Never Look Back

A man walks down a quiet road. Heavy boots beating a hurried metronome. It is not a night to be out, even the moon and stars have hidden behind thick cloud. The dim light of his torch barely lights his wisps of breath in the cold night. Something blows down the road behind. It skates along, coming closer, too regular, like footsteps. Closer.

He glances back to see

Slowly he becomes aware of a certain weight on his shoulders. As though someone is reading over your shoulder. The wind rustles again and the hedges shudder. His ears sharp and exposed straining for any details. And he hears it again.

His hands curl to fists in his pockets. He stops dead and turns defiantly. He casts the feeble light across the road

He paces. Faster now. The weight grows heavier. Hands on his shoulders. Ice forms in his chest. Spreading to his fists and crawling out his throat. His legs beg to run but he forces them steady. His heart beats twice for every step. His neck frozen forwards.

Ahead the safety of street lights. The promise of people pulling him in. Faster, faster out of the night.

He barges through the wooden gate. It squeels in protest as it swings back and goes silent suddenly. The weight is a vice now. Pressing down. Following the ice into his chest, down his throat. Trying to force him to his knees.

To break. To scream. To look.

The blare of a horn cuts the night air and the pressure eases. The train rumbles past and with the screech of brakes it slows down. A few bored faces slide by. The door opens agonisingly slowly. He steps inside and feels the weight evaporate from his shoulders. He shakes his head loose and catches a glimpse of a girl and a smile as the doors shut tight behind him. The carriage shudders as the train takes off and he turns to face the way he had come.

He breathes a long deep breath. He goes to sit and catches the girls pretty face looking past his shoulder, desperately trying to scream.