Please read desc, it is the preface!
I slept easy unlike my friends. I continued my life as normal, leaving my car without looking into the bushes or running inside like a fool.
Not to mention, I was almost certain if my grandfather noticed a wholly not inconspicuous group of kids outside would, at the least, end in a call to the police.
Or, more interestingly, the old hunting rifle would come out for a spin. Either way, I shut the blinds of my window without peering about suspiciously.
See, my bedroom is hidden by trees but you have to pass it to get to the front door.
So when people ding-dong-ditch, I can hear them through the wall and because this “game” is so popular at my place, it’s rather irksome. Maybe that explains my loathing of WA.
Why would people wish this upon themselves? Flicking off the lights, I crawled into bed, spent more time than I should have listening to music and finally settled in for the night.
It wasn’t until I was at the hazy brink of sleep and waking that I heard a quiet thunk on my wall. The noise didn’t quite register, I was as good as asleep when a louder thunk sounded.
The cat curled on my chest tensed up, ears alert. Opening my eyes, I tried to discern what woke me.
Had it been a dream? Then why was Orion staring at the wall behind me? Picking up the cat, my feet hit the floor and I wandered out.
After the incessant pranking by a group of local middle school losers, I was more than willing to yell at them again.
As I exited the hall, the flat screen above the fireplace buzzed with static. A low snoring filled the room. Grandpa fell asleep in front of the TV again. His dog perked up and started growling.
Yup, everything was normal. About to turn into the entryway, I grimaced at the freezing cold of the stone tile beneath bare feet. Ring. My fingers twitched, eyes fixating on the door.
It was mainly glass and thus easy to see through. The figure behind it was obscured by the dark- the lights outside had burned out and we had been too lazy to fix it.
I, however, was in plain view, illuminated by the glow of the living room Was there someone out there? Had they run away? Surely they ran. Like always. Then why was- I swore that someone…*ring*.
It’s funny, how when we’re young we hide under the covers and think that makes us invisible. So did I feel, that if I didn’t move, they couldn’t see me.
See, I haven’t told you yet, that I spend much too much time on the horror-side of the internet.
What if it was one of those “help, I am hurt and in need of assistance, let me in” ones? Everyone was asleep. It had to be somewhere around midnight. There was movement.
I prayed they were leaving. A curled hand rapped on the glass twice. Each increased the intensity with which my heart thudded against my chest cavity.
Why weren’t they speaking? If only my dry mouth could open enough to yell “Go away!” It was the small yapping dog that saved me.
Even weighed down by old age and far too many doggie treats, the greying mutt trotted past as quickly as its arthritic legs could.
The form behind the glass lowered its hand as the dog started to howl and woof- it was frighteningly sort of comedic.
With some sort of courage instilled by having a 15-pound dog at my side, I moved forward and picked up a heavy umbrella from against the wall.
Closer now, I could make out a dark hoodie and jeans. They turned and ran. The dog didn’t stop howling until it began to cough and wheeze.
Then it satisfied itself by laying down at the door like a proper guard dog.
Setting the umbrella down, I checked the lock and deadbolted the door before fleeing the area. Some courage I had. The senior citizen mongrel did better. The snoring and static continued.
Eyeing the glass door to the back patio, the encounter was reason enough to check this lock also. With that, I moved back to my room.
Should I bother waking my parents? We had enough off these pranks before.
And maybe someone thought I was a part of WA? After pacing about my room in the dark, my paranoia grew, that somehow, they could see me through the cracks in the blinds.
What if they’re still out there? What if they break in? Should I stay up? Exhaustion winning over any sort of logic I had in the night, I scratched Orion’s head until my eyelids grew too heavy.
The next morning, I mentioned it to my parents. They were now considering getting a big dog more seriously.
We already shoveled out the money for a nice security system and talked to the parents of the loser gang to keep their kids away from us.
I should mention they like to trash our front yard when we don’t answer. My mother had lost quite a few pots and plants by now.
Yet the parents relentlessly insisted their angel kids didn’t do it.
Going to school, I asked a few friends if there had been any talk about me in their game, if my address had been released.
No one heard anything and after a lunch of exasperated story-telling, the fear had fully worn off. My mother changed the lights outside and we left it on that night.
Nothing happened for a few weeks. I had nearly forgotten the incident. Out in the garage, there’s a window. It is parallel the wall of my room.
It’s not a very big window by any means and I had my back to it as I inflated the tires of my bike. Tomorrow was the weekend and I planned to get up early and go out to the trails nearby.
Since I enjoyed proving I could get about in the dark, I hadn’t bothered to turn on the lights. That’s what makes this so much worse. Tapping.
My body froze as I tried to think what that could be. First thought was that someone was in the dark with me.
Then as I slowly turned to see a dim form lit by the new lights outside in the window. I felt a scream die in my throat.
Tap, tap. Tap, tap. Maybe he couldn’t see me. Maybe he was just bluffing. Tap, tap. Tap, tap. That’s stupid, how could he be bluffing? There is no way he knows I’m here. Tap, tap.
Unless they’ve been watching since I came in here. But there aren’t windows out here. Tap, tap. How did they know? Tap, tap. What the hell were they tapping with? Tap, tap.
Fear spurring some idiotic form of bravery, I screamed, “Go the hell away!” with some added cursing, to show I was a big shot. The form tilted their head and stopped.
Then they held up a slip of paper, dropped it, and walked away.
It took a moment before I ran through the house, ignoring the worried calls of “What’s happening?” and “Are you alright?
” Picking up my phone with adrenaline coursing, I found my hands to be shaking as I held it up, “Hello, 911?” Seven far too long minutes later, the police came to the rescue.
After searching awhile and finding nothing, I asked if they saw a note. They shook their heads. That night, I sat up with Orion. The cat’s warmth was little comfort.
My parents were angry but wrote it off easily as a bad prank.
The next day, the light of the sun emboldened me enough to do my own investigation. Peering into the garage window, I truly didn't want to believe I had a stalker. I started to pace outside.
Passing my window, a flash of white caught my eye. Hand darting forward, I plucked it from between the window and window frame. This was so obvious! Right in plain sight.
Which meant…they came back, didn’t it? They waited and came back and were right outside my window while I sat there. Taking a breath, I gazed about.
There was a rustling in the trees outside of my room. I ran. Yes, it was most likely a bird or squirrel but this discovery was enough to frighten me. I was such a child back then.
As I write this now, I sit in my new apartment. After senior year ended, I went to college, even got a master’s degree. What in and what I do now doesn’t really matter.
My grandpa and his mutt have since passed- they just found the dog dead one night, and my parents have since moved into a smaller home.
The first letter I will tell you now to the best of my ability. It went something like this:
“Found you! Bet you’re surprised. It wasn’t too hard, your friend posted about going over to your house so I followed her. I thought I would play this game like your friends. It’s been so long.
It’s nostalgic. I remember when I was young and fresh like you. Remember me? I wonder. You probably don’t. Popular kids like you don’t… we were friends once.
We talked about leaves changing colors. You were in first grade I believe. Oh, and can you get rid of that dog? I’m not a fan. Your kitty though, he just loves head scratches.”
I went away to college happily. I thought being two states over would dissuade him from following. I say him, it’s never been proven. Other than the dog dying, nothing happened since.
The vet said he ate something poisonous. Had he been angry at my leaving? Perhaps, I always thought. But that dog was also as dim as a shattered light bulb.
Anyway, my point in writing any of this? They always said I was paranoid. But now? I’m driving to the police station as soon as the sun rises. I left a message for my parents and my roommate.
I think I have to move again. It’s not fair to her. I’m rambling. My point is, be very careful. Don’t discredit a stalker. Don’t discredit your own intuition. Please. Listen to me.
I got this letter in the mail today with a lock of my cat’s hair. During college, I had to leave Orion at home. I was just about to pick him up and bring him here to live with me.
Now I’m terrified for my cat’s safety.
The letter: “Hello, darling. It’s been a while. I’m so proud. You graduated top of your class! Ah, and just yesterday we were kids.
Well, you were a kid to me, I’ve always thought myself the mature one in the relationship. Anyhoo, I’ve been thinking about stopping by. It’s been so long. You’ve made it hard.
Got rid of all your social media. But with all the paperwork for shipping our dear baby Orion, I found it! I think I’ll bring him for you.
I thought I would surprise you, but I don’t want you to worry when your parents call you to say he’s gone. It’s just me. Don’t worry, my dear, everything’s just fine. See you soon. I love you.”
This is my first short story. It was super difficult to cut down my word count and step out of my comfort zone. Please leave feedback! (it is fiction but do be wary of suspicious happenings)