Will Power
©1998 by sunstruck

          The hollow sounds of footsteps clicked on the wet Autumn pavement.  Almost in synch with the beat of her heart the footsteps increase in speed to match the rhythm created by the fear of the second set of feet following close behind. Clacking loud one moment then muffled by the wet fallen leaves which earlier in the day she admired for their turning beauty but now wishes in the dark they wouldn't hinder her hearing of where those closing-in footsteps were. 
        All she has in her hands is the small bag of snacks she'd purchased at the market. Squeezing the bag between her hands, she can hear the crunching of the potato chips she'd had a craving for but knew not to buy since it'd throw off her neverending diet. 
        "No willpower. You never did have any willpower", she grumbles at herself. 
        She stops squeezing the bag since she can't hear how far the menacing footsteps behind her have advanced. What should have been a pleasant evening walk has all the makings of a third rate horror movie. 
        "If, for once in your life, you'd follow through with something you wouldn't about to be murdered", she continues. "All you had to do was hop on the bike and pedal a couple of miles, but no. You wanted the junk food." 
        She squeezes the bag once more wishing it was the hand weights she should have been carrying on her power walks. Only five pounds each. Not enough to strain the muscles but enough to do some serious damage for perverts who creep up behind defenseless women. 
        "Dammit, if I had those I'd teach this cretin what he can and can't do", she growls under her breath. "I'd turn around and... and..." 
        She gives a scared squeek as the footsteps pick up speed behind her. She can hear them gaining on her. Going as fast as she can she finds it's no use. Her lungs are giving out. A pack a day habit of low tar cigarettes doesn't allow room for much needed air. Her muscles are turning to jelly due to lack of oxygen. 
        "Why didn't I do the arobics tapes Jack gave me for my birthday?", she whined. "He wanted to buy me that sexy negligee and I told him no. Buy me the tapes first then we can shop for erotic clothes together." 
        "Jack gave me his 'I know better' look", she whimpered. "I was going to prove him wrong wasn't I. Look at me now, Jack. I'm going to die but not as you thought. God, he's getting closer." 
        The footsteps were almost on top of her. She could hear the heavy breathing, feel it on her neck. Sweat dripped down her chest and sides dampening her clothes. 
        "Why, why, why didn't I excersize?", she cried to herself. "I could have out run him, fought him off. All I've got is this stupid bag of chips." 
        A tear trickled out of the corner of one eye as she hiccupped trying to catch her breath from overexerting herself. Screwing up her courage she turned around to face her attacker just as he caught up with her. A startled gasp escapes her mouth. Eyes widening she stumbles back. Hacking coughs almost bend her double. 
        A hand reaches out grasping ahold of her arm, steadying her. 
        "Careful, dearie", Mrs. Marshall cautioned. "You don't want to hurt yourself. You okay, Kim dear?" 
        Kim tries to moisten her dry mouth to answer her seventy year old next door neighbor. Her neighbor, who teaches senior fitness down at the 'Y'. 
        "Thanks, Mrs. Marshall", Kim tries to reply without letting her neighbor see what a nimrod she was. "Nice night for a walk isn't it?" 
        "Always Kim. I like to take my daily walks at this time of night. So quiet and peaceful. Let's me do my thinking without all the distractions", Mrs. Marshall peppily responded. 
        "I should try that myself", Kim replied. "Maybe I should start tomorrow. Nothing like being inshape now is there?" 
        "No, nothing like it", Mrs. Marshall agreed. "I must be off to finish my walk, Kim. Now, you be careful. Watch your step." 
        "I will. I think I'll head on home myself", Kim said. 
        Kim watched her neighbor build up speed into a powerwalk wearing her spritely tracksuit and carrying... 
        Kim slowly resumed her walk home contemplating tonights events. As she thought about what almost could have happened, Kim opened up the bag of crushed chips and starting munching. 
        "Boy", Kim thought, "a good fright sure makes me hungry." 

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