She cursed, stepping out into the cold night. Not only had she had to stay behind an extra hour, missing her last bus, but now the weather had took a turn for the worst. The icy air bit at her skin, trying to steal as much warmth as possible. She tugged her coat tighter.
The walk home wasn't that bad of a walk. It would take her around twenty minutes if she was fast. The dark didn't bother her as much as it should have done, and she had her key ready in her hand to ward off any strange men.
At least Toby would be asleep now, so she didn't need to worry. He wouldn't even know she was late home. He was a good boy, a sweet boy.
She was surprised no one was out and about. Normally, drunks littered the streets around this time after being thrown out of the bars and pubs. It bothered her a little bit, being the only one around.
She jumped as a car sped past her. It was gone as soon as it had come and she laughed to herself. She was being paranoid. Stupid. She'd done this walk plenty of times, and she had her key ready.
She knew how to handle men. That was her job after all. It was all about how she moved her body, keeping there eyes on her. The longer they paid attention, the more money she got.
A street light flickered. She raised her eyes and watched as it slowly gave up and went out.
She stopped at the corner. She could carry on down and keep to the streets, which added an extra ten minutes to the journey, or she could take the side alley. It wasn't that long, but it was dark. She knew at this time, it would be foolish to walk it alone. Especially being a young woman.
But it was cold, and she couldn't wait to just climb into bed. She took one long look down the street, then disappeared into the dark.
She picked up her pace, and hurried along determined to be out and on the other side as quickly as possible. Her head was down, blocking the wind from her face. Maybe if she'd have kept her head up she would have noticed the figure leaning against the wall watching her.
He stepped out as she got closer and she walked straight into him. He caught her as she nearly fell backwards and stood her straight. She gasped, surprised. Then she gripped her key harder.
"Sorry." She mumbled. "I didn't see you."
She turned to walk past him, but he placed his arm up against the wall blocking the way. She moved to the other side, but he followed her movement. He smiled.
"That's all right. It is dark after all." He said to her, smirking. She took a step back, trying to keep the fear off her face.
"I'd like to get past please." She said, standing straight. Her palms were sweating, but she held her key tight. If she stabbed him in just the right place, she might have enough time to make a run for it.
"I'm afraid I can't let you do that." He said, lazily. She turned to go back, but he moved to block her faster than was humanly possible. She widened her eyes in shock.
"You can't escape me." He said, with a hint of amusement.
"Please." She whimpered, "I just want to go home. I've got no money on me."
He laughed. "It's not your money that I want."
She went cold, as she realised what he meant. But she wouldn't let that happen. She lunged at him, holding her key between her fingers. Her fist went straight for his neck, the key inches from entering his skin.
He didn't move till the last second, where he grabbed her wrist. Holding it steady inches from his neck, he reached up with the other hand and easily prised the key away as if she was a child.
"Now," He said, the smile gone. "Here's what's going to happen. You're not going to scream or cry, and your going to stand there looking pretty while I drink every last drop of your blood. Then I'm going to burn your body and then completely forget about you."
She couldn't help tears escape her eyes. Her heart was thumping heavily against her chest. She had stepped into a horror film. Her blood? What the hell!?
"Shush." He said softly, lifting a finger to wipe away her tears. She flinched at his touch. "I'm not going to take it for free. I'll give you something in return."
He let her go, and she stumbled back. If she made a run for it, she might be able to get away. But the way he moved. She'd never be able to outrun him.
"In return for your death, I'll give you one last wish." He said, cocking his head.
She stood straight, giving in to the inevitable. This ... monster, was going to kill her. She was going to die. Tonight. Toby flashed before her eyes, and she groaned. She'd failed him.
"What's it to be then?" He asked.
"To see my son one last time." She whispered, closing her eyes. Toby was all she had - all she had ever had. The thought of never seeing him again was enough to break her heart there and then. He would be so scared when she didn't turn up in the morning. What would he do without her?
She looked up at the man before her and saw that he was frowning.
"I didn't know you had a child." He said, biting his lip.
"I do. And he has no one else. He's only seven and he'll be so scared when I don't turn up." She said desperately. She pleaded with him. Maybe he would let her go now that he knew.
"He'll survive." He said, after a minute. Then he placed his palm on her forehead.
She gasped as memories flooded her sight. Toby being born. Holding him for the first time. Him saying mummy. Taking his first step. His first birthday. Crying because he'd lost his favourite dinosaur. Stroking her hair, when she had come home crying after splitting up with her ex. Laughing so hard, that he got the hiccups. Falling over, and getting straight back up again shrugging. Saying goodbye as she went to work this evening. Telling her he loved her.
She didn't even feel the prick in her neck. She was too lost in Toby's face. Her blood slowly left her, along with her life. But she didn't care. She didn't even realise. Her last thoughts were of her son.