As promised last week, I'm back with a 'crime in the making' for all of you fans of sleuthing and heart stopping encounters with fiendish murderers.
Your job is to put yourself in the place of the hero, or in this case, heroine, a pretty young college girl who has thought to surprise her boyfriend with an unexpected visit.
The only problem is that he lives in a run down old building in a pretty bad part of town.
She has also decided to try to use this occasion to try to conquer what she considers to be her irrational fears of the dark and dimly lit places.
So take a walk down the hallway with the increasingly apprehensive girl and then post your idea of what should she do in this terrifying situation.
Then come back next week to see what happens.
Shadow of Innocence
Kunati - April 2007
What would you do? Part I – “Don’t walk down that dark hallway!”
Dozens of layers of peeling paint scraped the girl’s knuckles and gave the old muddy-brown door a muted, hollow sound when she pounded on it for the third time in half as many minutes.
“Damn,” she muttered to herself, “where is he?”
After she’d spooked her new boyfriend at the lab and he’d almost freaked out, he’d called her the next morning and profusely apologized, citing stress, overwork, and just the sheer surprise at “looking up from 10,000 power microscope and into the eyes of someone so lovely.”
“Yeah right,” the pretty 19-year-old thought cynically. “He wasn’t even from this country but it sure hadn’t taken him long to learn how to B.S. with the best of them.”
“On the other hand,” she thought to herself, “it was certainly nice to know that he thought enough of me to care to feed me a flattering line…even if it was nine tenths B.S.”
She stepped back from the still silent doorway to apartment 4C and looked around the dingy fourth floor landing of the rundown five story walkup located in an equally rundown section, of almost always run down…Central Square, Cambridge.
She felt a momentary small chill shiver down the middle of her back as she realized how quiet and dark it really was in the silent, musty hallway.
“Wow,” she half whispered to herself, “this is just the kind of place you’d expect to find the Boston Strangler lurking in the shadows. Just standing there. All dressed in black, with that creepy black knit cap he always wore. Standing there with that nylon stocking that he always used to strangle those poor girls, and…stop it! Get a grip, girl, or next you’ll be seeing…”
Something moved at the other end of the hallway.
Her intake of breath caught in her throat and she froze, stark still. She didn’t know how long she stood there, petrified in that same position. Straining her eyes to pierce the gloom on the other side of the fly and dust darkened forty-watt bulb.
After what seemed like hours, but could have only really been twenty or thirty seconds, she realized that there was nothing there and was actually glad that no one else had been around to see how stupid she was acting. She let her pent up breath out with a whoosh, raised her hand to knock on the door again and…
The shadow darkness at the end of the hall moved again.
This time there could be no question, because the movement was accompanied by a soft but unmistakable shuffling sound and she could see rising dust motes floating in the forty-watt gloom.
She stood paralyzed. Rooted to the spot with terror. Frozen. Hypnotized like a bird in front of a snake. She tried to scream and was actually surprised when the only sound that came out was a little mewing sound, like a kitten about to be drowned.
The slowly approaching shadow was now starting to coalesce into man form and her wildly darting eyes moved back and forth, looking for the nylon stocking she was sure he held in his hand. And as the form stepped into the periphery of the dim hallway light, her most horrible nightmare…came true.
The form was dressed in black, right down to the black ski hat and ski mask and…the nylon stocking looped around one hand. The other black-gloved hand slowly reached out for her as the black clad form moved to the center of the hallway – blocking the only way out.
Shadow of Innocence
Kunati - April 2007
You can pre-order a copy of Shadow of Innocence from Amazon.com.
Ric Wasley has spent almost forty years wandering through corporate board rooms and honky-tonk bars. He now divides his time between writing mystery novels – Shadow or Innocence – A McCarthy Family Mystery – Published by Kunati, http://www.kunati.com , and observing the really ‘juicy parts’ of the human condition
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