I hated winter nights. Finishing at four meant walking home through the abyss. Even worse, I finished at seven. The day of the week I hated more than anything. I started at nine in the morning, meaning I had to be up by seven. I looked out of the window at the growing darkness as seven ticked closer.
The cold wind snapped at my face as I made the walk home. My heart pounded. I stared at my phone in order to calm me down. It was the only thing that would get me through this without having a panic attack. The street was dim. Not a soul walked along it. No cars. Nothing. I looked at the phone screen, scrolling through tweets, they lifted my spirits.
What was that?
A hand darted into my vision. It grabbed my face. It was so cold. The hand disappeared. I searched around, desperate for an answer. Nothing. Soulless.
You’re losing your mind. I thought to myself and carried on my walk. Every second I checked around me. Agitated. Terrified. I could not escape the feeling that I was not alone.
Behind me. The sound of footsteps. A sound that drew ever closer. I could hear their breath in my ear. I jerked my head around to see who was following me. My skin crawled. Not a soul. Why was this happening to me?
I carried on. Moving faster. My breathing was erratic. I hummed a song to myself as I moved forward. You are my sunshine. My mum sang that to me every night before I went to sleep as a child.
You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
What the hell was that? I gazed to a window in one of the terraced houses as I passed. The dark silhouette of a man stood in the window, behind a set of white lace curtains. The figure did not move. It stood perfectly still in the window, staring directly ahead. Inoutinoutinout. I lost control of my breathing
You are my sunshine
The figure raised a hand. My heart dropped. The hand slowly tapped on the glass.
I ran. As fast as I could, tripping over the cobbled pavement every step of the way. I slipped, my foot landed in a puddle. My ankle was soaked through. I pulled my foot from the puddle.
A horrid face screamed at me from the rippling water. I fell back, landing hard on the floor. The face had gone. Limping, I broke into a sprint. I needed to get myself home immediately. I needed to escape this hellish nightmare.
Further hellish apparitions tormented me. A man wrapped in a cloth stood in the middle of the road. His shape fluttered in the heavy winds. He was coming for me. I kept running.
A dark alleyway with a single street light dimly illuminating it approached me. Directly under the beam of light. Another dark figure stood. My head felt weak. I could not take much more of this.
I dodged the alleyway and took a second pathway. Whispers in the wind called my name. Footsteps bolted down the cobbles behind me. Closer. Closer. I could not outrun them. They were catching up.
A scream in my ear. I turn to find nobody there yet again. The streets were entirely empty. The whispers continued. Commanding me to follow them.
You are my sunshine.
My only sunshine.
Stop calling my name.
You make me happy.
I was so close.
When skies are grey.
I could see the end of my street.
You never know dear.
The front porch glimmered in the moonlight.
How much I love you.
Eradicating the shadows.
Please don’t take
One last push.
My sunshine away
I had done it
I banged on the door. Desperate for my mother to open it up and let me in. I needed to jump into her arms and have her hold me close. She would take all of the pain away. I could hear her fumbling with the keys on the other side.
The door began to open.
Something grabbed me by the legs and pulled me into the bushes. I kicked and squirmed but I could not break free. I saw the door open. I tried to scream for help. A hand grabbed my face and began pulling me further into the bushes. I could faintly see my mum standing on the porch, looking for me.
‘Sunshine?’ she called. ‘Sunshine are you there?’.
I tried to call out to her. I really did. The last thing I ever saw was her terrified face, searching for me in the dark.