11 Feb


BY UrubaNazRafeeqi

The all-too-old drenched coat hung loosely around my body. My breath came in short white puffs as I took long and fast steps down London’s usually busy crowded streets which were always filled with light,life and bright smiles of children.But even they knewthat the harsh and sharp winds of the cold London winter now blew with the creeping shadow of Jack Turner.

A ruthless, cruel, and pathetic excuse of the man whose Cheshire Cat grin haunted the dreams of the children of London.

I quickened my pace, my dark heavy boots buried into the cotton-like soft and fresh snow leaving a trail behind. The snow for my tired and aching body appeared as a very welcoming fluffy feather mattress that was just a cold wet mush in real.

My paranoia was getting the best of me and I kept glancing behind my shoulders into nothingness. Some of my chestnut colored hair fell over my eyes making me smile briefly. It reminded me of my mother and how she always used to compel me for a proper haircut.

Alleyways, something that I feared the most as a child! I remember clinging tight to my mother’s warm and moist hand just a little tighter,turning it pale white, whenever we pass by one.

As a child my fear was comprehensible. It might have developed from my overactive imagination; what if a monster with bright red eyes and long spidery fingers jumps out and attacks my pessimistic approach at life; what if I am robbed by someone with a bent knife. I used to shiver because of my mother’s tales of ”The people of the shadow” that she used to recite when I was feeling mischievous and wouldn’t go to sleep without a fight. Even at that time, I used to wonder about its connection to reality. Today, I realize they exist.

Two waitresses,one accountant,a homeless wanderer, and a nurse, the lives of these women came to an end in the twisted hands of Jack Turner. All of them shared the same unfortunate faith,all were left on the cold,hard ground, floating in their own blood. Even though he,for some sick reason hunted women, it wasn’t like he wouldn’t kill a man too.

Being a 25 year old man my fear should ideally go away but it hasn’t.

The reason people bothered to go to Mr.Johnson’s bakery was not just to buy muffins but to rather see his old, warm, smile. Beside his small,homey shop, is an alleyway.

I remember whenever I passed by it, I smelled a horrid mixture of sweet bread:Mr.Johnson baked them fresh in the morning and its sweet smell always used to linger in his shop. It was affected by the urine of the homeless and blood of the stabbed.

Again, as I passed by, I could sense the same smell. I could not see the area as I clinched my eyes out of fear. I began to walk faster with long steps to get out of the area. As soon as I managed to take a turn, I leaned against a wall, breathing deep.

I sighed and looked down. Who knew a childhood fear could turn into something big. Who knew a fear I thought was so small and strong that it almost gave me a panic attack.

I opened my eyes; I wish I hadn’t .Staring back at me were two pitch black eyes like a hole with no bottom. It was all too familiar grin of Jack Turner. The smile was so big it made his face look like it was sliced in half.I shifted my gaze upward not surprised that I was met with the barrel of a shiny revolver,it looked like it had been polished just for this occasion.

I didn’t flinch I didn’t show any type of fear on my face because I wasn’t afraid. I was just disappointed. I was about to die in the hands of this sick man. Instead of fretting over this, I stood up, blankly whispering in his ear, “Shoot me!”

“Gladly,” he replied.

I hadn’t given up. I knew there was no use pleading in front of a psychopath. I didn’t want to live my last moments on knees,begging in front of him. I decided to close my eyes. I was right and my fear was right; nothing ever good happens near alleyways.



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