It was a cold, dreary evening as I raced home through the shadows to safety. Two and a half hours of hard labor was finally over and just the thought of a cool glass of milk gave my legs the strength to carry onward. The leaves swirled eerily around me, as if pulled upward to surround me by some other-worldly force. A tingle ran down my spine as I glanced quickly to my right, seeing the dark shadow of a man sitting as still as a statue on the door step to my right. A quickened pace moves me past him and I glance up at the sky. Crack! Lightening breaks across it and the leaves rustle around my feet as if startled, too. I’m three blocks away now and I’m nearly home. Out of habit, or security, I look to my left and see a man standing across the street, facing me – staring. That shadowy figure looks familiar. Or is it simply the presence of a shadow that seems familiar at this time of night? I hold my gaze just a moment longer before turning away but his gaze remains completely held on me. A few steps later I look again and he’s moving now. At first a tinge of relief blows through me but then I look again and see that while he’s moving forward down the street, his dark visage is still turned on me. I’m nearly running now as I try to remain, and look calm, while racing down the sidewalk at full throttle. So close to security I see the crosswalk counting down as the stranger and I are nearly neck and neck. With 2 seconds left I run without abandon through the intersection. As my foot places itself solidly on the other side, I glance back quickly. The strange man is gone.
Breathing heavily now, I enter the building and slow my pace. Thinking back I wonder how much of the experience was paranoia. What could that man have wanted? How did he leave so quickly? Stepping into the elevator, I attempt to clear my head and whistle a tune to distract myself. There are some students in the common area so I quickly jog down the hall, avoiding eye contact. Finally, I unlock the door, throw my bag onto my bed, and pull a glass out of the cupboard. I’m finally home, safe and sound. Opening the refrigerator door, the glass flies out of my hand and shatters on the floor. A scream echoes throughout the building and then there is silence.