Nerves

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Walking home that night started out peaceful. It was late and the streets were empty. I felt the cool air blow around me, swirling around like a small hurricane. With it being late October, the leaves on the trees just changing color. Though I couldn’t see that, not in the dark anyway. The only sound running through my ears was my sneakers crushing the mix of dirt and concrete underneath every step. I glanced up as a single car zoomed by, seemingly in a hurry. Where would they be rushing out to at 9:00 PM? Maybe they were going home? It didn’t really matter to me, and I returned my focus to the sidewalk in front of me. I kept my pace, marching along like a penguin, my hands dug into my jacket pockets. My grey scarf swayed along beside me, waving in the breeze. I turned my head towards the sky for a second, glancing at the stars. A flood of dark blue entered my line of vision. The sky was like a canvas, spotted with the glowing stars and a few small clouds. I stopped for a moment as I looked at the sky. In the corner of my eye I could see the tips of the oak trees that lined the road. I stood there for a minute or two before continuing on my long walk.
I turned left onto a side road and kept on walking. The street beside me was no longer the concrete that you would see in the city or well populated suburbs. It was a dusty dirt road, though it looked well used. The houses on the side were smaller, and less of them had the warm comforting glow coming from the window. The sidewalk had ended a while back, so I was now walking on the edge of the dirt. The trees were getting closer together, separating each house from the next and closing them in. The night was still, not even the sound of the crickets could be heard. I had decided not to wear my headphones. I didn’t want loud music blasting in my ears when I could enjoy the calming silence of the night. I knew this road by heart, having walked home this way since I was little. Usually though, I had company. The road was long and the street lamps were few and far between. The time was ticking past, and I’m sure the air around me had gotten colder. I quickened my pace.
Around three quarters of the way down this little side road, I started to feel uncomfortable. I still had a ways to go until I would be home. The silence I had once found relaxing and comforting now put me on edge. The trees that had fascinated me were now a hiding place for predators. The walk began to become unnerving, and I felt as if someone or something was watching me. The small houses that lined the road seemed to have their lights off more often than not. I quickened my pace, my sneakers crunching against twigs and rocks, surely being covered in dirt. I thought I heard a second pair of footsteps crunching leaves along with me. I turned my head to the left, checking behind me in fear. There was nothing there. As I turned back around I felt as if eyes were burning holes into the back of my head. I wrapped my scarf tighter around my neck and then dug my hands back into my coat. I felt my house key deep in the pocket. I only wanted to be home. This walk that had started off so nicely was quickly taking a turn for the worst. I wanted to get back to the safety of the main road, where the houses were big and warm with light. There would be a car or two driving to who knows where. The street lamps would be bright, shining down into the street. I drew my thoughts back in, I was almost there.
The end of the street had come into view, and I could feel the uneasiness slip away. Soon I would be safe on the main road. My pace sped up even more, and before I knew it I was running. My hands were flung from my pockets and I could feel my breathing getting heavier. My feet were pounding on the ground. I was disturbing the peace of the night. The blood was flowing and my heart was pounding. I had finally reached the end of the street. I stopped for a bit, pulling myself together. I took once last glance at the dark and dusty dirt road and then looked up to the sky. Nothing about it had changed significantly. The stars still shone out from the dark blue backdrop, and I could still see the tips of the trees in the corner of my vision. The moon was still glowing a bright pale yellow. Sighing in relief, I turned back to continue the rest of my walk.
My house came into view. The brown paint was familiar and soothing. All I wanted right now was to get out of the frigid air and into my home. I strode up the brick walkway, my hands freezing and cheeks red. My scarf was coming undone again so I pulled it off. Reaching the front oak door, I held my scarf in one hand and grabbed my key with the other. I stuck the key in the door and opened it happily. As I stepped into the warm room, I pulled off my coat and my shoes. That walk was tiring, and I was ready to go to sleep. I will never walk down that dusty dirt road at night again.






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