It was a hazy evening. The mist, with which carried the chilling sense of a winter night, fell heavily on the rugged street while slowly pervading into every corner of this small town. Not far off the road track, those scrawny branches were hovering as if their boughs had grown out in middle of the air. Pale shimmer of the streetlamps glazed over the ground, heaving into sight a silhouette of a man wandering in the dark from the far back. Covering in a thick black coat with layers of clothes, his steps seemed to trudge down on the road bearing a burden of heavy. “What time is it?” he mumbled to himself while scowling at his dead watch which stopped at 11:40. The street was empty and there was scarcely any light from the blocks’ windows. He was moving when all of a sudden, a bat flew out of a bush heading straight to the street lamp, where he was walking beneath. It clouted the pole, screeching in pain before falling to the ground and lying unconscious. The scene was almost unbearable for him as he could feel the disgust filling up his throat and about to well in his mouth. “Jesus Christ!” he cursed and continued with his strides. Vibrant lights coming from the banner of a convenience store across a block ahead caught his attention, emerging in his minds a familiar place. Its light sparkled in his eyes surging such an intention, which was definitely not the need for buying a cup of hot tea though it was what he wanted most in this middle of the cold. Something was more tempting about the store that he decided to pay it a visit.
Opening the door, he was breathed by warmth like a puff of summer breeze running all over his body in the middle of winter. Eve Darits. It was always a strange name to his mind, but a name that his heart could hardly forget. The storekeeper girl, who only worked night shift, appeared under the radiant light from the sulfur lamps above. She was enjoying her early twenties with a burst of youthful energy emitting around. Her high side pony tail bounced along the rhythm when turning her head to greet him. Her eyes gleamed with excitement and a touch of mean. Sliding the cherry lollipop out of her mouth, she threw him a naughty smile, which in his mind was a flash of such devilishness that he could feel his soul being fouled with sins.
“Oh, hi! What can I help you?” she asked with a wide smile.
“Ergh…” being lost for words in a second, he was unable to extricate from the paralysis that smile gave him. “I would like some tea please,” he said, concealing a sigh of embarrassment of his previous awkward moment.
“Ok. Do you want anything else?” said Eve while hitting numbers into the billing machine and taking a temptatious glance at his eyes.
“Well… I’ll have a look around. Maybe I’ll need something,” he replied slowly to look for an excuse to stay a little longer.
She nodded gently. He then left the counter while she was preparing the tea. Strolling along the aisles between the snack racks, he pretended to be taking time to ponder what to pick while occasionally sneaking a peek at her. After making his tea, she got back to the radio on the counter, paying her previous attention to the music show which she was listening before he came in. The sound of electric guitar was squealing out of the speakers, when it suddenly stopped for an unexpected announcement.
“Attention, attention, please! This is urgent information. A maniac killer has just escaped and there is a great chance that he is hiding in the town. The police are on the patrol searching for him. Everyone is advised to lock the doors, remain calm in their house and if there is any suspicion, please report to the police hotline, thank you!”
The music then backed on air. She frowned at the radio, worried not about the previous news but got frustrated with the fact that it just ruined her enjoying the song. A few steps from there, he could hear clearly what was just on the radio. Having quickly grabbed some random things on the racks, he hastened to the counter as he was scared of such unwelcoming news.
“It’s seven bucks and seventy cents in total,”
“What was on the radio sounds like a long night. Will you be alright?” he asked with a decent care for the girl just as for himself while paying the bill.
“Nah, I’m ok. Besides the police station is nearby, so no worry,” she replied with a surprising calm and gave him back the changes.
“No, you keep it,” he refused the changes, smiled gently at her as a goodbye and walked outside. Before actually leaving, he could not forget to turn around to have a last look in regret as usual.
He got back on the road. The previous news kept ringing in his head spending chills down on his spine, which made him walk even faster. Across the street, there was a rustle coming from a bush in the dark loud enough to catch his attention. “Those bats again!” he scolded in his mind, but at the same time reassured himself from an ill thought that he did not dare to think of. Keeping his head straight on the track, he now moved in long strides in the hope of getting home as soon as possible. The rustle started moving with him. A sudden fear covered his body. He turned his head with a slight tremble to examine those bushes. The sound stopped. As he moved, the rustle sounded along. The scary imagination in his mind prevented him from looking at those bushes again. He prayed to God with every step he made. A car coming from far back flashed by the empty street where he was on. Its light shone in a blink, which was clearly enough to leave a terror scene in his eyes. A shape of a man emerged from the bush. He started to run as fast as he could to cast away any dreadful thought occupying his head. On the other side, the shadow started to run too. He could see ahead an opening motel. “I should get help there,” he thought and rushed towards.
There was no receptionist and the telephone was broken. He was too scared to think of anything but grabbing a key and ascending the stairs to find a room to hide. Locking the door, he leaned his back on the wall, looked up to the ceiling and panted in panic. He closed his eyes, took a deep inhale and released a long sigh to slow down his heartbeat as well as calming himself. He stood up finding the switch to turn on the light in order to look for another phone. The very moment he thought he was placing his hands on the wall, the wall suddenly vanished. He groped around for anything but there was nothing at all. The room became an empty space. His state of mind went from a fear of the known to a fright of the unknown. Struggling in the infinite darkness, he could feel like his life force was being drained out of his body. In hopelessness he ran again. He kept running without knowing where to go or what to do until he saw a blue light glowing from the far. Approaching closer, the room seemed to get smaller and two sides seemed to meet at that dead end – the blue light. Standing in front of his eyes was a giant thick glass radiating a strong source of blue light. The vague scare could not defeat the human nature of curiosity. He got closer and tried to look through the class. The scene from the other side appeared blurry ringing in his mind a familiar place. He felt a strong connection with that place but the dubious vision prevented him from telling exactly. When he was contemplating the glass, he heard the sound of footsteps moving towards him. Abruptly turning around, he groaned in terror when he recognized the shadow that was stalking him from the road. He threw a fist at the glass yelling in vain: “Help! Somebody, help me!!!” while the other hands pounding unceasingly…
The noise coming from the TV instantaneously woke him up in the middle of the night. Both hands of the clock were pointing at twelve. He found himself falling asleep on the couch while leaving the TV opened. He grabbed the remote control to turn it off and got back to his unsatisfied sleep. Darkness covered the room. Occasionally, a white glint appeared on the black TV screen without anyone’s notice. Blink by blink, it gradually formed a shape of a hand.