An Unexpected Ending

*I wrote this 15 years ago in a creative writing class in college. So, keep that in mind…

Shooting pains ran up and down her leg as she dragged it behind her. Each stair took an eternity to maneuver as she worked her way up the three agonizing flights of stairs in her building. The storm had knocked the power out, eliminating any possibility of using the elevator. There was a window open on the top landing and a heavy breeze blew the curtain off the holder. There was no bulb in the light fitting, which swung haphazardly, backwards and forwards, but moonlight shone on the top few steps. She could hear the rain thumping on the roof. Thunder seemed to shake the building and lightning turned the sky outside ablaze.

Suddenly she heard the bang of the metal exit door as it flew open two floors below her. Her apartment was on the third floor. She had to get there. If she could get to her apartment, she would be safe. It was midnight and the entire building was out. They were all smart. They had gone to the school to wait out the storm.

How did I get myself into this? She asked herself. This would never have happened if she had just stayed at the school. Everyone had pleaded with her to stay. They said it was too dangerous outside. She should have listened. Now she was going to die, because she was too stubborn, too pigheaded. She was going to die because a psycho killer was after her. But, she had to go back home. She had to go home and get her grandmother’s engagement ring. It was the most precious article she owned. It was the last link to her past, her family. However, was it as precious as her life?

“This would happen to me,” she said under her breath. “My life is just this unlucky.”

Her hunter was gaining on her. Her blood started to course faster and faster through her body. Adrenaline pumped through her veins in a desperate attempt to accelerate her speed. Suddenly the strength of a thousand men raced through her every limb. She started to run. Her marred limb did not matter to her anymore. She just wanted to get home. She just wanted to be safe. She pulled back the heavy metal door and ran down the hall. The hallway seemed to elongate; her door further back than she remembered it. Faster she told herself. Faster. She could hear his footsteps pounding on the stairs. She fumbled to find her keys as she reached the door. She glanced back at the stairwell and watched as the door slowly opened. She hurried. Her vision blurred. The room spun. Her whole body shook with fear. She had to find those keys. Faster. Her heart pounded. Faster.

“Oh, no, no, no,” she whispered. “Please, tell me I didn’t leave my keys at the school. Please tell me.”

She turned around and dropped her purse. She fell against the door and slid down to the floor in defeat. Conquered. She watched as her imminent demise came toward her in what seemed like slow motion. Faster. She couldn’t take it anymore. Faster.

“Ma’am, ma’am,” he called out. He paused as he came closer. His skin was as pale as the moon. His body smelt of tar and mud. He came closer to her. Leaning down, his beckoning hand slowly unfolded. He revealed her keys, caked with mud and water dripping from them. They were dangling from his white, lanky fingers. “You dropped your keys. Are you ok? You look like you’ve seen a ghost or something.”        

She just looked up at him and gently grabbed her keys. Tears streaming down her face, she threw her head back and laughed—a deep belly-aching laugh. All she could do was laugh.

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