THE LURKER |

Man in the Woods

    Something, someone, was staring at me from the edge of the woods. I could see it. I could feel it, really. That cold, unrelenting stare. 

    It, he, was far enough away that I could never make out any clear details. That made it even more unsettling, never really seeing what it looked like. 

    It would stand there for hours. Never once did it look away. The first few times I saw it, I thought it was just my imagination. It just lookedlike someone standing there. Probably just an oddly shaped tree trunk or something. 

    I was wrong though. It was definitely a person. 

    He wasn’t always there. Sometimes it was weeks before he reappeared. Still, I was always surprised to see him. And more than a little terrified. 

    I could have sworn he was getting closer lately... 

    Months ago, I looked away from the window for a second. I could still feel his icy stare. Self consciously, I glanced back out the window and back to what I was doing. My eyes snapped back out the window. 

    Did...did he just wave at me? 

    But he was completely gone. He would stay gone for months. I started to believe he was gone for good. I should have known better. I’m not that lucky. 

    I’ve seen him every day over the past week. Even when I’m not at home, he’s lurking nearby. 

    And every day, he gets a little bit closer. 

    Sometimes he waves at me. I don’t know what to make of it or if it’s all just in my head. Either way, I just want it to stop. I want him to go away. 

    Today, he’s standing in the middle of my back yard. He’s almost clear enough for me to see his face. I can make out dark eyes, a nose, a mouth. None of them very defined, though. It’s like there’s a filter over his face -- just enough to make him unrecognizable under his dark hood. 

    He waves as I stare at him. I want to tell him to go away, but I know he won’t listen. It’s a waste of time to even try. 

    I turn to leave and push the lurker to the back of my mind. 

    But there he is, right in front of me. I try to scream but his hand is already over my mouth. 

    This is it. 

    This is my end.

The Lurker |

The Path

 

 

    Everyday, I take a walk along the same trail. It might not be very adventurous; but it’s relaxing, at least. The path winds through a little wooded area: green in the spring and summer, a mosaic of color in the fall.

 

    Lately, it hasn’t been so beautiful and relaxing, though. I feel eyes boring a hole into my back from the second I step foot on the trail. It’s unnerving. Constantly, I look over my shoulder. I don’t know what I’d do if I actually saw someone behind me. I’ve caught a glimpse of what I thought was a man in a black hoodie with his hand up, but I’ve always been too scared to turn my head back and get a better look. It’s probably just a tree, anyway.

    But...I can’t shake the feeling that he’s standing there, watching me.

    My walks have turned into more of a daily jog, sometimes a full out run. Everyday, I hope the feeling will be gone. That I won’t glimpse that hooded man over my shoulder or out of the corner of my eye. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m not ready to give up quite yet. I’m giving it one more chance.

    Today, I’ve decided to take my walk earlier. I’m hoping that the daylight will make a difference. It should help to calm my nerves, at the very least.

    I start walking slowly down the path. I can hear birds chirping in the trees. I don’t feel watched yet, but I’m sure I’m speaking too soon.

    Something snaps behind me. Just a twig, but it’s very close. I completely freeze. That so familiar feeling of terror settling into my stomach.

    Slowly, I turn my head to look over my shoulder. I nearly scream. There’s a man standing in the trees. His face is a blur, hidden under that familiar dark hood.

    He’s real...he’s really there. I can’t believe it.

    I stare at him for much longer than I should, but I can’t move. He doesn’t move an inch. For a second, I think he might not be as malicious as I imagined. Finally, I turn my head to continue my walk.

    Suddenly, he’s in front of  me. I have no time to scream. His blurry face is the last thing I see.

THE LURKER |

THE MAN IN MY APARTMENT

 

    I swear someone’s been watching me. I just moved into a new apartment so maybe it’s just my nerves. Hopefully, it will fade away once I get comfortable here. That can’t come soon enough.     

    The floorboards creak a lot -- and loudly. I didn’t realize how old this building was when I looked at the apartment. I’ve woken up a few times from what sounds like someone walking -- pacing -- through the hallway. The floor boards creak, creak, creaking with every step. Many nights, I’ve laid awake listening to the relentless pacing, but too afraid to get up and look. It has to just be my imagination. 

    More than once, I could have sworn I saw someone standing in the hallway. A man with his hood up, his face hidden. It’s always just a quick glance as I’m walking to another room. It feels like someone is staring at me. Staring holes right into my soul... Just my mind playing tricks on me, I’m sure. My brain is trying to explain the footsteps, that’s all. Or at least I thought that was all.

    I’ve felt the same stare almost every day since I moved in. I glance over my shoulder when I’m cooking. When I’m watching tv. Taking a shower is the worst, but I know that one’s not just me. I thought the feeling would have gone away by now. I’m not sure how much longer I can pretend that it’s just my mind messing with me....

    I’m huddled against the headboard of my bed right now. The creaking in the hall is unbearably loud. It sounds like there’s a party’s worth of people pacing in the hall. I can’t ignore it anymore. I can’t just brush it off. Something is here with me. I can feel it staring at me. I hope I’m going insane and this is all some crazy delusion. I’m so scared. 

    The creaking stops. My bedroom door swings open slowly. A man is standing there. His stare unrelenting, piercing, cold. So cold. His face is blurred, hidden under a hood, but I can feel that stare down to my soul. 

    He moves closer. Slowly. 

    I don’t know what to do. There’s no where to go. I’m too afraid to look away or even scream. I pull my covers up to my chin. 

    He’s right in front of me. 

    I can’t move. I can’t scream. My world goes black.