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Sandra was waiting for her regular bus at the bus stop. There had been a major crash on one of the main streets of the city earlier, which was still being cleaned up. Sandra had seen this on the news before she left work. Six vehicles were involved in the pileup. No survivors in any of the vehicles, and some injuries and fatalities among pedestrians who were near the road at the time of the crash. Traffic was backed up all over the city.
“Ugh, I can’t believe my bus is going to be late,” Sandra muttered to herself.
Sandra didn’t live to far from her home, maybe fifteen minutes at a brisk walking speed, but the path home took her by neighborhoods that she wouldn’t want to be within a block of in the middle of the day. Being the beginning of the winter season, the days were getting shorter, and by the time that Sandra gets out of work, the sun was already on its way down, leaving Sandra even less inclined to walk home.
She doesn’t have to worry about the neighborhood she’s in while she’s on the bus. It felt almost like a shell to her, a place to hide away from the dangers of the city as she traveled to her home that she imagined to herself as a bunker that only she had the key to. A safe, suburban neighborhood far away from the crime and violence of the city. No place felt safer to her. The road on which she waited was usually bustling with cars and feet, but the cars were bottlenecked and the feet had long left as Sandra waited much longer than usual for her ride. She looked down the road that the bus had come from every day since she got her city job, but no vehicle was in sight.
Instead, something else approached from the street corner. A man, hooded, hands clenched into fists staggered ominously toward her. Sandra could have sworn she saw a shadow surrounding this man, an aura of darkness that signaled to Sandra that this man was dangerous. She clutched her purse tightly, a weak swing of which would be her only defense if the situation became violent. The man’s pace quickened slightly as Sandra prayed in fear for her bus to turn the corner and rescue her. Suddenly, she heard a man’s voice behind her.
“That man is dangerous. You need to move, now.”
Sandra spun around as quickly as she could to see the source of these words. The man was a bit lanky and dressed for a low-importance office job, and the look on his face told Sandra that he was adamant about what he said. She took off with the tall man in the opposite direction of the hooded man without giving it another thought.
“Thank you,” she said between quick breaths after a brief sprint down the street. “Who was that man?”
The man kept a stoic look on his face.
“I’ve seen him before. Always after some kind of tragedy. And I’ve seen what he can do. He’s a ghost, an angry soul, upset over his sudden loss of life and in search of a new one. If he manages to catch you… well, trust me, you don’t want that to happen.”
Fear built quickly in Sandra’s mind. She had always believed in the ghosts, even though she understood how ridiculous the idea was. She had even gone so far as to attempt remedies she found online for preventing ghosts from entering her house.
“I need to get home.”
“That’s probably the best idea,” the man agreed. “The spirit will follow you, as it has already seen and targeted you, but create enough distance, and it will focus its attention elsewhere.”
Sandra trusted this man. He had essentially saved her life already, and she hoped that he would be willing to go just a little further.
“Would you… be able to walk me home? I’m a bit shaken up, and the way home isn’t the safest…”
“If it would comfort you. My name is Samuel, by the way. You can call me Sam.”
“Sandra,” she responded, offering her hand for a handshake, “but you can call me Sandy.”
Sam shook her hand. His grip was a bit tight and his hands were clammy. Sandra assumed he must have been frightened by the spirit as well, and couldn’t blame him. You don’t just get used to seeing ghosts.
“Sandy,” Sam said to himself. “I like that.”
The two walked most of the way toward Sandra’s home in silence. Sandra couldn’t bring herself to start a normal conversation after what she had experienced, and thought that Sam must have felt the same way. The little conversation they did have was mostly of what Sam knew about ghosts and spirits, which he was reluctant to speak of, and checking the area to make sure they were safe.
They made it to Sandra’s neighborhood without further incident. The worse neighborhoods were less active than usual, nothing more from them than a few cat calls, and the dark spirit that had nearly stolen Sandra’s life was far behind. As Sandra’s home came into her view, she felt relief wash over her body.
“I can’t thank you enough,” she told Sam. “Without you, I… I don’t know what I would have done.”
Sam said nothing. For the first time, the stern expression on Sam’s face began to break, as if he were hiding a small smile behind it.
“This is it,” Sandra said, stopping in front of her house.
She walked up her walkway to her door without Sam, who stopped about halfway to the door. She looked forward to sitting in the small living room in the safety of her home, relaxing away all of the stress from the day. As she reached her front door, she turned to look at Sam, whose eyes were scanning the façade of the single story house.
“Thank you again… but could I ask you just one more thing?”
Sam nodded as his face continued to shift between two different emotions.
“You were so quick to find me when I was in trouble. Do you have some sort of sense that tells you where those angry spirits are?”
A deep laughter emanated from Sam’s mouth as his expression finally broke. Sandra was taken aback by this, and felt a little insulted.
“What was that for?”
“I’m sorry,” Sam gasped through laughter, “I just, I can’t believe you actually believe in ghosts!”
“I-I-I don’t understand…”
Sandra’s mind reeled to figure out what was going on. Sam had her convinced that ghosts truly existed, and now it seemed it was all just some sick joke of his.
“Then who was that man?”
“Hell if I know, probably just some bum on the street.”
Sam continued to chuckle loudly. Sandra was furious.
“So what then? You walked me all this way just to rub it in my face?” she asked with disgust at Sam’s behavior.
“Oh no, not at all!”
“I just wanted to know where you live.”
Sandra froze, and as she stared into the now cold eyes of the face laughing back at her, her home suddenly felt much less safe than it had before.
Written by Provider92