Darkness, in the big city, was a relative term. One would be hard pressed to find true darkness anywhere outdoors; even escaping the streetlights and the light seeping from houses, and escaping the cars and bright signs in front of stores, the glow of the city would follows anywhere. Enough time spent in the 'dark', and suddenly one might be able to see almost as well as in the day.

Nonetheless, the false sort of darkness of night brought fear to many residents of the city. Crime gravitates to darkness of any sort like spilled condiments to a new shirt, and brings fear scampering along behind it.


An elderly woman was crossing a street vacant of any moving vehicles in the darkness, having dallied too long at bridge club to make the trip home during daylight. As soon as she'd noticed the night impending, she'd put her trip home off longer (which, of course, only made the situation worse), and when her hosts had hinted, very forcefully, that it was time to go, she found herself walking in the purest of darkness.

Or so it seemed to her. Fear does things to one's judgment.

She was almost home, though, and was convinced that the media and her tittering friends had been making a bigger fuss of the crime rate in the city than was warranted, until she noticed a large figure bearing down on her in the dim light.

It was a man - that was somehow obvious even though her eyes hadn't adjusted to the lack of proper lighting just yet - and he was moving quite fast, though he was still far off. As he passed under successive streetlights, she was able to make out other features; he wore an outfit that reminded her of old black and white Private Eye movies, and appeared to have a tattoo on his cheek.

She let out a frightened noise as he drew near and clutched her purse to her body, convinced he was going to snatch it from her. However, upon reaching her, he completely ignored her and ran past. Her breath finally escaped, and she prepared to finish her walk home, scolding herself for being so silly. The man was clearly just late or something.

But another man came running down the street just then. She had begun to wonder whether some sort of midnight marathon was taking place when she got a good look at the second man's features; he was dressed in an outfit straight from an old detective movie, and very definitely had a tattoo on his face.

In fact, as the second man passed her by, it became quite obvious that he was a carbon copy of the first.

The poor old woman's aged mouth made a series of strange motions that vaguely resembled those of someone speaking, but no air seemed to be coming in or out, because she promptly fainted with nary a sound leaving her.

The End

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