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Taking A Walk
She had been walking for twenty minutes. It was chilly out but she was bundled up in a warm, down coat. She turned right at the corner onto Harwood. “More than halfway,” she thought, proud that she was getting some exercise. The next day was Thanksgiving and that meant extra goodies.
It was still early, 5:40 when she had begun her walk but it was already dark. She could smell November in the air. Somewhere, someone had a fire going.
As she passed the last house on the right, the school grounds began. Between the sidewalk and Noddin Elementary School there was a chain link fence. People often cut through the back to get to Harlow Way. Last Fourth of July she herself had stood on some of the playground equipment to shoot video of a fireworks display.
She barely noticed the passing cars. There weren’t many tonight but people did use Harwood because it went straight through the neighborhood.
She heard someone run across the street behind her. “That was odd,” she thought as she turned and got a glimpse of a silhouette of a man. He ducked through the gate into the school yard. She relaxed and continued walking. After a few steps she heard the crunching of autumn leaves behind her. The man was on the other side of the fence, not taking the shortcut.
“Why would anyone walk there?” she thought, though she had an idea.
He was stalking her.
She stood up tall and kept on walking, though she knew she still didn’t appear to be a large target.
Just then a white SUV pulled alongside of her. It slowed but did not stop as the driver, hidden in shadow but with an obvious forelock, said to her, “Do you know what time it is?”
Her cell phone was zipped into a pocket in her vest which was under her coat. She decided against that.
“It’s six o’clock,” she called out.
The SUV pulled closer to the curb.
She considered running across the street but she might not see an oncoming car. She kept walking.
“Six,” she called out.
As the SUV slowed, looking as though it was about to stop, a car came up behind it and the SUV continued to the corner. It turned the corner and tried to park on the street again but the other car had turned as well. He drove into the driveway of the school and stopped. That was the turn she had planned on taking.
She crossed the street quickly and walked up to the front door of a stranger’s house. She put her hand on the doorknob and turned her head. The passenger side door of the SUV was closing. They backed out and turned onto Harwood towards Blossom Hill Road.
THIS IS NOT FICTION