The Walk Home by Matt Lease - IPR Creative Writers
 
    The air that night was thick, and the smell of sewage heavily reeked the neighborhood he lived in.  As he walked down the street, the sound of sirens were all around.  He didn’t feel safe, nor has he ever felt safe since he moved into the city.  The people were unfriendly, and the nights were so dark, that even under the streetlights he felt vulnerable.  Most of the people
here towered over him and he always felt like a lost little kid when he would walk around the city.  He would look up at strangers, nod and smile, and in return would get a blank face. Not angry or mad, just unnoticed. 
    This particular night though, felt different than most nights walking home.  It was darker than it had ever been before, there was no moon. He walked at a faster pace than usual and clenched his keys tight in his hands, with the ends of each key lying in between his fingers, like brass knuckles, hidden slightly under the sleeve of his hoody, so if the moment ever arose, he was prepared.  He laughed at the thought of himself actually hitting someone with the “brass
knuckles” he had concocted with his set of keys.  It was nothing like him.  But he knew in this hostile environment, it was every man for himself.  
    The closer he got to his apartment, his heart sped.  Every block seemed to be getting longer and longer, and with every alleyway he passed, he held onto his fake brass knuckles as hard as he  could.
    Would he really do it though?  He thought to himself as he briskly walks.  He’s never hit anyone before, and doesn’t know how much power he would need if he actually were to hit someone, there’s no way he would do it even if he had to.  He’d fall to the ground and give them everything he has because he knows that he doesn’t have the strength to bring them down, whoever they even were, or if there would even be anyone.  He wonders why he’s even
thinking about it, it’s not like it would actually happen to him anyway, he thought.
    As he approached the last block leading to his apartment building, the thought of actually getting attacked by someone at this point was rather stupid.  His hand had eased up on the keys, and the keychain hung lazily on his middle finger.  He slowed his pace down to a steady walk and continued down the last leg of his journey. As he approached the final dark alleyway before his place, he noticed a shadow of a person coming off of the graveled street, and his mind started to race.  
     He had no idea what awaited his next few steps, and began to breath heavily. As he passed by the alleyway, he could see the person in the corner of his eye, but couldn’t tell if he meant harm or not, but all the thoughts of what might happen to him made him go dizzy, and his adrenaline kicked into override.  He swung his body around and threw his arm out, keys in hand, and like a master’s whip, slashed the keys through the face of the stranger, and jetted out in an all out sprint towards his apartment door.  
    Everything happened so quickly he could barely process it all as he tried to calm himself down inside the apartment.  He sat down on his bed, and leaned over with his elbows on his knees, shaking.  After sitting there, trembling for a while, his heart beat slowed again, and he relaxed a little.  He stood up, and went into the bathroom where he washed his face and got ready for bed.  
     He lied in bed for a long while, finding it hard to sleep.  Though he was calm now, his mind still raced.  He couldn’t remember if the stranger fell down or started chasing him after the encounter.  Or if the guy was even going to attack him in the first place.  These things didn’t even really matter to him that much.  But what he really wanted to know was if the stranger was okay.



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