Krome Avenue runs north-south for the length of Miami-Dade County, approximately 36 miles. It is a two-lane highway located on the county’s western fringe, bordered on the east in some areas by nothing for miles, and on the west by the sprawling swampland known as the Everglades. No matter where you are on Krome or which direction you travel, you are in the middle of nowhere.
There is a gas station on Krome Avenue at a four-way intersection. At the extreme corner of the gas station lot, facing the roadway, there is a triangular-shaped section with a ground-level backlit sign advertising the station’s brand and prices. Separating this section from the station is a chest-high hedge.
The three other parcels along the roadway are plots of dirt and tall grass on which nothing is built. These plots run for acres in every direction.
The only light comes from the gas station, which, at night, is lit up like daytime with harsh florescent lighting. Otherwise, the roadway is devoid of streetlamps. Nor are there any sources of light on the undeveloped plots. Geddy Lee of Rush fame sang of those places beyond the bright lights that lie in the far unlit unknown - I knew then what Geddy meant, as I was in one of those places.
Very late one night, some friends of mine and I were in my car at this particular intersection. We were coming home from a day at the beach. We had had a good time and were all talking. I sat in the driver’s seat with my date to my right, a guy friend of mine (Chris) in the seat behind her, and his date sitting behind me. We approached Krome Avenue from an orthogonal street, about to make a left turn to head south. The gas station loomed ahead and to the left. It was pitch black in every other direction.
I stopped at the intersection to check for oncoming traffic. I looked both ways, and as my eyes shifted forward and I started to make my turn, I spotted a man standing beside the gas station’s backlit sign.
I hadn’t seen him when I first approached the intersection, but after I’d noticed him, I realized how hard it would be to miss him. The man was easily six feet tall and was wearing a stained tanktop shirt that glowed white in the harsh glare from the filling station. His paunchy gut stuck out from beneath his shirt and over the waistband of his denim pants. He was of heavy build, his shoulders drooping at his sides from the weight of his meaty arms.
His head was lowered. I could see his chin was pressed up against his chest. His full pink lips were drawn slightly, as though he were breathing through his mouth. He had greasy black hair that hung in curling strands before his face, forking like a river at the bulb of his nose. I could not see his eyes. Inky blue-black ringed the spots beneath where his eyes would have been. These rings stretched down well into his cheeks. While I couldn’t see his eyes, a strange feeling in my gut told me he was watching us.
Just seeing the man made me feel uncomfortable. I locked my eyes on him as I drove into the intersection, and then looked away to see where I was going. After the moment it took to complete my turn, I glanced at him in my side-view mirror. The man had shifted impossibly fast. He had turned 180-degrees to face me and stood now not on the grass by the backlit sign but on the gravel approach to the gas station. His arm was raised, hand balled up in a fist pointed at us.
“Did you see that?” I asked, cutting short the conversation.
“No,” said my date, sitting shotgun.
“No,” said my friend’s date, sitting behind me.
“Yes,” said Chris, after a moment’s hesitation.
“Chris,” I began. “What did you see?”
Again, he paused. “I saw a guy.”
None of us spoke the rest of the way. Later, after I’d dropped the girls off at their homes, I gave Chris a ride to his house. Along the way we talked about what we’d seen. Interestingly, Chris related that he had continuous visual contact on the strange man, while I had to look away and then look back, since I was driving. According to Chris, the man never shifted position or raised his hand, which was bizarre because I was certain he had.
Admittedly, there are other explanations for what we experienced that night, but I maintain that we saw something supernatural. Everything about the man we saw, from his appearance to the sentiment he evoked in us, exuded menace.
Then, also, there is the fact that he came out of nowhere. The only plausible place he could have come from was the gas station, as there was nothing but open land around. Even so, he would have had no business standing by the backlit sign at the roadway. There isn’t even a bus stop there. And for him to have appeared there so suddenly would have required him to jump the hedge. The hedge was chest-high and thick, and it wouldn’t have been possible for a man his size to get across it so quickly.