He walked into the night alone. He’d taken that journey countless times, but somehow it felt different this time. He couldn’t quite put his finger on why tonight might feel this way, but it was definitely a divergence in his mind. A cold shiver ran down his spine.
Pulling his collar up tightly around his neck, he put his head down and headed into the bracing wind. Leaves blew past him and swirled into the strangest patterns as they collided with the hedgerows. It was, he thought, a truly miserable evening.
About half way home he realized that the usual cheerfulness of the moon was missing. The road wound around, corner after corner. The blackness seemed to want to envelop him as the wind chilled his bones, with every breath tasting icy and unclean.
It wasn’t far now, he realized, until he would see the familiar lights of his home, welcoming him and making the journey worthwhile. The thought cheered him slightly and he quickened his pace. Soon he would see her and everything would be okay.
He reached into his pocket, feeling the house key nestled safely inside. He’d had the same key for three decades, and its worn edges felt like home. He smiled.
Lost in his reverie he almost didn’t see the commotion as he turned the last corner, but as he looked down his street he knew with certainty what had happened. In an instant he knew the true meaning of darkness.