A sickly light fluttered around, infecting the world with a ghastly glow. Erie shadows jogged from tree to tree, concealing much of the park. Above, the star’s wonderful chorus of light had peeled away the city’s light pollution. What an ugly notion, Debbie thought. Her eyes explored the bank of trees to her left, and then the wall of foliage on the right. She raised her camera and clicked the shutter twice, capturing a couple of pictures. Damn light pollution stealing the natural beauty.
Debbie continued along the path the cut through the center of the park. She didn’t stray from the path, as the moonlight was too dim in the woods. Even with her camera set up night photography, she couldn’t take pictures in near darkness. She shouldn’t even be out here snapping pictures, given the murderer that was supposed to be on the prowl.
Despite the warnings, Debbie didn’t concern herself with such rumors. There was no real proof of a murderous fiend. Even though the police found a body, torn to pieces and hidden across the city, she didn’t believe the rumors online. There was no serial killer. One brutal murder didn’t equal a blood thirsty killer. Plus, the body parts were in the city. Debbie was in the park on the edge of town. And, she had her boyfriend. He was twenty feet behind her with a pistol on his hip. He loved guns, those nasty little things, as Debbie thought. They were inherently violent and dangerous. Tonight, however, she didn’t argue when he brought it. In fact, she was a little relieved.
Debbie turned to smile at Tom, didn’t see him. She called his name, and received no response. She walked back down the pathway, retracing her steps and didn’t find him.
“Tom!” she cried. There was no response, no noise even. The crickets remained silent, as they had been all night. The traffic was at most a soft and dull commotion somewhere in the distance. “Tom!”
A sliver of worry shot through Debbie’s chest as she looked into the woods. She couldn’t see past the first few trees. A motionless curtain of blackness stood there, hiding the secrets of the forest. It concealed people’s fears and kept the monsters of the night away from the light.
“Tom!” Debbie was worried now. She reached for her phone, but a firm hand gripped her wrist from behind. Her throat tightened and her eyes sprung open. Her lips moved to scream, but a second hand, gloved and equally as strong as the first, closed around her mouth. A thick, gooey agony rolled through her body, coating her in a dark, sticky sense of dread.
Debbie struggled against the hands, but she couldn’t move them. They held her fast, and pulled her closer to the person. She could feel their warmth through her thin sweatshirt. She felt their chest rise and fall as they breathed. Their breath was plated with exhaustion. She tried to turn about, and face her captor, but they refused. She was frozen, stuck to their body.
“Let me go!” Debbie yelled under the glove. She thrashed and tried to bite the hand that held her mouth. The person twisted her wrist, breaking it in two. A cold pain gathered in Debbie’s wrist as she felt the bones dragged against each other. She heard them scrape on one another as her captor gripped tighter.
Then before her, under a street light, Debbie saw a second figure walk into the light. They were dressed in black, with a mask pulled over their face. Behind them, they drug a bloodied Tom. Hatred flashed against Debbie’s ribs, pushing her to struggle further against her captor to no avail.
The person let go of Tom, allowing him to slump over, and fall onto the ground. It was then Debbie noticed his pistol lying on the ground next to him. That bastard is going to get it now. Debbie thought, but as the words grazed her mind, Tom’s captor lifted their leg and stomped on Tom’s head. His skull caved in with a gut twirling sound. The bones snapped with ease under the strength of blow. Debbie heart bent and rolled as she watched.
Tom’s eyes popped out of their sockets. One dangled from the optic nerve and the other broke free and rolled on the ground haphazardly. Brains and blood splashed up the person’s leg, and on the ground. They laughed, and scrapped their boot on the pathway, rubbing away the goopy matter.
Debbie’s eyes seized and she began to cry. Her tears rolled down her face, both from the pain in her wrist and the sight of her boyfriend’s death. Tension coiled in her body as she was rushed down the pathway into the chilly night.