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Strangers in the night

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Image of the moon through trees taken by Andrea Garfield-Barkworth - The English Translator
Strangers in the night

I've been taking part in another session of writing prompts, again 15 minutes and just writing straight off the cuff. The theme of this piece is 'Character meets someone with a completely different view of the world'.

She was 14 and knew everything. She knew where all the boys hung out. Where to go to get an illicit drag of a cigarette. How to get someone to buy her a beer. She knew it all, so sneaking out of her room at midnight was no big deal. She knew how to handle herself. She was bold and fierce. Nobody messed with Brianna. Deftly, she climbed down the drainpipe outside her window, being careful not to press on the trellis as she passed it by. Dropping onto the ground, she knelt for a while listening. No sound from her parents and off she sped.

She passed streets and alleyways until she hit the seafront. Feeling the fresh wind on her face made her feel alive. She made her way to the bench just below the dunes and waited.

Minutes went by. No sound could be heard. Brianna began to think she had the time wrong when out of the darkness appeared a man. Tall, bearded with long hair and a guitar slung over his back. He stopped when he saw her. Pausing to look around. Seeing nobody else in sight, he slowly made his way towards her. Brianna felt nervous; it wasn’t his appearance that seemed to worry her; it was the shifty sidelong looks, the way his eyes darted around. She suddenly wondered whether sitting on the promenade in the pitch black was such a good idea after all. She touched her throat. Her mouth was dry and she could feel the fear bubbling up, trying to escape. The man was five paces away. She considered fleeing but decided to stand her ground and brazen it out, even with the thought of nobody being around to hear her screams.

The man came up to her and sat on the bench. “Hi”, he said, startling her. His voice was soft and gentle. “I’m Neil”. I’ve just run away from home and am looking for a place to spend the night. Any idea where I might find somewhere”, he asked. Brianna was puzzled. Why would he think she knew anywhere to stay? She considered what to say. Should she help or should she tell him to take a hike? Her friends would know. They’d tell him to clear off, but her friends weren’t here. Slowly, she rose and took him by the hand, leading him to her home. “I know someone who can help”, she said. ”My dad. He’s a preacher. And that place over there is the vicarage.”

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