The weak moonlight filtered through the turbulent clouds, casting elongated shadows across the street. Tall buildings leered up on either side, looking like they were about to topple at any moment and collapse inwards on the road. Not a car was in sight, it was silent, the only sign of life the teenage girl wandering down the pavement.
Phoebe Wilkins was slowly making her way home after storming out of the house a few hours earlier, the results of yet another explosive argument with her mother and her new boyfriend. She’d never got on well with any of her mum’s boyfriends, but this one was the worst of them all so far.
The stubborn girl hadn’t been planning on returning home at all tonight. She’d had images in her head of waltzing back the next morning, her mum pulling her into a tearful embrace and promising she’d never get another boyfriend ever again. But after 3 hours of mooching around town without a jacket or anything to do she’d grown cold and bored, and had given in.
Suddenly, a loud footstep echoed off the walls of the tall buildings towering above. Startled by the loud noise, which seemed like a gunshot in the silence, Phoebe whipped round to see who was behind her. But there was no-one there.
Dismissing it as nothing, the girl decided it was probably just a cat digging through the bins, and turned back around, stuffing her hands into her jeans pockets in an attempt to keep them warm. She put the niggling feeling in the back of her mind down to hunger, as she’d left without dinner, and continued to wander along, trying to act as though she wasn’t in a rush to get home when really she couldn’t wait to be back in the warm.
There was a sudden gust of wind and Phoebe thought she saw something move up ahead, hidden in the shadow of an old clothes store that had closed down many years ago and had been left abandoned ever since. This time, she couldn’t ignore the feeling in the back of her mind that something was wrong. But she wasn’t going to let it stop her getting home, so kept walking, choosing to not acknowledge the fact that her heart was filling with trepidation.
A shadow passed over her and her head snapped backwards, looking up at the starless sky. Surely it was just a bird, right?
A small wind began to pick up, slowly dragging a discarded crisp packed down the street towards her. Although it was just a piece of rubbish, it’s movement seemed menacing, and Phoebe stopped for a moment to build up the confidence she needed to keep going.
Her final mistake.
The wind began to pick up, swirling around her feet, encircling her, as though it was holding her in place. Fear gripped her heart as the shadow passed over her again, and the moon passed behind a cloud, plunging the street into darkness. Squinting her eyes, Phoebe could see something moving by the abandoned shop, slowly beginning to advance towards her. She opened her mouth and screamed, but the wind stole the noise she made and hid it away, rendering her silent. Beneath the howling of the wind as it ricocheted off the buildings on either side, she could hear a hoarse breathing sound, getting louder, and louder, and louder. It was in that moment that she realised that she knew what was coming.