I turned to Kati, who never looked back to see why we weren’t right behind her, and called, “Kati! Kati wait!” I called to her and she turned to look at me, annoyance plain on her face even from that distance.
My mind raced for something clever to say, and then I had an idea. “I see something in here that would make every college guy on campus fawn over you. Want to see?” I called, making sure I looked completely innocent and supportive. She stood there for a minute, a little caught off guard that I had used the word “college”.
“Sure.” she finally said and followed us into the store.
The little women in the store were so sweet they took our bags and put them behind the front desk so we were free to look. But just to make sure they didn’t have alternative motives, I counted all the clothes and noted what they looked like.
“Which one is it?” Kati asked as Sue and I came from behind the front desk.
“Darn it. I lost sight of it when we came in the store. Look around for it. It’s a short and sexy blue dress with lace on it.” I said as I nonchalantly headed for my hat. I held my breath as I took it off the rack. It was almost just like Connelly’s. The only difference was that his didn’t have pin stripes on it.
“Hey Kota, I found it. Was this it?” she held up a dress that matched exactly what I said.
“Yeah, that’s the one.” I said. Truthfully, I’d had no idea there was such a dress like that. Man, was I was good or what?
Kati and I both went to the register and bought our two items. Then Sue and I loaded ourselves up again and followed Kati out of the store and down the hall to the one at the end.
Sue and I were tired to death by the time we finally got to the car, which was at the back of the half full parking lot.
“Kati, next time we go somewhere, don’t park in the back. If we’re the ones that are going to be carrying the bags, then we get to pick the parking spot.” I told her as Sue and I stuffed about twenty more bags into the back of the minivan, thankful to give our arms a rest before we hit the next spot. We were heading to the other side of the city, the older part, and stopped on the way for some fast food. A.K.A Hardy’s hamburgers, fries, and chocolate shakes.
We arrived not too long after and parked on the side of the street in front of a steak house, jumped out of the van, and started walking around. We didn’t talk very much, being concentrated on finding a good deal, that when I stopped to look at something, in an antique shop, I lost sight of them. I didn’t totally freak out though because I knew they weren’t far ahead. I remember them turning right so they must have gone down the alley. I thought. Maybe there were more stores down there.
Cautiously, I walked down the alleyway, careful to watch out for any people that looked even remotely scary. Shadows were being cast by the afternoon sun, but even though it wasn’t that late, the gray bricks made it look a lot darker than it really was. There was a big green dumpster just inside and a few trash cans in two lines behind it where the cats grouped. I walked around a corner and saw that it was a dead end. There was a door on the right wall that looked somewhat used, its dark brown wood faded and worn at the edges.
I tried the knob and it was unlocked. I opened the door and it swung inward smoothly. It was really dark inside, the only light coming from lights hanging over what looked vaguely like a stage a little farther ahead. I took slow small steps until I was under the lights, the old wood surprisingly staying firm under my weight.
“Hello?” I said to the shadows. I waited for an answer, but none came. I turned around to leave, but as I did I heard something behind me.
“Hello? Is someone there?” My head snapped towards the noise. It was so dark in there I could barely see three feet into the darkness. I squinted at the dark and saw the shapes of chairs. Hundreds of them; and farther back I could faintly see ancient molding reflecting the stage lights and showing a second level of chairs.
I’m really in a theater. I thought to myself. I must have come through the staff door and not realized. But then, if it’s a closed theater, who would be in here?
The eerie silence, coupled with the darkness and previous ghostly footsteps, made me decide I didn’t want to know who was here or why. I turned to go, but someone was suddenly blocking my way.
I couldn’t really see his face because it was in shadow, but I could see the rest of him. He was tall and lean and his arms were so pale, it looked like he had never stepped foot in the sun. Well either that or he was covered in white Halloween paste. He suddenly reminded me of Phantom of the Oprah, minus the old clothes and cape.
We stayed like that for a minute, me being frozen stiff at his unexpected appearance and him standing there win unknown intentions. I was scared of what he would do to me. I could hear him breathing, and I thought I could hear a faint growl. Then suddenly, he crouched and pounced on me.
I squealed as he collided into me and we fell to the floor. Then he growled at me quietly while he held me pinned to the ground. His skin was so cold on my wrists, it actually stung. I took in a deep breath to scream, but his growling grew louder and he snarled at me, making me lose my voice. I cowered there on the floor underneath him, looking up into his face uncovered by the shadows, and to say the least it wasn’t helping my erratic breathing.
He had a long, sharply angled face. His hair was thick and short against his head, with long bangs brushing against the tops of his high cheekbones, shading dark blood-red, almost maroon eyes underneath.