By Melissa L. Webb
I get off the bus, stepping into the cold night air, quickly avoiding the puddles that pepper the rain-soaked pavement. Hunching my shoulders against the chill, I head down the street. Away from the noise of life. Away from the commotion the day brought. Away from the noise of life. It was time to go home.
My feet hurry along the sidewalk, with almost no assistance from me. They long for me to be off them. Maybe a long hot shower would wash away the strain of my workday. I couldn’t wait to lock myself away from the world, my apartment walls comforting shields from the rude people lurking outside. Customer service was going to kill me.
I hurry on, the thought of peace and quiet spurring me forward. My chest lightens as I near my apartment. The stress dropping in layers, slowly releasing me from the hardened cocoon of tension I am wrapped in each day.
Turning onto my street, my feet practically fly to the doors of my apartment building. I take the stairs two at a time after letting myself in. I feel my sanctuary calling to me. Moving even quicker, I reach my hallway, staring down to the door at the end. This is my gateway to relaxation.
A shadow moves in the middle of the hallway. A man steps into view, if you could call him a man. His body is very square, his skin as porous as the moon with a jaundice tint. He gasps at me with each breath, struggling to take in the air around him. Each jagged expulsion of air emitting through a mouth that won’t stay closed. It flops open and closed like a fish waiting for food.
I step back as he moves forward, both of us moving in a choreographed dance as his eyes watch me. His eyes are huge. They take up almost all of his face. Those eyes stay locked on me, never faulting once as he gasps away.
I take another step back. He takes another step forward.
“You,” he says, pointing at me, coming closer still. “I’m done searching. I can settle for you.” He huffs the words as if he can’t stop the sharp exhale of breath constantly spilling from his lips.
I back up more. I have never seen this thing before in my life. I can’t imagine what he’s doing on my floor, but I know it can’t be good. And what he wants with me…I can see in his eyes, it’s the stuff of nightmares.
I turn around, sprinting back down the stairs and away from the creature lurking there. I’m suddenly wondering if my boss would let me pull a double tonight. It may be stressful, but at least I won’t be alone.
© 2011 Melissa L. Webb
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