Congratulations to Annie Hartley, winner of our first horror story competition for her story “Deadly Midnight Walk.” Happy Halloween!
Read the story after the jump.
Deadly Midnight Walk
by Annie Hartley
The falling sun stained the horizon with its dying rays, enunciating the shadows in stark contrast. One by one, the buildings’ lights flicked off as the business day came to a close. The blood red reflections dancing on the ground spoke of death and none of the city-dwellers dared venture out their doors.
All except one.
A young girl, new in the city and lost, hurried through the narrow and dirty streets, the dark buildings looming over her. She paused at a corner and glanced back over her shoulder, catching a glimpse of the tail of a black coat whipping out of sight. She inhaled sharply and hurried on, moving quicker this time.
Something rattled on the street behind her. She gasped and whirled around. A shattered stone was splashed across the cobbles. She looked up; a leering gargoyle stared down at her and grinned malevolently. The girl gulped and began to run, tripping over her own feet in her haste. Shadows flickered at the edge of her vision and once she thought she heard a low, menacing laugh echo through the still air. But when she looked around there was no one in sight.
The girl turned a corner and froze abruptly, uttering a short shriek. There, standing beneath the stark, flickering light of a streetlamp, was a black-clad man. He wore an old-fashioned suit over a high-collared shirt. The collar was open and exposed a smooth, white, unblemished neck. His chin was tucked down low by his collarbone and his dark fedora threw shadows across his pale face. His arms were folded across his chest, thin fingers tapping at his sleeves.
The girl gulped and began to back up, hoping he hadn’t noticed her. But her foot struck a loose rock and sent it skittering noisily across the ground. The man’s head snapped up and the girl froze; she thought that his eyes had gleamed red, though that was ridiculous. He smiled at her and, heart thudding, she turned and sprinted away. She heard no pursuit, but suddenly he was in front of her. She skidded to a halt and stumbled back, heart pounding. She turned and ran back the way she came. She heard nothing but the sound of her blood pounding in her ears, but she could tell that he was right behind her, arms reaching, fingers ready to snag her collar. She cut sharply to the left and headed down another alley. Oh, could no one see her plight? Or was this such a common occurrence that they simply just did not care?
She stumbled over something in the dark. A cold, cruel laugh echoed through the alley. The girl sobbed and tried to run faster, a stitch burning in her side. Then she skidded to a stop, the alley having ended abruptly. The cold laugh came again, chilling her to the bone and piercing her mind like icicles. She spun around; the man was strolling up the street with his hands in his pockets. He knew she couldn’t escape. She turned around again, searching frantically for a way out. Then a hand clamped down on her shoulder and spun her back around. It was the man, malice radiating off him.
“’Ello doll,” he said and grinned, exposing his razor sharp teeth.