Written for a prompt at the BoMoWriCha Prompt House.

Don’t Look Back!’

My brother always used to tell me that if ever I found myself walking along a street at night, and a street-lamp just went out, I should run like hell. ‘And whatever you do, Kate, no matter how tempted you feel to do so, DON’T LOOK BACK.’

I remember it so clearly, as if he were standing right beside me now and saying those words. I can’t help wondering if those memories have been somehow strengthened because he is dead. Not only that but he died mysteriously, walking along a street at night.

My parents have never quite accepted that he is dead, for there was never any body found, just his shoes, his phone. His bedroom is still the same as the day that he went out, left to wait for his return that only I seem to realize will never happen.

It took a while for me to go outside at all, even longer to walk along the streets in the dark. Although it never is dark, not really, with the lamps beating back the blackness. For the last four months though, I have ventured out after the sun has gone down. Nothing has happened to make me scared, and so I have slowly ventured further and further.

How have I wandered in to this place? I know that I am walking the same street as he did on the night that he disappeared. Not so many street-lamps further down from where I am standing, was the position of his phone; his shoes were found a bit further along, not together but as though they had fallen from his feet during some kind of flight.

Stop it’, I order myself. There is no reason for my feelings of unease apart from the memory of those words of his. My pulse is increasing in spite of my mind trying to exert its logic over my body. My palms are sweating, and a cold trickle of sweat makes its way down my spine too.

I want to run. Every single irrational part of me is saying either turn back or race through it. I can’t; I’m more sensible than that, aren’t I? There’s no one else in sight, nothing there to instil fear. I’m just letting my superstitious fears run rampant, and I don’t believe in all that supernatural stuff. It’s just nonsense – isn’t it?

For just as I draw next to the place my brother’s phone was found, the street-lamp beside me extinguishes with a pop. I know it must only have been a quiet sound, but to me it was as loud as that starting pistol. After a millisecond’s pause I am off, running as fast as I can.

Tripping more than running, thankful I’m not wearing shoes with heels, but still I am finding it hard to stay on my feet. There’s a rushing noise behind me and I feel like my body is being pushed from behind, leaving my feet to try and catch up. I lose one shoe and then the other.

The rushing is a roaring now! What is it? What is chasing me down this street so fast I cannot even swerve out of its way. I have to look, chance a glimpse over my shoulder...

I should have listened to my brother’s warning; should not have looked back. For much as a beast or a demon would be bad enough, I find that I am being pursued by blackness so deep it should not exist. A gaping maw easily capable of swallowing me up, of leaving not a trace.

My parents...are they going to think that I have run off too? One last spurt of speed but it’s not enough, will never be enough, for that blackness begins to suck me in and there is no fight left inside me.

Submitted: March 16, 2019

© Copyright 2023 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:


Mike S.

Spooky deal, Hull, excellent!

Sat, March 16th, 2019 6:00pm


Thank you, Mike. I've been meaning to write something for this for a while!

Sat, March 16th, 2019 11:05am


The moral of this tale: trust those instincts!

Sat, March 16th, 2019 6:06pm


Yep! If in doubt -- RUN! Thanks for giving this a read, Adam.

Sat, March 16th, 2019 11:09am


Nice job. Good story, Hull

Sat, March 16th, 2019 7:26pm


Thanks, jmm!

Sat, March 16th, 2019 12:29pm

Sue Harris

Well done, Hully, a great story inspired by a difficult prompt.

Sat, March 16th, 2019 7:58pm


Thanks for that, Sue. I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

Sat, March 16th, 2019 1:09pm

Vance Currie

Woah! That was scary. I don't know what the prompt was, but this is a good story no matter where the idea came from.

Sat, March 16th, 2019 8:53pm


Thank you so much for that, Joe. A type of story I love to write.

Sat, March 16th, 2019 2:08pm

Jeff Bezaire

A mighty fine horror story, Hully! Superb mood and imagery! Great pacing!

Sun, March 17th, 2019 7:17pm


Thanks so much, Jeff. This was for a prompt that I just knew I had to use, even if it did take me a few weeks to get round to it.

Sun, March 17th, 2019 12:19pm

Ryan K. Mallegni

I like that in the last paragraph she's afraid of disappearing just as her brother did. Neat short, Hull!

Mon, March 18th, 2019 4:37pm


Thanks so much for that, Ryan.

Mon, March 18th, 2019 1:04pm

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