I was walking down the street, going home from the library. It was beginning to get dark, the sun just setting. I wasn’t concerned though, the streets were crowded and I was as familiar with this city as I was my own bedroom. I’d grown up here and the crime rates were below zero.
Oh the irony! While telling myself this in my head, I had mistakenly taken a wrong turn. The roads became deserted and I had gotten lost. At night. In my own city.
“You!” someone called out, making me jump. Things had become eerily silent before the man had yanked me into an alleyway.
He looked like your everyday homeless man, scraggly clothing, grown-out hair, stench, and rotten teeth. He seemed just as crazy. He was also blocking my exit. Discreetly, I reached in my purse to grasp my pepper-spray.
“Can I help you?” I asked calmly, though I’m sure with the grip he had on my arm he could feel my pulse rising.
“You sure can,” he said, laughing to himself. In one quick movement, I had the spray in front of me, my finger pressing the button firmly. I watched the spray shoot out, coating him. But he just watched me, smirking, faint amusement clear on his face.
Why wasn’t it working? He should be howling with pain by now! I sprayed him again and saw the problem. The spray stopped just in front of him, as if hitting a glass wall.
“As I was saying,” he said again. “Go into that corner. I’ll be just a second.”
“Excuse me? I don’t think so!” I shouted, yanking my arm out of his grasp and starting to inch around him.
“I was hoping you’d be more cooperative,” he sighed. I took an involuntary step back. I had an idea what this man was thinking of doing to me and I was not going to let it happen!
“Please, just let me go and I won’t report this or anything,” I pleaded. He just shrugged and held his hands up.
“Sorry sweetheart, my hands are tied here. I gotta get rid of it somehow and you’re the only one around,” he said. Confusion swept through me, almost enough to stifle my fear. Almost.
“What do you mean?” I asked, my voice shaking.
“You’ll see. Now go sit in that corner and wait patiently or I could make this hurt a lot more than it’s going too.”
“Y-y-you’re c-crazy!” I stuttered, and dodged around him, running.
“HELP! SOMEBODY HELP ME!” I screamed frantically, my feet beating down the sidewalk. The sounds echoed but everything else was silent.
“Get back here! They’ll hear you!” he yelled, chasing me. I screamed louder.
Suddenly, at a rate much faster than should be normal, he caught up to me and slammed me into the wall with enough force for me to lose my breath and for my head to make a sick sound when I fell to the pavement. I dropped to the ground like a brick, frantically trying to catch my breath. When I could finally breathe I felt the burning sensation at my head and I curled up, trying to relieve the pain by adding pressure. I screamed as uncontrollable tears filled my eyes and washed my face.
“Be quiet,” the man hushed me. He began emptying his pockets with medical items. I pulled my hand back and wiped my face but I couldn’t remove any of the tears, there were too many. No, my hands were too wet…with blood.
“Help me, make the pain stop,” I sobbed. He pulled out a pair of rubber gloves, a needle, antiseptic, some cotton balls, a hand towel, and a bandage. Distantly, I wondered if this was his intention or if he’d anticipated my injury.
“You’ll live,” he muttered. “I’m already a dead man.” I could hardly hear him. My ears were ringing and I couldn’t hear much past my rusty breathing and insane crying.
“W-what are you g-g-going to d-do to me?” I blubbered, trying to shift away from him. He pulled a switchblade out and doused it with antiseptic. He set it on the towel and took a cotton swab, wet it too, and flipped his arm over to rub it on his elbow.
I watched with fascination as cold seeped through my head. I felt ice slowly creeping through my veins. My eyelids fluttered and I wondered what time it was. How had it gotten that dark out?
He took the knife and cut his arm. A thin stream of blood started. He cut his arm in a different spot. He looked frustrated and pressed his fingers to his arm, searching. He wouldn’t be able to feel his pulse there so what was he looking for?