The Wrong Way Home

It had been a long, long shift;

And the way that creep in Booth 4 kept smiling

and staring at her all night,

gave her knots in her stomach.

He looked so unkempt and pale–

although he was good enough to leave her a $50.00 tip,

which made her uneasy.

Tips like that usually mean one of two things;

Either he wanted her number..

or he wanted something else….

So, she had slipped out of the back when she could

and left his ear to ear, cheshire smile

and that incessant glimpse of yellowed teeth

she’d had to force herself to smile back to all night

far behind her.

She had started home after switching into her trainers

because the “standard issue” waitress shoes, (Size 6)

had made her feet feel like anvils about three hours ago.

It was a cold night. Colder than she expected.

And windy too–

She clung to her jacket; worn and with holes she’d meant to patch

but hadn’t had built up the tip money yet to afford to do;

and drew it around her, like a lover–although that would have been nicer.

She shook off the thought,

and advanced down Harvey street towards home,

and the warmth of the radiator and a good bowl of soup.

The mist of the evening had also started to rise;

thicker than usual, and almost with purpose.

It also wrapped around her like a lover,

and made her cold to the touch–

It followed along with her steps

and she found she could not see where she was going.

She made a left, no; maybe a right–

then another turn

and another—

but she soon found she had lost her way somehow;

and was wandering in a direction she did not know,

this mist clinging to her like a new friend in the park.

“Madam, are you lost?”, a voice suddenly said from in front of her.

She could not see anyone, just hear the voice and she said,

“N-no–not r-really…I’m just a little turned around”

“I see…this isn’t your usual route then I take it”, said the voice;

and she shook her head. She didn’t want help she wanted home.

“Let me help you, but first, you look cold…

let me warm you up–“, the voice said again.

She recoiled slightly, and drew back.

It was then she saw the two yellow lights.

Two small, round, yellow lights just floating in the mist,

at her eye level and just in front of her.

“Take my hand”, aid the voice, and I’ll see you home.’

She trembled; she didn’t want to, but, outside her control it seemed,

she reached out her hand. And another hand met it.

Only…this hand was made of mist…cold and damp;

murky and opaque…

She tried to pull back, to pull away but the grip got tighter on her;

and then she heard the voice again…

“I didn’t get your number…” it said,

and a smile appeared in the mist, like a cavern of yellow,

and the shrouded hand pulled her forward into

a swirling maelstom of soaking fog….

It swirled and twisted and wrapped around her.

like tentacles of leaden gray surrounding two yellow eyes.

until the street was empty….

except for a pair of :sensible” shoes; Size 6.

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