It was darker than usual as I walked through the park.
I was on my way home from working a double shift at the Pizzeria. The manager liked to go out for long periods of time then wait for the last five minutes of my shift to show up and take credit for things I’d done. I hated that. I hoped she got what karma had in store for her.
The night was quiet. There were no birds chirping or squirrels running around looking for their nuts. I found this strange. This place was normally so wonderful with life.
I stopped and looked back when I heard a twig snap. Thinking it was just a branch falling out of a tree from the cold winter air, I trekked on.
Then came the laughter. Sinister and evil, it wrapped around me with a dark veil. I looked around myself, hoping it was just my imagination.
When I turned around he was there, suddenly materializing out of thin air.
“Whoa,” I gasped, my chest rising and falling quickly. “Sorry, you scared me.”
“Did I?” His voice was silk. He was taller than I was and quite large. This concerned me, as did his closeness. I stepped back a few steps.
His hand was around my wrist instantly. I gasped at his touch.
“Scream if you’d like, no one will hear.”
He pulled me closer and I did scream. I used my free hand to hit him but he grabbed it tightly.
“Let me go!” I shouted. I kneed him in the stomach and he doubled over.
I ran for dear life. The trees around me seemed to blur as the moonlight shone through them. My eyes burned with the tears that left them, only making it harder to see. I tripped over my own feet and even tiny rocks and twigs. I was sure I was a while away from him.
Then it hit me. It felt like a brick wall hitting my chest. I fell back and landed hard on my butt.
Someone had come from the trees and hit me, with what I wasn’t sure.
I laid there trying to groan but the blow had literally knocked the wind out of me.
Another man stood over me, watching as I tried to catch my breath. The other man, the one whom I’d taken down or thought I’d taken down, now caught up to us.
“Damn, Trey. You didn’t have to hit her like that,” the man said out of breath.
“Well, she was getting away,” Trey said. “And I got tired of waiting.”
The man just laughed.
A soft moan escaped my lips which brought unwanted attention my way.
“Please,” I whined.
Both the men looked down at me and smiled.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out what was about to happen.
I tried to get to my feet and run but Trey used his foot to push me back down.
I screamed loudly for someone to help me but the first man was right, no one would hear me. It was the dead of night; everyone was asleep and at least mile or two from here.
Trey lifted me by my hair then struck me in the stomach. I doubled over and let out a shriek.
He laughed loudly then slapped my face. I stumbled backward and my head hit the trunk of a tree.
I crumpled to the floor, my head throbbing and bleeding.
They forced themselves onto me though I fought them off as best I could with the world seeming to spin before me.
Trey seemed to be the brute. Slapping me around and hitting me though I had gotten weak and stopped fighting back a while ago.
They played with me like a ragdoll then tossed me aside to die.
I laid there barely breathing, hoping death would come soon.
A twig snapped in the deafening silence. Something moved my way slowly.
Maybe it was a wolf come to finish me off. If only my life was that simple. I was indeed a magnet for danger. I scolded myself for even leaving the restaurant late. Now I was dying and a wolf was going to eat my remains.
Instead of a wolf, for which I was glad, stood a man, looming over me.
He cocked his head to the side and just stared down at me.
I tried to open my mouth to ask for help but I couldn’t. I was weak and cold. The cold winter air mixed with the ground I was laying on made death look glorious.
The last thing I saw before I welcomed the comfort of darkness was his hand coming toward my face.