On my way home, I decided to use the shortcut. Nobody sensible uses the shortcut. Just those who are either extremely brave or extremely moronic. The extremes. The shortcut is a dark alley, one so creepy it scared people off even during daytime. But it cuts my journey short by twenty-something minutes, which is the amount of time it takes to walk down the street and turn to continue the journey home. And there was a match I’d surely be late for if I took the long normal road. A really good football match.
I’ll leave you to judge which extreme I fall under.
I took the shortcut. Halfway through I heard a rustle. I quickened my footsteps and soon was out in the open.
A sigh of sweet relief. I was so happy I made it out the alley safe and sound that it took me a full minute to calm down and notice I wasn’t alone. Someone was following me. Someone from the alley. I started walking faster. It kept up. I started jogging. It did the same, and of course I did the next sensible thing.
I ran like hell.
“Ahhhhhhh! Somebody help me!!!” I could hear a mad cackling sound as the creature chased me down the road, panting heavily and making wet, smacking sounds. I got to the big tipper garage. Bad luck, all the inhabitants had gone to pray. It was abandoned. I kept running. It kept chasing me.
I cut across the garage and came out under a streetlight, my house was just a few feet away. I could make it. I got to the door and pushed it. It was locked. I banged on the door, no one answered. “Where DID EVERYONE GO TO?”
It caught up with me. ‘It’ turned out to be a tall, thin haggard looking fellow with a week old beard and filthy prison clothes. He held a stick in one hand. And now that he had finally caught me, he stopped cackling and looked at me intently. Then licked his lips and took a step towards me.
Images and stories of prison rape flashed in my head and I let out a totally manly whimper. He took the last few steps separating us with one giant stride and poked me in the chest with the stick. I might have wet myself at that moment.
He said just one word. “Bloop.” And then he took off down the street, cackling and yelling like a madman.
The next morning, news spread around the neighborhood that the asylum not too far away had lost one of it’s inmates the night before. People were advised to lock their doors and keep their children close by. He did not have a history of violence, but when dealing with the insane, who could tell?
That afternoon, he was caught and the van passed the front of my house on its way back. He was sitting in the back, peeking out through iron bars set at face level when our eyes met. And then he winked.