Rebecca Eddinberth loved the park in the fall. The red and orange of the leaves that decorated the lively trees. It was worth taking the longer path that wound around the park. She smiled brightly tugged at her ponytail. She let her long dark hair, a contrast to her fair skin, fall onto her shoulders and continued to walk down the path. The lamps lighting her way illuminated her fashionable, but somewhat outdated clothes, until they began to flicker eerily.
She looked up at the dimming bulb and frowned slightly. She pulled her auburn coat tighter around her slender waist gently brushing against a bruise on her stomach she couldn't quite recall how she'd gotten. The more she thought about, the more she realized how stiff and sore she felt. Rebecca shook her head, and decided she could worry about it when she got home, for now she would just enjoy the walk. She stopped short when she heard someone else approach the path.
Glancing over her shoulder, she saw a tall figure in a black sweatshirt saunter down the path. Her breath became more erratic with every lurking step he took forward.
Rebecca quickened her steps, thinking back to the newspaper article she'd read about the other girls who'd strayed from the main pathway in the park. She glanced back up at the looming trees that had seemed so friendly moments ago, but now their gnarled branches threatened to ensnare her in their rotted limbs. Behind her, she could hear the man muttering.
Hadn't the paper said the girls were attacked by a tall man? She tried to be subtle as she looked at him from the corner of her eye, trying to judge if he matched the description. She could barely see his face, only his stubble chin, all other features shadowed by the hood of his sweatshirt.
She bit her lip trying to remember how they'd died. It was something awfully brutal for the radio announcers to keep talking about during the nightly news. Late at night on the park's twisted side paths, like the one she was on now, they'd met their fate with a long blade across their young throats.
The man behind her had shoved his hands in to his pockets. She could hear him rustling for something. Rebecca took the opportunity to look around her for anything she could use to defend herself.
In all likelihood, she would die tonight. But if the newspapers were going to report anything, if the radios were going to cackle any word of this, it would be that unlike those other girls she fought back.
She opened her small red purse angrily and she noted that she hadn't thought to bring anything aside from a lipstick, her wallet, and a band-aid. Tomorrow- if I live, she thought, I'll put a knife in here.
At she walked she kept staring at her purse, trying to think of anyway the items could be helpful. It's all rubbish, she thought sourly as her foot caught on one of the tree roots that had crawled across the path. She gasped in shock as she tumbled down. Her penny loafers were scuffed but luckily, she only sprained her ankle. Groaning in pain she looked up in shock to see the man was closer than ever before.
He was standing over her now, with icy blue eyes. He held out his hand, and with a twisted smile said, "Do you need help?"
She felt a scream die in her throat, as terror dried her words. Reaching out blindly, she felt a large rock beside her. "No," she hissed, swatting his hand away.
He seemed to glare at her, judging her figure, deciding if anyone would miss her. She would die tonight, she realized again fearfully, but she didn't have to make it easy.
She grabbed the rock as she stood up. He opened his mouth to speak, probably another set of sticky sweet lies, but she brought the rock down on his head.
He started to swing his arms wildly as his body fought against unconsciousness, enraged. With only a brief hesitation, she brought the rock down again, harder, faster and repeated the motion until he fell. It was probably gentler than the way the other girls had struggled under sharp knives and punches. Her ankle was throbbing, her heart was pulsing, but she knew she had to defend herself. The man in the black sweatshirt, with blood soaked into the hood, stopped moving. She stood over him, holding the red rock in her hand breathing heavily as the adrenaline wore down.
She would not die tonight, not again, not like last time.
She was safe to haunt the park another year.