Green Lights are not Safe

Originally published on r/nosleep

Tags: #horror #shortstory #nosleep

I don’t know how to start this. So, I’ll just write it.

It was the normal route that I took every day from work. I think It might have known that. Being one of the few waitresses with experience at that stupid coffee store, my manager always made me close when he could get away with it. I think it may have known that too.

It was well past eleven when I finally got everything done and the doors locked. The night itself hung heavy, the air thick like an oncoming storm. It was the kind which clung to your skin and sent shivers down your spine. I walked briskly through the deserted streets, cursing that I had to do this again, the echo of my footsteps bouncing off the empty buildings that loomed like silent sentinels on either side. My breath formed visible puffs in the frigid air, and a sense of unease settled over me like a heavy cloak. Winter was an accursed time for me. That’s how it always felt. My coat was never thick enough, and my ears were always cold even with the knitted cap pulled low. That night had been much worse.

I was almost home, my pace quickening as I approached the familiar glow of the streetlamps. The pools of light they cast on the pavement felt like beacons of safety. I had always loved the streetlamps with their orange glow. Little did I know that, tonight, the light would betray me.

As I turned the corner onto my block, I noticed that for the first time, all the lights had been on. There was one halfway down that cast a very soft, green light that felt comforting to see. I had heard about other countries experimenting with lights of different colors to ease pedestrians, and a part of me was glad that they were trying it out. Honestly, one bulb was not going to be enough, but in this case, I was glad to see it.

The green light flickered, casting an eerie glow on the deserted street. Surprisingly, the warmth it emanated felt like a welcome embrace, and an overwhelming desire to stop and rest. My tired legs grew heavy, and the green glow seemed to warm me up inside.

Without realizing it, my steps slowed, and I found myself standing beneath the peculiar light. The soft hum it emitted seemed to echo in the stillness of the night, lulling me into a sleepy feeling that usually never hit me without a fifth of vodka and half package of Oreos. A strange calm settled over me, and for a moment, the tension that had gripped me since leaving work seemed to dissipate.

Then, as quickly as the comfort had set in, a cold realization crept over me. Something was wrong. The comforting green light started to shift, its glow taking on an ominous hue. The air around me thickened, and I felt a sudden, overwhelming sense of being watched. I felt trapped. My mind wanted to react, but the rest of my body just stayed there basking in the light.

As I poured every ounce of will into moving again towards my home, the green light seemed to elongate and twist, forming grotesque shadows that danced along the pavement. Panic clawed at the edges of my consciousness, and I forced a step forward. The once-friendly glow now felt like a malevolent force, guiding me into a trap.

The shadows coalesced into…something—a grotesque figure with elongated fingers that reached out like the tendrils. The streetlamp seemed to come alive as if it was actually some sort of creature waiting for prey. It couldn’t be true. I was confident until I smelled the tang of rust and felt its fingers start tangling in my hair.

With a scream of desperation inside, the spell that I was held under broke. I ducked just in time to avoid the monstrous appendages grabbing hold of me. I broke into a cold sweat which coated my skin. I ran back as the green light seemed to twist to look at me, the hood of the lamp the creature’s face emitting that once peaceful glow.

I broke into a sprint, the echoes of my footsteps now accompanied by the nightmarish clatter of the pursuing creature. The thing had unfurled its long, sinewy legs from its body where it had been pretending to be a pole, leaning forward with claws snapping, desperately attempting to get a hold of me.

I ran. The silhouette loomed closer, its shadow from the green light the only clue was still behind me. Somehow, the street was empty and only the sound of my ragged breathing and the soft clang of metal as it galloped after me!

The chase continued through the labyrinth of empty streets since I lost track of home. I could feel its malevolence closing in, a predatory force hungry for its prey. My heart pounded in my chest, and fear clung to me like a suffocating shroud as I raced against the night and the monstrous creature that hunted me through the dimly lit streets. Every single time I thought I was ahead, the green would come around the corner, scan, and begin to barrel after me.

Gasping for breath, I sprinted into a large, open parking lot, hoping the labyrinth of cars would offer some cover. The stark, flickering fluorescent lights overhead created eerie shadows that played tricks on my senses, were there more?

I crouched between two cars, my chest heaving, and my eyes darting nervously around the desolate parking lot. The distant hum of the city seemed muffled, drowned out by the pounding of my heart in my ears. The green light filled the parking lot as It slowed down and began to search methodically. It moved ominously between the rows of cars, its glow flickering with malevolence.

I pressed myself against the cold metal of the car, desperate to keep a low profile. The monster's elongated limbs reached out, probing the air like a predatory insect, searching for any trace of my presence. Panic gripped me as I realized the enormity of my predicament – this creature was relentless, and the darkness seemed to amplify its insatiable desire to capture me.

The green light moved back and forth, casting grotesque shadows that danced across the asphalt. I held my breath, praying that the creature wouldn't sense me amidst the sea of parked cars. Each step it took echoed, reverberating through the empty expanse of the parking lot. Where the hell was everyone?

A guttural growl emanated from the monster, sending shivers down my spine. It was a sound that seemed to transcend the boundaries of the known, a primal call t that shouldn’t exist. I strained to control my breathing, terrified that even the slightest noise might betray my location.

The green light hovered dangerously close, its sickly glow revealing the twisted contours of the streetlamp monster. As it came within inches of my hiding spot, I held my breath and hoped it could not hear my heart.

Summoning every ounce of courage, I waited for the opportune moment. As the creature turned away, I seized the chance to slip away, darting between cars like a phantom in the night. My footsteps were silent, but the asphalt seemed to groan beneath the weight of my fear. I knew I could not have been fully silent as the green light seemed to flicker as its head shot back and forth looking and trying to figure out where the soft noise was coming from. I knew if I could get out and around the corner where the walls would block its view, I would have a chance.

I found a break in the rows of cars and sprinted towards the edge of the parking lot. The green light followed, casting long, haunting shadows as it continued its pursuit. The open expanse stretched before me, and to my relief the street had come alive with people who had been exiting the bars. I made a desperate dive towards a group of people meandering past the lot.

Breathless and trembling, I stumbled into the midst of unsuspecting pedestrians. I knew they looked at me confused but all I cared about was that light. I looked and only caught a sign of it on the opposite side of the block retreating into the dark, the green slowly vanishing against the black night. I merged with the group and stayed, and they didn’t protest. I think the fear in my eyes told them something was up, but they weren’t interested in finding out what. I had kept casting furtive glances over my shoulder to ensure the creature had abandoned its chase and saw no sign of it. The last thing I heard about it was a strange warbling wail of frustration that could have easily been mistaken for the Amtrak passing by.

Arriving home, I fumbled for my keys with trembling hands. The safety of my apartment brought only partial relief, for the echoes of the nightmarish chase still reverberated in my mind. I locked the door behind me, leaning against it as if to barricade myself from the horrors that lurked outside.

I quit that morning and moved. I didn’t alert the landlord or even give a reason to either. I told my mother I was coming home because “things happened” and fled. I don’t know if anyone will believe me but if you see a green light, please, please be careful.

— © Jonathan J. Snyder, All rights Reserved Like what you read and want to buy me a cup of coffee?