The walk home down Peterson Lane gave Ben the creeps. He always tried to find a way around it but if you were running late it really was the quickest way just to cut down the back of Mr Orson’s house and into the backstreet. It didn’t help that it was nearly winter and at only half past four the sun was already beginning to set.
Pulling his collar up around his neck to shield just another inch of skin, as if somehow that would keep him safe, like making sure his feet didn’t stick out the end of bed to ward away monsters, he hurried along with his head down and his arms crossed tightly across his chest.
The bricks had grown dark from the week’s persistent rain and a scattering of what could generously be called moss, and more accurately been called mould, left a slimy, slippery feeling in the whole small street. The stench combined in the air with the unpleasant overpowering smell of many different foods being cooked at the same time in adjoining kitchens and it was all Ben could do to keep down his lunch. Luckily, he had eaten quite a few hours before and an afternoon on the fields ensured that his body would keep down whatever sustenance it could, but the growling for impending dinner it had been doing just a few moments before quickly ceased.
Ben hadn’t realised he’d been holding his breath but the tension suddenly overwhelmed him and he let out his lungs just before they reached the point of bursting. He gulped another huge breath in; prepared this time for his own discomfort. Only a few more houses around the bend and he’d be back in the world of streetlights and people and out of here, at last.