Nineteen years old and three months pregnant with my first child, I had just begun my nursing training which entailed a long commute (Two hours by trains and buses) from Bondi beach to the Western suburbs of Sydney.
Feeling the strain of having to travel so far each day I had applied for a room at the hospitals nurses quarters I was working at, but there was a waiting list so it was organized for me to stay at a different hospital a few suburbs down the train line.
It was the first night after finishing my evening shift that I was to travel to the other nurse’s quarters to stay overnight.
I got off the train at around 11 pm and proceeded to walk to my accommodation carrying a large overnight bag on my back.
Back then, at nineteen though I “thought” I was pretty sensible, but really I was like many other young people who just never expect that anything bad will happen to them.
It honestly never crossed my mind that walking alone at that time of night was a stupid, if not quite dangerous thing to be doing. (A year prior to that, nurse Anita Cobby had been abducted and horrifically murdered a few suburbs away.)
So, I began walking along this long road which had another major public hospital on one side (but set a fair distance away from the actual street with lawns and bush land between it and where I was), and on the OTHER side of the road there was a school, which was in complete darkness.
I was just walking along, thinking about my day and the day ahead, when suddenly a voice that seemed to come from nowhere, came into my EAR and said in a very loud urgent tone…
“If you scream, no one will hear you!”
I’m not sure whether it was the voice itself or what it SAID that scared me more (for a second there I thought I’d gone completely mad!), but there in that moment I suddenly became completely aware of all that was around me and to my fright I realized that whoever, or WHATEVER it was that had spoken those words was exactly right.
I WAS in a place where if something were to happen,screaming would not do a damn bit of good because there WERE no houses….just that hospital and an empty schoolyard and that loooong road ahead.
It was then that I saw the man step out from the darkness of the school buildings….
I cannot begin to explain the rush of terror I felt, but before he even walked out of the gates I KNEW that I was in danger.
All I could think to do was to cross the road and begin walking under the street lights, thinking if I were more visible>
Well, it was a thought anyway.
(Who on earth would see me at that time of night in such a deserted area?)
The man crossed the road behind me and began following me.
Now I was really panicking and those words kept echoing in my head….”If you scream no one will hear you!”
I couldn’t tell how much further away the hospital was but I knew I couldn’t out run him, not with my heavy nurses shoes and the bag on my back, but I began walking faster anyway.
So did he.
Funny how time seems to slow down in these situations….Like nightmares where you try to run but your legs won’t move.
My legs felt like they had turned to jelly.
I couldn’t have RUN even if I tried, in fact I was shaking so badly I was having trouble even walking!
Complete panic was overtaking my senses and I felt SURPRISED at my own body for betraying me!
How dare it do this to me!
I had always thought that if faced with such a situation that adrenaline would take over and I would be able to kick, fight, scream?
I felt in that moment the most powerless I have EVER felt in all my life.
Completely at the mercy at whatever this man wanted to do to me.
I kept turning my head to check where he was behind me. He was still there….closer, but as though it was a game. he seemed to be pacing himself as though he knew he still had time to make his move, but his intentions were obvious. It was as though my sixth sense was fully able to understand the bad energy coming from him.
It was the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced.
Finally, with him now gaining ground behind me, panic won and I lost it and tried to run.
I heard him start to run behind me and at that VERY moment a car pulled up beside me – traveling from the direction I was fleeing towards…
The passenger door was thrown open and I heard a man’s voice say…
“Quick, get in!”
I didn’t even THINK….couldn’t think.I was simply putting faith in my instincts, so I did as he said, and jumped into the car.
It was all complete confusion at that point.
As we sped away I burst into tears, so relieved to be “rescued”, not even for a moment considering that this person could be an accomplice of the man chasing after me.
By some miracle, he wasn’t.
It was an uncanny coincidence that this man – a nurse, told me that he had left for work earlier than usual that night and I think he, as well as I, was totally surprised by this unexpected situation we both found ourselves in.
I hadn’t seen him but apparently he had driven past and happened to catch a glimpse of me and had felt something was just not “right” seeing me alone out there.
After he’d passed me he realised there was someone behind me.
When he got to the hospital he said he felt compelled to turn around and drive back just to “make sure”.
Now perhaps it was all just coincidence….”luck” or whatever you want to call it, and to be honest if it weren’t for that strange voice that I heard prior to everything then I might be inclined to put it down to sheer good luck as well.
But that voice…….?
It was like someone (something? A guardian angel…some strange external forces at play) saw the situation BEFORE it unfolded and tried to warn me?
I have the feeling that whatever it was, IT was responsible for intervening somehow; putting “my rescuer” in the exact place he was, at that precise time where he was able, and willing to come to my aid.
Perhaps if I hadn’t heard the voice and become aware of what was happening around me…if I hadn’t of crossed the road to walk where the street lights were, maybe I wouldn’t have seen by the man driving past in his car?
The stranger following me?
He bolted as soon as I jumped in the car and although we drove around trying to find him, and rang the police…well, who knows where he went or WHAT his true intentions had been that night.
Deep down, I feel that if it weren’t for the kindness of a stranger…or guardian angels – forces of the universe, whatever you want to call it… I might not be here today.
Though I did thank the stranger who came to my aid that night, I am eternally grateful to him for trusting HIS instincts, and being a good person, willing to turn back for a girl he didn’t even know, and to this day still doesn’t know how much it affected her life.
Thank you…whoever you were.