“Don’t look back, stop being stupid,” Alana whispered to herself as if that would make the moment more reassuring. Except she was terrified. Utterly terrified.
Her steps were speeding up as were those of the tall, slim figure behind. She broke into an almost run and so did the silhouette following her.
“He’s not following me, it is just a coincidence,” she repeated aloud.
She knew that he was. She knew that this was not a moment of chance. Her gut was telling her so and since leaving her friend’s house, she had been watching the streets very closely.
He must have known she left at the same time each night. He must have researched her, worked out how regimental she was to routine. He must have waited for the clocks to go back before beginning his mission, whatever that was. To scare her? He was doing a good job of that. What did he want? How did she know that he was male?
She edged her neck around realising that it would have looked less obvious if her movement had been faster, but she was too afraid for subtlety. The figure was still following her and speeding up accordingly to match her pace.
Her heart was racing and her legs felt numb. The cold air was biting the ends of her fingers and toes, but the rest of her body was overheating in fear. She wished she had taken her friend up on that drink she offered her. Maybe it would have relaxed her a bit, calmed her nerves.
Each time she reached a streetlight, which wasn’t often, she felt a bit safer. The figure vanished momentarily every time. She didn’t know where. Then, in the darkness, it reappeared as if it wasn’t actually there.
She knew that the alleyway would mark a long period of low glowing light so she hoped that the figure would change direction. Just before leaving the darkness it was so close to her that she could almost hear the breath. She picked up pace. She reached the light.
Scared to turn back she looked forward and ran. She ran until she reached the group of houses before hers. Feeling surrounded by safety, she built up some courage to turn. There it was. At the top of the road, standing. Still. Staring down at her, panting hard.
What was his intention. What did he want from her? If he really wanted to catch her then surely, he could have, she isn’t the fastest runner.
She turned her gaze forward again and stopped a moment to catch her breath. She didn’t want her mother to ask questions.
Feeling ready to resume her journey home she caught sight of the door to her house.
‘Hello, Katie. It’s been too long.’
The figure that had been so frightening behind her was terrifyingly in front.
She froze unable to consider what to do next.