After Dark

Bryan L. Lee

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2009 Bryan L. Lee

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Nighttime is never a good time to jog in Quincy Park. It’s dark and the paths are unlit. The main trail curves in towards the center of the park, far from the road. If a jogger twisted an ankle out there, it could be morning before help arrived. And there are other dangers.

Maybe it was the full moon or the recent warm spell that made her want to get out of her apartment and enjoy a little fresh air and exercise. Maybe she just wanted some time to herself. Whatever her reason, it was a bad decision. I smelled her perfume before I saw her come around the bend in the trail. She was a graceful runner, slim and attractive. I watched her from a distance as she made a right turn down the trail by the creek, her ponytail bobbing behind her. She didn’t see me. People rarely do.

But they saw her. Three of them, half-drunk and unafraid. They called out something to her from the gloom by the side of the trail. She ignored it, but I could hear her pace quicken. Fear. A faint whiff was all, but I knew what it was. They would sense it too, and it was the only excuse they needed.

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