The Wind of the Night

The half crescent moon hung in the dark sky like a fishhook in deep water. Its luster was radiant and every cloud in the sky seemed to avoid its lure. The dark clouds' dim grimace paled in comparison with the moon's sharpness. The wind was blowing from the east, being funneled in by the tall buildings of the nearby city. Dim noises from the urban city tainted the air, but it wasn't enough to overcome one's thoughts.

Just outside the city limits, and across the bay, stood a grand stadium. The gentle wind climbed over its tall walls, blew down between the silvery bleachers and brushed against the chalk painted grass. A young woman layed there. Her mourning eyes gazed intently into the dim sky. Blood steadily puddled at the base of her nose, and in small beads, streamed down her thin cheeks. Carefully, she pinched her nose, it didn't feel broken. Some blood spread across her fingers.

Her eyes rolled, "This is so gross!" She wiped her fingers on the grass and sat up on her side. Her red eyes locked onto the crimson blots on her hoodie. Gently, she sniffled and struggled to take the hoodie off. Everything was harder with one hand, but she managed. With the hoodie, she wiped the tears and blood from her cheeks and gently patted her nose. Some of the blood began to crust, so she rubbed a little harder.

Jumping to her feet, she looked over at the track that ovaled the field. There was a lone hurdle knocked over—stupid thing.

She stomped over with every intention of kicking the hurdle but loomed over it instead.

"Laura you can do this," She whispered to herself.

Those words kindled a familiar spirit. They were once voiced by her coach, her role model—they belonged to her father. Her Dad with his large Father-like glasses and extra-large sports coat would always cheer her on from the stands.

He would yell, "Run like you stole it!" and when they were alone, coach the secrets only a true seasoned runner would be gifted in knowing. Next to her father was always her mother. Her bright blonde hair would wave in the air like some patriotic flag. She was more docile but just as proud.

The time spent on the track was priceless and would always hold a special place in her heart. But beyond winning, her fondest memories were always her parents. Rain or shine, they would never miss an event.

"I miss you guys so much. I could really use your help right now," Laura whispered.

She held back the tears and with a deep breath, picked up the hurdle and placed it into position. Laura walked slowly back to the starting line.

She looked at the stump that used to be her left arm. The accident took more than she ever imagined losing. Laura kicked away the starting blocks, without her hand for balance, they were useless. Laura bent down and palmed the rubbery material. A ritual she learned from her father for luck.

Laura stood up. Gently, she raised her heels, tightening her calves and then releasing. The edge of her lips creased almost into a smile. She lined herself up with the white lane markers.

Her legs arched. Determination filled her brow and her grief-stricken eyes locked on to the hurdle board. This time I'll make it, this time I—

"May I suggest jumping over the hurdle this time," a silvery voice rang out.

Laura's heart almost burst through her chest, punching the wind from her lungs.

She placed her hand over her chest, "You scared the living daylights out of me!"

The young man chuckled, "My deepest apologies. I'm a bit light on my feet. I can see you are too."

"Well, I used to be. I'm a little out of practice." This was an odd situation. It was late, too late for anyone else to be at the stadium, let alone the track. The man didn't seem like a janitor or a security guard. He was dressed more like a lawyer with his tweed suite and a dark tie. His jet-black hair glossed in the moonlight, combed perfectly to the side. The man couldn't have been older than thirty.

He stepped forward, "The way you walk, stand at the line. You are no doubt a runner."

"Just from that, you can tell I'm a runner, huh?" Laura questioned

She looked at what he was holding. It was her bloodied hoodie. The hair on the back of her neck stood tall.

Noticing her glare, "You are after all on a track. Anyways, my name is Lukas and I used to be quite an avid runner myself. What is your name?

She stepped back. "My name is Laura," she hesitated. "What are you doing out here so late?"

"Just taking a stroll around the neighborhood. I'm a night person" Lukas responded. "I spelt something delicious and had to venture towards it and now I'm here."

He gestured with the hoodie, "Looks like you took quite a spill."

Laura forced a smile, "It was a nosebleed. It stopped. I'm good. It's getting pretty late; I think I'm going to head home." She stepped away from the man.

"It's already too late," the man snickered.

What did he just say?

There was something sinister about his sharp toothy smile. A deep chill went down her spine. Claws of fear latched on to the back of her neck. Her legs grew unimaginably heavy.

The ghostly young man crept forward. She could see them clearly now. His fangs shimmered in the moonlight like brilliant twin bullets. His predatory scowl blackened his eyes by the pins of his furrowed brow.

Fear cracked her voice. "Wha—what are you?"

Lukas looked down at her hoodie. His nostrils flexed as he inhaled. Lukas grinned with great elation.

"A nosebleed can be quite a messy thing. Are you sure it's not broken?" He stepped forward.

Laura quickly stepped back. She looked over at the nearby bench where her phone and metal water bottle stood.

The horrid man looked at her intently, "You'll never make it in time."

He stepped forward once more. The cemented fear that clutched Laura, now propelled her as she bolted for the phone. Her stride opened but her legs quickly fatigued. She hadn't sprinted like this since before the accident. Laura pushed harder, swinging her arm violently. Every step she took was encouraged by the footsteps that echoed her own. There was no time to slow down. She slid into the bench smashing her shin, knocking her phone off somewhere in the grass. Laura winced in pain as she grabbed her fallen metal bottle. Without hesitation she turned and swung it with all her might. Laura met her mark and smashed Lukas across the face. The sound of metal hitting flesh was met with a hearty growl.
He fell hard, seemingly not ready for the opposition. Laura started fiercely kicking him. Lukas tried to catch Laura's foot but her burrage of kicks held him at bay. Adrenaline shot through her veins giving her more stamina to keep going. Lukas's head bounced like a drum off the ground. His plush hair was no more. With one more strike for good measure, Laura turned and with her bruised shin, limped over to find her lost phone. She dropped the dented bottle and panned the dark patches of grass. Tears rained down her face as panic absorbed her.

Laura quickly found her phone. The screen lit her face with hope as she hurriedly dialed. It rang only for a moment until her hand was seized. Laura's head was forced to the side and pain shot from her neck. She tried to scream but only gasped as the air escaped her. Shock swiftly overtook her. Warm blood seeped from Lukas's bruised lips and streamed down her chest, soaking into her collared shirt. Laura's name echoed as a familiar voice answered her call. The phone slipped through her motionless fingers. The cellphone's glow blurred into darkness while the wind carried her name away.