The Thing That Waited By Cindy Tomamichel

September 21, 2015 Comments Off on The Thing That Waited By Cindy Tomamichel

A train pulls in at the station, the last on the line. It’s a dark night, raining, the kind of night that fills all the corners with dread. A night for dark deeds, for the dead to rise, for the headless horseman to ride. She frowns, keeps walking, tries to control her thoughts as the lights at the supermarket across the road turn off one by one, the last of the customers trundling out into the darkness with their late-night sugar fixes or bottles of Bundy to keep away the night terrors. She can see her car in the distance, wraps her coat tight around her, and curses that she parked so far away, again, and again from behind comes the dragging sound. She’s never dared to look around. Each night it comes closer, and tonight it’s so close. She walks faster. From her bag, she pulls out the thin cane that she broke off from the bamboo stand near work. The short stick reassures her that tonight she can fight.

Whatever it is.

Closer.

The streetlight flickers, goes out, and the dragging slows. Stops. Near her. Panting now. Right behind her. So close the hair on the back of her neck pricks at her skin.

She knows she must turn around or die. She can’t spend one more night waiting for the dragging thing to get her, so she turns.

A dog.

Its coat glows, its white outline quite clear the darkness. It limps, drags itself over to the lamppost, and struggles on three legs to relieve itself.

When finished, it looks up at her, its tongue hanging out, ghostly steam rising from its mouth, and so she walks over, hesitant, not sure if she should attempt to pat its head. She’s not afraid. She doesn’t feel anything . . . except a chill in her bones. The dog wags its stumpy tail and nudges the cane in her hand.

She throws the stick, and it, mangled leg now whole again, runs off into the darkness, faster and faster until it disappears down the road where there is an echo of car brakes squealing, then silence.

© 2015 Cindy Tomamichel

Cindy Tomamichel has worked around Australia as a mine geologist and an environmental scientist. She has had several short stories and poems published and also wrote a cooking column for a newspaper. Wins include a fractured fairy tale competition for Adelaide Chapter and Verse, soon to be published in a collection and a stage presentation with Madwomen Monologues. She has three finished action packed novels looking for a publisher, as well as a collection of short relaxation monologues. She writes the garden blog The Potting Bench at http://www.apswilsonparkberwick.org.au.

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