The Serrated Sidewalk

December 10, 2007
By Meredith Rutland, Miami Shores, FL

As I pass out of that old trailer I see the sun stained sky, orange and red, with night fast approaching. I pass the few potted plants, faces drooping towards their homes. My grandma’s lawn ornaments greet me with that same plastic smile. I walk onto the white, semi-dusty sidewalk and begin to twirl my arms. Around and around I turn, until a loss of balance overcomes me and I fall to the ground childishly giggling.

Then I see him, a strange man, hidden in the shadows down the road, along the same path as me. Walking, endlessly walking, his face hidden by a massive paper bag held in his burly hands.
My grandma always nailed the idea into my head that someone I didn’t know was a stranger, and strangers are to be feared. So I pick myself up off of that bright dusty sidewalk and begin to skip back into the trailer, but something is askew. I am completely unable to move forwards! I command my legs to move me towards the safety of that building, but they rebel. They send me backwards, gradually walking, unable to stop or change direction.

The man gets closer, and I can’t see his face, but his hair is visible: short, dark, slightly wiry, and very unkempt. Then the bag lowers a bit, and I see his eyes. Red and fiery, I see the madness lying within them.

My heart begins to race as I realize he is speeding up. I can’t move how I want, but I am still able to control my speed. I begin to jog backwards, on that now grey sidewalk, praying that the man would turn a corner. My feet kick up a cloud of dust as I move.

Truly frightened, I begin to sprint faster and nearly trip on one of the many cracks on that almost charcoal sidewalk. I do everything in my power to put some distance between the two of us, but to no avail. At that moment my body froze. I feel my muscles tighten as I crumbled to the ground, my knee falls into a large pothole in the sidewalk. I feel paralyzed.

The man draws closer and all space between us instantly evaporates. He drops the package and its contents scatter onto the sidewalk, kicking up dust, leaves, and debris. It lays there, on that black pathway… That blacker than black pathway. The man grabs my arm. I feel nothing, and I can’t move away from him. I just sit there motionless, staring at that infernal sidewalk, as a sheep does before it is slaughtered. I glance up. Even though the man’s face is inches from my own, I still cannot make out his features. Except for those eyes. Those insanely evil eyes. They peer into my soul, and instantly I grow cold. Everything on my body goes limp; I have absolutely no control over myself.

He reaches into his back pocket. A flash of light and steel follows as his arm goes to the exposed flesh on my neck. I flinch.

My eyes shoot open as I sit up panting. Trying to catch my breath I look around. I am back in the safety of my room. “Only a dream,” I tell myself, “It was only a dream.” My hand instinctively shoots to my neck, and I remember. Those eyes… Those hideously evil eyes…

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