Running. Short Story.

Allie shivered, she didn’t have time to grab her jacket when she ran. All she had on was a pair of light jeans and a t-shirt, luckily she’d been wearing sandals when it happened. She would go back, of course she would, where else could she even go? But for now she enjoyed the freedom. She didn’t worry about what would happen when she returned, she didn’t worry about any punishments she might receive. For now she just closed her eyes and swung gently on the swing. It was reassuring, the smooth back and forth motion. It was getting late and no one was in the park, not even the teens she had expected to see hanging around. It was nice being alone, just having the quiet, the sound of the trees rustling, or the soft hum of the occasional car going by. Beyond that she felt safer here, there were plenty of exits, plenty of places to hide. There weren’t many places to hide where she lived and he knew of all the places already. She shivered again, but this time it wasn’t from the cold. Allie stopped swinging and wrapped her arms around herself. She was really starting to feel the cold. Why hadn’t she grabbed a jacket, any jacket? They had been right there by the door. If only she had been thinking properly. Even now it was still a blur. She just remembered running, scrabbling at the door then running again. She wasn’t even all that sure about where exactly she had ended up. She thought it was only a short distance back to the house, but then it could be an hour away.

 

Allie finally stood from the swing and looked around, it was dark and hard to see. Sighing she started to walk, trying to do so carefully. It wouldn’t do to slip and injure herself here in the dark. There wouldn’t be anyone around to help her, and she wouldn’t really trust someone who would be hanging around in a park at night anyway.

 

As she walked she began to get her bearings a little bit. She was walking briskly and knew she’d be back in about twenty minutes. As she got closer though, she found herself slowing. The cold was no longer enough incentive to keep going. She didn’t have any money on her so she couldn’t just duck in somewhere. She paused outside a large shop and after a second of indecision, she walked in. Luckily, there was a trolley sitting just inside the entrance. She looked around for anyone using it and after seeing no one she shrugged and grabbed it for herself. Allie casually strolled through the shop, allowing herself to warm. There were even a few free samples she was able to try. As she walked she would pick random items off the shelves, sometimes she would stand and read the back of one thing, then another, trying to look as though she was indecisive.

 

After what felt like more than enough time, Allie pretended to search her pockets, looking confused, after a few seconds, she backtracked over the store, bringing the trolley, then, at the entrance, she left it and walked out, still scanning the ground. She continued on for a few feet then straightened up and began to walk normally. The further away she got from the store the sillier she felt. No one would have noticed her just leaving, it had been a stupid thing to do to pretend to have lost her wallet, anyone who saw probably knew she was faking and if not they thought she was an idiot for not checking at customer services or anything. She shook her head to herself, either way she was warmer now than she had been, though the longer she stayed outside the more of her warmth was robbed.

 

She stopped outside the building, she was shivering again. He was already up there, she knew it. He wouldn’t have even bothered looking for her. No, he’d just sit and wait. He knew her too well. Allie took a deep breath then stepped into the lobby. It was warm inside, her skin broke out in goosebumps. She still shivered uncontrollably. There was a small seating area in the lobby, she moved over to it and sat down. She would sit here for just a minute, until she was warm again, then, when she had gotten a hold of herself she’d go back upstairs.

 

She had been sitting for almost half an hour, yet she couldn’t make herself stand, couldn’t make herself move. She didn’t want to go back. She couldn’t go back. Once the elevator had dinged, the doors opening. She had managed to hold back a shriek of surprise. An older woman had left the lift, then the building, glancing at her once with a small smile and continuing on. What if it had been him? What if he came down and saw her? It wasn’t safe to stay here. Anywhere else would be better than here. She’d find something. She always did. She could beg for money, scrounge up enough for a bus ticket. Hell, even if she was able to borrow a phone from someone she’d be able to get someone to come help her. She sank back a little in her chair. Would they even want to help her? She hadn’t spoken to any of them in months and the last time she had spoken to most of them hadn’t been too pleasant. Her parents, they’d help. Of course they would, but how would they be able to look at her? To forgive her? Would all that really be better? That shame, the humiliation of it all? She had never seen him like this before though. Usually it was quick and then it’d be over. Not tonight, tonight was different, worse. What would happen if she did go back up there?

 

Allie stood and started to walk to the door. She opened it and stepped outside, she took a deep breath, then she started to walk away, she made it ten feet before she started to jog, and she kept running.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 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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