Footsteps in the dark - horror

 Picture of Cynthia

 This story was published in Twisted Dreams Magazine - the magazine for those whose blood runs a darker shade of red.  


 *** Parental Warning *** 

Parents may find some language and situations in this story not suitable for those under the age of 18....

Footsteps in the dark - written by Cynthia Fridsma

I know that you have to be careful when you walk alone in the dark -- especially when you're walking alone in a bad neighborhood like this one. If you're a girl, you might as well just ask to be raped.

Shit happens nowadays, just read the newspapers -- the headlines scream out to the reader, murder, rape, robberies, etc. It's no fun anymore to be out in the dark. But sometimes you just can't stay away from it. Sometimes you've got to be brave and walk through a tough neighborhood like this one, where the junkies live on the street and urinate against the walls -- a neighborhood with colorful and pointless graffiti. They are out there waiting for you, just to take your money so that they can buy some cocaine. Well, fuck them.

I had no choice anyway because my boss was nagging at me all day. I had to work some overtime to keep up with his ridiculous demands. No one can please that bastard. It feels as if I have been here forever and I guess so! Look at the time -- it's 1:30 A.M. My work is done and I can go home -- Finally! At least my boss promised me a day off. "It was the least that he could do," he said. Yeah, right.

I hurried the hell out of there before he found something else for me to do and walked straight to my car -- just in time to see someone running away from it. I called out, but there was no response; like I expected the asshole to say "Oh, hey, how you doing? I'm vandalizing/pissing on/breaking into your car... be right with you!

As I got closer I discovered why he - I assumed it was a man - ran away so quickly. He'd stuck a knife into my tires. I immediately knew what that meant, a walk in the dark.

"Fuck," I said loud enough to wake the dead. And of course, no one was there to hear me because the parking lot was deserted at such an hour.

Calling for help wouldn't do me any good anyway. There was no call box nearby and someone at the office had stolen my cell phone while I was in the bathroom. I hope that the bastard gets their hands burned the first time hey try to use it. It would serve them right.

The only choice I had left was to walk home. If I was lucky I could try to catch a taxi. Yeah, right... Like I am ever lucky. Just look at me. I am a loser.

I lost my lover when he committed suicide a couple of years ago -- just two months before we were to get married, I have a lousy job, a lousy apartment that I call "home," and a lousy salary too for all that matters. All I can try to do is to make life better for me, but obviously I'm not doing too great at that either. Sometimes I feel hopeless and just want to cry. But fuck that -- I wouldn't give Fate the satisfaction.

Sure, when I was a kid, I dreamed of writing a novel and earning a zillion dollars but reality sucks. So much for the dream I once had. Yeah, I know, yada-yada-yada. Well, that's life -- at least my life. An empty hole and there is no sign of it getting better. I guess that some people are born to lose the game of life before it even begins.

Now I'm standing here, in this rotten neighborhood and I know that trouble is waiting for me somewhere out there. It's hiding in the dark, I can feel it. Do your best -- I'm ready for you!

A sound from behind me commands my attention and I turn around.

"Is anybody out there?"

I knew that I wouldn't get an answer. I have some pepper-spray in my bag and I started to dig it out when I heard that sound again. It was right behind me.

I looked around, but still couldn't see anything unusual -- except I smelled something dead. I looked harder and saw a dead cat lying on the sidewalk, near an open garbage can. I stepped away from it. The cat must have been dead for days, which explained the scent. I saw some maggots in her swollen jaws. Not a pretty sight, not even with the dimmed light of the streetlamp. Perhaps a rat caused the sound I heard because I could see them now. They were crawling between the garbage. I didn't want to stay here much longer and decided to walk in the direction of the cemetery. It was just a block away from my home and much better than standing around listening to rats scurry about and smelling dead cat. The thought of being robbed, raped or killed didn't sound like music either.

So a walk to the cemetery and then straight home sounded like fun compared to standing around and waiting for whatever bad luck befall me. Again, I heard the same sound behind me and I decided to run instead. I ran like hell away from it, but the sound followed me. I didn't hesitate to open the gate to the land of the dead where I hoped I could find safety. After running part way into the cemetery, I stopped and turned around.

Standing only a few feet behind me, wearing a stocking cap over his face, was a man -- a knife clutched menacingly in his hand. The knot in the pit of my stomach told me that he was the guy who'd slashed my tires. He was the same person that now wished to slash me! I was out of luck again, but against all odds I decided to run.

After a while I couldn't breathe anymore, I had to stop for a moment, I rested my hands on a gravestone and then I was forced to the ground. I felt the sharp tip of the knife pitching against my throat.

"Be a good girl and you'll survive to see another day," he said, his raspy voice sounding like old leaves crunching underfoot. "Take off your blouse and bra so that I can look at those fine tits you're hiding from me. I want to feel them, squeeze them and fuck them."

He started to tear off my clothes, ripping at me with the knife and groping me with his free hand. I felt the cold blade against my skin and then he smiled. "Ah, there they are. ”He paused for only a moment before he began hitting my tits with his bare hands. I screamed because it hurt, a lot. He didn't care and continued to beat me.

I closed my eyes and prayed to god, though I am not a believer, to make him stop.

"Open your eyes, bitch, " he yelled, "or, I will close them forever with my knife!"

Sick fuck... I had to look at him while he beat me. Then he began undressing himself...

Crack! All of a sudden, he fell to the ground like a rock, dead. Bony hands helped me stand up and I peered into the eyeless sockets of a human skull.

"I don't like to see my little girl being hurt." The voice was so ghostly, yet so familiar. For a brief moment I saw some flesh on the decaying skull and I recognized my lover.

"I've got to go now, darling. I'm sorry that I had to leave you the way I did. I didn't want to hurt you, but I couldn't live with myself any longer. You know that I was on drugs -- I didn't want to drag you down with me into that living hell."

Those were the last words he spoke and then dissolved into green smoke.

"No wait, please. Come back!"

"I have to go Helen, perhaps one day we'll see each other again. Perhaps one day I can forgive myself for what I've done to you."

His voice faded away and I was left alone in the dark, in the cemetery by the body of my rapist. I decided to take off his cap and I recognized him at once... it was my boss!