Monday, October 31, 2016

Story #1: The Red Run

Happy Halloween! Here's a little flash fiction to help get the day off to a spooky start:

I stepped off the bus, the door squealing shut behind me as it took off. My feet touched the concrete and I was struck by the smell of crisp fall air, awed by the sight of red leaves falling all around me.

I ran. I didn't dare look around. I knew that if I could make it home to my apartment before I saw him, I would be safe. If I glimpsed him, even briefly or by accident, I would not be able to escape him. If I could see him, then he could see me.

I ran through the glorious trees, trees that were spewing red leaves into the wind and covering the earth in crunchy, slippery, matted redness. Each step brought me nearer to the verge of hope and panic.

I came to a hill and could see the parking lot and my apartment building just beyond. I dropped to the ground on my back, rolling and sliding down that great red-leafed fountain—the leaves, the red leaves falling around me, racing me. I slid much faster on them.

I slammed hard onto the pavement, next to a row of plain cars—for someone somewhere, today was just a regular day. I bounded to my feet, so frightened, so close, and could feel the warmth of home and safety just a couple of yards away.

I glanced up into the stairwell of my building. There was nobody there. I was relieved, but didn’t dare slow down. I threw the door open and ran up the stairs—one flight gone, two flights gone, the taste of my heart in my mouth, the smell of red leaves and earth on my stained jeans. No sight of him.

I stumbled up the final flight with my hands desperately slapping the steps ahead of me. I could see my front door. I collapsed into it and grasped the knob. It swung open easily. I fell onto cold white tile. I had made it. I had made it.

But I had left the door locked.

Just on the periphery of my vision I could see two black-booted feet. His feet. I looked up slowly and into his face. He looked familiar, almost like a friend. But as I squeezed my eyes shut and flexed my hands over the hard tile below, I knew that when I looked again, his face would be very different.

"The Red Run," copyright 2016 Amelia Cotter