Gretchen's Shade

Nicole Martinelli

She feels thin. Stretched and wrung out like a sponge. A trick, that exam had been a trick and a cheat and she is quite certain she had misinterpreted at least three of the questions - thought too long on them.
Brows cinched in anxiety, eyes following along the familiar sidewalk, Gretchen absentmindedly attempts to sidestep a man insisting on sharing the path with her.
" A girl as lovely as you shouldn't be walking home alone like this - I'd be happy to walk you home," the man says. His eyes, they seem to glitter in the yellow streetlight. Her neck prickles with unease - no, not unease. Something closer to excitement.
"I'm not a girl. I'm not lovely - and I'm quite capable of getting home on my own."
"It is rather dark. I don't think I'd mind the company."