It was a bit cloudy she noticed. The sky was laced with darker blues and purples as the sun neared the tree line, and it cast an ominous spell across the hills, much as she had been feeling lately. She had that feeling again that she was being watched, and she didn’t quite know where from. The hair on the back of her neck prickled up all day during her shift at the office. She was extremely cautious when walking out to her car. She didn’t notice anyone or anything out of place and decided she was being paranoid. Still, she watched to be sure no one had followed her home. She reached her apartment and was determined to shake this uneasy feeling. She tossed on her workout clothes, tied her hair back in a ponytail, and took off with more determination than normal.
She passed his house without much of a glance today, not wanting to be distracted. She needed to keep a fast pace, as if the faster she ran the further she could get away from this dark cloud of unease. She rationalized her speed was necessary to outrun the Monster should he ever find her again. She sped down the sidewalk, into the park, over the pretty walking bridge, and as she went curving around a bend, she was knocked to the ground. Someone clearly had not been watching where he was going and smashed right into her. She hit the ground hard, but instead of apologizing, this ape was on top of her. She let out a scream. “No!” This can’t be happening! She had been so careful!
The body that jumped from the shadows attempted to hit her, but she shielded his attacks with her forearms. No, this was not her Monster. This was a new monster. He managed to grab her arms, so she pulled her knee up hard and connected with his groin. She was not going to give up. She couldn’t give up. He grunted from the impact with her knee, and she used his moment of distraction to squirm out of his grasp on her wrists. She attempted to crawl out but he caught her. She reared up and kicked him hard, sending him backwards. When she made it to her feet, the attacker got up and took off in to the woods.
Thank God. She was free. She turned and ran, but her ankle was screaming in pain. Somehow it had gotten injured in the attack, but she couldn’t be caught. She had to keep on, she had to get to safety, so she sprinted on despite the protest of her ankle.
When she made it out of the woods and back to the duck pond in the city, she slowed her pace. He was not behind her. She was sure of it now. She limped her way towards the bench on the beach of the pond. It had a little quarter machine to purchase feed for the ducks, should she ever want to. She most certainly did not carry coins with her on the run, but she kind of wished she had today. It would sure be a nice distraction from what happened.
She should go the police, but she really didn’t want to deal with the police. They hadn’t exactly been helpful in her hometown when this all started, and starting more drama over some random jerk now was not worth the energy. She instead decided to watch the sun set here on this beach, and then boogie home before it got too dark.
She watched the colors reflect off the pond, those hues she normally found so comforting. She was lost in them and the time passed quickly. Finally, noticing the sun had just hidden behind the trees, she decided to keep moving.
When she stood, the pain in her ankle was excruciating. Looking down, she realized it was very swollen. This was not good. It would not be easy to run; just limping home was going to be awful. She took another tentative step and was immediately punished with crippling pain. She looked around in exasperation. How far did she have to go ye? Could she do it? Yes, just a few blocks. She could do it.
When she looked down the street to bolster her courage, she noticed a familiar figure. He was in gym clothes, and heading her way. Yes, she had gotten to know his form over the past few weeks. Standing over the grill, leaning against the fence, sitting on the stool next to his bike, and a million other mental pictures she had tucked away.
But this was definitely not how she imagined their first conversation, and her first instinct was to run. Knowing that wasn’t exactly viable at the moment, she decided to dive down to the water’s edge instead. Maybe he wouldn’t see her on his way past. She limped down the bank as fast as she could, hopping when it became too painful and finally reached the water. She took her sock and tennis off and stuck her feet in the water. The cold water felt amazing on her ankle. She cupped her hands and brought some water up to rinse the dirt off from her elbows gained in wrestling the jerk just a mile or so ago. She splashed some water on her face, and she realized she did get a bump somehow up over her eyebrow. Winching yet again, she splashed water to be sure it was at least clean. As she finished her self-inventory, she noticed Mr. Goodlooking had found her after all and was heading down the embankment in her direction. Oh shit.
Shit. Shit. Shit.