No Good Deed. Short Story.

Just wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday!

Unfortunately I’m a bit under the weather at the moment (actually everyone here seems to be, be warned for this is a house of sickness. Maybe we should throw a red cross up on the door to warn people away.) I’m hoping I’ll be back to full health in a few days, thankfully the worst of it seems to be over! My nose has stopped dripping like a leaky tap and my head feels like the vice has only been tightened a little bit rather than all the way. As an aside, can we just take a minute to appreciate whoever invented Solpadine? My hat goes off to you, wherever and whoever you are!

Hope everyone else is doing well and is having a wonderful time!

No Good Deed.

Deborah looked up at the sky, she loved the stars at night, millions of them all shining at once, she always had, but they weren’t much comfort tonight. She was huddled against a tree, shivering slightly. It was a cold night and she was tired, too tired to run any longer. Her legs ached steadily and she knew they would be cramping horribly tomorrow, assuming she lived that long. Somewhere a branch snapped and her breath caught in her throat. She slowly eased out the breath, then inhaled just as slowly. Mentally she cursed at herself again, why had she been so stupid? She hadn’t been thinking, she had just run, she had thought that trees would provide cover and protection, but he had followed her. She had kept going until everything looked the same and she was hopelessly lost. Every time she moved forward she remembered the first rule of being lost, stop and wait for someone to find you, but then that was the danger, wasn’t it?

She had been driving to her boyfriends, a normally pleasant enough drive, when she came across the man lying at the side of the road. She pulled over and got out of her car, she was careful to keep some distance as she called out, “Hello? Are you ok?” there was no response. As she moved closer she realised that the man wasn’t breathing. She turned to go back to the car, to her phone, and froze. Another man was standing between her and her car, he was grinning at her, his grin was wide and jovial but his eyes were flat and dark. “You startled me. That man over there, I think he’s in trouble, I was just about to call for help.” She hadn’t heard another car pulling up, she hadn’t seen another when she had stopped either. The man nodded, “Yes, I saw him too.” His voice sent shivers up her spine. She needed to keep him talking, another car could come by any second. He looked her up and down, his eyes examining every inch, “Do you have your phone with you?” Deborah nodded once, “Yes, I wanted to move out of the road, in case someone came speeding by. People come up and down this road all the time, usually going pretty fast too. They’d be on you before you realised it.” She thought she was babbling but she couldn’t stop, she was too afraid. He shrugged, “You’d be surprised how lonely this stretch of road can be, especially now.”
“I guess. I wouldn’t be too worried though, my boyfriend is expecting me soon, so if anything happened I know he’d call someone or come check on me.”
“Oh, you’ve a boyfriend? How nice. Tell me, are you one of those good women who keeps her purity? Or one of those floozy’s who spreads her legs at every opportunity.”
Deborah’s heart was hammering in her chest. She couldn’t show she was afraid, she needed to be confident. She needed to get to her car. She moved slightly to the left, he shifted with her. “I don’t think that is an appropriate thing to say to someone.”
He smiled at her, “So you’re one of those whores? I get it, you just don’t want to admit it. Or maybe you’re just shy and virginal.” She shivered as he said virginal, the way he leered over the word made her feel dirty, soiled, his voice sounded wet as he said it, almost as though he was salivating. “There isn’t anyone around here for miles you know. Even if your boyfriend is expecting you it would take him a while to notice you were missing.”
“That man over there needs help, do you know CPR? I’ll dial 911, maybe you could check for a heartbeat?” She needed to distract him, but his eyes never left her.
“Oh, don’t worry about him. He’s not going anywhere. How can he? He’s a mannequin after all.” Deborah felt coldness flooding through her. She had to get to the car. She had left the keys in the ignition, if she could just get there she could lock the doors and drive away. She could make a run for it, try to duck around him. Her eyes moved to her car, it was just a quick glance, but he caught it. He held up a set of keys, “Oh, I wouldn’t if I were you. I made sure to grab these while you were distracted.” The entire time they had spoken that smile had never left his face. It felt like she had been standing on this road for hours. He took a step closer, “I’m a fast runner too, who knows. Maybe you’re faster. I like a good chase.” He winked at her and Deborah ran.

Her only thought was escape, the road was long and straight, she’d be able to run on it easily, but then so could he. There was nowhere to hide and he was right, it could be a while before another car came along. The woods were her best chance.

Deborah wrapped her arms around her knees, trying to keep herself warm. Somewhere in the darkness she could hear someone yelling, though she couldn’t make out what they were saying. Part of her wanted to run towards the voice, though she knew that would be a mistake. She lowered her head to her knees, whoever it was they were far away and their voice was fading. If it was that psycho he was moving further away.

Deborah woke with a start, at some point she had fallen asleep. Her entire body was stiff and sore and she was covered in scratches she hadn’t noticed the night before. Slowly she stretched and stood, trying to work out the stiffness. As she did she looked around herself, making sure no one could sneak up on her. There was no sign of anyone. Part of her felt relief, but at the same time she knew she was in trouble. She had no experience with the outdoors, she didn’t even know what direction she should be heading in. How big were these woods? After all she had only ever driven through them and it felt like she had run for miles the night before. After a moment’s hesitation she started walking.

About two hours later she had found a road, she didn’t recognise where she was but the road looked like it was well maintained. That was good, it meant people used it. She moved back into the trees, using them as cover. She heard a car coming and she stood, getting ready to wave them down, then she stopped. What if it was him? He had to get into the woods somehow, she didn’t know where he was, it could be him driving towards her. The sound of the engine was getting louder, she needed to make a decision. She took several breaths and stepped out to the side of the road.

Deborah was crying silently in the passenger seat, a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The woman beside her kept reassuring her it was ok, that she was safe, and she knew the woman was right, but part of Deborah was afraid she’d wake up and find herself sitting in the woods again, that the man would be standing over her, leering, and then he’d pounce.



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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