Suspense Horror Urban Fantasy

      When going downtown, say for a walk in the old park, in the early hours of the morning – especially when the sun has yet to rise – it’s never a bad idea to be aware of your surroundings; you’ll never know what else is there in the dark with you.

           This public park is not unlike any other; you’ve probably seen one just like it near your home. In this particular park, a young man named Michael Wren is walking home from the night shift at the twenty-four-hour McDonald’s. He walks this same route every work night as his home is only a few miles away and he doesn’t feel like using the gas. Besides, traffic is so bad on his way that he would bet that it would take longer for him to drive to work than to walk there, anyway.

           The time is approximately five-thirty in the a.m., and the sun is still less than an hour away. Michael was walking with his hands tucked in his Dickie pants as he absently chewed on a pull string from his hood on his Green Bay Packers hoodie, his tired feet making a lazy plop on the paved walkway beneath him. He badly wished to himself that he remembered to bring his headphones today – Though he had gotten fairly used to this walk, it had become increasingly boring with each trip to and from his house to the greasy burger joint. He began to have some serious worries that he might go insane from the monotonous nothingness that was happening around him. Now and then he would hear a car driving somewhere in between the buildings nearby, but for the most part, the streets remained empty and all the windows around him were dark. He felt a pang of envy as he pictured them all still asleep in their beds and yearned for his own, telling himself he might not even set the alarm when he got home and just let himself sleep until he simply could not sleep a second more.

           Overhead electrical lamps cast a dim yellow glow, the light of which barely stretched beyond a small cone pointed down, and when Michael looked at his arm under these lamps, he would see that his skin looked orange as its pigment mixed with the gloomy yellow. He thought about trying to find a way to make a game out of this to pass the time, but just then he noticed the electrical lamp starting to rapidly flicker on and off, emanating a horribly irritating buzzing sound. Michael found he might be able to find a tune in the bzz, bzz-zz, rzz, if it wasn’t such a mind-splitting high-pitched ring.

           Then, there was another sound he could hear through the buzzing of the short-circuiting lights. A distant and rapid thun-thun-thun-thun was coming from behind him, and it sounded like it was getting closer – and it was fast, too. He quickly turned around and swung his head back and forth, looking for the source of the sound. As his head turned too far to the left or the right, he felt he could see something moving towards him in his peripherals. He focused on the direction he thought he saw it coming from but saw nothing.

           He peered hard in that direction, squinting his eyes to filter away the yellow glow of the street lamps. Yes, there was something there. Michael thought he could make out a faint outline of a person halfway behind a tree, though it was hard to say for sure. “Hello?” he called out. But the thing that looked like a person did not reply. He shrugged, turned around, and continued walking.

           Thun-thun-thun-thun. That intense sprinting-like sound again. Even closer, now.

           Michael spun back around again, and he saw that same silhouette, though now it was behind a much closer tree near the walkway, and it was very clear now that this was the outline of a person. He called out to the figure, “Yo, I can see you! What do you want?” But just like before, it did not respond. He stared at the person, holding his gaze until he scoffed, muttering, “Just try something, man. I can take you easy.” He turned his back to the shadow. Thun-thun.

           He turned to face them again and saw the shadow had fully emerged from behind the tree – only now that it was fully underneath an electric lamp, it remained a full shadow, fully blacked, darker than the night sky above. Worse, Michael could see this shadow had glowing crimson eyes. He always questioned whether or not time would appear to stand still during moments of great stress, but assumed that this was what was happening now, as with this brief glance it looked like this shadowy creature was caught in mid-sprint, one leg far out behind it and the other stretching uncannily long ahead of it. Both its arms were stretched long out before it, towards Michael.

           Michael inhaled deeply and exclaimed, “What in the fuck?!” as he turned briskly on his heel and tried to break out into a sprint of his own. He tripped as he accidentally kicked against the back of his left heel and fell forward onto his palms. Thun-thun-thun-thun-thun! The thing pounded eagerly toward him, and Michael pushed his hands on the ground in a modified push-up, kicking his legs forward, and ran as hard as he could. “Help!” he cried out, “somebody please help me!” But the slumbering neighborhood remained sleeping, all the windows remained dark and lifeless. It was as if they had no choice but to ignore his pleas.

           He seemed to have forgotten all the ache and tiredness in his limbs from working his overnight shift, and an extra hour at that because of a late coworker meant to relieve him. All Michael did know was that he had to get away as fast as he could. He continued to scream, but now with a wordless howl – a desperate cry for anyone to turn and look – which no one did, of course.


           Michael could feel the space behind him getting cold. It was worse than any cold from a winter night; it was what he would imagine absolute zero felt like. It crept up to him as the shadow advanced like a wall of ice eating away the rest of the heat around him as it desired to close in around him. He saw before him the sun had started to rise, and the realization dawned on him that this would be the last sunrise he would ever see. I wish I had taken more time to look at more of these, he thought miserably to himself.

           A hand that felt as icy as death itself gripped the back of his hoodie. Michael stumbled to the ground without a coherent thought in his mind, only existential terror spiking through him like he never felt before and assumed he never would again. He heard the fabric of his hoodie tear behind him as he slammed onto the concrete. He squeezed his eyes shut as he huddled in a fetal position, his arms instinctively up to shield his face from whatever came next.

           He lay there for several seconds until he found the courage to slowly open one eyelid. Then another. He cautiously lifted his head, and up to a sitting position. Natural light had filled the air around him, and there was no sign of a red-eyed shadow anywhere around him. He reached around and found a large patch of his hoodie had been torn clean off; a patch of green fabric that was nowhere to be seen – that was now adrift on another plane of existence that was very far from where Michael existed.

           Michael would later commit himself to start running more regularly and to get in better shape. More importantly, however, a much larger commitment was that he would leave home earlier, in his car, and would never walk alone in the night again; because who can say if one is truly alone when walking in the dark?

January 30, 2024 04:45

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Elizabete Paegle
10:37 Feb 11, 2024

I had to read a story for my English class and write about it, and I chose your story. This is an amazing horror story, one of the best I have read. :)


Nicholas Thomas
20:11 Feb 11, 2024

Wow, that's amazing! That is honestly a huge boost to my confidence in my stories, thank you! I hope you got an A! ❤️


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Crystal Farmer
22:15 Feb 07, 2024

Is it the same monster from last week!? I love your stories!


Nicholas Thomas
17:34 Feb 08, 2024

Thank you so much! And yes it is - I've had a few people asking for a sequel to that story; while this isn't exactly a sequel to that one, I felt maybe still writing another story with that same monster would satisfy until I could think of a proper part two for The Visitor :)


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Catrina Thomas
09:50 Jan 30, 2024

Another fun story! Keep em' coming! 😁


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