Fear Factor


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


Mia knew all the warnings about walking alone downtown after dark.  She had a great deal of common sense, and had never felt threatened.

Until now.

She’d had no choice but to finish up the project she was working on. Tomorrow would be the presentation, and every tiny detail would go under the microscope of corporate negativity.  She had gone over it again and again, looking for flaws, plugging any holes she could find. She tried to see it from Jeff’s perspective.  He would be the most critical, the one to see a flaw no one else would notice.

She felt confident as she walked the deserted hallway to the elevators. She was holding her keyring in her right hand, each key held between two fingers.  The building was creepy when no one else was there, and Mia had been afraid of the dark for as long as she could remember.

She wore a cross-body bag, tucked under her left arm.  She carried nothing else.  The elevator took her to  the parking garage, where she had left her car bumper to the wall, so she wouldn’t have to back out. As she walked quickly toward her car, her heels sounding like tapdance shoes, she pressed the automatic unlock and heard her car beep in response.

And then she heard something else, something that stopped her long enough for her to make a quick scan all around her. She saw nothing, and the noise stopped. She started to walk again, and sure enough, she heard footsteps behind her, keeping pace with her. She stopped again, turning to face whoever was there.  Again, nothing.  No one.

She increased her speed, wanting nothing but the safety of her car. As she reached her parking spot, she heard huffing pants of breath behind her. Terrified, she swung around to face  whoever was behind her.

“Mia!  Wait!  It’s only me!”  Jeff was about two parking spaces behind her, and he was breathing hard. “I tried to catch up with you in the building, but you were too far ahead.  I just wanted to offer to walk you to your car.  It’s not safe for you to be out here alone.”

Mia sagged against her car, almost sure she was going to faint. “Do you have ANY idea how much you scared me?  You should have called to me so I’d know it wasn’t some mugger or worse!  Good grief!  I nearly had a heart attack!”

“I was afraid  you wouldn’t recognize my voice until I was closer.  You can walk pretty fast, even in those anklebreakers you like to wear.  Hey, listen.  Why don’t we go get something to eat?  It’s late, and I’m hungry.”

“Well.  Um–“

“Worried about your project presentation tomorrow?  Don’t be.  I’ve seen your work in other firms, and I know you’re a great designer.  Come on.  Let’s go eat.”



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