Alone in the Woods with a Serial Killer- True written story

I was hitching from Leipzig, Germany to Paris.
He was a French man, a somewhat dirty and unshaven driver, small, shabby and snaggletoothed.
At the French gas station I saw his car in the distance, walked over and simply asked for a ride to Paris. He agreed to give me a ride;
where I needed to pick up my 5 small paintings from an exhibition I had there.
It was October. I was 29 years old and he seemed about the same age.
He spoke broken English, I spoke no French at all.
The day was mild, sunny and blue. It was a warm and comfortable French day. It was a great day to hitch- hike.
The time was around 4:00 pm when I first met him at a gas station somewhere in France. I hopped into his little old dirty car, happy to have finally scored a ride. We drove off onto the main highway.
After some small talk, mainly about me and where I’m from, why I’m here, he reached over my lap and opened the glove compartment.
He pulled out what looked like a bunch of passports.
They were passports. He handed me all 4.
1. The first pretty girl was his girlfriend who died falling off the back of his motorcycle, he said.
2. The second, his girlfriend who died in a car crash, he told me. The third girlfriend died from a brain tumor, and the fourth fell off a horse. He said,
“I’m such an unlucky man!”
I agreed he was “unlucky.” Something was off here.
-gulp-
The uneasiness started then, and only grew as the miles rolled on. He was in possession of 4 young women’s passports.
Soon after showing me the passports, the man said he was taking a short-cut to Paris. It wasn’t really a question to me.
Excellent, I thought, get me outta this car here ASAP.
I assumed we would cut through some French villages on secondary roads. Past houses and farms.
No.
Instead, we turned off onto an implausible dirt road shooting off the main highway.
No. I thought. Not good.
But I kept silent. Why we keep quiet is a mystery, perhaps because of our dumb manners.
At first the road was out in the open, through a field. We drove through some really green French hillsides until we finally reached the oncoming heavy woods up ahead.
The road narrowed.
It grew instantly darker as we entered the forest road and drove in. The interior of the forest was dense, very dense and pine need-ly.
The woods looked like the perfect place to hide something.
It was at this point my French driver shouted,

“I dont wan tu speeekk Ingliss hanymower!”

This was definitely not a request. Then silence…
uncomfortable silence in the darkening forest.
I started to feel a small trickle of adrenaline in my body, my fight or flight soup warming up, coming online.
Communication had now officially ended! Silence.
I pondered this because I knew I would surely have questions as we would get deeper and deeper into the thickening woods. I knew that I wouldn’t ask anything, nothing! It just felt right.
It was now about 5pm and the sun was fading fast. The woods grew darker. Monsieur X seemed so tense and I could tell he was in deep thought. I noticed his lips moving almost imperceptibly. He was rigid, still.
I myself had moved my hand to the car door handle.
A movement I’m sure could not have been missed.
The car was slowing down. I did not say a word.
-the car suddenly stopped-
Did he have a gun?
Was I going to die now?
Those were my first thoughts as I looked over.
All these questions ran through my head…my life was now surreal. This was not my life’s plan.
Maybe I communicated with my captor in some secret way.
Maybe I gave off some kind of male pheromones perceptible only to men facing off.
Fear and crazy and ancient all rolled into some strange perfume. Tense, male sweat and body language.
Maybe women have it too, I don’t know, I’ve never had any reason to experience this before…
I possessed my own life long rage issues and I was not going down without a fight, that I knew. There would be no begging or cries of mercy from me. Not to this fucker.
I also had my own secret cache’ of dark soul.
I was big and strong at that time, and there was no substitute for my nothing-to-lose staring at him.
That is all I gave him.
Something very primitive transpired between us then, I think. Rather quickly.
In a manner of seconds.
It’s a sort of inner calculus as to whether one can overcome, stop, or kill the other guy or not; and all its peripheral considerations, not the least blood, gore, strength and alas – dying. I don’t think these calculations are the same when the victim is small and scared, begging and weak.
I think between those two uneven people it becomes just blood lust, power, panic, scratching and doom,
ancient reptilian human feelings.
Raptor cold.
Being killed.
Ghastly, really.
With the car now stopped I entered a very strange and new place in myself.
I was transformed, with very little preparation, into a potential killer.
Maybe my crazy chauffeur could read my mind, or my body language, or sense my intent. Or see my hand on his dirty door handle.
It was the moment of truth.
After one hour long icy minute
Verrrr-Ruummmmm!!,
we suddenly started to speed up and drive on.
Thank God…yes.
Out of the woods.
*****
Odd how these memories have come back to me as I write this.
Some memories I’m not certain of, like: did he say he had to hit one girlfriend with a shovel because she attacked him and would not be quiet and leave him in peace? Did he really explain the two backpacks on the backseat? Did I not hear that on purpose?
Did I later imagine those words?
Did I see more passports in his glove box than the 4 he pulled out?
Why didn’t I say “stop the car!” after the passport show?
The road began to widen and we emerged out of the dark forest into the setting sun, dark red and orange in the sky.
I could hear and then see the highway now. I saw tiny houses across the highway. I had no idea where exactly I was.
The Frenchman finally asked if I wanted to spend the night at his home, we could eat dinner together.
A quick film of his filthy torture chamber basement ran through my head. His beef stew.
I politely said no, my first words spoken since the order not to speak English was given. I sincerely think that had I broken that command and blabbered something in the woods, my story might have had a different ending. I could have been as simple as that.
It all came down to silence.
I can be silent. Sometimes one needs to be, to contemplate the next move.
Maybe one of the female faces in the passports may not have been able to spring over her nature and started to talk or beg with fear. Would that have fed the killers darkness, his evil?
Alas, who really knows?
I got out at the side of the highway and with night settling in I watched him drive away.
I never went to the police because:
1. I didn’t speak French and
2. I thought maybe my imagination was just too damn active.

“Jesus, what was that!”

I yelled loudly to the night. It was fully dark now.
I was now exhausted after that little adventure and I soon fell asleep on the side of the highway.
It started to rain.
I did accidentally sleep on an ant hill and was covered in ants the next morning, jeez. I was worried what the new day would bring. I looked at my hands.
Am I still alive? Am I a ghost now?
What happened back there?
*****
Jump ahead 20 years and I’m teaching a German student Business English in a café on a boulevard in Leipzig, Germany. For whatever reason we discuss this topic hitchhiking and I tell him my story.
My student promptly whips out his smartphone and Googles French serial killers. Then he shows me pictures.
There he was!
I was shown a photo of a serial killer
Patrice Alègre.
It was him back then, me and him on that strange ride. I had never forgotten his face. At that time, 1990, there was a reported serial killer leaving bodies of girls on the French road sides and highways. He was in the midst of his killing hobby back then.
I had heard about a killer on the loose. My French girlfriend told me to be careful hitchhiking, back then.
I have often wondered if the murdered women, and other men, may have been buried in those woods we passed through slowly. I wish I had now gone to the police, and have since subsequently tried. He’s in jail, they are not interested. Maybe I could have helped stop more murders back then.
It’s heavy; heavy on my soul. And since then I have felt a dark light in my body.
Maybe the souls of the girls escaped with me, in me, desperate to get out of that dreadful forest. I sometimes still feel them inside me…
PS, Moral of the story? Don’t hitch hike.
by Glenn Horvath, Leipzig 17.9.2014
photo of Killer Patrice Alegre

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