Sun light faded to dusk, that time of uncertainty, that space between light and dark, of seeing things within the mist. A mist supported by the chilling air of autumn as it rushed down the street invoking a sense of evil.

She pulled the light summer coat tight around her. The click of her high heels echoed down an empty street of the old warehouse district. The side street, blocked by construction left her no choice, but to continue down the long street.

It held a lurid feel. After 6pn everything shut down and the street became a haven to the night people. Dark people, doing dark things in dark doorways and with each and every step they seemed to be getting darker as night brushed dusk aside.

The echo of her heels became louder announcing her presence to all the eyes hidden within the crevices of the buildings and their austere facades. Light disappeared creating a world of outline. The tired old street lights on the corners did little to change their appearance. There was no deity here to protect her. She walked alone amongst the strange and eerie.

The pallor of emptiness scared her. She was sure she could hear footsteps, footsteps other than hers. She quickened her pace as did the following footsteps. Her fear now irrefutable, left a sour taste. What was she to do? There was nothing she could do, but hurry to the end of the block.

Out of the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of a man. A tall slender man in a trench coat, the belt tied tightly around his waist. His hands pushed deep into the pockets and the small fedora hid his face. His pace matched hers. She wanted to give way to fear and run, but what if he ran too. What if he was faster? What if he had a knife? She had a morbid fear of men and knifes ever since she had watched  Nightmare on Elm Street. To this day she hated herself for it.

She neared the end of the street, less than half a block away. She ducked her head as the cold wind rushed down to chill her again. A cold, even the rising body temperature caused by the exertion of her pace could not repel. A fearful cold.

Anxiety stripped her naked as up ahead a large man turned the corner, he seemed to stumble as if he were drunk. He stopped and stood still blocking the sidewalk. What was she to do? She couldn’t cross the street for the mysterious man in the trench coat had come abreast of her. She couldn’t turn back. There was no place of safety there. There was no safety anywhere. Was death stalking her?

She slowed her pace, opened her purse and pulled out her tail comb. At least this way she had a weapon to defend herself with. She crushed the teeth of the comb into her palm. Pain pumped the adrenalin. She straightened her stance. A car sat adjacent to the large man. He had turned to look at the building beside him as if he were lost.

Then without looking she stepped off the curb and moved to the car as if it were her own. She had forgotten the man across the street, when suddenly he too was at the car. He looked at her. He had keys in his hand. It was his car. What was she to do?

“Oh, I’m sorry, I thought this was my sister’s car” was all she could say.

“Could I give you a lift” he asked.

The large man on the sidewalk turned to look at them. Up close he looked furious and angry. The man offering her a ride seemed nice by comparison.

“Yes” she said as he walked her around to open the passenger door. It closed behind her. He got in the other side and as the car started the doors locked.

She returned his smile and began to relax from the horrors of her dilemma. She never saw the blood on his sleeve.

David Hutchison, writer