Alone and Afraid in Texas

The following is a true story told to the Editor of East Coast Stories.

Nolan does not tell this story to very many people. Even though he is now a middle-aged man he still gets a frightened look in his eyes when he talks about that time.

Nolan grew up in Texas and it happened 45 years ago when Nolan was 10. To understand it you have to realize how just how alone you can really be in Texas.

Every summer Nolan’s parents would send him to spend a few weeks on his grandparent’s ranch. Nolan loved the ranch. It was 70 miles from the nearest town and was one of the most beautiful and peaceful places he had even been. His grandparents were always happy to see him. His grandfather loved teaching Nolan what it meant to be a “real Texan”.

Texas 2

His grandparents also spoiled Nolan.  They let him eat whatever he wanted and he could stay up watching T.V. shows. Grandpa had put a special T.V. antenna on top of the house just so Nolan could get reception.

One night his grandparents were going to drive into town to have dinner with friends in a fancy restaurant.  They invited Nolan to come along, but he was looking forward to staying home and vegging out in front of the T.V. instead.

Nolan was sitting in front of the T.V. finishing off a giant bag of potato chips when he heard a loud banging from the garage.  At first he thought it was an animal stuck in the garage, but it sounded like some sort of chopping.

Nolan went to see what was going on, and as he entered the kitchen he became frozen with fear. He could see thick door to the garage shaking. Someone was trying to break into the house by chopping through the door with an ax.

Nolan got up his courage and screamed as loudly as he could.  He shouted that he was not alone and that he had called the police. There was no answer from the other side of the door, but the chopping continued.

Nolan ran to the phone and called to the police. The dispatcher told him that a a car would be sent immediately but that they could not get there for at least 45 minutes.  With the town so far away even if the police car went 120 miles per hour the whole way, Nolan realized that he was totally alone.

The chopping continued and Nolan could hear the wood start to splinter.  Nolan didn’t know what to do. He looked for a place to hide. It was a small house there  there were not a lot of hiding places.

Nolan ran to the closet to hide, and when he opened it he saw  his grandfather’s 30-06 rifle. Nolan knew how to use it since his grandfather had taught him. On the top shelf was a box of shells.


Nolan is not sure how he got the courage, but he loaded the rifle and ran back to the garage door. The chopping continued and he could see the head of an ax coming thought the door with each stroke.

Nolan screamed that he had a gun and was going to shoot but the chopping continued.  Nolan put the barrel of the 30-06 right up to one of the cracks in the door and pulled the trigger. The sound of the rifle indoors was deafening.  Then Nolan heard screaming. Several minutes later there was a screech of tires as some sort of vehicle raced away.

Nolan wanted to open the door to see what had happened but he was afraid that someone else  might still be outside. Nolan realized that he had never seen the intruder’s face and the intruder had never said a word to him.

When the police arrived they all told him how brave he had been. That was the same thing Nolan’s grandparents told him when they got home. There had been no way to call his grandparents. This was before the days of cell phones, and Nolan had forgotten what restaurant they said they were going to.

The police spent a long time at the “crime scene”. They told Nolan he had definitely shot the intruder. There was blood. A lot of blood.

The police never found the person who had been trying to break in.  One policeman told Nolan that the intruder had lost so much blood he had probably gone off and died somewhere. Not exactly the most sensitive thing to tell a 10 year old kid.

Nolan now lives in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the U.S. In most New Jersey towns if you call the police they can be at your home in 5 or 10 minutes. Nolan points out that we don’t know what it means to be truly alone.

Nolan’s house has an alarm system and thick solid doors. If you ask him if he has a gun in the house he will never give you a straight answer. Let’s just say if you go to visit him it would be a good idea to call first and let him know you are coming.

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