One night I stayed late at work. I don't remember why, but I remember it was dark when I left. I walked briskly because the wind was a little cold. I passed the last corner where the crime-scene tape ended. I only had one more block to go before I reached the lot where we were allowed to park. A few cars passed on Broadway, but almost everyone was already home.
I remained vigilant, just as my parents always taught me. I knew a single female, no matter where she was, could be a target. But I wasn't scared. Until suddenly, about 20 yards up ahead of me, a man stood, blocking my path.
I didn't know how he got there. A brick building stood where he could have come out of a doorway, but there was no door. There was not any kind of alleyway or place where he could have hidden. Fear chilled my body. His eyes gleamed with menace even though he was smiling at me.
He wore a heavy, brown leather duster, and he flashed it open, as though he was showing me he had no weapons. He started to walk toward me. No one else was around. No car driving by. No people walking to their cars. Even the street lights around us seemed to dim, and I suddenly realized how black the night was.
I thought to myself, run! But I did nothing but stand still, frozen in my own shock, watching this man smile at me while feeling no warmth from him at all.
Then, like a flash, I saw another man. I thought, Where did he come from? There was still nothing but a brick wall ahead. He put his arms out, right on the other man's shoulders, and said quietly, "You don't want to do that," as he pushed the man to the wall.
All my primal survival instincts came back to me, and I ran. I darted out into the street, moving around the two men who were now just a blur as I passed them. Then I bolted back onto the sidewalk and ran all the way to the parking lot. But I had to turn. I had to see what was going on behind me. Just one glance, I told myself.
Out of breath, I stopped and looked back. There was nothing in that space but an empty sidewalk. The night had gone even quieter, like the air was holding its breath. My eyes darted to all the places they could've gone, but the only escape was across the street. And there was no one there.
I was too scared to investigate any further, so I went to my car. I sat there for a little bit, breathing hard, remembering that man's eyes. I never saw the face of the other man. His back was to me. But his voice was so calm. As I drove off into the night, I believed with every part of my being that I'd seen my very first angel.
What the other man was, who could know?
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