The only sounds you hear are your feet pounding against the pavement and your heart pounding in your chest. The only thing that matters is getting away. One thought is replaying in your mind, Don't let it catch me, don't let it catch me. You turn to see where it is, or what it is. You don't know why, but you know you must run. Run fast, run far. Even when you see nothing behind you but trees and houses, you feel something, it surrounds you, ensuring that you have one job, run. As you get farther, you recognize the neighborhood you're in, this is where your brother fell off of his cobalt blue bike last summer and hit his head on the concrete. You remember the fear you felt as he was rushed to the hospital, wondering if the busted, bloody version of him you saw as the ambulance doors shut, would be the last version you saw. As you pass the spot where it happened, you stop, with no explanation, the same feeling that propelled you forward, anchors you to the street. Your sneakers are as heavy as cement blocks. You look around absorbing your surroundings when you see movement in a window. At first, you think it's nothing, just a flutter of a lacy curtain. Then you see it again, eyes appear, beady and sinister, staring back at you, watching your every move. As quickly as they came, they leave and you assume it was just a figment of your imagination. A breeze whispers down the street, sending a chill through you. You put your hands in the pockets of your red bubble coat, seeking the little bit of heat they have to offer. Suddenly the bite of the cold intensifies, you feel it, tearing at your flesh, trying to drain every bit of heat left in your body. Then you see them again, the eyes, set upon a shadowy figure, they hold you captive, you can't look away, you notice the amber color in them so intense they almost glow. Soon you notice flecks of gold, sprinkled among the irises like stars. Upon realizing this detail, you also realize how close the eyes have gotten. But it's too late, there is nowhere to go, your body betrays you. Your hands remain in your pockets, refusing to let you fight. Your throat closes, refusing to let you scream. Your neck locks, refusing to let you look away. You are helpless. The amber color consumes you, it suffocates you. You struggle for breath, clinging to life but as the color gets more intense, your resolve only diminishes until you feel yourself completely slip away.
You wake with a start, sitting up so quickly, you get dizzy. It was a dream? As you look around your room everything seems normal, the same clothes on the floor, the same papers on the desk, the same pictures on the wall. So why do you feel so different? You look out the same window you always have, and see the same street you've seen a million times before. This morning, it's covered in a fresh blanket of white. Snow covers the roofs, the yards, the cars, making the world seem like a picturesque winter wonderland. You decide you'll take a walk to see if this feeling goes away, so you throw your coat on over your flannel pajamas, slide on your snow boots and head out the front door, which is already ajar, probably from your little brother going out to play. As you begin your stroll, you see your neighbor, Mr. Robinson, outside shoveling his driveway. You make eye contact with him and wave, he doesn't wave back, you think nothing of it and walk on. Soon, you see Mrs. Smittson walking her dog, she walks right past you and as you turn back to see if she ever acknowledges you, you notice something odd. There are two sets of tracks left in the snow behind you, one belonging to Mrs. Smittson, and one to her dog. The distinctive tracks your heavy snow boots usually leave behind are nowhere to be found, you stomp and still nothing. That's when it dawns on you. That dream was not a dream at all, it was a nightmare, and a very real one. One, that stripped you of your life, one that you will never forget as you are forced to live this day on loop for the rest of your afterlife. But never, will you leave footprints in the snow.