The Hopeful Wanderer – Not Alone

Sneaking. Steps soft in slippery snow, I crept through a city filled to the brim with night. Too dark to see even my hands stretched ahead of me. Feeling my way forward with zero light.

Light attracted the things that hunted here. Growls and snarls in the distance. Nearby. My breaths quickened at the fear of stumbling against one unseen.

I almost got to my goal unnoticed.

But I stumbled straight into a parked car. My body thumping against the metal echoed up the skyscrapers. A call to feast. I bounced off the car, slamming onto the snowy asphalt.

A snap of teeth and hot breath against my face woke me. I rolled away, scrambling to my feet. Hot bodies surrounded me. Panic drove me forward between them as they leapt. Just missing. I stretched my legs, flying blind down the street.

I might have run until I collapsed had I not crashed my shoulder into a lamppost. The only one, at the city center. I sobbed with relief: I’d made it. Furious howls sounded in my wake, the thumps of huge paws shook the ground. My palms running over the lamppost base snagged on a hard switch.

The lamppost lit up with an electric buzz. Cold, white light cast a large circle around me, illuminating the night hounds. Mere ragged shadows, suggestions of huge dogs with no eyes. They curled up like smoke, vanishing with mournful cries. Burnt cinders scented the air.

I braced my hands on my knees, gasping for breath. Other people stumbled out of the night into the ring of lamplight. They huddled together at the base of the lamppost, chilled but safe in the harsh glow.

Only a small number had braved the night to get here, though; the rest remained lost in the shadows.

You are never alone in the dark; even your monsters accompany you unseen.

Thanks for reading!

To read more free original short fiction every Thursday, subscribe to my monthly newsletter!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

For the price of a $3 coffee, you can leave a one-time tip  ko-fi.com/sgbaker.

At $1 a month, you can also join my creative journey @ patreon.com/sgbaker.

Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn

The Hopeful Wanderer – A Short Break

All at once, my senses came crashing in. Leaving behind the bubble where my mind had floated, separate from sensation. I took a breath, surprised at this return to wakefulness.

I was seated on the floor, leaning against the wall in the low-ceilinged outbuilding where I had gone to ground. Long enough for my legs to have fallen asleep. Cold seeped in through through seams in the walls, a reminder of the chill afternoon outside. I ran my palms over the rough, thin carpet at my sides.

Clutter kept me company in the small space. Tires stacked in tiers, their rubbery scent mixing with dry dust on my tongue. Old rags, paint cans, a single folding chair. This might have been a home once, the way the narrow hall teed off to my right. Valence curtains hung over a short window, undisturbed by any breeze.

I let my head thump gently against the wall. My thoughts had wandered off into a place my senses could not follow. I was lucky to have found this safe place while that happened.

Outside, voices rose, accompanying the crunch of footsteps on frosty grass. I froze at their approach, scrambling to recall whether, in my dissociative state, I had managed to lock the door while stumbling in here.

The doorknob rattled. But the squeak of hinges did not follow. Unable to stop myself, I peaked around the corner. The silhouettes of two legs crept across the floor beneath the door. Someone outside said, “Huh.”

Then the voices and the footsteps retreated. Heading back to get a key, no doubt. I gathered myself and my bag, slipping out the door once my visitors had gone.

I made sure to twist the lock before letting the door close. Time to wander on again.

A humble offering for posting stunningly late this week.

Thanks for reading!

To read more free original short fiction every Thursday, subscribe to my monthly newsletter!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

For the price of a $3 coffee, you can leave a one-time tip  ko-fi.com/sgbaker.

At $1 a month, you can also join my creative journey @ patreon.com/sgbaker.

Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn