As I stepped outside my office building, I was greeted with the sight of my lonely car in the black and white sea of asphalt. I’d parked further away than usual not intending to stay later than the sun’s curfew; I was beginning to regret my decision. I checked my watch and saw it was just passed nine. My eyes scanned the surroundings, most of the sodium vapor lights were out. Sighing I began the trudge towards my tiny coupe.
My heels clicked loudly, the echo severed the night air. Step by step I skillfully evaded the cracks in the worn ground. I couldn’t shake the feeling of eyes upon me. A quick glance over my shoulder revealed I wasn’t alone; two children in hoodies stood where I was only seconds before. Odd, why would kids be anywhere near here this late at night? I sped up and heard the methodical patter of feet behind me. Don’t panic. Keep moving, don’t look back, I told myself. My car never felt further. For each of my strides there were two of theirs. Just a few more feet, a few more steps and I’ll be safe.
As I reached my junkyard reject, my mind screamed they were right on top of me. A tear ran down my cheek, They’re just kids! What am I so afraid of? My heart drummed against my ribs, I looked at the reflection in the car window, no one was there. Quickly rummaging through my bag trying to find the keys, adrenaline infused dread coursed through my veins from head to toe as I finally yanked them free. Struggling to jam the right one in the door, my shaking fingers slipped and they fell clattering to the ground.
As I bent to grab the keys, my eye glimpsed ratty Chucks standing near the passenger door. Bolting upright, I shoved the key into the lock. A quick glance over the roof, no one was there; my breath quickened. What the shit? How’s that possible? I just saw their fucking shoes… The lock clicked loudly as the door gave way. I tumbled inside and frantically reached for the lock. Petrified, I stared wide-eyed out the passenger window as I shoved the key into the ignition.
“Excuse me,” came a faint voice from the glass next to me, I jumped out of my skin. How did they get there? The engine ticked but wouldn’t turn over. Come on, come on, start you piece of shit!
“Excuse me miss, we need a ride home. Can you help us please?” I could feel my heart pounding in my throat, I didn’t want to look, but I had to.
“I-I-I’m s-sorry, I n-need to get h-home.” I stuttered as breath came ragged and my vision swam. Warmth and salt swelled in my eyes as I tried to look him in the eye. Hood covering his face, he put his hand on my window; I couldn’t see the other one.
“Please miss, we’re just kids. Won’t you help us?” He said, more stern this time. I tried starting the car again, at last the engine roared to life. Somehow he felt even more dangerous now.
He growled and banged his palm against the tempered glass, “Let us in. Our parents will be worried.” Shaking, I gripped the steering wheel tighter. I peered into the rearview mirror, his friend was running around to the other side. By the time he reached my passenger window, his hood had fallen off. I stared into a pale face with eyes black as coal. No iris or sclera, pure darkness where there should have been light. A toothy grin parted his lips as liquid fear poured down my cheeks. In unison they began chanting, “Listen lady, let us in. You have to let us in!”
Grabbing the shifter, I slammed the transmission into the first gear available – reverse. Even as I felt the car thump over the body I was too terrified to stop. Shifting into drive, I looked back for the last time. Both boys stood where my car had been, black eyes gleaming, teeth still bared in dual snarls.
∼ Lydia Prime
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