Will Bontrager
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Walking Home

(Links to more popcorn stories.)

Walking Home was written as an exercise for showing an emotion so well that naming the emotion is unnecessary.

Walking Home

Three streetlights in a row are dark, bulbs burned out, all on the same side of the street.

Somebody is sabotaging them, Jacob is sure. Why else would they all break at once?

Crossing the street to avoid the dark, unlit area is out of the question. Dogs bark over there. The houses are too close to the road. And they have no sidewalk.

Staying on this side, he can prepare to meet the dogs with his club if they escape their leash.

But how would he see them in the dark?

A thought about walking around the block to avoid the dark area dies aborning. It would mean walking through an unfamiliar part of the neighborhood.

Jacob increases his pace along the dark sidewalk. His head jerks this way and that, eyes flitting everywhere.

A shape moves in the shadow of a porch. As his muscles tense to run, Jacob trips on a crack in the sidewalk, falls flat, and hits his head. Hard.

"Hey, you OK?"

The voice brings him to a dazed consciousness.

"I was sitting on my porch enjoying the coolness of the night when I saw you fall. You OK?"

Jacob begins to crawl away. Then scrambles to his feet and takes off running.

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