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Strange things are a foot at Circle K

Dark arts after dark: a nightmare on Interstate 95

Stories around campfires that may or may not be true, tall tales of the tragic and weird. We've heard them all before, but not like this. In the lead up to Halloween, we have handpicked the most unsettling short works culled from the depths of Reddit's "Let's Not Meet" section – where Reddit users post their true stories of creepy encounters – stories of being stalked, creeped, or encountering a creepy individual. We will be publishing one daily as part of our #darkarts after dark series, which will celebrate the dark and disturbed after 8pm GMT. This very true story has been published with the permssion of the author.

In the spring of 2005, I was driving from Maryland to Florida for a major conference. I'd left my friend's house in Richmond in the wee hours of the morning, and had stopped around 5 am in North Carolina to fill one tank and, um, empty another.

I'd just gotten back in the car and turned it on when there was a knock on the passenger side window. Outside, there was an older woman in her 50s. I locked the doors and cracked the window just enough to hear her tell me that she needed a ride "just a few exits" back UP I-95. I kept repeating that I wasn't headed that way. She wasn't letting it go, and every hair on my neck was starting to stand up. I thought about going back to the store, but to be honest, I wasn't sure if I would make it to the store or what situation I would find there if I did.

Finally, I held my cell phone up an said that if she didn't leave me alone, I was calling the cops. Situation changed completely. She apologised and walked away.

I was shaking too much to drive, so I took a few minutes to collect myself before pulling out to go back to the highway. That's when I saw a car pulling out from behind the store. The lights hit it just the right way, and I was shocked to see it was her behind the wheel.

I recovered real quick and pulled out of the station behind her. She made her way back to 95, and I was right behind. That's how I saw her pull a car she didn't supposedly have onto 95-S, the exact opposite direction of where she so desperately wanted to go.

I got around her, and as I passed her car, she locked her eyes on me with a stare that was so incredibly cold; I have chills to this day thinking about it. Since then, no matter what I'm doing or where I am, I never get in the car without making locking the doors a first priority. I also never, not ever, crack the windows for anyone but a cop. Anyone who approaches my car gets yelled at through the window with my hands on the wheel in case a quick getaway is needed.