FreeWrite: I was afraid

I wrote this as a FreeWrite in my 2010 Creative Writing Class. It’s a true story

I didn’t know how much further I had to go. I stayed at the party too long and now I was in danger of missing the last train. My skirt was riding up again. I reached behind me to pull it down. The lonely street had old homes lining each side, mansions of a bygone era, with curtains of trees guarding them from unwelcome eyes. The right hand side of the street cut into a little hill, the sprawling lawns started at my hip. My feet hurt.

The sky was dark, its tiny pinpricks of light were overshadowed by ancient, anemic street lamps. To the left, a tidy pile of recyclables were crowded by a mountain of bulging black garbage bags. A rat perched on top of the mountain, surveying his kingdom. His nose moved swiftly down the pile, as if he were a dog searching for a bone, and suddenly, paydirt! He tore into the defenseless refuse and released a malodorous tidbit that made the gorge rise in my throat.

I kept walking. My feet clomped one in the front of the other. I heard a noise. Footsteps that were not mine. The rat? More footsteps. Louder. More human than rat. I snuck a glance behind me. A dark figure passed in front of a lamppost. A man in a long coat with the collar pulled up to his ears.

Maybe I was overreacting. I kept up my pace, and willed my feet to move faster and faster. I ran fight or flight scenarios in my head. It would have to be fight. I’m not a very good runner.

He was closer. I moved to the other side of the street, acting as if I knew what I was doing. He stayed where he was, which I took as a good sign. I made an attempt to look at him out of the side of my eye. He was too far behind, but he was closing fast. For a moment we were walking side by side, then he pulled ahead and kept walking forward. I let out the breath I was holding.

Ahead I could see a line of lights which heralded the T-station and a 24-hour convenience store. I felt a breeze and froze. I reached behind me to fix—Oh crap. My skirt was bunched around my waist. I forgot to make sure my skirt stayed up. How long was it like this? I must have looked like a loony. Walking down the street, showing my ass to Boston. And that man. What must he have thought.

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What do you think of when you think, I was afraid?

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