You Shouldn’t Be Here

by on June 1, 2024 :: 0 comments

photo "Trespasser" by Tyler Malone

A chain and padlock ensured no one could open the gates of the park. Eva had expected this. She glanced at a wooden board. It read: Closed, dusk to dawn.

Eva grasped the vertical bars of one of the gates and hauled herself over the top. The chain rattled as she jumped and landed on an asphalt path. With a three-quarter moon above, she could see cut grass and flower beds on either side. Distant trees, huddled in scattered copses, proved less distinct.

She had set herself a challenge: to break into the closed park on this summer night. But now that she’d climbed over the gate, she wondered what to do next. She remembered a school history lesson. Years ago, a rich Edwardian had financed the construction of the park for the benefit of local residents. He’d bought thirteen acres of land and surrounded it with iron railings. A team of gardeners had then set to work.

Boring, Eva thought and ambled along the path. Movement among a copse caught her eye. A branch twitched and something jumped to the ground. It seemed a lot bulkier than, say, a cat.

The mystery creature aroused her curiosity.

I want an adventure, she thought. This could be it. I’ll investigate.

As she headed towards the copse, a woman stepped in front of her. Eva tried to push past. The woman held out both hands to stop her and said, “You shouldn’t be here.”

“Neither should you.”

“I’m exercising my pet; you’re up to no good. Go home.”

“What pet?” Eva said. “Is it the thing I saw a moment ago?”

The woman produced a whistle from a pocket and blew. Although the whistle made no noise, Eva heard a snort in response. A creature then appeared from the copse. It hurtled in their direction and skidded to a halt.

“It’s clumsy,” Eva said. “And it looks prehistoric.”

“‘Mythical’ rather than ‘prehistoric’,” the woman said and replaced the whistle in her pocket. “It’s called Lebok.”

She patted the creature’s scaly head. It raised a hoofed foot in appreciation and panted. To Eva, Lebok looked like a dog that had a skin condition and misshapen feet. She recollected a remark her mother had said about an unhealthy poodle.

“Probably inbred,” Eva muttered.

“Don’t be ignorant,” the woman said. “You’ve seen Lebok, now leave.”

Eva shook her head. “Why are you walking your pet at night in a locked park?”

The woman didn’t reply. She strode down the path. Lebok galloped towards another copse and clambered up a tree.

Eva hurried after the woman. “You’re rude.”

“You’re exasperating,” the woman said. “I walk Lebok here at night because I want privacy.”

“Because your pet’s ugly?”

“Because I’m a demon from hell and like to take Lebok for a stroll above ground to give me a break from the screams of the damned.”

“That’s nonsense.”

Lebok jumped from the tree it had climbed and landed in a nearby pond. Several ducks quacked and distracted the woman. Eva reached into the woman’s coat pocket and pulled out the whistle.

The woman turned. “How dare you.”

Eva ran and blew the whistle. Lebok stopped his antics in the pond and waded out.

“I want to show Lebok to my friends,” Eva said over her shoulder to the woman. “You can have it back tomorrow night.”

“I think not,” came the reply.

Suddenly unable to control her legs, Eva tripped and fell.

“Drop the whistle,” the woman said, “or join the condemned in the underworld.”

Eva began to sink into the path. She tried to stand up without success. Lebok and the woman arrived at her side.

“You really are a demon, aren’t you?” Eva said.

“Give me the whistle.”

Eva managed to pull a hand from out of the asphalt. She threw the whistle at Lebok and fainted.

When Eva came to, she found herself on the ground outside the park. She rose and looked through the railings. A cloud covered the moon. She could see only shadows and dark, silent shapes.

Bemused, she thought, I’ll come back another night.

editors note:

The darkworld is all around us so just walk, nothing is stopping you from leaving the light of what you know. ~ Tyler Malone

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