“I’m lost—and I’m being followed,” Catherine mumbled. “Wonderful.”
The throbbing of her heart could not drown out the crunch of footsteps approaching from behind on the snow-covered sidewalk. She fought to get her breathing and heartbeat under control as branches swung above her like bony fingers in the wind. It was getting dark, and she had nothing to defend herself with, not even a set of keys to jab into a stalker’s eyes.
The unbroken solitude she’d once enjoyed on this impulsive stroll far from campus had turned into an adversary in this deserted section of town. Catherine pushed away dark hair buffeting past her face and anxiously glanced at the homes crowding both sides of the street. Tall, stilted-looking things with sagging rooftops. They seemed to huddle together for shelter from the early winter wind, but the thought of approaching those bleak houses was even more chilling than the sharp air biting into her skin.
The crunching steps accelerated; she quickened her step in response, only to slip on a patch of ice, ending sprawled in a hedge. She struggled against spindly branches hooked into her wool sweater. The crunching stopped beside her. A hand in a brown mitten grabbed her wrist.
Fear, then relief. It was only Harold, in his Gingerbread Man costume. He stepped aside, retaining his grip on her wrist, and revealing that there was someone behind him. Harold said, "Do you know the Muffin Man?"
"The Muffin Man?" Catherine asked. Then she noticed that their costumes were drenched in blood.
Opening: Lori Lapekes.....Continuation: Jox/Gareth Bendall