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Fearing for my safety

June 15, 2011
The Daily News

Sometimes I think back to all of the places I've lived and the adventures and follies that came from it.

I remember the time I lived in Indiana as a toddler and my sister and I decided to venture down the creek bed for miles-without telling Mom and Dad.

I remember when one of my best friends rode his bike down Mont Ripley in Houghton to come over to my house.

And I remember this one house near Michigan Tech's campus where one particular incident near the end of my stay caused me to fear for my safety.

When I saw the room, I had no regrets.

I pushed aside my worries of living with 10 other guys.

Against the far wall was a boarded-up fireplace and a loft up above to house the sleeping quarters.

And the best part: I had access to the roof from my window. It was like having a living room and a bedroom in one area. I knew there was nothing that could drive me from this place.

After less than one semester, I had had enough.

Some nights, I was kept awake by the drumming of music from below.

One guy in the house did not attend school and found partying to be a great way to spend most weekends and some weeknights.

I'd go down and tell them to turn it down a bit, but the bass would still rumble the floor of my bedroom.

The room became cramped because I began cooking, eating and living there.

The kitchen downstairs, no matter how many times I cleaned it, always became a gross and infested disaster area.

I'd come home from class and the two house kittens would be sprawled out on the table chewing on a bag of oatmeal that had spilled over the table and floor.

Of course, I decided to move out and found a place close to campus.

My last weekend at the house, my boyfriend had come over Saturday morning for breakfast and we were in my room watching television.

The night before, I had been awakened by a loud crash of glass shattering in the room above me.

I didn't know the guy up there very well and the first time I saw him, I had felt weird.

I walked out to go to the bathroom and there was the guy from above me, throwing things down the stairs. Little trinkets teetered over the stairs and fell. Shattered glass lay across the floor.

There was stuff everywhere.

I went into the bathroom and came back out and the guy came downstairs holding a giant driftwood walking stick, beating it on the ground.

I held my breath.

He looked at me threateningly and I ran into my room.

I told my boyfriend and he peeked outside my door.

We came back in, talking when the power went out in my room.

My boyfriend went out into the hall to check the circuit breaker and found the switches flipped.

Sitting in my room, I got a text from my friend in the room next to me, asking me what was going on and that he was afraid to leave him room.

I later found out everyone was hiding in their rooms.

Something was wrong with this guy and we didn't know what.

I peeked my head out the door and the guy was at the circuit breaker flipping switches, mumbling nonsense.

He went into the bathroom and shut the door.

We could hear him tossing cups around and turning the water on and off.

As he was in the bathroom, another friend from upstairs crept downstairs and I went with him.

The house was a little trashed.

Plants were overturned and parts of the wall and siding were picked at. We decided to call the cops and waited impatiently in our rooms til they came.

We listened to the cops talk to the guy and his speech made absolutely no sense.

Since he was not threatening to hurt anyone, they didn't take him in.

I had never seen someone act with such insanity.

Later, some of the guys in the house took him to the hospital because it was thought he had lead poisoning from working on his computer.

I never really found out what was wrong.

Needless to say, I was out of that house so fast afterward. The thought of living in that house again gave me the chills, yet I missed the kittens and my rooftop where I could watch College Avenue below.

Although, it will be a story I'll be telling for years.

Kayla Herrera's e-mail address is



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