Ever have those times when your spidy senses start picking up? Annie’s were on high alert. It was 930pm and it was already dark, well as dark as it gets in London. If it had been pitch black if might have felt safer, but it was the half light of night, where the darkness tried to claim the sky but was fought off by the electrical pylons and street lighting, creating a sort of dark pinky grey dusk, full of silouettes and shadows.
She wasn’t allowed to smoke in the house, and smoking in her tiny stamp of a back garden was usually followed by some stupid bint over exaggerating wihlst coughing, proclaiming ‘I do have a child you know!’ as if you were soley responsible for the cancer in the world. The gardens are so close you could pick a flea of your neighbours arse and the feeling of being persistently looked over and into, created a strong desire to escape the paid for four walls, to find a place where there was a least 50 feet of space between you and the next person. So the park it was.
Moormead is a small park, split into two. On a Saturday morning it is flooded with a miriad of little legs all dressed in green and white and red and white, frenetically darting here there and everywhere whilst trying to master a leather ball and give it some direction. The rest of the time it is a sea of dogs and their chaperones.
Annie would always try and find the tree furthest away from anyone. She wanted peace. She wanted quiet. She wanted to be alone to have a smoke and read (if it was during the day) her Bernard Cornwell novel Stonehenge, which happened to have her gripped, she loved Bernie’s warriors they were always fearsome yet just with just enough charisma. But she would sit, and in no time at all, someone would be walking close by her, their dog doin’ the do near by, and though it was responsibly collected, the pungent aroma hung in the air like a bad feeling along with her frustrations on why the hell people don’t ever allow you space.
In this dusky light there’s something else that disturbs her, but the desire to at least have a smoke wins over her initial fears. She knows damn well than anyone in their right mind probably wouldn’t go for a walk in the almost dark, but she wanted a cigarette more than giving into her fears. What disturbs her is only her own shadow. It makes her nervous, jumpy.
She knows it’s there, but it feels more like some menacing demon that’s following her in this half light. She knows it can’t hurt her, but she jumps out of her skin every time it catches her off guard, like a giant that’s waiting to surprise her, pounce on her. As she smokes, she walks around, making sure that her headphone volume isn’t up too loud so she can hear if anyone approaches her. She can’t sit down on the grass at this time of the evening because the dew has already settled and a wet bum wasn’t conducive to the piece of mind experience she was in search of. So she walks, very slowly, always away from anyone out walking late, and if there appears to be a man on his own and no dog, she’ll walk closer to the street lights and road, so she has a swift exit if she requires it.
But mostly, she smokes by the trees at the furtherest point, she smokes with the shadows that always unnerve her, but she loves to quiet. She loves knowing that there is room to breath between her and the nexgt person, and she is confident enough to feel she could out run anyone who had any ulterior motives, or at least she thought she was.
Unknown to her, her shadows were trying to reach her, to communicate with her. They had sent out the feelings she needed to be aware of, but this just frustrated her shadows, for they knew what was to follow and they were trying to warn her. She never had the time to realise that her fears were there to protect her, to warn her of what was to come, but her simple, singular ambition to set some paper on fire and draw it down into her lungs had blinded her to the messages her shadows were trying to share. She achieved her ambition, and then no more ambitions would ever be achieved, not for her, exept for the human dark shadow that had been watching, and waiting for the right opportunity to snuff one more light out for once and for all.