Darkness stared him in the face, yet the man walked by, unobservant. Darkness, silent--the hunter and stalker--followed his steps as he walked past the snow-covered alley. Invisible mouths talked about him, whispering threats on his life and darting all around, unbeknownst to him. Darkness ruled in the crevices; the street lights were unable to pierce the filth and grime that ruled New York.
The light post, twenty feet from Grand Avenue and Main Street's intersection, flickered out.
A new light burst into existence as the pedestrian stuck a Marlboro's filter into his mouth, pursing his lips to hold it in place. He stopped walking as he held the lighter close to the white cigarette paper, shielding the small flame from the wind with his left hand. Tobacco and paper lit up; faint embers began to glow. His trembling hands replaced the BIC in his inside coat pocket. He stared past the intersection, looking to the next light post--more than fifty yards ahead.
His feet began to move again, as if on their own. He let them. Soon he was moving faster. It made no difference. Darkness followed, unwilling to let him escape. The cigarette bounced up and down as he ran. His deep breathing sped the nicotine inhalation. He could see the bulb's aura reaching out for him as he closed the gap between him and escape from his doom. The light could protect him.
His cigarette was the sole object to enter the globe of light under the post. It flew, as if projected from his mouth in a shout's utterance. Yet there was no scream, just hissing embers in the snow.
Born and raised in Chicago, Steven Chevalia now lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Steven will be graduating with a B.A. in May of 2012 from the Calvin College English Department. Steven's works have been featured in 69 Flavors of Paranoia and Referential Magazine. Two of Steven's favorite authors are Stephen King and Scott Sigler. His favorite hobbies include taking long walks on the beach and and saving the world from undead hordes.
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