Welcome to George Street, by Megha Patel

You are walking down George Street on the sidewalk directly across from the Student Activity Center. Club had just ended and the beat up car you drive is in the parking deck, about a block or two away. It’s irritating that the parking deck is so far away and wondering why Rutgers has such a stupid layout for it’s campus.

The street lights barely light up the street. RUPD is nowhere to be seen, but it is College Ave, so they must be somewhere in the area. Although, it does seem like the only person walking around tonight is you. It’s all in your head, of course, because this is a college campus for Pete’s sake, but there is no one here. All you see are a couple trees and the black marbled sky decorated with barely visible stars. It is like someone had muted each and every one of those lights with their hands, and only a few rays are peeking through the cracks.

There is a small keychain flashlight on your keys. You push the button and it flickers briefly, then turns on. There is a small circle that projects out and you aim it in different areas. When it reaches the trees that shade the sidewalk, you see what seems to be a large man in a black hoodie. His eyes are as dark at the fabric on his skin, but the whites of his eyes are so menacing that it’s impossible to look away. He takes a step towards you. The flashlight loses focus as you flinch. Using both hands, you direct the light where his face is. He is no longer there.

The sidewalk in front of you ends, but there is a cemented staircase that leads to the parking deck. Your legs are working fast as they climb those steps, and you almost trip, but that’s okay since you’ve regained your balance. The empty deck is lit, so once you get there, you’ll be able to see everything.

There is a rustle behind you and then you are running. The deck is only a few steps away, and the door is propped open with a wooden block so you can just run inside. The light is getting stronger and just to make sure, you close the door behind you. One hand is on the shut door and the other is on your knee as you pant.

It’s over.

Your mouth is covered. It is skin and bone, and then you realize it’s a hand. You scream, but it is muffled. Your torso is pressed against the door and another, much larger and sinewy body. There is damp air by your ear. And then you hear: “Welcome to George Street.”

-Megha Patel

Featured in Volume 4 Issue 2