Lemoine, Henri February 2, 2020

Running for my life

I was going to die. I didn't want to die. My life was depending on this. I couldn't stop. I was panting heavily, always wondering if this step would be the last.

The mortifying man's incessant sprinting and shouting was freezing me to the bones. "Wait! I mean no harm!" he kept shouting, as if I'd believe his ploy. I have lived long enough in this god damned city to know that when a creepy man wanted to talk to you at night, the only thing that kept you from your imminent demise was the speed of your escape. The creep was so obviously trying to trick me into a false sense of security. I wouldn't let myself fall for it so easily.

With my breathing speeding up and my running slowing down, I couldn't help but look back. Maybe I had outrun him? Maybe he'd have abandoned his 'prize', as his kind of people call mine? Or maybe… Was he just behind me?! Shit shit shit! He was getting closer and I had no possible escape plan in sight.

At that point, I saw what seemed to be a dark and abandoned alleyway. Any fool knows that turning towards such a foul place is beyond idiotic when trying to flee a danger, but I developed a plan that would hopefully buy me enough time to get lucky. Entering the alley, I turned crisply on my heels and waited, my heart pounding in my chest and my entire body shivering in dreadful anticipation. The alleyway was completely dark aside from a flickering light, giving it an eerie bone-chilling feel to it.

Just at the point where I was wondering if the predator had abandoned his prey, the horrible creature of evil entered the alley. He had a red cap concealing what was likely a bald scalp and heavy brows that chilled my bones with a deep feeling of angst and of impending doom. With the lighting, I couldn't tell if the monster was huge from fat or from bodybuilding, which sent my body into another set of convulsions.

The nihilistic part of me wanted to see what would happen if I just accepted my fate. Instead, I followed my scheme, trying in vain to remember the karate lessons I took in elementary school.

We stared at each other in shock for a fraction of a second, and as I jumped on him, revealing my fists, he shrieked like a prepubescent child.

I launched two quick jabs at his stomach, making him fold in pain, and sent a swift kick that caught him right on the left shoulder. As I tried capitalizing on the situation, striking at the wounded shoulder, putting my whole mass into the blow, he expertly sidestepped my attack, making me stumble. He kept mumbling that he "just wanted to help", "wanted to be nice" and that I "didn't need to freak out over nothin'". I clearly understood the troubling psychological implications. He was batshit crazy and he thought that getting mugged, or even worse, was a privilege.

I wouldn't let myself fall as easily as the madman's other countless victims.

Standing back up, I erupted back into action, keeping the onslaught going. As he kept parrying my punches and dodging my kicks, unease filled my veins once again. Was he toying with me? Was it so easy to him that he could swallow hit after hit, without losing stamina? I should've guessed it. No murderer manages their deeds without being devoted to hand to hand combat.

I was running out of breath. My strikes got weaker and I stumbled increasingly often. I knew I couldn't keep this pace forever, so I took a few steps back, hoping that I'd have the time to take a few deep breaths. After a few tense seconds, the demon reached into his pocket, and I knew my life was coming to an end. How though? Was he going to brandish a gun, and be over with it so quickly? No, I knew his type too well. He would take a knife out and he'd keep toying with me until I fell from exhaustion, blood loss, or both.

As he removed his massive hands from his sweatpants' pockets, I saw what he really brought to kill me with. A… my wallet? How was that possible? Was he arrogant enough to think he could kill me with my own wallet? He was right of course. As I asked myself these unanswerable questions, he stretched his arm towards me and said in a gentle tone: "I just wanted to give you your wallet. It fell from your pocket over there." In a submissive and squeaky voice, he added, "Why this much hatred? I just wanted to help."

My thoughts were tumbling a mile a minute. Could I have misread the situation? Could he be telling the truth? Was he sending me into another false sense of security? As these questions confused my mind, I snatched the wallet – my wallet – from his tender grip. Keeping eye contact, I walked backwards slowly until I was out of the alleyway and as I did, all I could hear was his weak "you're welcome?", in a weirdly questioning tone.

As I started running back to the relative safety of my own home, fear roared through my veins. Through foreboding, I avoided crowds and alleys alike, lest I meet an even more ruthless criminal.

I didn't stop sprinting until I was in the safety of my apartment, all doors locked, and all windows closed. After taking my schizophrenia pills, I succumbed to a deep dreamless sleep.