At a half hour past midnight, the alarm I set on my phone echoed through the vacant library. I resolved it was time to retire for the night. I may need some sleep in order to ace my finals. Besides a few breaks to the ladies’ room and the vending machine, I’d spent the entirety of the day cramming.

Tomorrow, I’d be taking my last three finals before graduation. For four consecutive years, I’d maintained a perfect GPA, and I wasn’t going to give that up now (even if I had the most anal of professors in the country- which I believed to be a very strong possibility).

As I placed my books back in my bag and started walking past the oversized rows of bookshelves, I felt like someone was watching me. I turned around, and saw no one there. Odd.

Just how at least half of the episodes of Law & Order start out…

I couldn’t shake the thought that someone was there with me. A weird gut-feeling told me that someone was, indeed, watching me.

Quickening my pace, I practically ran out of the library doors into the cool, night air. It was moments like this that I wish I’d spent a little more to live on campus.

I was not even close to my apartment, and the off-campus shuttle stopped driving hours ago. Either I could walk three miles on a path adjacent to the main road which was well-lit or I could walk a mile in the dark.

I began my mile walk in the dark.

Paranoid. You’re being paranoid. Come on Psychology major, get it together. 

So quickly, quietly, and alone with my thoughts, I walked. Once I reached the abandoned house, I felt a small ping of relief. I was almost there. Almost. I was three-quarters of the way there.

The sound of shuffling behind me crushed my relief as soon as I’d felt it. I turned to see two very large, brooding figures. All the snacks I’d eaten started making their return up my throat. Quickening my pace to a jog, I turned to see how far away the men were.

They were jogging now too. They were getting closer.

Assessing their size, I knew I wouldn’t stand a chance at fighting.

Three. Two. One.

Run! 

Sprinting as fast as my legs could carry me, I hoped and prayed I would make it.

Unexpectedly, I was pulled back by my hair. My head was the first to make contact with the ground. It slammed against the concrete, and behind my eyes, I swear I saw sparks.

I knew the pain would be horrendous. But I feared, and knew, the worst was yet to come.

One man threw his weight over my legs. Mother fu– did he just break my leg? I cried out in gasps. I tried to push him off me and was met with a gun pointed to my face. The other man shoved his hand over my mouth. Smells of dirt and gasoline filled my nostrils. Would this be the last thing I’d ever smell?

I felt one man reach for the zipper to my jeans and start unzipping my pants. I cringed and whimpered.

Just as this happened, I heard the tearing of cotton. The other man ripped my shirt off, and now, I felt cold. Exposed.

What I had read about in the news and saw on TV was happening to me. Those girls I pitied. I was going to be one of them. I was next.

Moisture started to build behind my eyes.

Thoughts of my parents flashed before my eyes. Their reaction to losing their only child. How devastated they would be. The tears started to freely fall. My cat. Who was going to take care of him? I’d never graduate college. Never fall in love. Never get married. Never get my first job. All my dreams would die here with me tonight. I cried for my family. My pet. All I would leave behind. I cried for all who never experienced the great things in life, which I too, would never get to.

As I closed my eyes and braced myself, I felt a large weight being lifted from me. The hand on my mouth was removed. I heard the sounds of hitting and bodies crashing to the ground.

My pants were still on.

I opened my eyes and turned to see…

the two men were now on their backs. They were unmoving in a pool of red. Unconscious? But how? Who?

Looking around, I saw a tall, lean figure in a hoodie slowly disappear into the distance.

He saved me. 

Part of me wanted to go after him to figure out who he was, ask why he helped me, and to thank him. But my body won the battle–I was too weak to run after him.

Why did he seem so familiar?

And then I remembered seeing a tall figure in a hoodie the other night a few days ago.

Why did he meddle? Was he watching me as I came home from the library every night? Was he the reason I felt someone was always watching me? Why did he leave? Did I already know him? Who is this guy? 

I desperately tried to rationalize what his motives could be. I was missing far too many pieces to the puzzle. One thing replayed in my head—whoever he was, he saved my life.

And inside, I felt oddly more comfortable than I’d ever felt in my entire life.

Someone was watching out for me. But why? That missing piece was a little unsettling.

As I sat up from my position, I heard the distant sound of a police siren. It grew louder and louder.

Rubbing the back of my head, I felt something wet and sticky. Bringing my hand into my field of view, I saw what it was.

Blood.

The last thing I remember before my eyes closed was the flashing of red and blue lights.

Fictional excerpt by yours truly! Hope you enjoyed 🙂

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