Walking home in the dark

Long listed for the WALKING HOME writing competition run in January & February 2022

It’s late at night. I’m walking home. Ahead, the twin clumps of gorse marking the track to our cottage. It will be black as pitch, but I have walked it times out of mind, in all weathers and at all hours. The door won’t be locked and the dogs won’t bark. They know my footstep. But wait – someone is walking ahead of me. What’s he doing here at this time of night? I don’t want to catch up with him. I slow down. He slows down. I feel my scalp tingle. I stop. He stops, swings round. ’Oh, Christ!’ he says, ‘Oh, it’s a woman!’ I see him clearly now. A soldier. ‘There’s no bloody street lights!’ he squeaks, ‘It’s so bloody dark! Is it far to the camp, do you know? ‘No,’ I say.’ Just keep straight on.’ ‘Ta,’ he says. He walks on, turns back. ‘You OK, Miss? Want me to walk with you?’ ‘I’m fine, thanks. I live here.’ ‘Bloody ‘ell,’ he mutters, before slouching off. I wait until he’s out of sight, slightly unnerved by this encounter with a stranger, although I’m pretty sure he won’t be following me down the track, into the darker dark of the overhanging trees.

Read more from the Long List of poems and stories submitted to the WALKING HOME writing competition. Watch winning authors reading their work on the video of the Write About Walking Home showcase event that took place on Sunday 25 September 2022.

Itching to write something yourself? Submit a piece to our Shorelines project, and invite your friends to read it aloud. Join one of our creative writing workshops or keep up to date with all our competitions by signing up to our curated newsletter here.

Purchase a copy of WALKING 2022 – an illustrated anthology of poems and stories on the theme of “Walking Home” for €4.99+p&p (see image to the left) or go for a bundle of WALKING 2022 AND WALKING 2021 – a similar illustrated anthology of poems and stories on the theme of “Walking and Listening”- a bumper package of 27 poems and stories and save €1.50 (see image to the right). Purchase from our Shop.

Bundle of two illustrated anthologies

Sandra Horn

Sandra Horn

Sandra Horn is an award-winning children’s author and poet. Her work has been published in anthologies and in literary magazines and on the WalkListenCreate website. Her poem Urban Beech Tree was shortlisted in the 2021 Urban Tree Festival and is in the ...


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