Jacob stomped along, crushing every leaf he could underfoot. The night, admittedly, had not gone as he had hoped. After Marcus had left the movie without them, Jacob offered to walk Julie home.
“Don’t want any monsters getting you,” he had said to her with a wink. Only once he got to her front door did he find out the eye-roll that had accompanied her thanks was more sincere than he’d wanted to believe. After a fair bit of insisting on hanging out a little, Julie had responded with equal persistence that Jacob spend some quality time away from her instead. With nothing to hold over Marcus’ head next time he saw the little dweeb, Jacob had what few beers were left in the fridge and a multi-pack of what he referred to as the Z-List of zombie movies; they were so bad they were almost good, but only with enough booze.
That’s when he first noticed it. That creeping sensation he was being watched, like someone was right behind him. He had seen zillions of scary movies, and knew there’s always something spooky lurking right behind the good guy at the least convenient moment.
“Try scaring this, bitch,” Jacob said. He spun around, and delivered a punch to the air that had just been behind him. Across the road, a group of small children gasped and some parents gave him disapproving looks.
“Whatever,” Jacob said to no one in particular. He turned around, kicked over a decorative bag of leaves that looked like a giant vampire head, and continued home. As he walked down the narrow, dimly lit alleyway leading up to the back entrance of his apartment building, the hair on the back of his neck started to stand on end. He felt the unmistakable warmth of someone’s breath. It must be Marcus, Jacob thought, trying to get back at him. Jacob kept pace, not breaking stride as he removed the keys to the apartment building from his pocket, opened the door, and made his way up the stairs. He spun around, hands balled into fists, outside his apartment door.
“You really think you could scare me, Wimpus?” Jacob said. The creature stood a good foot taller than Jacob, three mouths full of sharp, jagged teeth dripping saliva on the dirty carpet.
“What about eating you?” it said. “That’s certainly not a possibility we’d want to rule out.”