Adventure Suspense Crime

It’s bitter out here tonight. Trouble roams these streets at all hours, but the lack of sunlight stirs up another kind of evil.

I'm walking through downtown Chicago. That's where I live. Honestly, I’m not sure how long I've lived here but life happened and here I am. Lifes been rough lately. Lifes been rough for a while. 

I hate these streets. I hate the dark, the whispers, the footsteps shuffling through the trash. I miss my home. Yes… my home, 422 Old Laker St.

Seems like forever since I've been there. Heck, seems like forever since I've been warm. 

I start walking faster. With every cough I hear my footsteps quicken.  A sharp gust of air stings the back of my neck. 

Where’s my scarf? Must have left it at home...or was it the office?

I was an accountant at one of the top firms in the city. It was a great job, I had recently been promoted to vice president of the company. 

So maybe life isn't all that bad. I have a high-paying job, a house, a beautiful wife... Yes, my beautiful beautiful wife. 

I grin. The thought of her quickened my pace for the second time. My feet had started to slack as thoughts whirled around my head. They tend to do that.  I turn down another filthy ally. A rat squeals and squirms itself into a rusty can. It’s starting to rain.

Of course. It always rains at night. And of course I forget my umbrella.  Must be back at the office too, or maybe at that brunch place Sal and I went to today? 

That was her name, Sal. The most perfect wife a man could ask for. She loved our little brunch dates. She loved hearing about my job. I complained about my boss and she told me how proud she was that I still put up with him. She told me about her garden, the one right outside our front window.  She talked about how she couldn't wait for the tomatoes to ripen. She was worried about the cold weather. I comforted her, as always, reassuring her that it was just a cold spurt, that Spring was coming. This is what we like to do. Brunch dates, walks in the park, bike rides. To some, it may sound mundane, but to us, it’s pretty close to perfect. We are in love,  Sal and I.

Seems like I’ve known Sal for a lifetime, but surprisingly, we met fairly recently, three months ago to be exact. Remember the bike rides? Well, I first saw my beautiful Sal riding her bike through the park. It was winter then. I don’t know what she was doing out in the cold, let alone riding a bike. But, there she was, riding her bike. Strands of frizzy auburn hair escaped her hat as she peddled faster and faster. She flew past me as I sat frozen on that bench. I couldn’t tell you how long I’d been sitting there, or why I was there in the first place. All I know is from that point on, Sal and I were destined to be together.

And here we are today, happily married, living in our little house at 422 Old Lake St. Soon, thanks to this promotion, I’ll be able to move us down a few blocks, on Manson Ave., that’s where the really nice houses were. Just thinking about my house makes me warmer, despite the wind piercing my neck as I turn down another street. 

“Sammy?” A raspy voice croaks. 

The sound comes from behind me, so does the smell. I vaguely make out an elderly man, probably in his late 70s. He sits on a pile of flattened cardboard. His body is hunched, consumed by a mixture of plastic tarp and disheveled sleepy bags. He doesn't move, he bailey even breathes. He just stares. A bus suddenly drives by, briefly illuminating the man's face, the man's eyes. 

Those eyes…

They send a dark shiver down my spine. Not because they look angry or threatening. It’s because they hold a sense of  recognition.  

Lowlife. I have no pity for these scumbags. Can’t a man walk home from work peacefully? I hate this city. I hate these streets, these dirty streets, filled with dirty people. 

At this point I’ve walked down about a block from the man, occasionally checking my shoulder, just in case he follows me. 

They do that, follow people. Stalk them. It’s just what they do. Scumbags. 

Alright, Just a few more blocks. A few more blocks. Then no more hobos. 

Few more blocks than I’ll be with Sal. Dinner will be nice. I wonder what she’s cooked for me tonight, hopefully something warm. Maybe she made her world famous double fudge brownies for dessert. She knows they're my favorite. Just a few more blocks.  

Finally, I cross the last street. I can see my house right down the road, 424 Old Laker St. I can see the green lamp, glowing through the foggy window. It sits right next to the sofa Sal takes her afternoon naps on. 

Home at last.

A deep exhale leaves my chapped lips and I clog up the porch. Yanking on the rickety door knob I burst the door open. Sal stands holding dinner plates in the kitchen as her eyes shoot up. The plates crash onto the floor and she lets out a horrified scream. A tall, burly man barrels out one of the rooms. First seeing Sal, then the shattered plates, he then shoots his eyes at me. Grabbing a wine bottle from the table he hurls his body towards me. Everything then goes black.  


Has the growing homeless population become a threat to families in Chicago neighborhoods? Last night, a house in West Laker neighborhood was broken into by an unidentified homeless man. This man had been spotted walking through Old Laker Street just a few days prior. The man is currently being investigated by the police, and will likely be convicted of home invasion and stalking. 

November 11, 2022 22:59

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Graham Kinross
08:02 Dec 27, 2022

I read this whole thing in the film noir detective voice. It had that feel, well done.


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Edward Latham
09:21 Nov 18, 2022

I loved the description of his 'relationship' with Sal, you definitely captured what the reader assumes is a couple newly in love! I had a bit of confusion at the start, he was deluding himself/or used to be an accountant is that right? I wasn't sure if we'd suddenly switched character or to his past self so perhaps that could've been clearer. But it was actually pretty cool to realise what had happened at the end and then go back and re-contextualise the story!


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Delbert Griffith
22:56 Nov 17, 2022

I like this story because the ending is unexpected. The writing flows well. On your 3rd-to-last paragraph, you had the home address as 424 Laker Street instead of 422 Laker Street. Anyway...good work.


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