SCREAMS!!! Entry 8/15/20
|SCREAMS!!! Entry 8/15/20
Prompt: A somewhat innocent stalker
I hated working late—the office was in a terrible part of town with the nearest parking four blocks away. But it couldn’t be helped today, not with the Smith deal closing in the morning.
I felt unsettled as I stepped out of the building and into the flickering light of a failing street lamp. On the sidewalk immediately next to me lay a homeless man, cocooned in a sleeping bag. He appeared to be asleep.
I stepped over him, frowning as the pungent odor of his unshowered body rolled over me. I felt bad for the man, as I always did when I saw a homeless person. Had it been daytime, I might have given him a few dollars for food. At night, in this part of town, however, I didn’t want to spend any more time than necessary getting to my car.
I heard a soft thump as my second foot touched next to him, followed by the telltale nylon whoosh of a body shifting inside a sleeping bag.
My heartbeat quickened. He was awake. I began to hustle down the street, putting distance between us.
A moment later, I heard a raspy voice call out from the darkness. “Hey! Pretty lady! Come back here! I’ve got something to show you!”
I increased my speed, as I heard him unzip his sleeping bag. Not stopping, I turned my head to get a look at what the strange man was doing.
He was on his feet now, shuffling quickly toward me, hand outstretched in my direction.
Adrenaline burst through my body, sending my heart racing. I began to run awkwardly, cursing the heels I’d worn today.
I looked back. He was running now as well. And gaining on me! I swore, kicked off my heels and began to sprint, barefoot, toward my car.
I heard the soft, scuffing concussions of worn sneakers behind me, coming closer and closer.
As I ran, I pulled my bag against my body and unzipped it. I felt around for the gun I’d started carrying last month, after the riots had destroyed several storefronts nearby.
As my fingertips brushed cold metal, I felt relief wash over me. I hadn’t forgotten to bring it today!
Pulling the gun from my bag, I whirled and pointed it directly at the man sprinting toward me. But he didn’t stop! Couldn’t he see the gun?
“Stop or I’ll shoot!”
He was nearly upon me now, arm still outstretched, about to grab me.
I didn’t have time to think, just to react. So I did the only thing I could...
Three staccato blasts fractured the quiet night.
The homeless man lurched toward me, falling against me. I could feel the heat of warm liquid wetting my clothes as he went down. When he hit the cement, I heard the jingle of keys.
Alarmed, I felt around in my bag.
I dry swallowed and swooned as dread dropped my stomach.