Plugged in to my headphones, music blasting in my ears, teeth gritted, I was focused on keeping upright, putting one foot in front of the other. I was walking along the Coronation Street style alleyway, conscious that despite the safety of the area it possibly wasn't the best idea to do so alone at dusk. Particularly not with headphones on. But doing it anyway.
I felt their presence before I heard them. I was sure there was someone coming up behind me. My right hip feeling as though it was on fire with acid hot pain I knew my gait was particularly poor but could only concentrate on keeping going.
The first time I looked over my shoulder I couldn't see anyone. I assumed my instincts were playing tricks on me and went back to concentrating on moving. Thinking about the chocolate reward at the end of it all.
So when I saw the two lads, faces obscured by their hoods I felt a moment of fear. I'd ignored my instincts that there had been someone there and my body was announcing how stupid that was with a rush of adrenaline.
Still unable to hear I fumbled with clumsy hands to pull out my headphones. The boys wearing hoods had passed me and were now turning round to face me. My heart plummeted.
Then, ever so politely a voice came from the closer of the hood wearing teenagers. And asked me if I was alright.