A siren cried softly in the distance, a solitary voice of sorrow in the still night. The man stood and listened until the cry fell to a moan and then to a whisper until it wasn't a sound anymore. Nothing moved in the yellow light that pooled beneath the lampposts lining the campus' pathways. A puff of chill wind blew out of the north and set the rope to creaking. The man stood and watched the black Chuck Taylor's sway in the air above him. The untied ends of one dirty, white shoe lace hung limply at eye level. A lace tip was unbound, the individual strands unraveling themselves to some unknown, solitary end.
The man looked at his watch. He yawned, and thought about the stack of term papers waiting for him on the leather blotter of his desk at home.
He would go, he thought. He could build a fire. He would open the bottle of Port that his wife had given him for his birthday.
He looked, once more, into the young face. Dirty blond hair draped pale cheeks and hung like the limp ends of the shoe's laces. After a time he shrugged, turned, and disappeared into the night.