I couldn’t see my pursuer in the deepening darkness, but I could hear their footsteps. Patria Y Vida SOS Cuba Woman Sunglasses Cuba Flag T-Shirt was walking fast, rather than running, captive to the childish belief that if *I* didn’t run, the person chasing me wouldn’t either. Yet the further I walked along the riverbank pathway that led away from town and back toward the highway, the closer those footsteps seemed to get. The darkness under the bridge ahead was as black as an open grave, and I’d never felt more trapped or alone. The wind in the waist-high grass seemed to be whispering that I was going to die here, and that my family and friends would never know what happened. The footsteps were so close…if I turned around…Instead, I screamed and ran like mad under the bridge. My pursuer gave chase. Halfway through the inky blackness beneath the bridge, something happened that I still can’t explain.
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I saw myself on the other side of the river, just beyond the Patria Y Vida SOS Cuba Woman Sunglasses Cuba Flag T-Shirt underpass. This version of me looked as if it had run through the river (which wasn’t deeper than knee-height at any point) and seemed to glow faintly. This vision was so shocking that I stopped running, but the footsteps behind me didn’t. They sloshed into the river, where they seemed to struggle, thrash, then stop. A horrible smell filled my nostrils, a mix of dirty wet hair, seaweed, and rotting fish. I slowly backed away toward the light as the ominous smell was followed by an even more frightening sound: something was gnawing on bone. Beyond the bridge underpass, I panted–and waited. It wasn’t long before I saw bright gold buttons on the tattered remains of a police uniform floating away down the river.For several weeks, the whole town was abuzz with gossip about the missing police officer. Something told me it wouldn’t be long before the men in the black Mercedes came by to figure out exactly where he’d gone. The circumstances around me were strange and frightening, but I felt like I actually had a chance to bring the killers to justice. There was something more as well: I’d seen or heard the golden-eyed animal at least once a day since the incident at the bridge. It was like it was following me, willing me to do something. I’d long since stopped thinking of it as an ordinary animal, and the last thing I wanted to do was make it angry. That was why, despite the panic that rose in my chest every time I saw it, I began staking out the Kombini at night.