The Walk. Short Story.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine was pretty fun, went out, read a lot. Over all quite enjoyable and really relaxing.

On with the show!

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Matt walked down the dark alley, trying to keep his breathing calm and steady. He hated walking home at night, but there was no other option, unless he wanted to sleep in work and that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. He still couldn’t afford a car and neither taxi’s nor busses would go through this area, so his only option was to walk. Of course if he had been able to afford a car it would have singled him out, and probably gotten stolen within a few minutes. Sometimes, on the walks, he could hear screams, shouts and laughter, he always walked a little faster when he heard that, but it was reassuring too, he knew where everyone was. It was times like this, when it was silent, that were unnerving. In the distance he could hear a siren, but it was moving away from him. No surprise there, there was no police presence around here. It was part of why his rent was so cheap. Up ahead a streetlight flickered, clinging vainly to life, beside it, he could see a dark shadow. Damn. He continued walking, couldn’t slow, couldn’t show fear. That was just asking to be attacked. He passed the dark figure, not looking at them. No eye contact. That might set them off. Pretend like you couldn’t see them. That was what was best. He got out of the flickering pool of light and allowed himself to relax slightly, he didn’t hear them coming after him. He reached the corner and turned, looking back slyly, the figure was no longer by the light. He kept the same pace, if he ran they’d definitely chase him and he couldn’t out run them. No one could. There was a sudden shriek, piercing the night, Matt couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. It didn’t sound all that far away. Goosebumps rippled across his arms. As he walked the screaming became louder, he was walking towards it. He glanced back, casually. There were three people behind him, all walking towards the screaming. He couldn’t turn back.

His heart hammered in his chest, so loud it threatened to drown out the screams. He needed to stay calm, it was probably on one of the side streets, he’d pass by and everything would be fine. They wouldn’t pay attention to him. He hoped who ever was screaming would last until he passed by. If they saw him after their toy was dead and their blood lust wasn’t sated, he was screwed. One of the people passed by him, Matt lowered his head slightly, turning it away. Breathe. Just breathe and stay calm. He was coming up to his turn, it sounded like the screams were coming from his road. Shit.

Up ahead he could see the writing mass of people as they shouted and jeered the poor bastard they had caught. He could see the door to his building, near the crowd, but perhaps they’d be too distracted to notice him. The people behind him broke into a run, Matt froze, they ran by him and joined the crowd. He was stuck, he couldn’t move. He had to, if they looked, if they saw him, he was dead. There was no place to hide, they owned the streets and they’d find him. His foot moved forward, and suddenly he was walking again. Almost there. Just had to get to the building, he would be safe then. The group was ten feet away, the noise was deafening. Some of them glistened in the dark. He didn’t look directly at them. His key was in his hand, ready to go, he just had to reach the door.

He turned the key, trying to keep his hands steady, the door unlocked, he stepped inside and quickly shut it, sighing in relief as the locks engaged again.

A body hit the glass of the door, blood seeping from its mouth. It was man. Eyes wide and rolling in fear and pain. The crowd pushed against him, Matt wanted to turn away, to keep walking to the row of elevators and hide like everyone else, but he couldn’t turn. Then, the poor bastard and the crowd moved back, off to somewhere else. The low lights in the lobby allowed him to see the dark smudges of blood that covered the glass. There was a short beep as the door lock sealed itself and water began to run down the outside of the glass, cleaning it. The cleaning cycles lasted only a few seconds and when it was done, the glass was clean again. No sign or evidence of what had happened. Matt turned towards the elevators and pressed the button, one opened immediately for him, he stepped inside and pressed the button for his floor. As the doors slid closed, he sagged back against the wall, gasping for breath. It had been so close, so goddamned fucking close. The screaming outside had stopped. When the doors opened he stumbled into the hall and, still shaking, let himself into his apartment. He dropped his small bag on the floor and continued on into the kitchen, there he filled a glass with water and took a long drink. His stomach clenched, he turned and threw up into the sink. Still shaking, he wiped his mouth and rinsed it out. He waited a moment, then took another sip. It stayed down. Good thing he wasn’t hungry. He laughed weakly, the laugh threatened to become hysteric and he stopped suddenly. The silence of the room felt oppressive.

Matt crawled under the covers of his bed, not bothering to undress, he felt so very cold, he couldn’t seem to get warm. Shivering, he shut his eyes and tried to forget what happened. In the morning, he’d wake up and go to work like it never had the only difference being that tomorrow, he’d make sure to get home before it became dark. He had been a fool to do anything else.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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