SHORT STORY: A WALK AT 01:46 AM

It was 01:46 am. A man laid in his bed and stared at the ceiling. He couldn’t sleep. After some hours of restless overthinking, he decided to get up and quench his thirst. Downstairs, the man poured himself a glass of water as his gaze met the front door.
“Maybe I should take a little walk”, the man thought and promptly got his jacket, phone and keys.

Outside the streets were lit by dim postlamps and the moon shone bright in the sky. He looked back at his house and the sign that read “Tenderstreet 14”. The man walked for a few minutes as his mind started to become a bit clearer. It was almost frighteningly silent, he noticed but didn’t make much of it as it was the middle of the night. After a few more minutes he reached the end of his neighbourhood and the beginning of a huge park where the man always took his dog for a walk. Without thinking about it, he continued his walk into the forest.

It was even darker under all those trees and the man pulls out his phone to use as a flashlight. He was very familiar with the paths in the park but suddenly there was a weird divergency he has never seen before. Intrigued, he followed the unknown route. It led him deeper into the forest. He could hear an owl hoot and the dead leaves he stept on rustle.

After a while, the man had an unsettling feeling in his stomach and got a slight headache. So, he decided to return home to try to finally sleep when suddenly, there was a loud screech that sounded like someone was scratching metal onto metal. It was so loud that the man had to cover his ears. Where did that just come from, he asked himself.

The shocked man turned around and started walking faster as he looked at his phone. He was puzzled. It said the time was 05:37 am. How could that be? He has been walking for no more than about 30 minutes. He got goose bumps and his walk turnt into a slow jog. He was so tired.

When he finally reached the end of the park the man noticed that the sun already started to rise. Strange, he thought. It should be the middle of the night still. He walked to his house, pulled out the keys and tried to open the door but the keys didn’t fit. “What is this about?”, he shouted as he became annoyed. The man kicked the door in anger when suddenly, an old lady opened it.

“What do you want at this early hour, young man?”, she asked confused. “Who are you?”, the man answered in shock. “Well, I am Ernestine Halliway. Who are you?”, the old lady replied. The man thought that maybe she was crazy or had Alzheimers or something.
“What are you doing in my house?”, he asked.
“Your house? I have been living here for over 25 years”, Mrs. Halliway explained confused.
“No way”, the man pushed the lady aside and entered the house. He froze. All the furniture, decoration and even the paint on the wall was different to his home.
“If you don’t get out of my house now, I will call the police!”, Mrs. Halliway shouted and the man quickly ran onto the streets again. The lady shut and locked the front door immediately.

He looked all around him. This is my neighbourhood, he thought. This is where my house is supposed to be. Tenderstreet 14. What is happening? His thoughts started to race and he felt himself loosing touch with reality. Where am I? A car honked at him behind him wanting to pass. The man broke down on the pavement. Where is my house?

“Are you okay?”, an unfamiliar voice asked. The man looked up and saw a little child infront of him. He couldn’t quite make out if it was a girl or a boy.
“I… I guess so. I am just insanely tired.”, the man replied.
The child laughed. “You are funny”, it said. “Wanna be friends?”
The man had an unexplainable feeling of nostalgia in his gut. “Sure”, he said wanting the child to leave.
“Well now that we are friends, let me show you my favourite spot in town! Do you wanna come?”
The man felt an urge to say no but still agreed. The child silently led him down the road to the church of the small town. There, they entered the graveyard. “This is your favourite spot?”, the man asked still not knowing at all what was going on.

“Yes, the child replied and went on to show the man a specific gravestone. “This is where my grandpa is buried. I am so sad that I never got to meet him.”
“Well, that’s-” the man stood still as he read the name on the gravestone. Below his birthday was his name. Christopher Silverden, born August 5th 1995. His eyes widened.
“Yeah, I visit his grave every day. Sadly, he died long before I was born but somehow I feel so connected with him. Almost as if I am going to meet him someday”, the child said. “He died while taking a walk in the middle of the night. Noone knows why he was there or who set up the deadly metal bear trap.”

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