The door wouldn't budge. Desperate, she pounded on it. Peering down the empty alleyway, she was doubtful anyone would be coming by soon. It was late and the shops had been closed for hours. Outside the phone box, the night was still.
She rooted in her purse for a coin and came up empty-handed. "Figures," she murmured. She could call 999. But this hardly ranked as an emergency, the door to the phone box was merely stuck. She pushed on it again to no avail. An icy breeze slipped through the cracks, chilling her to the core. Her breath plumed in the night air.
Pressing against the glass, she tried to see where the music was coming from. Maybe a car or someone's iPhone? "Hello?" she called. Thank God. I thought I'd be trapped here all night.
The movement began far at the end of the dark alleyway. Mere glimpses at first; the curl of a fingertip and the flash of pale skin. But slowly, the movement coagulated into something tangible. A form emerged from the darkness like a moth from its cocoon, followed by another, and another. Moving in slow motion, they drifted with the music in an unspoken unity.
Bare feet skimmed over puddles of rain, leaving not a trace. Vestiges of cloaks, tattered like spiderwebs, clung to what was left of their ghostly bodies. The music increased in tempo. The procession danced in joyless abandon as they continued past her, their faces contorted in sadness and despair.
"What the hell?" she murmured.
A tall, shadowed figure trailed in their wake. Gently guiding those that strayed off the path, he seemed to be herding them towards their destination.
She backed up as far as she could inside the phone box. Hoping the door remained stuck, she jammed it shut with her foot. He didn't seem to notice her, at least she didn't think he did. The others continued in their unearthly procession. The icy breeze continued to blow through the cracks of the phone box, bringing with it the smell of stone, decay and ashes.
The tall figure's stride was seemingly pensive. Shadows curled around his feet like smoke. His cloak dragged behind him with a tangible heaviness. Walking past the phone box, he kept his distance.
She was about to breathe a sigh of relief...when he suddenly turned to face her.