The Companions (Short Story)

Written by: Hanan Ulusow – Grade 10

The walk home is always the worst.

The days are getting short and even though it’s only six in the evening, the sky is pitch black. I’m starting to regret declining the ride home from my coworker, Gabriel, but something about him gives me the creeps. Like he can see right through me.

Nevertheless, I still have to suck it up and walk the rest of the way home from the bus stop.

My stop is pretty much in the middle of nowhere and I’m usually the only person who gets on or off. I vaguely notice another person get off too but once he started walking in the opposite direction, my mind soon wanders to how I was going to explain my lateness.

My peaceful walk is quickly interrupted by what I could only describe as a dark flash at the corner of my eye. I’m almost unsure if I saw it. But the paranoia soon begins to creep in.

Every few seconds I turn back around, hoping what I saw wasn’t really there. That my mind was playing tricks on me, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m being followed.

And then I hear it. A loud crunch of ice beneath one’s foot. And I start running. I hear whatever is behind me quicken their pursuit, and they are fast. I am not athletic at all and I soon realize my only escape would be to outsmart them.

I see an opening to an alleyway close ahead of me and I know that I will find safety there. Without breaking my speed, I dart to the right and continue running, hoping that whatever is behind me bought into my plan. I’m glad to say that it did.

Now, I’m no monster but if some random stranger decides to follow me home then I’d like to think of that person as inviting me into their metaphorical home. And I’d be more than happy to oblige. This back alley near my house serves as a meeting place for my companions and I, and since I was a little late today, they were quite irritable. But I could sense the change in the mood once they saw the little friend I had brought with me.

My friends are a difficult group to please, but as soon as I feel the familiar weight of metal in my hand, I know that I had made the right decision. It’s too bad that young stranger just had to follow me home, but at least he will give us all some entertainment before the real show begins. After all the inconvenience he had caused me, at least he had the decency not to cry out.

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