“Shadow Man” (Sara Church)

Night slumps heavily on the street,
Early morning chill creates wispy
Clouds with each exhaled breath.
Cones of creamy light huddle
Under tall metal street lamps.
Glimpse of a man?
No, it was nothing… nothing.

She shuffles past doors shut tight
Against the swirling shadows.
The moon slips in and out
Of dark purple clouds,
Giving no help to the lone
Traveler who dawdles in
The lamp’s spotlight before
Plunging into darkness once more.
Footsteps echo behind her matching
Each clip of her heel with a steady
Thump—
No, it’s just her heart
Beating in her ears.

She pauses at the curb by the alley
Examining the lurking silhouettes,
Hand clenched on the handle of her purse.
Deep breath, then rushes across the street.
The predator’s shadow fingers
Extend and grip the clip-clip of her heels
Stop with a scrape of plastic on concrete
A last gasp escapes and billows upwards
As her lungs are filled with
His sour Budweiser breath and the purse hits
The pavement with barely an echo
In the empty street.
The moon slides behind another cloud.

NEXT

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