She was on her way home. Her overcoat was making a huge shadow on the pavement under the blaring street lights. High heels are making that typical rattle as she walked purposefully with her hands deep in her pockets. It was cold; her breath was fogged, and her eyes were obscured by the hood of her coat. She is moving down the maze of alleys, a left, a right, another right and then down the street all the way to JOE’S CORNER. The delicious smell of his hamburgers hit her nostrils even before she has turned the corner and she felt ravenous. Joe was at the stove, turning patties over a skillet, tossing them in the air and catching them back in the skillet. She made her way into the shop and straight to the kitchen. Joe beamed to see her and nodded towards the booths in the diner. She smiled back at him and said “not today Joe, I am in a hurry”, and she moved the crisp note over the counter to him. He slid a juicy hamburger towards her; she was back on the road the very next moment with the burger in her hand. It was huge; she knew Joe makes her with extra love, adding more cheese, more fries and more of everything just for her. She was halfway through her burger, licking her fingers now and then when she heard another pair of footsteps behind her.
Not bothering with them she kept walking to her small apartment above the cottage that was used as a artists studio, he has let her rent the small room with kitchenette above it for the half the price, just for the sake that she will clean his studio once a week. She had agreed happily, and it was the place she called home now. She wiped her hands and mouth with the tissue paper wrapped around the burger when she was done eating and chucked it in the next bin she saw, near the last corner before her home. Something made her turn around and scan the deserted alley. There was no one there; the footsteps were gone. Back on the way she turned to the apartment street and rummaged inside her bag for the keys. She found them at the bottom and climbed the narrow spiral staircase that led to her apartment. She inserted the key in the lock when she felt a huge hand cover her mouth and another on her neck, holding a knife. She felt choked and struggled, but his grip on her was a vice like. She stomped her heel into his toes and added her weight to it. He let her go with a scream and lost his balance, to get back stable he grabbed her coat and dragged her down the staircase as he fell. She yelled and cried each time her head banged on each step till they finally lay in a heap at the bottom of the last step. She couldn’t see, the pain had blinded her. Sitting up immediately she felt the Earth under her slip, he was upon her like a snake, covering her body with his.
Not finding any way to get him off her as he tried to throttle her with both hands she yanked his jacket hard. All sight was losing her as she was getting short on oxygen with each passing second and suddenly she felt something under her hand, in his jacket pocket. It was a small knife, she extracted it from his pocket, he was busy killing her, and without notice, she drove the knife hard into him. His face was directly over her when she saw his eyes close in pain and mouth open in agony. It was a while before he let go of her throat, she scooted out from under him and sat up coughing. She couldn’t breathe, taking huge filling breaths she sat on the pavement, sweating and shocked. Turning on the spot, she saw him lying on his stomach, upper body on the last step and lower half on the sidewalk. Hot tears flowed from her eyes, the burger she just ate was back up in her throat, and she will throw up. She managed to stand up, still coughing and breathing heavily and ran to the dumpster where she just chucked the tissue and puked in it. She couldn’t stand straight till every last ounce of that burger was out of her system. Falling back on the sidewalk she crawled on all fours to the spot where he lay, immobile. Her frail body rocked hard with sobs; she was trying to say something, her voice seemed to come from far away, “OH MY GOD! I KILLED HIM. I KILLED JOE”.