Ray opened the door to the restaurant, and he and Jillian stepped out into the cold.
“That was so good,” Jillian said, hanging on Ray’s arm as they walked down the sidewalk.
“Definitely, but we’ll have to get second jobs to pay for it.”
Jillian rolled her eyes and playfully swiped at Ray. “Whatever, cheapskate. No expense is too great when celebrating our anniversary.”
“Yeah.” Ray smiled and his mind drifted off to when they had first met. Jillian snapped him out of his daydream, shivering.
“It’s freezing out. Where did we park again?”
“One block down and two blocks left,” Ray said, looking at his parking app. They passed a narrow alleyway. “Let’s cut through here,” Jillian said.
Ray looked down the alley, which was so dark he could barely see anything. “I don’t know. Isn’t that how people get murdered?” Ray said, unable to keep the grin from his face.
“That’s so cliché. Come on, it’ll be fine.”
Ray followed Jillian into the alley, and Ray’s eyes began adjusting to the darkness. In the corner, where the backs of two buildings met, he thought he saw movement. It wasn’t much, just the reflection of what little light there was from something metallic. Probably the dark playing tricks on me, he thought.
Jillian was almost through the other end of the alley when he heard what sounded like a splash behind him, like the sound made by someone stepping in a puddle. He turned and saw a darkened figure. The figure had a knife, with a blade glowing white from reflected light as they swung it at Ray.
“Jillian, run!” Ray shouted. He raised his hands, catching the arm holding the knife and stopping the knife an inch from his face. Ray shoved the attacker’s arm to the side and tackled them while they were trying to recover their balance. He straddled the figure (a man, based on the features) and struggled to get the knife away from him. The man pushed Ray off him, sending Ray stumbling into a pile of trash on the other side of the alley. The knife-wielding man stood over him, knife in hand. Ray could see a faint gleam of light reflecting off his teeth. Then he heard a dull thud. The killer’s eyes grew wide, and the life seemed to drain from his body as the knife fell out of his hand. Ray heard another thud, and his lifeless body crumpled to the ground. Jillian was behind where the killer was just standing, holding a length of rusty pipe. Her auburn hair was disheveled, and she was nearly hyperventilating.
“Oh my god,” she exclaimed, panting from the effort she just put forth and staring at the length of bloody pipe in her hand.
“Are you alright?” Ray asked, getting to his feet, and wrapping Jillian in his arms.
“Yeah,” she said as she dropped the pipe. “Let’s get out of this alley and call the police.”