The sound feet hitting the pavement in perfect rhythm was the only sound which resonated through the quiet street.
They belonged to a young woman taking the same route she takes everyday, with her knowing that she would arrive to work late and that no one would realise.
She continues at her relaxed pace, with footsteps growing slightly heavier as the same unease shot through her. This unease was the reminder that this was her life until the end of her days.
The town was too predictable, thus for her, too boring. Nothing ever changed, not the people, and never their routine.
This was proved when she turned into the busy street, greeted by the eyes of the barber peering out of his glass shop front.
There was the same awful aroma coming from the real estate agents sucking their morning fag. Then the barking of the dog with his owners resting on the bench.
All sounds and senses dulled ever so slightly with the familiar bustle of cars in traffic. This isn't where I'm meant to be, she had always thought. It just doesn't feel right.
A singular raindrop fell, leading her to sigh and pull an umbrella from her bag anticipating this change of weather.
Not much time passed before the downpour increased, leading to the streets to clear.
She watched a bus crammed with people stuck in traffic and decided to continued by foot -- extending her beloved solitude.
Another turn led her to enter an empty park, her usual shortcut which truly was not shorter. She stopped the blaring music in her ears to listen to the sounds of the rain hit the surface.
The clouds above merged into a grey storm, showing no sign of stopping. The pitter patter of the water hit her umbrella forming a gentle beat which calmed her.
The rhythmic sound was disrupted with the emergence of footsteps running through mud, accompanied by a heavy panting. It was sudden but the footsteps were closely approaching.
Her pace began to quicken and it was not long before she achieved a full out sprint.
She did not dare turn around, instead she glued her eyes to the setting directly in front of her, praying never to hear that gnarly panting again.
A time soon came where she could no longer run, her ears ringing and vision blurred.
She hunched over, squatting close to the wet grass, still with the umbrella in hand but not positioned above her.
Her throat was aching due to a combination of the weather and the most exercise she had done in years, breathing hurt, yet she was hyperventilating.
Her chest felt like it was on fire, and a twinge of fear remained instilled into her.
When she was able to hear again and the need to throw up finally subsided, she had realised she could not hear the rain, nor any footsteps and bad things which followed it.
It was replaced by an undisturbed tranquility.
The feeling of was cut short when cold bony hand touched the woman's shoulder. "Finally," a deep voice said, belonging to a man towering over her.
He stood upright making his six foot demeanour seem even taller, he was composed, no sense of uneven breathing, just serenity, in contrast to the woman near him.
She turned around, examining the stranger's face.
Due to his paleness, his skin seemed to illuminate,
his dark attire did not help his complexion -- he wore a long black jacket with a hood over his head while strands of long damp black hair peeking out.
His most prominent -- and unsettling -- feature were his black eyes staring down at her.
"Why were you running?" he asked, monotonously.
She racked her mind, wondering how she could explain to a stranger that she was running from something she never even saw.
She stood upright mimicking his posture whilst dusting off her trousers. "Just late to work, so I should make a move."
"I don't think you're going to make it there."
"Excuse me," she pushed past him and walked with urgency.
Her apprehension had returned, not able to stay near the strange man but her mind fixated on the initial creature she was trying to escape.
She roamed further away, expecting to see the same red bricks from the wall she encounters every day, but instead was greeted by an unfamiliar terrain.
The path that would lead her to work was no longer there, replaced by trees vaguely concealing a railroad. Though the heavy downpour stopped, the grey sky remained, however darker than before.
She stood frozen at her new surroundings when the stranger approached her again. She didn't know where to go, but wanted to run. "Stay away from me.
I bet you were the one chasing me before as well." The minimal composure she hoped to maintain had disappeared.
"What are you talking about?"
"Something was running behind me, which is how I ended up -- well I don't even know where."
"Please, honey, I don't run. The real question is how you got here. What are you, like a witch or something?"
"What did you call me?"
"So not a witch." He held his hands up. "You can't be a reaper too. Sure, you're pale enough but your eyes are brown."
"Excuse me. I'm not going to stand here and be insulted, especially after you have already threatened me.
" She turned around, grabbing her phone hoping to see where she was, but instead came to face a black screen.
The strange man was before her again, he had no audible footsteps, nor presence. "I guess you're small enough to be a fairy." He slyly smiled at his quip, while she just glared at him.
"That can't be it. There is hate in those eyes, you are nowhere near 'sparkly' enough to be a fairy. With those eyes, you must be a siren."
"Hey, weirdo! What the fuck are you on about?"
There was silence.
"Actually, you know what I don't have time for this. Just tell me where I am so I can go work."
"Where am I?" she repeated.
"That is where you are."
"Nightfall is not a real place."
"Look around, darling. That is where you are."
"I am lost in a strange place with strange man."
"I am no mere mortal, miss. I am a reaper."
She fell to the ground and uttered the most pathetic words: "I'm gonna be late for work".
A silence swept over them once again. He didn't leave - a kind gesture that she did not want, nevertheless she quickly became consumed with her own thoughts.
"I'm going to die here," she muttered.
"Hate to break it to you but if you're here then you're probably already dead," he said.
"You severely lack any sensitivity." God, why could he not leave? "Earlier when you said you were a reaper. Did you mean like grim?"
"Is there any other kind?" a proud smile spread across his face as he bowed dramatically.
As he hunched over she grabbed his collar. "You bastard did you bring me here. I'll fucking kill you."
"What a gross misconception." He sounded hurt and easily escaped her weak grasp. "Reapers don't take lives, they only guide them to the afterlife."
"Genius, are you meant to guide anyone today?"
"I usually get a name, one second." He gestured with his index finger as he turned his pockets inside out like a schoolboy. "Nothin'".