by Sarah Kirchner ’21
The man has been following me for months now. He’s everywhere I go, and I don’t know if I should be getting more
One morning, I tried to yell at him to leave me alone. I told him that I can’t fix what has happened, and he knows that. Of course he knows that, but instead of leaving me alone, he continues to haunt me. He waits for me by my window and watches. He’s waiting for me to slip up. I tell him it won’t happen anytime soon, but he doesn’t answer. He just watches me, because he knows he’s right.
I was over that night. The night that ruined it all. It was a night that ruptured everything about my life, and I have been forcing myself to forget it all since. Her face. Her blonde curls. The pink sweater. The glass and blood. I try to forget it all, and I had until he appeared.
“Hey Charlie!” My neighbor calls and waves from his driveway. He’s walking to his car to head to work as he always does, and I stand on my walkway getting the newspaper.
“Hi there!” I try to remain calm and act as if the man is not 10 feet behind me. Henry doesn’t see him, but he knows I do. It’s hard to miss me always looking over my shoulder and wincing whenever he appears in front of me. My eyes look to the shadowy bushes. He’s watching from behind, and my body quivers.
“It’s a cold one today!” Henry continues with the small talk.
Suddenly, my heart grows colder. I gasp and frosty mist follows my breath. The man walks by me and brushes my shoulder. My stomach lurches, and I hold it to calm myself down.
“It’s messing with my body,” I whisper to myself. Henry doesn’t hear me and looks at me as he opens his car door.
“You okay, Charlie?” He asks. His eyes are stern, and I know he just saw what happened to me.
“Just the cold air!” I say back to him. “My body isn’t used to it yet.” I try to laugh it off and appear fine, but I know that doesn’t register. My problems are too big to be ignored, and the truth is that the cold air has been messing with me since that horrible night long ago.
“It’ll get better,” Henry reassures me. I nod and give him a smile and a wave as he finally gets into his car.
The man keeps watching me from the street, and I grow colder with every stare he sends my way. Henry’s car rolls out of the driveway and onto the street. The man doesn’t move and the car drives right into him. I softly yell out, but he’s no longer there. Instead, the man is back by me on the front stoop. He’s dripping in blood and it’s staining the concrete. With every drip, my body twitches. The thick red blood seeps further across the stoop. My heart pulls again as I notice the gash stretching down his cheek. I touch my cheek and feel the scar that I have in the same place.
“How are you still alive?” I ask him, but he doesn’t answer. He vanishes without a word.
I run for my house. My mind races and everything begins to blur together. I have to get away from him. He’s ruining my life, and I can no longer handle his long stares and cold touch. I head for the bedroom and franticly pull out a duffle bag. He watches from the hall and my heart beats faster. Without even looking at my clothes, I throw things into my bag.
“Get out!” I scream. “Get out!” My body shakes, and I look down at my bag. Slowly, blood begins to appear on my clothes. Dark red blotches stain my entire bag. I let out another scream. Everything is ruined by his presence.
Frustrated, I throw my bag at the wall. The wall turns to a shade of red and the man emerges in front of me, still disheveled from the car accident. “Leave me alone!” I scream, for what felt like the 100th time. My voice feels hoarse. Screw it, I think and head for the front door again. I was going to get away from the man once and for all. I quickly swipe the keys from my kitchen table and run to the car. As I sprint, the entire house becomes splattered with what looks like blood. The thick liquid falls to the floor from the walls and ceiling. It discolors the hardwood floor and soaks into the furniture. From the stairs, I hear whispers. It’s him. He’s speaking for the first time, but I don’t stay to hear what he has to say.
I reach the car and fling myself into the drivers seat. My fingers stumble, as I turn the key and change gears. I look back to my house, the man is standing in the doorway. My house has become a dripping mess of blood. It looks like a slaughterhouse, and I am its victim. I floor the gas and peel out of the driveway in a panic. I’m going to escape from the man today; there is no other option.
As I drive, the sky turns dark. I blink again. It was light out a second ago. The sun was shining, but now it’s gone. The sky is black, and there doesn’t seem to be another soul on the road. I shrug away the thought and continue down the road. An empty road means I get away faster, and that’s what I need. I quickly turn down another street and step down harder on the gas.
It’s too late by the time I notice the car. My eyes trick me, and suddenly it’s light out again. It briefly blinds me, and that’s when it hits me in full force. The car flips sideway and I smack into the steering wheel. The windshield shatters and a shard of glass reopens the scar on my cheek. I scream out in pain, and that’s when I see him. He stands in front of the car as it continues to flip. Everything begins to slow down, and I can make out the scene more clearly.
She’s next to him. She’s next to me. Her blonde hair and pink sweater. She looks just how she did before we got into that car accident last autumn. My heart lurches at the sight of her. I was supposed to die that night. Not her. But tonight, I’m rewriting the past. I’m dying the way I was supposed to last year. Car mangled and me covered in blood.
The car flips one more time, and everything goes black.