Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Taking Chances

The sky is getting darker. One by one the streetlamps are coming on, their amber light reflecting in the sheen of rain on the tarmac. I’m standing on a real railway platform this time, waiting on my train home.
But the train is late. I’m getting anxious. I should’ve been home by now. I should've been safe in my own room, the one place that I know is secure against them. I’ve turned it a fortress. Daytime is my time to hunt. And night time is theirs.
Finally it pulls into the station. I wait for everyone else to get on first. Then I take a final look around my shoulder. One thing I've learnt through bitter experience is to always check my back. You never know who - or more importantly what - is trailing you. Then, just as the doors are about to swish shut, I step inside and find a seat.
I keep my head down, my hood up, and my headphones in for the whole journey. I avoid eye contact with everyone. At one stop, a group of people from my year at school get on. Sarah Taylor is one of them. Sarah lives just round the corner from me. We sometimes say hello to each other in passing. She’s a slender, pretty girl with long red hair. The group she is with are all smiling, laughing. They’re on their way home from the bowling alley. I think about how carefree and how innocent my life used to be, before it got snatched away. I really want to be with them, to be one of them, living a normal life. But that could never happen, not now, not after all I’ve been through. 
I get off the train a stop early. A wave of blustery rain has moved in off the firth. Other people are running for cover, but not me. I just keep walking. Rain is good. It washes away your scent, makes your trail harder to follow. Crowds too, as your trail gets diluted by all the others. It’s almost fully dark now, I have to be extra cautious, so I take the long route home, through the main mall, even cutting in and out of various department stores. I reckon this is enough to throw any pursuer off my tail. 
As I near my house, the rain is lashing now and my head is down against it. The streets are quiet and empty. I can feel myself coiling up. My mouth is dry, my heart beating fast. I imagine him, that boy with the piercing red eyes, waiting for me in a dark corner, readying himself to pounce. And if he did, I would have no chance. No one would hear, no one would see. There’d be no one to help.
I run the rest of the way. I know I’ve made a mistake tonight. I dallied too long, I took a risk with the train and put myself in danger.  I’m going to have to be more careful in future.

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