Walking in the dark

So here I am, late at night, broken down car, no way to reach anyone, walking in the darkest dark on a Nebraska interstate, in the rain.

The rain is cold. I have no umbrella or coat. I'm already soaked to the bone.

I can only follow the road by the feel of it under my feet, often stumbling off the edge into the mud.

The rain suddenly stops. Silence falls so completely that I am disoriented for a moment. The sound of my muddy shoes on the blacktop becomes reassuring, reminding me that I'm not having a nightmare.

Or am I?

A noise off to my right. A rustling. A low growl. It is Nebraska, so it's probably a cow, left to graze. I walk on.

The same noise, ahead of me this time. And again, to my left. I stop. Again, behind me. Closer. Then further.

Then silence again.

I'm empty handed. It didn't occur to me to take a tire iron or something from my car, now more than a mile behind me.

I resume my walk, faster this time. Rain again.

Something brushes past my legs.

I had never felt so much fear that I was physically paralyzed, until now. I freeze in mid-step. My heart is racing. I want to run, but my body refuses to answer my mind. Frozen, in the darkness and the rain.