Walking Home

Walking down a darkened street, I freeze

A footstep behind me chills my blood

I swallow

Should I turn?

Can I turn

To confront this softly stepping stranger?

A second step

A soft sly scrape of leather on concrete

And suddenly I’m running

Heart pounding so fast

It’s a wonder it doesn’t explode

Throat burning

Lungs heaving

A cramp in my side brings me to my knees

Again the sound of a footstep assails my ear

Please, no, I whimper

A curtain of tears blind my eyes as I look up

There is no one there

I weep with gratitude

Thank god, thank god, I murmur in my mind

Praying to a lord I do not believe in

Nor have no love for

I clamber to my feet

Relieved that the danger is past

I turn to go and a shadow looms before me

A man in black

Broad shouldered

And long of leg

A man so monstrously big

A hand grabs for my throat

Fingernails dig into my flesh

And he draws me near

So close I can smell the spices on his breath

"Pretty, pretty doll"

He whispers in my ear

"Can I play with you?"

He lifts me off the ground

And carries me towards the leering mouth of a dark and hungry alley

The shoes slip from my feet as I kick at him

And clatter to the ground

The only other sound heard that night

Is the scream that splits my lips

As the darkness gobbles me whole

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