Writing Exercises to Free My Mind

First Person POV:

I glanced up, and my body screamed in alarm. On the darkened path before me, a figure stood. I flipped on the flashlight, shining it at the shadow, but there was nothing in its place — only an empty path that cut through the sparse pine grove.

I sighed, calling my dog back to me. He hadn’t barked, and he usually behaved in a measured fashion whenever he was alarmed. I shook my head, clearing away the hallucination addling my nerves. I knew that was what it was. I could usually tell when another living soul was near me. It was a sixth sense that felt like electricity tickling down my back. I had not felt any of that, so naturally I concurred that it was more than likely an optical illusion surfacing from the depths of my overtired mind. Still, I didn’t want to continue any farther down the path.

I spun around, feeling securer with every step I took back toward civilization. I paused, glancing over my shoulder, and then called the dog back again. He was sniffing at the shadows, tail-wagging, like he always did when he greeted an old friend. But I could see nothing with the light. At least whatever ghost was haunting me meant no malice, or if it did, it had charmed the bite out of my guardian.

I flicked the flashlight off, allowing the moonlight to once again guide my footfalls. I really didn’t want to return to the confines of the four walls I called an apartment or the confines of my office. I just had a feeling, though, that if I turned around and continued on my customary loop that the hallucination that sparked my fear would become a full-blown reality.

— H. Danielle Crabtree