Leanne Smith couldn’t explain her panic.

Leanne Smith couldn’t explain her panic.

Smith carpooled to work in Deale, Md., in 1999 when one night her driver stopped at a small grocery store, leaving Smith in the pickup alone.

“We parked at the edge of the parking lot with the store entrance and lot behind us,” Smith said. “We had worked late, and it was well after dusk.”

Smith relaxed as she sat in the truck, watching cars going through the intersection, waiting for the driver to come back.

“I make note of my emotions because in this peaceful, relaxed state, I was hit with an unbelievably strong sense of fear or danger,” she said. “There was no rational explanation for this intense fear, and I was able to be objective. It was really strange to me, feeling this fear all of a sudden.”

Realizing she was slipping  into a panic attack, Smith tried to figure out what might have triggered this immediate overwhelming terror.

“The fear or sense of danger didn’t increase or become more intense,” Smith said. “The (initial) intensity was extraordinary.”

Then she noticed a possible trigger for her fear; a group of about 10 young men who were roughhousing in the parking lot behind her. Smith leaned closer to the passenger-side mirror to watch them.

“A couple of them sounded drunk and it sounded as though it was possible a fight might be brewing,” she said. “I went to move the rear-view mirror to get a better view and saw something out of the corner of my eye.”

From the passenger seat, Smith slowly looked to her left and found the cause for her terror.

“I looked over at the driver’s window and there, facing me, was a woman looking in at me,” she said. “Not just glancing in. She had her shoulders square to the driver’s door of the pickup, standing about a foot and a half away from the window, which was closed.”

The appearance of the woman rammed the intense fear deeper into Smith.

“My heart shot to my throat, and I couldn’t move,” she said. “I just looked at her and she at me.”

Although the harsh shadows cast by the yellow streetlamps obscured part of the woman’s face, Smith could see her eyes. The eyes looked “empty.” Smith said the streetlamps that reflected off everything in the parking lot didn’t reflect in her eyes.

“They appeared dead,” Smith said. “Black voids. Nothing there. She seemed to have a look on her face as if she knew the fear that gripped me and enjoyed it.”

 The woman’s gaze held Smith fast.

“I don’t know how long she stood there,” Smith said. “It didn’t seem to be very long, but at the same time, the intense fear made it seem like minutes.”

The woman suddenly turned and got into the passenger seat of a 1972 Plymouth Duster parked beside the pickup where Smith sat.

“The driver, who I couldn’t see, backed the car out of the lot and left,” Smith said. “Immediately, all fear and sense of danger was gone. Very strange to me how sudden it was with it being so intense a few moments before.”

Although Smith has seen this distinctive car a number of times since, she’s never again encountered the sinister woman with the black, dead eyes.

“I filed it away as a question mark and haven’t really thought much about it until I recently read a thread with a reference to ‘black-eyed kids,’” Smith said. “I looked at different blogs referring to these ‘black-eyed kids’ and came across an anecdote with a description of a woman with black eyes and the unbelievable sense of danger the author experienced and it reminded me of my experience.”