Thursday morning, time for an InMon story! In light of my concerns about writing too many 100 word stories, I deliberately tried to go long this time. It comes in just under 500 words and I have to say there was a definite moment of hesitation at about 120! hopefully it doesn’t show and you enjoy the finished product. Thanks to Steph for a tough set of prompts this week.
The picture comes from wikimedia – I’m not sure about the grammar but I liked the sentiment (which reads: Good people are like street lights along the roads. They do not make the distance short, but they light up the path and make [the] walk easy and safe.)
Evening fell like a night from a Dickens novel – thick with fog and lit only by the distant glow of obscured streetlamps. The fog shrouded everything, from the lights to the far-off sounds of traffic and revellers. Some headed home, others headed out.
None of them would notice the lone figure on the damp pavement with his head tucked down under the high collar of his jacket. None of them would see him stop at each house, pause in the doorway, and then move on. His touch was like one from the angel of death: no-one saw him come or go, yet everyone felt his visit after he had left.
His feet pounded rhythmically as he moved from house to house, yet the sound went unheard. He traced a route he knew well – cutting across gardens and passing over fences where that shortened the path. Each step confident and accustomed. Each house known and expected.
Occasionally a dog barked, or a cat leapt from its position on a windowsill. Animals’ senses were so much more finely attuned to his presence. They could feel his approach, and it made them wary. Once, a barking dog was silenced by the gruff voice of a man, “Shut up! I can’t hear the TV”, but the man himself had no idea of the meaning and import of that bark; no idea how close he had passed.
At the end of the road, a police car drove by: its lights fuzzy in the fog but its siren cutting through the haze. He froze to the spot, waiting for it to pass out of sight and hearing. The fog seemed to close in, hiding him like the cloak of night.
Though he knew the police wouldn’t touch him, the siren left his heart beating faster. It had been so sudden and so loud in the quiet evening. He paused a moment after it had gone, waiting for the silence to feel comfortable again. Eventually, the sounds of traffic and distant crowds began to settle back in around him. He approached the next house, and a dog barked behind the door.
He was back into his stride now, a few houses from the end of the street.
The barking stopped and the door opened. “Get off my goddam porch before I set the dog on you!” shouted an old woman, silhouetted against the lights of the house. “I don’t want any more bleedin’ pizza leaflets. I’m lactose intolerant!”
Jacob smiled. He would take a break after this. Get a coke from the corner shop, maybe. Perhaps even a hot dog to fuel him for the rest of the shift, certainly not a pizza – he ate enough of those when he worked in the store.