Chapter 1 — Full Moon
I love the night. I always have. And that night, the moon was so full and the sky so clear of clouds I could practically read with the light. It was exhilarating.
“Donnie dear, it’s getting late. Are you sure you’ll still be heading home tonight?”
I smile down at Chloe, my girlfriend of a few months. I was sitting in her room on the bed she shared with her sister, my back resting against the wall while she lay with her head in my laps. It was late, but the brightness of the moon had an almost day-like effect. In fact, down in the estate’s compound, I could still hear persons conversing and joking loudly. And it wasn’t even weekend.
“No, really,” Chloe emphasizes. “It’s 15 to midnight. Can you get a cab by this time? Hold on… you aren’t planning to walk home again, are you?”
“Relax, girl,” I reply, still smiling. “I’ll be fine. You know I’m always fine.”
“But the roads will be terribly lonely, and there have been so many robberies lately. If anything happens to you...”
“She’s right,” her sister’s voice rings out in support from the kitchen, where she’s still working despite the late hour. “Go home... it’s not like we’re going anywhere. That road is too deserted to be walking at this time, not to mention in another 30 minutes.”
I sigh in resignation and make a fake scowl. “Well, since you both want me to go.”
Chloe sits up and runs her hand through my hair. “Come on, Don,” she says. “You know I’d like you to stay, except you never want to, especially when Jan’s around. And I care about you too much to hear stories in the morning.” She plants a light kiss on my lips and bounces off the bed.
She’s right. They’re both right, and I know it. But the loneliness of the road doesn’t worry me. On the contrary, I crave it. I want the road to be lonely, deserted. I want to walk by myself in the soft brightness of the moon and enjoy the night. I want it so much my heart races in anticipation. If I stayed alone at my apartment and didn’t have a brother, I knew I could spend hours out on the street at night, just basking in the moonlight and enjoying the serenity of it all.
I bid Chloe and Janice goodnight, promise to call once I get home, and set off on my way. The air is dry and the wind is cool, and I walk in my usual measured steps. The road is quite dark. There are no streetlights and only little light from houses along the street reach it. I’m ecstatic. Sometimes, I just stop and stare up at the moon, glowing white in its milky orb, concealing almost all the stars with its light. I’ve done a lot of nightly walks, but never as late as this. Tonight is different —I can feel it! I couldn’t possibly explain what, but there is something in the air. I chuck it up to the approaching holidays. Nothing could possibly spoil my mood, not on a beautiful night such as this.
Suddenly, I remember the name given to me in my teenage years. ‘The Nightprowler’. I chuckle in quiet amusement. It’s been so long since I last heard it.
Soon, I reach the area that I know has Chloe so worried — a long, curvy strip of road bordered by thick woods and without a house in sight. Almost every robbery on this route had occurred here. Even under the full moon, it’s quite dark. The branches of the trees, the bushes and vines sway slightly in the wind, forming sinister, indistinct figures. Usually, I like this part of the walk most. I’ve never been worried about robbers. For some reason, such things never happen to me, and even when I encounter danger, I walk through unharmed and unbothered. I am always fine, and I know it. Chloe knows too, and that’s why she lets me stay so late in the first place.
But tonight is different. I am not afraid, but here, I can sense it stronger than ever. Something is coming. I walk briskly, the hairs at the back of my head rising up and my breath quickening. A single, shrill beep pierces the air –my watch, announcing the arrival of midnight. I glance into the trees but my eyes won’t adjust and I can’t make out anything. An animal or a person could jump out at me and I wouldn’t even see them coming.
“What about a spirit, hon?” A voice croons softly.
I jump and lose my footing, stumbling forward a few steps. I glance around quickly, my breath suddenly rapid and shallow. The voice had been so close; she could have been standing beside me. But when I look, there is no one there. The road is as empty as ever.
click here for Chapter 2—Midnight
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