I strolled through the alleyway, staying in the shadows like my parents said. “Don’t be seen walking in one of those,” they said in that annoying high-pitched voice that I’d come to know so well. Walking through was not something I hated and I liked that cold sense you feel every time pure dark touches you. I seemed to relax better when I couldn’t see much other than brick walls and black.
A song had been stuck in my head the entire day. I whistled it calmly. But there was something about that night that was different. It was some type of weird feeling. One of those feelings where you’re sure somebody is following you and watching your every movement intently, like a hawk stalking its prey.
I just shook it off, let it fall. I did that to most feelings I got.
Then suddenly, somebody said in a mocking voice, “I see you.”
I froze and my heart skipped a beat. I could barely breathe and the dancing vapour I saw before vanished. The footsteps behind me got louder and louder until there was one giant stomp.
“I’ve come to kill you,” the voice whispered.
When I peered over my shoulder, the business end of a pistol was in my face. I ran. I ran as fast as my small legs could carry me. Not very fast. The sound of a malicious bullet firing went and a streak of grey zoomed past my left ear … and I could feel the breeze on my skin. I couldn’t stop running, I’d be dead, but breathing became more and more painful. I took a quick peek behind my back and saw the figure of the man getting further bit by bit.
The next thing I knew, there was another crack and a bullet missed me by half a foot.
“Come over here, idiot!” a raspy voice yelled.
“Not now,” I said to myself, “Not ever.”
I kept at pumping my legs, over the little puddles of water, over the cramp in both my legs. Finally, I decided to slow. I was surprised. I was already in the main part of downtown. The lights shone in the office building and cars honked. And laughter may have been cheap medicine but that feverish city— always awake and alive— was the best.