Everyone has memories from their childhood, whether funny, embarrassing, or traumatic, that they can't help but dwell on from time to time. For one Redditor, who we'll call Rylie, that memory is the epic tale of how her thrillseeking antics caused her more harm than good and resulted in her TP-ing her own house in the middle of the night.
Rylie was thirteen years old at the time. She and her friend Tess were extremely mischevious kids. They were always joking around, even going to the most extreme measure to pull the best pranks. Rylie and Tess even devised a rope-and-pulley system with a basket and water balloons just so they could throw the water balloons at the neighborhood boys without getting caught. They lived for the thrill of doing mildly dangerous things. Their mischief was never serious, just harmless fun.
One night, Rylie and Tess had a sleepover where they talked about boys and ate a little too much candy. Given their rebellious nature, it's not at all surprising that they decided to TP their friend Claire's house while they were still on their sugar high.
In case you're unfamiliar with what TP-ing is, it means toilet papering. As Rylie put it, "You know how frat guys in college sometimes throw toilet paper all over other fraternity houses to show dominance or manliness or just plain stupidity? That's what I wanted to do."
So, at 1:00 AM, Rylie and Tess stuffed a bunch of rolls of toilet paper into two large purses, put on some sneakers, and then sneaked out of Rylie's house.
Little did they know how much danger their scheme would put them in.
It was a summer night, so Rylie and Tess felt perfectly comfortable walking around in their tank tops and pajama shorts. The walk to Claire's house was partially through neighborhoods and partially through a long stretch of road next to a golf course with another neighborhood nestled at the very end of the street. Claire's house was about a mile away from Rylie's, so they had to hustle to get there in a timely manner. Rylie and Tess hoped that Claire was still awake by the time they got there so they could convince her to hang out with them.
When they began their trek to Claire's house, Rylie and Tess were a little nervous that they would get caught by Rylie's parents, but soon their nerves eased and they regained their inflated sense of confidence - the kind every kid has when they insist they know everything.
In hindsight, Rylie now knows that wandering around alone at night as a kid wasn't the smartest thing to do. However, she justified her actions because her hometown is about as safe and quiet as they come.
"Nobody goes outside after 8:00 at night. It was ranked in the top 5 safest cities in the United States. Nothing bad happens there, or nothing that we knew about at that age. We had up until that point, thankfully, never had the opportunity to be afraid of walking alone, or at night growing up."
With that sense of security, Rylie and Tess felt that they didn't have anything to worry about. They kept chattering away as they crossed into a residential area on their way to Claire's house.
Out of nowhere, a red SUV lazily rode up, driving the opposite way the girls were walking. It should have been nothing to worry about, but then the car slowed down and approached Rylie and Tess.
Rylie remembers it like it was yesterday.
The middle-aged man inside the SUV crept beside the girls and rolled down the windows.
"Hey, girlies. What are you doing up so late at night?"
The man had a huge mouth, with perfect, straight white teeth. Rylie says he would have been handsome if he wasn't so strange.
"Nothing," the girls nervously replied.
He raised his eyebrows at that.
"Nothing. All by yourselves? Well...that's dangerous."
He smiled again, this time even wider. For the first time in Rylie's life, she felt fear ripple through her like a roaring wave.
"We are walking to my Dad's house. He's waiting for us," Rylie lied.
Silence crept between the girls and the car. The man knew Rylie lied. He stared at the girls. At first, Rylie suspected that maybe he was just a creepy, nosy neighbor keeping watch. But there was something about him that left her feeling uneasy.
He took his time replying, twisting the words around his mouth like he was tying a cherry stem into a knot.
"That's...interesting. You're so young to be allowed out so late wearing...that. You better hurry home to him before it's too late."
The air was still. The only thing keeping Rylie from bolting out of there was Tess being right by her side. Rylie couldn't see Tess's face because she was locking eyes with the creepy smiling man.
Rylie wasn't sure if Tess had heard what she heard.
"You better hurry home before it's too late."
Terrified, Rylie wondered, "too late...for what?"
Rylie was certain that if she and Tess were somehow separated, things would go very, very badly.
She had to think quickly. The man was on the other side of the road. He would have to go a distance to get to them. She broke her eye contact with the man to risk a quick glance at Tess. Petrified, Tess wasn't moving either. They looked at each other with wide eyes, trying to find an answer on what they should do.
All Rylie could muster up was, "Thank you, sir. Have a good night."
She grabbed Tess's hand and confidently marched down the sidewalk away from him.
The SUV lingered behind them, not moving. The girls kept walking, gripping their sweat-drenched hands together as if they were the only things keeping them from death.
Rylie and Tess's footsteps made empty hollow noises down the deserted sidewalk.
Clack clack clack
Rylie's ears were in sonar mode, listening for something, anything, a car door opening, a man's voice. Anything. She refused to turn around and give him the satisfaction of knowing she was afraid. She didn't want him to know they were.
Suddenly, a car screeched into gear and they heard the man peel down the asphalt. Rylie and Tess started running, and as they ran, they both looked behind their shoulders. They saw that he had driven off into the opposite direction. Still, they kept running.
Eventually, they made it to the edge of the golf course and they could see the neighborhood in the distance. It seemed like a sign of safety, so they slowed down. They walked in silence for a bit, but there was a tension you could cut with a knife. Tess's jaw was still clenched. She and Rylie looked at each other.
a long pause
"What do you think he wanted?"
"You know what he wante-"
"Yeah. I was hoping you would say you knew him."
They kept walking.
Suddenly, they could hear the sound of a car booking it down the street from behind. At the same time, Rylie and Tess turned around to see the man in the red SUV heading straight toward them. They both stood frozen, paralyzed with fear. The man jerked to a stop next to them and opened the car door.
"Run!" Tess shouted.
Rylie and Tess bolted down the sidewalk into the neighborhood. The man started shouting something at them, but they couldn't quite hear and they weren't going to turn around and try to find out. The neighborhood was getting closer, but the man got back into this SUV and started following the girls and shouting things at them. They reached a corner and the SUV stopped. The man got out and started chasing after Rylie and Tess.
"That way!" Tess screamed.
They turned the corner, but there was nowhere to go. It was one in the morning, they didn't know anyone who lived in that neighborhood, and no one was awake. As luck would have it, however, the first house they saw had a low fence. Rylie and Tess hopped the fence and fell into a strangers backyard.
They had a dog. Luckily, it didn't attack. Unluckily, it began barking. The girls sprinted across the yard and quickly hopped their fence into the neighboring yard which didn't have a dog, and hid behind a bush and a temporary pool in the back. The dog in the yard over kept barking.
From a hole in the bush, they could see through the wrought iron fence out into the street.
There was a lingering silence. Then they heard his voice.
"I know you're here, girlies."
The girls could hear the man walking around through the bush, but they couldn't see him. A gate rustled and the neighbor's dog started barking even louder. They figured out that he was looking for them in the first yard they went to.
He grumbled something under his breath, but they couldn't understand what he was saying. Then, the sound faded and we didn't hear him for a long time. A shadow appeared through the iron fence: it was the neighbor's dog. It had been let out of its backyard and had wandered over to where we were.
Rylie and Tess didn't move and they sat silently in the bush for what seemed like hours.
The night began to fade into the early morning sun. Then they heard an engine rev.
In horror, they watched the man in the red SUV slowly drive by through the fence in the yard they were hiding in. He was determined, His face was searching...for them.
At that moment, Rylie and Tess had figured out why he had driven away the first time. He was giving them a head start. He enjoyed the hunt and didn't want the prey to go down too easily. It would have ruined his game.
Luckily, Rylie and Tess eventually were able to get away.
"We sat in that bush until around 6:30 in the morning when it was it was fully light out, and then we ran back to my place to hop in bed before my parents woke up. When we got to my house, I realized we still had all the toilet paper we had stolen from my kitchen cabinets in my bags."
Since they never TP'd Claire's house, the girls decided to TP Rylie's instead. Her yard had a better tree and they knew her parents would never suspect a thing because who in their right mind would TP their own house anyway?
Deep down, though, it wasn't just about TP-ing the house anymore. Rylie and Tess both need to release all the tension from the night they had just endured. They wanted to pretend that they had just nearly escaped a kidnapping in the middle of the night. They need to feel like normal kids again.
Rylie and Tess completely wrapped the enormous tree in toilet paper. They threw roll after roll up and around, releasing their stress into the morning air. Then, they hosed the tree down so it would look more "authentic."
The night's mission was finally complete. They crept inside the house and up to Rylie's room where they finally got some sleep...for half an hour.
Rylie's mom burst into her room and screamed, "SOMEONE TP'D OUR HOUSE!!!!!!!"
Her mother was so sure that one of Rylie's "annoying little friends did this and thought it was funny" and it was urgent that they had to "combine a family effort to get it off because the JERKS USED OUR HOSE AND SPRAYED IT DOWN!"
At that, Tess "conveniently" remembered a mysterious babysitting obligation she had to do or else her mom would get mad, so she dipped. Rylie was stuck with her irate family, combing through wet maple leaves and sopping we toilet paper through the afternoon.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel like you're being followed, these methods can help lead you to safety.
In Rylie's case, she learned two lessons that day: never TP your own house (for obvious reasons) and never walk anywhere at night. You never know who might be out there waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of your vulnerability.