Note: The short story below is a response to this prompt: “You are walking down a lonely street, and you notice quiet footsteps just behind you.” This is an unedited, 10 minute creative-writing exercise from Creative Writing Now.
I have to admit that this is not the nicest day to be walking to work. The clouds are black, and hang heavy in the sky. When it is this dark in the evening the streetlights are on, but this morning they were turned off hours ago because the city has them on a timer. I would normally drive, but my car is out of action for at least another week. That’s what my mechanic says anyway.
Oh, well. I might as well make the most of the exercise. I know I should work out more often, but by the time I get home, cook dinner, take care of the housework and get the kids to bed, I am too exhausted to do anything except shower and hit the pillow myself. One day…
I’m running late this morning, so I’ll go down Orange-Grove Lane instead of walking all the way to James St. The Lane will save me about 5 minutes, so if I keep a good pace, I should make it to work with a couple of minutes to spare. Enough time to grab a coffee I hope, because I didn’t get to have one this morning.
I don’t normally walk down this lane. It is dark even on the sunniest day and today I almost need a torch to see where I am going. It’s too late to turn back now.
Shit! What’s that? My heart starts racing. My blood is thumping in my ears. There are quiet footsteps behind me. I speed up. They do too. I bring my handbag in front of me and grab the handles in preparation to turn and swing at my attacker. I hope the book I have in there is heavy enough to knock them out. I can’t breathe. Should I run instead? Yes, yes! Run!
It seems like minutes before my legs receive the instructions from my brain to run. I take off as fast as I can. Squeezing my eyes shut, I run blindly towards the end of the Lane. I swear, I am never going to walk this way again.
The footsteps behind me also break into a run. I start to sweat from fear and panic. Then I hear a voice yell, “Mum! Wait!”
I spin around in one fluid movement. My daughter is sprinting towards me looking as terrified as I feel. She stops beside me, struggles to catch her breath, and says, “You forgot your lunch!”