The wind blows, no longer a summer breeze. It is colder and stronger. It whips through the trees, howling just a little.
The first crackly leaves fall from the branches and skitter across the pavement. In the dark, the sound is eerie.
And it is dark. The streetlamps make it that way. They are too far apart, and only serve to deepen the shadows.
The walk was pristine long ago. But the trees have taken over. Their roots have twisted under the concrete, breaking it apart and leaving it a hazardous pathway. Here and there, slabs of asphalt have been pounded into the gaps left by the collapsing walk, but it was carelessly done, just like everything else on that street.
Navigating the path is hard enough in the daylight. At night, it becomes treacherous. The occasional lamp destroys night vision. The perception of depth is almost non-existent.
A shoe catches a jutting root.
A low-hanging branch scrapes a cheek.
Farther down the road, the traffic slows. In the distance, lights flare. A car emerges from a cloud of dust. The headlights are blinding. It passes slowly.
A person emerges suddenly from a side road, their approach hidden by the lights of the car. They hurry past, shooting a suspicious glance behind them.
The wind shifts. More dry leaves fall.
The turn is up ahead.
Another dark side road appears. To the left, a young man clad in black blocks the path. He stands just outside of the light, waiting. To the right, it is clear.
The road is half gravel and half asphalt, dusty and uneven. A car approaches too quickly. It passes by, but only just. The driver is completely unaware of the pedestrian traffic.
On the other side of the road, the walk becomes smoother. The wind dies down, but the leaves still scuttle along.
A thin, rickety stairway rises three stories. It groans with each step. There are no lights.
Keys are fumbled in the darkness. At last the door swings open, squeaking in protest.
Closets and cupboards hang open, blocking the hallway. The door screams again, shutting with a resounding bang, leaving everything in shadow.
(This is obviously not the same street, or the same time of year. But I thought this pic I took on University Avenue had the appropriate air of 19th century foreboding.)
As it happens, Provo has some interesting horror potential.
Melodramatic... certainly. But this is a cumulation of my last few walks home.
Point of note, though, it wasn't actually scary. I thought it was really cool, so I had to share. Although Provo really does have to do something about those sidewalks. Pounding asphalt into holes seems to be their answer-all.