My heart beats wildly. It slams against the walls of my chest as I scramble for a hold, trying to right myself. The deep rumble of amusement ripples behind me. It only deepens the stomach-churning dread until it morphs into fear. My veins run cold. Shallow breaths take over as I place my shaking hands on the check out counter and push myself up.
The tremors travel down my body, weakening my knees. Somehow I manage to stay standing. I even manage to turn around, my body leaning heavily against the counter. Though, I wish I hadn’t. Before me stands a man who sneers down at me, a wicked glint in those blue eyes of his. His broad shoulders block out the sun from the window behind him. The shadows cast over me, chilling me to the bone. Or perhaps that’s the fear.
“Didn’t your mommy and daddy ever tell you not to go out alone?” He questions, his tone full of mockery. Another laugh bubbles out from him, dark and twisted. All the while his pale eyes remain on me, piercing through me like I’m prey and he’s the hunter. “Mighty foolish of you.” He advances.
My body jerks backwards, but has nowhere to go, the counter pressing squarely against my hips. He laughs again. As if it weren’t already apparent, he says, “there’s nowhere to go.” Something about how he needs to state the blatantly obvious makes me want to scoff and roll my eyes. The idiot evidently cared more for his brawn than his brain. Unfortunately, in this moment, that’s not doing me any favors as I’m barely half his size.
Still, brains can come in handy. “Wha-” I start, trying to level my voice, but it wavers heavily. Even so, his feet halt. A quizzical look passes over his face while the sneer remains rooted firmly. “What do you…” I inhale deeply. My eyes focus on him while my hands slide slowly across the counter behind me in search of something- anything- to defend myself against this brute. “Want,” I choke out.
He snickers. The look in his eyes darkens as his head tips down like he’s trying to get a better look at me. “Isn’t it obvious?” His eyebrow cocks in a questioning manner. My stomach churns. My bottom lip wobbles slightly. I was hoping that wouldn’t be his answer. Why couldn’t he just be after my lunch money or something?
“And here I thought you were one of the smart ones,” he comments, settling back on his heels. “You’re obviously not one of the pretty girls on campus.”
Now might not be the time to take offense to something like that, but it still bothers me. Normally, my mouth would open and retorts would slip out. Thankfully, my panic squeezes my throat closed, blocking any words from falling out, words that might get me in a worse predicament than I’m already in.
“No matter,” he continues. “Just means I won’t have to listen to your blabbing.” Once more he moves towards me. He rolls his shoulders. His fingers flex like he were preparing to start a game.
“Wait!” I shout, the command escaping me before I have time to think about it.
He stops. Confusion snags at his face as my word echoes in the silence of the campus store.
“You’re only making this harder for yourself,” he grumbles. This time he steps quickly, closing the distance between us. His hands extend towards me. Fingers curl around my arms, capturing me in his grip and halting my heart.
My knee swings up, trying to defend myself, but hits him in the thigh instead of where I wanted it to go. He chuckles again. “Nice try,” he whispers darkly.
“How ’bout this one!” I offer roughly. My hand swings forward, slamming a pen into the side of his face as hard I can. The writing utensil punctures his cheek.
A choking noise escapes him as his hands release me, flying up to the pen now stabbing into his mouth. He takes a step back. I hurl my hands into his chest to put more space between us. Then I run. My heart resumes its panicking as my feet carry me away.
I round the corner, dashing down the hall that leads further into the building. Even as I flee, my mind in a flurry of thoughts, I try to rationalize what to do next. That pen won’t stop him forever. If anything, it’ll make him mad and he’ll want revenge. My gut roils at the thought. I have to get away. Yet, I don’t stand a chance of outrunning him.
“You bitch!” His shout chases me down the corridor.
With a quick glance over my shoulder, he barrels out the campus store, stopping momentarily to set me in his sights before charging after me.
My breath catches. He runs much faster than me and I can’t help reminding myself how much of an idiot I am for not going to the gym. But who knew there was going to be an apocalypse!
Shaking the thought away I slam through a doorway. Now isn’t the time to lose my head. My life may depend on it and even if I can’t outrun him, maybe I can outsmart him.
Next Installment: ‘Misdirection‘