us as soon as we reached the stairs. We banged on my apartment’s door and slammed it shut behind us right when my mother opened it. We told her everything, what floor he was on, the number of the room and everything he told us. She called the police and when they came to have a chat with him, they found the door open with nothing and no one inside. From that day on, I wasn’t allowed to play outside or in the corridor anymore and my mother got super paranoid and over protective with me. We moved apartment, then a year later we moved somewhere else. I never seen or heard of that man again.
Seriously people, always trust your guts. If you feel like you should run and get away from someone, don’t think about it twice. God knows what would have happened if we went inside his room…
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