Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sophie pedals through the park, just as the sun begins to set. As dusk sinks in and the depressing fog that always seems to cover the town appears, the badly paved path in front of her gets harder to see. Sophie curses herself for trying out her latest health kick, and doesn’t see the large, inconveniently placed rock in her way. Sophie yelps as she becomes airborne for at least 5 seconds before slamming into an overgrown, patch of grass. Standing, as she brushes herself off, she looks up directly into a pair of black eyes.
"Your great good fortune, true, it was your ruin." The voice belonging to the eyes screeches in Sophie’s face. A young boy Sophie hadn’t noticed yanks the arm of the old man, who seems to be blind, back over to a raggedy blue blanket in the distance. Sophie stares at the odd pair as they slink away into the fog. But the crazy old man’s words ring in her ears. As she picks up her bike and starts walking it back home, she hears the faint bells of St. Cecilia’s that haven’t stopped ringing since this afternoon. This town was starting to get even more weird.
Sophie leaves Quik Feet after dropping off the now scratched and dirt covered rental bike. She takes one last look at the eerie park across the street and starts to walk back to The Victorian at a brisk pace- still uneasy about her earlier encounter with the old man. As she passes Howell Park she notices a few orange peels scattered in front of the entrance. They hadn’t been there just 15 minutes ago when Sophie had left. Curious, she starts to wander back into the park. With the exception of one flickering lamp, it is pitch black.
“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea,” she thought to herself and turns around to leave. As she does, the light of the moon hits something to her right, catching her eye. A woman dressed in various hues of red strides past the park entrances and something dangles from her neck. Sophie, an expert in jewelry of all kinds, squints for a closer look. A tooth. Sophie’s eyes widen at the gruesome object. She shakes her head and exits the park. The woman stops all of a sudden. She turns and looks back at Sophie.
“ ‘Scuse me,” she calls. “Which way to The Victorian?” Sophie looks at the woman, suddenly very nervous.
“Uh, I’m not quite sure,” she stammers and quickens her pace home.
Back on the third floor, Sophie’s heart rate finally slows down. She bends down to unlock her door when a gust of cold December air blows in through an open window. The sweet, sticky smell of oranges wafts in front of Sophie and she freezes. Turning to look down the hall, she sees Hal South closing his door in 309. Sophie quickly gets in her apartment, closes the door and locks it. Twice.