A.T.M. Exercise : Wrong Alley

At This Moment exercise

9:06 am

Wrong Alley

My hands are warm, wet, not my own. My heart pounds, my breath is erratic. A blast of cold air hits my face. I am in an alley. The smell of maggot infested dumpsters makes my stomach turn.

Where am I? A flower pot smashes on the ground thirty feet away. I look up the side of the building. A shadowy head peers out from a window, four or five stories high. It vanishes. The sounds of angry traffic fills the small alley way. Looking down the long hallway of dumpsters, and darkly shadowed door entry ways I see the lights of a busy city street ahead.

The fear of going out into the busy street brings feelings of fear, but the feelings of fear are quickly eaten and digested with a overwhelming need to be far from here. I am hemmed in on all other sides by the alleys massive walls, lined with curious windows; like eyes, watching me, silently accusing me, waiting for the right moment to tell the dark doors to open up and swallow me inside.

I can’t remember how I got here. I was just home, sleeping in my bed, next to my wife, is Andrews Texas. Andrews has no hungry, accusing buildings, with staring windows.

I rub my hand through my hair. Wet, thick, sticky. I look at my hands, they are covered with dark syrup. As I examine them closer I feel the penetrating stare of the windows on me. I try to run, but stumble over something that sends me crashing to the ground.

Something large lies on the cold ground. I get on my knees and crawl over to inspect it. It is covered in the syrup-like… it is blood! It is a man! I push myself away from from him. Looking around the alley the windows seem to expand; wide-eyed and accusing me with a tangible silence.

I scurry to my feet. There is something shiny by my feet. A piece of metal: a knife. My hunting knife!

The silence is filled with chaos. The shadowy door ways start to creak, as if to open up, massive mouths ready to tear me apart and drag me into their basements.

The sounds of police sirens scream through the atmosphere. They are coming for me.

I could not have killed that man. I would have remembered. I don’t remember. Where am I? How did I get here? A metal door bursts open from behind me. I start running. Another door opens and darkness reaches out for me. I run as quickly as I can towards the traffic. Invisible pupils move, staying fix on me. I am an ant running from under the shadow of a fast shoe.

Red and blue lights ahead

Sirens blare.

“Here I am.” I scream. 100 yards, large slithering shadow tongues are on my heels. 70 yards, I wave my arms at the police car parked at the end of the alley. 50 yards, the windows turn into angry eyes with pointed brows, wrinkled brick forehead. All the doors fly open from around me, all the way to the street, like school lockers. 30 yards; I reach my hands out in front of me and gulp in the enough air to scream loud enough to wake the city.

The air is thick, like an invisible arm forcing its way down my throat. My head begins to spin. Am I falling? I twist around in slow motion. The windows seem to smile, brazenly.

The doors slam closed.

Two uniformed officers step into the alley and shine their flash lights.

The alley is lined with maggot infested dumpsters and shadowy entry ways. It is silent, almost too silent. The alleys massive walls are lined with curious windows; like eyes, sleeping now; fully satisfied.

The police officers turn and walk back to their patrol car. Wrong alley, they think.

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