12:47am. The Journey Back.

12:47am. There’s something about walking in solitude in the early hours of the morning. Exasperated by the sharp winter’s breeze, I paced, determined to finally slump into the warmth of my bed. I passed by the old, abandoned church on Colgate Road. This same church I had passed before to get to a friend’s house. I knew this church very well. It was guarded by a rusty black gate and sharp speared poles. The view of the church was obscured by several tall, black trees. These trees were lifelike with leafless branches that stretched out into the night like claws. Moonlight shone upon the trees and shadows were cast on the church. I could see the walls of the church through the branches of the trees. The church walls were brown with age with creepers spread across and I could see the wooden door at its entrance. The door was slightly open and I was sure of that because I saw into the church through the open crack of the door and all I saw was darkness. In front of the church lay about 4 gravestones, arranged in a straight line. The gravestones were eroded and the edges were no longer perfectly round. How long had those gravestones been there? How long had those people been dead for? I continued to walk with the pressing thought that I wasn’t completely alone. There were no cars in sight. No streetlights. There was almost complete darkness except for the moonlight that slowly faded with each second that passed. No sounds except for that of the raging wind around me. With my breath hitching in my throat, I increased the volume of the music playing through my earphones and paced faster.

It took about 15 seconds for me to stop thinking about the gravestones. My mind began to drift into a world of fantasies as I made my way home. I was satisfied and serene in my thoughts until I saw a dark figure race across the street in the distance ahead of me. I stopped abruptly and squinted into the darkness but the figure was gone. It was like nothing had happened. There was no one there. I could see the empty cars parked on the side of the street. I could see the traffic lights far ahead. The old church was behind me but the dark, hooded figure was gone. I squeezed the strap of the backpack on my shoulder and continued forward but this time, at a slower pace. I was absolutely terrified. I crossed the street, looking behind me about every five seconds. Walk, turn squint, turn, walk. I continued this cycle, on and on and suddenly, there it was ahead of me. He. She. It. I stopped dead in my tracks and stared. At this point, my hands had begun to shake. My legs were trembling. The hooded figure had its back turned to me and was walking away from me, towards the traffic lights. I continued to walk, still determined to get home. There was nowhere else for me to go. I was so close already. I had to get home. So I continued, almost unable to walk. The figure was nowhere to be seen and so I continued.

I got to the traffic lights and it was a completely different atmosphere. The traffic lights were bright and penetrating. There were a few streetlights. Two cars raced past and I felt less afraid. I passed the traffic lights and crossed the road to the street where I live. Breathing in the air with glee as in less than 5 minutes, I would be warmly wrapped up in bed. But ahead of me, there it was.  The dark, hooded figure. I could see him clearer now with the help of the street lights. Thankfully, he was walking away from me. In the same direction in which I was going but nonetheless, further and away from me and this reassured me. I looked down at my phone, 1:04am. I sighed as I tucked my phone into my jacket pocket. I looked up and at that moment, anxiety gripped me. The hooded figure had turned around and he was walking towards me. He was walking to me. Walking at me. The streetlight illuminated him, making every detail visible to me. He. She. Wore a hood. Black. Jet black. From head to toe, the figure was black. The only skin revealed was his forehead and the skin around his eyes and the top of his nose. His porcelain skin was white as paper and his eyes were black like holes. I couldn’t see the rest of his face as it was covered in a black human muzzle type mask. He walked towards me and at that moment, I did the only thing I could possibly do. The only thing left to do. I ran.

19 hours later, I’m sitting in the library writing this story and I wonder. Who…what was that?

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