The buildings that line the deserted alley cast shadows as gloomy as the drizzle of rain. Jocelyn shivers. Her fear lurks here. If she doesn’t retrace her steps and face the origin of her torment, the trial, the conviction, the year of therapy, would mean nothing. She’ll remain a victim.
Her shoes heels click on the cobblestones. Her red umbrella draws attention; she wants to be seen. She’s hidden in the safety of obscurity for too long. It’s a small step, but a step in reclaiming her confidence to walk the streets alone.
Looking straight ahead, she positions her umbrella so she can’t look over her shoulder. This step is harder. When she hears a boot scuff the cobblestones behind her, she holds her breath and quickens her pace. A man draws alongside. Her heart pounds and her legs grow weak. If she stops walking, this alley will plague her nightmares forever. She has to embrace her fear, not succumb to it. Use it to heighten her awareness. Empower herself. She glances at the man. He wears a suit, not a trench coat. Holds a phone, not a knife. He’s a stranger, but strangers aren’t evil. Evil wears a different face.
She takes another step and matches strides with the man. When the rain begins to pour, she offers her umbrella.