I thought I saw you from the corner of my eye as I turned into the alleyway. Two parallel rows of tall red brick where a lone flickering street lamp lit the narrow cobbled pathway. A pungent stench of bins, overflowing and ignored, hit with a power so caustic that I heaved in the darkness. I still sensed that shadow in the corner of my eye. Footsteps in the distance chilled the blood under my skin, and an icy river of dread pulsed through the flow. I stopped. I waited. There they were again… the footsteps; there was no mistaking them this time. I knew you were there. Anxiety ignited my paranoia; like kindling, fuelling it, feeding the flames and kept telling me to check again. I didn’t dare, denial was the easier option. I quickened my pace.
I caught the shadow again. Damn. Closer it came. I had to turn, a knee jerk reaction. Then I felt it, a warm haze of breath that skimmed the sensitive skin on my cheek. I could taste it; rancid, heavy and frighteningly familiar. A smile so wide, so hideous, it spread across his face and his eyes like ink pools of evil, flickered with malice in the absence of light. He raised an arm, high above his head and held something hidden by the shadows. I tried to scream. Nothing came. My throat constricting to nothing but a desperate whimper “No please…Please no…Please!”, then I lost my footing and fell back against the red brick wall.
I opened my eyes to a muted echo and the bleak light that was still flickering overhead. Every inch of me coiled with alarm, tiny pin pricks of fear that scored at my skin. I raised a weak arm to my head and felt nothing. No pain, no blood stained wound pulsating across my brow. Weird! Then the echo became clearer and I heard his voice calling out. My breath stilled again.
“Are you alright, you gave me a fright there” a soft whisper of hope suddenly diluted the fear.
He put an arm around my waist. I flinched. I waited for the darkness to claim me again. “Lean on me, let me help you up” his voice a rich velvety baritone, unexpectedly calming and distractingly sexy.
“Remember me from the bar, you left your bag and I thought you might need it”. I gulped. Humiliation replaced fear and I nodded, grateful for his hoist up as he stood me back onto my feet.
“Richie, oh thank god, you friggin scared me half to death” I cursed and his eyebrow lifted slightly giving a tiny smirk of humour to a rather gorgeous face. “In that case, maybe I should walk you home, after all it’s not every night a gorgeous brunette drops at my feet” I crooked my neck, the flickering light just above catching a small cocky dimple in the centre of his chin and I gulped again. This time for a whole load of different reasons.
Maybe tonight wasn’t going to be such a disaster after all!