Urban Legend – Midwest

“It was a wet, windy and cold night in a small rural town in the Midwestern United States. A young boy had just picked his girlfriend up for their prom formal but they were stuck on the side of the road because his old pickup had once again broken down. While the boyfriend was looking under the hood of the car trying to solve the problem, the girl remained in the car. The boyfriend instructed his girlfriend to turn the car on one more time. The car actually started this time and both of them were relieved. The car began playing the usual Garth Brooks music on the local country radio station, but was soon interrupted by an emergency warning. The warning said that the state’s most infamous criminal had escaped from prison and was known to be in their immediate area. Hearing this, the girl called the boyfriend back to the car for him to listen to the warning, but it had already ended. The girl remembered the name and asked if the boyfriend knew the name. The boyfriend responded that he did that the criminal wasn’t really a criminal, more of a deranged psychopath, but laughed that it was probably a hoax as the night April 1st. The girlfriend wasn’t so sure, but before she could argue, the car once again died. The boyfriend became very frustrated and decided that he would walk the mile into town and ask for help. The girlfriend, worried that the warning was very real, told her boyfriend there was no way he was walking by himself into town. Being a teenage boy, the boyfriend would not concede that there was any possibility he could be putting himself in danger and scoffed at his girlfriend’s concerns. They argued for a while and he remained steadfast in his decision to walk into town so they could finally make the Senior prom as it would be their last high school dance together before getting married in the fall. The boy placated his girlfriend by promising to be safe and that she would hide under the blankets in the back seat. He would return and slowly tap three times so that she would know it was him. She finally agreed and hid herself in the back seat while he walked up the road.

The young girl waited for about an hour and finally started getting concerned for her boyfriend’s safety. She realized it would take about this long for anyone to come, but wasn’t so sure. They had left for Prom very early that night, but she didn’t care about making the prom at this point.  After about an hour and a half the girl’s anxiety began to grow—her boyfriend should be back by now. The girl tried to calm herself and not think about the worst-case scenario. That scenario, in her mind, would be that crazy, deranged murderer gruesomely killing her boyfriend—Jesse—and soon-to-be husband. After about two hours, the girl became a nervous wreck wondering what could be keeping her precious Jesse.

Finally after two and a half hours, the girl thought she would go insane from waiting. Just when she was ready to break down into hysterics, she thought she heard movement outside and became very still to listen. Then, all of the sudden she heard it—the first “TICK”—making her heart come up into her throat. She tried to calm her breathing and heard the second “TICK” on the window. Her heart began racing faster, relieved that her boyfriend was back. Finally, she heard it, the third and final “TICK.” The girl almost started crying from relief and took a second to thank the Lord for protecting Jesse. After her quick prayer, the girl was happy to throw off the itchy and uncomfortably stifling blankets. Before she did, however, she heard another “TICK” on the window. The sound took her breath away. Why would Jesse tap the window four times?? He was the one that told her it would only be three. It had to be a mistake. Before she could finish this thought, she heard a fifth “TICK.”

Wildly distressed, the girl remained hidden under the blankets. She had no idea what to do. She kept waiting and periodically she would hear another “TICK” on the window. The girl began to weep silently into the blankets. She waited for yet another hour with the periodic taps on the window having no idea what to do.

Finally, she heard a different tapping on the window, a more aggressive and loud rap. It frightened the young girl and through the blankets she could see rays of light shining, meaning someone was looking in with a flashlight. Suddenly she heard a voice telling her everything would be alright and that the police were here. She peeked out of a side of the blanket and could see flashing police lights and a group of officers outside the pickup truck. The girl was a little confused at why an entire squad would come with Jesse to help her out of the car, but she didn’t care because it finally meant she was done waiting and worrying in the backset of a truck. She finally opened the door and promptly questioned the police officer where Jesse was. The officer told her to come with him and walk to the police car and he would tell her everything there. The officer immediately covered the girl in a blanket because it was cold outside and began ushering her towards the police car.

However, a strange compulsion overcame the young girl. For some inexplicable reason, she had a sudden urge to turn around and look back at the truck she had just spent hours in hiding. Ignoring the officer’s insistent movements towards the police car the girl broke away from his grasp and spun around. The sight she saw took her breath away.

Above the truck hung her boyfriend Jesse’s dead body. His lifeless eyes gazed out over the dusty road as he hung from ten feet of rope tied to the tall oak above the car and the road. His dead body—the one she had hugged, kissed and loved for four years—swayed gently in the cold spring night and his feet rhythmically tapping the pickup truck window slowly going “TICK”… “TICK” … “TICK” ….

Anthony heard this story in high school down in San Diego from one of his friends back home who claimed that he had a friend who moved to the mid west and who new the guy and girl who this happened to. He does not necessarily believe the urban legend, but could see how there could be some truth in the story. He told me that he could not remember the exact names of the couple or the town where they grew up. In fact for the most part he said that this story probably very loosely follows the one that he was told by his friend.

After hearing Anthony’s take on the urban legend, I knew that I had hear a similar version from one of my friends before. The only variation was that instead of his feet rubbing up against the windshield, it was his blood dripping on the windshield. It seems that the story has adapted depending on the part of the country that the person telling it is from. It is also important to note that the story came from a friend of a friend. Knowing all of this, it takes away the legitimacy of the urban legend being true in my eyes, but still makes for an entertaining story.

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