Rating: PG - Gen - Outside POV
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Outside POV - A woman walks home alone late at night.
There was nothing quite like stepping out of a stuffy smoke filled bar and out into a sharp cold winter night.
The sweat that glazed her face immediately cooled, her breath fogging thick as she slowly exhaled and inhaled the clean air. The temperature was refreshing for now but it would start to hurt as soon as she'd walked even half the length it would take to get home. It would figure it would snow on the one night she couldn't afford to call a cab. One look at her watch made her wonder if it was broken. She hadn't meant to stay out this late.
And she wasn't even drunk. Not that she hadn't tried.
The sidewalk was glittering with a thin blanket of the flurries that were falling in large heavy flakes onto the quiet street. There wasn't even a sigh of a wind so they drifted lazily straight down like some special effect at some holiday themed school dance. Enjoying the thought that her tracks would be the first to mar the perfect white she pulled her gloves on and braced herself for her frigid journey. Her scarf reeked like cigarettes but she wrapped it a few times up around her neck and over her nose anyway. Her apartment was about thirty minutes and about as half as many city blocks away. It was one of the reasons she had moved here actually. She liked being able to walk anywhere she needed to go. The wind finally started to pick up a little bit and made her eyes burn and sting.
Well, she liked it most of the time.
She wasn't even sure why she'd gone out in the first place. There was a much cheaper night of white zinfandel sitting at home in her fridge. Vinegar like and not worth the bottle it came in, but it would have done the trick. But that was what you were supposed to do when you lost your job right? You went out and did that whole drown your sorrows thing. Trash talk your former boss. Verbally disembowel the employees you never liked anyway. Convince yourself you were better off not having to walk through those doors ever again. Assure others that you would be back in the game in no time at all. She sighed and shoved her hands as deep as they could go into her jacket pockets.
And try real hard not to think about the rent that was due next month.
Having been distracted by her thoughts, it was almost three blocks later that she finally really noticed she wasn't exactly taking her return trip alone. You couldn't live in the city and be wary of every person you saw walking the sidewalks with you or you'd never leave the house. But there was something that made it easy to notice this one. The empty streets and the hour. The random and unconventional route she took to make her way back to her building.
By the time the person had appeared behind her for the fourth time at the corner of the street she had started to walk faster. In the years she'd lived here since she'd moved away from the Midwest she'd never actually been afraid to walk down the street. Her worried family back home constantly invoked all the city myths about a gun in every back pocket and roving gangs that ruled supreme. They conjured urban evils almost like fairy tales. But, like the fables about spirits and devils, the sinister of the big city was all completely untrue.
You had to be smart of course, avoid certain places at certain hours, but this area was never a place to give her any cause for concern. It was filled with families and lined with trees with potted flowers. There was a charming elementary school just down the way, and beautiful stone church set back behind an ornate wrought iron fence. The land of late night liquor stores and shifty pawn shops was far away on the south side of town.
She looked over her shoulder again.
It was definitely a man that was trailing half a block behind her.
Remembering an old trick that she'd heard long ago at some college party, she crossed the street and started walking in the opposite direction. It was a very good indicator if a stranger was indeed following you or just happened to be taking the same path. Nervously, she saw the person pass by her on the other side of the street in her peripheral vision. Pausing when she reached the next corner she glanced around to see if the man had just gone on his way. There was nothing but snow falling and pools of lamp light dotting the sidewalk behind her. She felt herself smile in dazed relief. A shake of her head at her paranoia and silliness of had having worked herself up over nothing--
But when she looked back up, the man was there. He was walking steadily right in her direction.
He was pretty tall too.
Thinking fast, she quickly took stock of exactly where she was and where the nearest open convenience mart might be. Trying not to stumble as she briskly moved, her hand fumbled into her purse unsure of what to grab and try to find first. Her small can of mace or the cell phone that would do her a whole lot of good if she had maybe had a decent throwing arm. She looked back over her shoulder.
He was a lot closer, obviously picking up his pace to match hers.
There was a shrill cold jolt that ran down her spine as she looked back around. All the residences were dark. Most needed a key or a buzz to get in and who would let in a stranger that buzzed them in the middle of the night anyway?
Instinct kicked in.
Slipping on the slick concrete she rounded the corner. With a stamina she would have never managed without the surge of adrenaline she heard footsteps suddenly pounding behind her. There was a voice, warning and tense. Her heart thudding in her chest she spotted a narrow path between two apartment buildings and ducked into it. She skidded around the large green rusted shape of a dumpster and crouched down low into the shadow it cast down the alleyway. Trying to control her breathing she felt her eyes water in her fear.
She was so stupid.
With the snow all the guy had to do was just follow her path and he'd find her in two seconds--
He didn't just appear. He loomed.
Startled, she fell backwards onto the ground with a small cry. He wasn't just tall he was gigantic. At least more than a foot over her own head had she been standing up. With a shaking hand she defiantly held up her mace canister, hoping against hope that the man wouldn't notice she had forgotten to take the safety off.
To her numb surprise he immediately put his hands up.
"Are-are you okay?"
It was maybe the least likely question she had expected to come out of the guy's mouth. Taken aback, she suddenly wondered if she hadn't made some sort of colossal misjudgment. But self preservation prevailed. She could wax and wane on this fucker's true intentions from the safety of her nice locked apartment that she might never leave again.
She flipped the safety off.
"Go away." She heard herself say with an amazing amount of calm in her voice.
Hands still raised, he slowly crouched down to her level. He did it carefully, like she was some kind of animal that he didn't want to bolt. Well, he was almost at her level. Even kneeling he was still looking down at her. That was when he got close enough for her to really see his face in the shadows.
And he appeared to be about as upset as she was.
It was one of the strangest things she'd ever experienced. For some reason, the distressed expression he wore seemed to make his menace dwindle and almost vanish. Despite his size and stature, his countenance seemed to negate everything else about the sight of him that seeped danger and appeared threatening.
Frankly she didn't care what the hell he looked like as long as he'd just go away and let her get out of this alley alive. The tone of his voice matched the soft downward slant of his eyes.
"I thought you were running from the-- something was following-- look I'm not going to hurt you okay?"
The hand that was still holding up the mace started to shake uncontrollably. With a small nod, he stood back up again as slowly as he could physically manage and then began to back away.
"Just go straight home." He told her pointedly.
She quickly imagined leading this man right to the very place she lived and felt the flare of fear run horribly through her again. He waited until he was all the way back out on the sidewalk before he lowered his hands.
"D-Don't follow me!" Her voice finally cracked. But she didn't care if he could pick up the panic in her voice. If he came closer again he'd be picking up a whole lot of mace in his eyes and a knee to the crotch too.
"I-I won't, I promise, please just go straight home." He repeated as he glanced around. "It's not a good night to be out late."
And just like that, he was gone.
Chest heaving, she blinked up into the empty lit place he had been standing and finally felt her sobs begin roiling out of her unchecked. Quickly pulling her purse to her and getting up unsteadily to her feet, she cautiously emerged back out onto the empty street.
Wasting no time, she turned the direction that had no tracks in the thickening snow and took off down towards an intersection that she could see the passing headlights of sparse traffic. Every fearful look she cast back over her shoulder revealed nothing but the fall of snow. It wasn't until she hit the sight of other human beings and stumbled through the doors of a 24 hour coffee shop that she finally stopped trying to put distance between herself and that alley. Breathless, she dialed the three magical digits on her cell phone.
They asked if she had been robbed. Then if she had been attacked. By the time she had gotten out her story she could tell the emergency phone operator on the other end of the line was almost as confused as she was.
Despite it all, they assured her a patrol car would drive through the area. If she were to be available to the officers for a more complete physical description that would be very helpful--
She clicked her phone shut.
They were never going to find the guy in a big city with lots of better things to go looking for.
Looking out through the dark pane of glass of the shop she saw herself reflected back. Her eyes were too wide. Her jacket smeared with dirty snow from whatever she had fallen in next to that dumpster. The knees of her jeans wet and cold. Her hands trembling as she placed the phone down onto the table. She took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh.
Maybe her family in their small town far away had been right about the big city.
Maybe there were things that went bump in the night.