Wednesday 11 February 2009

SAFE by Vallon Jackson

Just one of them random thoughts that come now and again...


Maureen was street savvy enough to know that she was in danger.
She had been warned about walking home from the nightclub, dressed in her micro-skirt and boob tube. But all the other girls were the same: why should she go out dressed like Miss Jean Brodie? You’ll attract the wrong kind of men, her mother had scolded her, that’s why. Well, the wrong kind were the right kind in her estimation. She wouldn’t end up in a ditch like her mother warned, she’d end up having her night out paid for.
It had been a good night. Up until the point where she’d went down on her knees in the back alley behind the club. After that her beau had suddenly realised he had to be somewhere else – when he found out that she was only fifteen and not nineteen as he’d thought. The git hadn’t even sorted her some taxi money.
She set off walking. Grabbed a kebab full of crinkly salad and all that red hot stuff she hated. She left a trail of bits like Hansel and Gretel, though the trail wouldn’t lead her back to where she wanted to be.
To get home, she could go the long way round or she could cut through the housing schemes. Rough neighbourhood, or not, it cut out almost a mile. A mile less in high heels won her over.
But now she felt that she was being watched. She heard the occasional scuff of shoes as someone followed her. Caught sight of a shadow ducking into an alley when she glanced back.
She felt in her handbag for something to use as a weapon. Brush, lippy, Durex, not a whole lot more. She hadn't thought to bring her steel comb with the long handle before leaving home.Too busy supping her dad's stash of QC for that.
She’d seen a programme on TV about women’s self-defence. Aim for the vulnerable spots, she remembered. Well, she’d already done that once tonight, she giggled. Better advice was to not make a victim of herself. Walk tall and in command. Look like you mean business. Easier said than done with too many vodka’s on board. If you’re afraid, go to a house with the lights on. Knock on the door and ask for the occupants to call the police.
She heard a clatter, jumping in fright. Quickly looking around she was sure she saw someone slink back into the darkness.
She looked around. Where the hell was she anyway? Couldn’t remember the name of the road. Was it Cornwell or Crumble Street. Something like that!
There was a light on at number 25.
She walked quickly to the door, noticing a spade propped against the wall. The occupant looked like a keen gardener. Probably an older man or woman. SAFE.
Maureen knocked, heard movement from inside.
The woman who answered the door was frumpy. Dark pudding basin hair and round glasses.
“Help you?” she asked.
Maureen glanced back over her shoulder.
“There’s someone following me. Would it be okay to call the police for me?”
“Come in, come in,” said the woman. Moira saw that the house was a little shabby. Looked like there were kids inside. SAFE.
The woman ushered her into a living room and there was a dark, wavy-headed man sitting in front of a late night movie. “Fred,” said the woman. “This poor girl is being followed. Go out and see who’s hanging around while I phone the police.”
“Okay,” the man said, winking at Maureen. He had a jovial, almost comical look. A bit like a monkey. “But I wouldn’t bother phoning the police. It’s probably nothing. Just some of the local kids trying to frighten you.”
“Probably,” Maureen admitted.
“I’ll go and take a look. You just sit here and Rose will look after you.”
Rose smiled at her.
Lovely folk, Maureen thought. She didn’t care what people said about the estate, there were still nice people around. Especially here at...ah, that’s it! 25 Cromwell Street.


  1. Saw it coming, but not in that way. Good twist, Matt. An accurate portrayal of a teenage girl and a good build up of tension, too. As ever, enjoyed that.

  2. Go West?
    Not if she'd known who they were.
    Great short story

  3. Thanks guys. I was thinking of relaying my patio when I came up with that one.

  4. I didn't see it coming, which made it more enjoyable...

  5. Thanks Chris, I appreciate your feedback.