The long, narrow strip of street stretched itself into the darkness.
The only thing standing between myself and the abyss was the light of a single, flickering, street lamp. My back pack fastened securely at chest level, I slowly pulled the crimson mask over my face. Instantly the man I was is no more and I transform into another person.Or should I say persona? Rashad was too introverted for his own good but “The Red Truth” was confident and dare I saw god damned magnificent. I could hear my heart steadily beating louder as if it read a spoiler post for what was about to happen next.
Leading with my left foot, I sprinted down the dark street and didn’t stop until I was in the belly of the darkness. Slowing my breathing, I raised my ears to the sky hoping to pick up a sound, anything symbolizing a citizen in distress. Other than the occasional wandering bum, the streets were dreadfully quiet. I casually swing my head to the left and I see a man scream out and run for his life.
My sense of urgency spiked and I took off after the man. The fatigue I was feeling just minutes before burned away as the chase heated up. The man tripped on a fence as he tried to jump it and I managed to catch up to him. I reassuringly put my hands on his shoulders and ask him what’s wrong. He responds by shrieking in my face. His entire body quivering he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a few crumpled bills. “Take it, it’s all I have,” he stammers out between pants.
I look at the man confused and happen to catch my reflection in a puddle of water in a pot hole. I had grown so comfortable in the mask that I forgot I was wearing it. The man wasn’t running from some unknown threat, he was running from me. I apologize to the man the best I can as he hurriedly scampers away. Tonight I failed in my mission to protect the streets. Instead of giving hope I inspired fear. As I walked back home, head hung in defeat, I glance up just in the nick of time to see a woman (who I assume by attire was a working girl) walking towards me.
It’s not her that really garners my attention but the man encroaching stealthily behind her with hand in pocket. The man takes one glimpse of me and quickly turns around leaving the woman free to take a large detour around me and continue on with her night. Maybe I was just being paranoid, maybe the man had no ill intentions. But I’m no fool and can’t shake the feeling in my gut that he was defiantly up to something. Maybe this “inspiring fear” thing isn’t so bad after all.
Squeezing through the iron gates of my apartment complex like a trespassing coyote, I returned the mask to my backpack and prepared myself for bed. Tonight was just the first night of many to come. ATLiens sleep well, your streets are now protected by The Red Truth.
This post made possible by the stolen wifi from SCAD Atlanta.
SCAD…We’ll ruin your life