One of the greatest writers died on July 26, 2015. This tribute to true crime writer Ann Rule is long overdue.
I don’t think I was even seventeen when I read experts from The Stranger Beside Me that appeared in Readers’ Digest. I was a lot more alert of my surroundings after that. I think that cautious mindset saved me a couple times at college. I believe more people—especially young women—should read at least excerpts from the book. It should be required reading.
I read The Stranger Beside Me entirely a couple years ago. I was intrigued and wondered why I read it at night. I mean I was living alone at that time. And had an interesting experience…
I went to the grocery store and something told me to park closer. I shrugged off the thought. After I bought my groceries, the bag boy asked if I needed help. I had a prompting to say yes but said no. “Are you sure?” I wanted to say yes so badly but told him I was fine. I regretted that immediately.
I rushed to my car and threw my groceries in. As soon as I sat in the driver’s seat, I didn’t hesitate to lock my doors. Almost immediately men pulled up. I panicked as I started the car and saw them pointing at me.
They came up to me and knocked on the window.
“Excuse me. Excuse me.”
I mumbled I couldn’t talk, but one said “I want to talk to you.”
I felt trapped. They asked for directions to another grocery store. I acted clueless—and desperate. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Inside they might know.”
They pulled back, and I put my foot on the gas. Through some miracle I made it home safely.
I sometimes wonder if I overreacted. Maybe those men really just needed directions. However, I had received multiple promptings.
I believe Ann Rule contributed to my awareness that day.
Thank you a thousand times, Ann Rule. Rest in peace.