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It was dark. Not pitch black dark, but just dark enough that your shadow is too close to the color of light that it’s almost impossible to see it. And I wanted to go for a walk. There was no reason, none but a feeling of sudden urgency tugging at my heart. Nothing to do tonight anyway, so I let it pull me away.
After notifying my mom and “promising that I’ll be back before nine”, I was now on my way to… the park. It was where I felt I needed to go. That feeling again. Not sure what. The day was almost gone, the cold air that came with a chilly autumn night bit at my fingers and face. I blew little puffs into the air and watched my breath fade away, and put my arms around myself.
The bright light shone from the tall streetlamps along the road, illuminating the street. Shadows danced around me, and I paid more attention to them then I should have. But it was too late to look away now. One glance, then a stare, now I’m frozen. My feet stopped. Slowly, I turned my head. And fear flooded my body like poison.
A man was beating something… a dog? Then a small, frightened gasp. A child. Shaking, I looked a little closer down the alley, still hidden. I saw a tiny girl, probably around seven. Small drops of crimson dripped down from her head into her long light brown hair, staining the girl’s shirt red. She began to sob. Why isn’t anyone doing anything about this? I thought, but after a hasty glance around, I realized that the child’s abuser and I were the only ones on the street. My hand dropped down to my jean’s pocket instinctively to where my phone was. Where it should’ve been… crap! I took it out to charge it…
Another scream, and a mean “Shut up!” from the man. The wetness in my eyes threatened to overflow. I clenched my fists and strode into the alley. This is all I can do… trust that we will both be okay.
“Let her go!” I shouted, glad my anxiety didn’t reveal itself in my voice. The man wheeled around, startled. His eyes widened at first, then became slits. A grin stretched across his face.
“Whatcha gonna do to me, huh little lady?” He laughed. Icy adrenaline flowed into my veins. How was I not afraid?
The little girl fell silent. I turned towards her afraid, maybe I was too late. Then I felt little hands clinging my shirt and I looked down into trusting eyes. A new reassurance filled my heart, and I knew we would be okay.
The man watched me like a predator stalking its prey. He crept towards me, smirking. All of a sudden, he froze. And looked behind me. Then ran.
Later that night, I found out that the man had kidnapped the girl, who would have been his third victim that week. The man was caught and jailed to await his fate. The little girl was returned to her family and received with tears of relief and warm, loving hugs. The family and police thanked me for the bravery that I didn’t know I had. I asked them one thing; could I speak to the attacker for one minute? They hesitantly agreed.
His eyes met mine with anger and fear. The feeling inside me turned to a firm confidence. I looked at him and asked, “Why?”
He was caught off guard. “What do you mean, ‘why’? he mumbled gruffly.
“Why didn’t you do the same to me as the girl? What stopped you?”
He laughed, but nervously. “Well I was outnumbered, it was common sense to run. Those two men with you were pretty big and I really didn’t think it was a fight I’d win.”
A police officer entered, saying I had to go. I thanked him for allowing me to talk to the man, and started to walk home.
I frowned, confused. I was sure that there was nobody else in that alley, I had been alone with the man and girl. Something urged me towards the alley.
My feet scuffed the dirty ground. Even looking around for footprints, I saw nothing to suggest of the men that the attacker had seen. Except, there was a single, snow-white feather. Then, a voice whispered in my ear, “I’m always with you.”
I then knew who it was. It was Him.