Beauty and the What?!

Installment #3

She recognizes the face standing before her. He was her only friend when she stayed with her grandmother during the summers when she was younger. He takes his hand away from her mouth.

“Anson,” she shouts, “you scared the hell out of me.”

“I’m sorry,” he takes a step back and runs his fingers through his blonde hair, “but you know how dangerous it is here at night. Why would you even consider walking home alone?”

Sally shrugs, “I’m perfectly fine walking home by myself. Whatever beast that’s out here, obviously doesn’t want anything to do with me.”

She turns around and heads down the street. Anson follows, quickly getting by her side. Sally can see him scanning the area, looking between trees, making sure nothing’s lurking in the shadows.

“There’s nothing here, Anson.” Sally says.

“Yes there is.” He replies. “I saw the same thing you did under that street lamp and I know it’s around here somewhere.”

She turns her head to her friend and asks, “You saw it too?”

He nods, “Yes. There isn’t a soul in Shadow County who hasn’t seen it.”

She still doesn’t believe it. Most of her thinks the creature roaming the streets at night is just someone with too much time on their hands. The kind of person who gets off on scaring random people just for the fun of it. That person must have a really good costume because what she saw under that street light, seemed more real than fake.

Her grandmother’s house is coming up on the right side of the street. The front porch light is on as well as the light coming from the living room. Anson does a quick perimeter check before allowing her to walk up the stairs to the front door. She jingles the keys in her hands while he holds the screen door open for her.

Once upon a time, she would have asked him to come inside and hang out for a while. Maybe even experiment with kissing when her grandmother wasn’t paying any attention. Sally’s older now and thinks of what she wants out of life. Anson’s a great guy, but he’s not the guy she imagines herself with.

“You want me to stay the night?” he asks, a bit too eagerly.

She shakes her head, “I’ll be alright, Anson. I’ll call you in the morning.”

He sighs as she disappears into the house. The door closes and locks behind her and she hears his slow footsteps crossing the wood of the porch.

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