The Dark

by Danika Ashton
(Calpine, CA, USA)

The fear was all he felt. He cringed from the sting of the slap, and the swing of the alcohol.

Why would someone do this to him? He’d known Jared for five years. Well, maybe now it was five years to plan this…horrible night.

Why didn’t he notice anything? Surely, he should have noticed the crazed look in his eyes as he strode into the bar. He even sipped his alcohol with a deranged quality.

“Why?” He asked, now hiding between two tin garbage cans. “Why” was the only question he could seem to ask himself.

A passer-by stranger caught him hiding.

“Hey partner,” the stranger slurred. His face was a black shadow in the alley light. He could not see any physical features of this drunken man’s face. “What are you doing out here, in the middle of this alley?”

“I…don’t see why it concerns you.”

“Well, for a young man such as yourself, I would think you’d be in a better place than this.”

“Well, you think wrong.” The boy snapped, not wanting anything to do with this stranger. “Don’t you have somewhere better to be?”

“It’s funny,” he chuckled, almost sinisterly. “I would ask you the same question.”

The stranger’s face moved into the light, and the young man wished he hadn’t.

Raw fear and horror struck the boy with the force of a locomotive as he recognized his attacker.

The whole world fell suddenly silent.

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