My bus is late, again. Tonight couldn’t be a worse night for my bus to be late; sixty degrees and pouring rain with no umbrella and torn up boots. Standing under the closest awning I can find, I shiver and pull my black leather jacket tighter against me.
As I glance down the road to look for the bus I see someone hurry into the nearby alley way. It’s 2:30 in the morning on a Thursday night, no one should be out. Especially in my neighborhood; with how common drive-by’s are in Englewood nobody wants to leave their houses, I shouldn’t have been out but I had picked up an extra shift. I just wanted out of the cold and rain, but Ms. Marks down by Hamilton Park always forgets her purse and had to run back to her apartment so she can go to work, so there I sat, dripping wet in the middle of the night, in a neighborhood no one wants to be in. And yet, someone is, someone other than me is out in this weather. I can feel something isn’t right.
I couldn’t tell you what possessed me to go find out who it was, I couldn’t ever explain the sensation I felt drawing me toward to the alley. All I know is I felt like I had to, that I willingly walked back out into the pouring rain to follow an unidentifiable person into a dark alley in a bad neighborhood. Maybe Ms. Marks isn’t the only one with issues.
Drawing closer to the alley way, I press up to a wall and try to stay hidden; peeking to see inside my eyes are drawn to the mysterious person’s hand where they hold a silver briefcase. They have such a tight grip that their hand has gone ghostly white. I let my eyes travel up from the hand until I could see his face.
My heart stops. And I’m frozen. My brain shuts down, and without thinking I hear myself speak.
As his head bolts up to find me I dart back behind the wall. My mind races and I can’t think. What is he doing here? He’s only the single hottest guy at Englewood High, last I saw him was a week and a half before at school, on the last day before our Thanksgiving Break started. He never comes down here, or at least since I got my job at the pizzeria.
He came by once with a girl, and being like every other girl in our sophomore class at the time, I was head over heels for him. While Alex wasn’t necessarily popular, he was definitely the school’s cutest bad boy. All girls wanted to get the chance to be on the back of his motorcycle and go to his secret make-out spot, that day I saw someone else where I wanted to be.
I catch my breath and go look down the alley, I stand stunned when I see someone else is now with Alex. A man, just leaning against a dumpster like he doesn’t have a care in the world. He lights his cigarette and illuminates his face, showing a dark shadow of facial hair and a sickly pale face. He pulls his fedora down and gives Alex a sinister smile. Getting a good look at him, he seems immensely out of place. Most people in this town wear t-shirts, jeans, not like this guy in his dress shirt and vest. His slim, crimson tie stands out against his black clothes.
“Did you bring it?” the man saunters over to Alex and points his cigarette to the briefcase.
Alex shifts his weight and nods, I can see him clenching his jaw, “You still keeping your end of the bargain?”
“I’ve never backed out of a deal yet,” the man assures as he takes a drag from his cigarette.
I turn away and press my back to the wall, feeling the bricks press into my clothes. I don’t understand, Alex is definitely a bad boy but not like this. He mostly would get into fights defending others, this isn’t him. Who is that guy with him?
“That wasn’t part of the deal!” I jump as I hear Alex roar at the man in front of him.
I gaze back into the alley and start to panic, the man’s eyes begin to glow a deep, frightening red as he seems to grow in size. I start to back away slowly when I feel my foot get stuck in a hole. There’s no stopping myself as I collapse to the cold wet ground, feeling the water now soak into my jeans as well as my hair. I cry out in pain as I feel my ankle burn.
I hear a deep growl as I look up and see the two of them staring at me. Alex’s eyes search over me in fear before darting to the man still seething with anger.
“Run!” Alex calls out to me as he lunges in my direction.
I barely get myself to stand before he’s grabbing my hand and dragging me down the street, I cry out in pain and tell him I’m hurt, only he doesn’t seem to hear me. He tells me to keep running. We reach the corner of the block and he stops me, I see him jump onto his motorcycle and start the engine.
“Get on! Now, we have to go!”
I don’t think as I mount the seat behind him and glue myself to his body. I feel the bike jerk as we start speeding away.
I scream as the shots ring out, I hold onto Alex as tight as my body will allow as I take a quick glance behind us.
“You can’t run from me!” The man keeps shooting, his eyes still glowing, visible even from here.
Ten shots later and we finally lose him. Alex keeps going, the speed hurts my stomach as well as the rain now hitting my face with sharpness. I start crying as I bury my face into Alex’s shoulder.
After what felt like hours of driving, Alex finally slows to a stop in a run down part of town. I don’t recognize where we are.
He gets off the bike and puts his hands on my waist, gently pulling me to face him, “Are you okay? I’m so sorry, I never would have thought anyone would be there, I can’t believe I got you dragged into this,” He gets down and examines my ankle, still muttering about how sorry he is and questioning why I was even there.
“I’m fine, Alex,” he won’t look up, “Alex! who was that guy?”
He looks into my eyes, the rain has settled and I can see the water drip from his hair. The pain and fear he shows in his eyes tugs at my heart. I get down closer to him, careful not to sit on my ankle.
I place my hand on his shoulder, “Alex? Who was that?” I repeat in a low voice, trying to calm him.
He takes a deep breath before speaking, his voice expressing just how serious he really is. His eyes attached to mine, his voice steady and full of fear as he whispers to me.