The Bitterest Wind
Before she heard anything Linda felt his hand around her neck and by then it seemed too late.
“Throw it on the ground now!” The hand's voice screamed.
Linda fumbled with her bag until he ripped it off her shoulder.
“That hurt,” Linda yelled at the darkly bearded man as he turned his glaring eyes toward her. The fear rose up from her stomach into her throat and Linda knew she needed to run. With one kick she was free and running into the first building she saw. As she dashed through the doorway the pounding steps behind her seemed to fade away into the concert walls.
Without realizing how Linda had miss-stepped and suddenly she couldn’t see which way she’d come from a moment before. In panic filled gasps Linda darted to the right, trying to find any way out of the dark and moldy smelling building. Linda’s high heels slipped on a dingy tile and as her hand shot out to find support it slid down a sticky doorknob. Linda screamed with terror when she smelled the sticky stuff on her hand; it was blood, vaguely aged and metallic scented.
In a feeling of dread and deep panic Linda prayed for someone to answer as she dialed 911, finely seeing one tiny illuminated bar on her phone’s face.
“Miss, calm down. What’s wrong? What is your name?” The cracked and distorted man’s voice asked, so calming she could finely take a breath.
“Linda. Someone tried to mug me and, and I ran in here.” She replied.
“Linda, where is here?” the man asked.
“Oh shit!” Linda yelled to the darkness. She could hear a scratching on the walls behind the door.
“Linda, what is wrong?” the man asked with a little too much concern in his voice for Linda’s comfort.
“There’s something, someone behind the door. Oh god.” as Linda spoke she could hear the scratching moving towards her.
“Where are you?” the man asked.
“2487 6th street. But I don’t know the cross street. Oh please.” Linda ran down another reeking hall and into deeper darkness as the bloodied and foul hand of something emerged from the door.
“Linda, they’re on their way. Are you hurt?” the cracked and fading voice on Linda’s cell asked.
“No, it, he is following me. Shit! I can’t see.” Linda said as she tripped over an old and decaying box.
“Okay, I want you listen and do everything I say, alright?” the man asked.
“Yes, but it’s so dark in here I can barely see my phone,” Linda said.
“When you hit the hallways turn left and run, faster than you think you can,” The man’s crackled voice said urgently.
The hallway widened and Linda shot over to the left. She was panting and crying as she herd the footsteps of her pursuer gaining ground.
“Run, Linda you need to run!” the man’s voice crackled and then was so sharply gone Linda almost looked at her phone to see if it had died. But the footsteps were growing too loud so she ran faster then she had even on tack all those years ago.
Without even seeing any light ahead Linda was suddenly blinded by a white orb and engulfed in the arms of someone massive and tall. She blacked out and couldn’t be raised until a nurse’s soft voice called out “wake up dear.” Standing over Linda’s bed was a friendly looking nurse and a tall man Linda didn’t recognize.
“It’s okay, you’re gonna be fine,” The voice belonging to the massive arms said.
“What?” Linda whispered.
“Well there you go. I told you she’d be fine,” The nurse said to the tall man.
“I’ll let Jim fill you in dear. I’ve got to go deal with other people too.” The nurse smiled and walked away.
The tall man walked over to Linda’s bedside. “You’re lucky to be unharmed. There’s an officer out there but I wanted to make sure you were OK.”
Later on as the morning sun dragged itself over the buildings and the officer had taken her statement Jim told her what had happened. The massive and tall man as it turned out was a medic and he told Linda 911 hadn’t received a call from her phone but from an elderly man who said her life was in danger and that she needed medical help. As Linda would find out, the biggest problem with it all was something Jim told her years later, after they’d been married for more than two decades. “What’s weird is that I was about to go off duty, had the call come in when you were really in the building I would have been gone.”