Jan 14, 2021

Fiction Crime Suspense

By the time work lets out, dusk has already descended on the city. The hazy shadows slip between narrow alleyways and under the awnings of buildings. Flooding the streets with dusty darkness.


I speed up my pace as I hurry to catch my bus home on time. It is seven in the evening by now, definitely later than I expected to stay at the office. I always found the streets unnerving in the dark, like any number of things could pop out in front of me as I turn a street corner. 


I pick up my phone and dial Elias, my long-time roommate, and best friend. As it rings an upbeat tune, I prepare a list of reasons why I’ll be getting home so late. 


The coffee machine was broken today so my energy level is dangerously low. My pencil broke three times while I was trying to fill out the paperwork. My computer was so glitchy today, it barely worked.


 Elias will no doubt be anxious about my absence.


“Hello? Nadia?”


“Hey, Elias,” I sigh into the phone, relieved to hear the sound of his voice.


“Where have you been? You said you would be home by five. You couldn’t have called, texted, anything?”


“I’m sorry, really. I didn’t mean to make you worry. Work was just… hectic today.” I tell him. 


“It’s fine, I just worry with you out alone so late. The streets aren’t safe after dark,” he warns me, the same line he’s repeated a thousand times before. The streets aren’t safe after dark.


I was always afraid of the crime stories that would blare out of the television when I watched the news. If someone asked me what my greatest fear was, I would reply without hesitation. Murder. 


“Nadi, are you listening?” Elias’s voice snaps me out of my thoughts.


“Sorry. I got a little distracted, that’s all. What were you saying?” I ask him. 


As I pass a closed cafe, I catch sight of a moving reflection on the window. That’s strange. Usually, the streets are empty by this time of night. I stare at the glass, taking in the figure. He wears a black hoodie shading his face and he watches me intently as I walk. He follows behind me, mirroring my pace.


I stop, experimentally, and his reflection does the same. He pulls at a flyer stapled to a powerline post. Pretending to be interested in the paper announcing dance recitals at the local studio. I don’t dare turn around. It’s best not to acknowledge this stranger, right?


“I was saying, you’ve been so busy with the internship. I’ve barely seen you lately. Let’s hangout, we can order Chinese takeout and watch something boring. You can narrator the characters and make them say silly things like you always do. That always made me laugh.” Elias answers, oblivious to the situation I’m in. 


I pass six more buildings, then peek at the side-view mirror on a car. The same hooded man stands on the sidewalk behind me, his dark eyes focused on me. Am I just imagining it, or has he gained on me since I last looked?


It ends up being a split-second decision, one driven by the panic of the moment. 


I don’t have many options. I could continue on my way, completely disregarding the stranger trailing me. But how long before he confronts me? What will I do then?


I can’t tell Elias out loud, my voice is sure to carry on the deserted streets. The stranger will hear me calling for help and grab me before I can even try to run.


“You’re being tailgated again?” I keep my voice light and casual, burying the fear deep within. I plead with him inside my mind. Please understand, Elias. 


If this man takes me, there will be no witnesses. But if Elias knows what happened, maybe they could save me. Maybe I’ll even be granted a last goodbye. At least someone will know what happened to me. The girl that mysteriously went missing one night.


“Wait, what? No, I asked if you wanted to watch a movie tonight.”


“Ugh, I hate when that happens. Just ignore the black van behind you. Don’t let the driver intimidate you, no matter how much they’re closing in.”


Black van, the kind that snatches people and hides them behind the dark, tinted windows. Never to be seen again. Understand now?


“The black van? What?” the alarm is now clear in his voice, “Who’s closing in, Nadi?”


“No one good,” I tell him, hoping he can hear the underlying panic beneath my cover of carefree casualness.  


The silence is piercing as he tries to puzzle through my words. He’s my last chance at getting help. Please understand.


“Drive safe. Some bad weather seems to be headed this way. It’s not like we didn’t expect it, though, the storm is long overdue.”


You always warned me this would happen. I should’ve listened to you. Please forgive me. When you hear what happened don’t hate me for the loss I caused you. Promise? 


But that isn’t a promise you could ever keep. 


“The storm? You’re not making any sense. Are you okay, Nadi?” I hate how terrified he sounds, almost as terrified as I am.


“No, but I trust you. You’ve always been my best friend, we always understood each other best.” 


“Of course. Can you just tell me what’s wrong? You’re really scaring me, Nadia.”


“I’m going to have to go soon. Something’s come up. You probably won’t be hearing from me for a while.” 


I don’t know how long ‘a while’ is going to be. I hope it isn’t long, but then again, it could be forever.


“No- wait. Nadi. Please tell me what’s going on.”


“Please understand,” I whisper into the phone and hang up the call. I don’t want him to listen to this part, the moment that could very well be the end of my existence. I don’t want him to hear me die, to feel completely powerless like that.


I concentrate on moving one foot forward then another. Keeping my shaky gaze fixed on the sidewalk in front of me. Never once do I dare to turn around. To face the hooded man. I savor every last second before the inevitable happens.


By now I can feel his presence barely a foot behind me. Making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I shiver with fright. I don’t turn around, though. I keep my eyes fixed straight forward.


The hooded man moves in closer and closer until I can feel his icy breath on my ears. Then, with a sudden movement very unlike the slow way he crept up on me, he clamps a rough hand over my mouth. I don’t scream. I whisper a silent prayer to anyone listening, Please find me, Elias.

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205 comments

Danny ~
04:52 Jan 14, 2021

wow, i- im speechless it looks like something i would read from a published book, like really, really~ professional AHHHHH how do you write sooo welll, this is soooo good, and it fit the prompt soooo well, omigosh mayaaaa , this storyy deservess a winnn cant wait to knowww what happens next!

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Maya Emerson
04:53 Jan 14, 2021

Thank you so much! I'm so touched, that means a lot! :))) Haha maybe I'll do a sequel. You write so well, too!!! :D

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Danny ~
04:57 Jan 14, 2021

not as well as youuu, ahhhhh i love thiss sooooo muchh. reedsy should put a "save" feature like reddit's, soo i could save storiess like theseeee

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Maya Emerson
04:59 Jan 14, 2021

Aww, you're so sweet! You definitely write so amazingly! I'll prove it to you. Why else do you think you got 78 likes on your first story? It was amazing!!! :)

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Danny ~
05:04 Jan 14, 2021

thank youuu, you're sooo nice, but askjhfkasjhfkjhaskdf, i neeeed moree stories from youuuu

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Danny ~
05:05 Jan 14, 2021

this is awesome and so are the rest of your storiesss

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Maya Emerson
05:05 Jan 14, 2021

I will write more! But you need to, too! Do you think you are going to write next week? (hopefully) :)

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Maya Emerson
04:30 Jan 14, 2021

Thanks for reading!!! I really appreciate it! I feel like I don't usually write stories like this, so I'm not sure how it is. Critique is always welcome! :)

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Riddhi S.
23:14 Jan 14, 2021

Hey, Maya!! How are you doing? Also, your scribble sessions seem funnnnn!!! :D

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Maya Emerson
23:15 Jan 14, 2021

Great! How are you? You can join in the game tomorrow if you want! We do it at 2:30 EST most days. It is fun! :D

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Riddhi S.
23:17 Jan 14, 2021

Ooh! One sec! I live in PST so let me check what time it should be...11:30!! Yes, I can make it :DDD

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Maya Emerson
23:19 Jan 14, 2021

Yay!!! It'll be so fun to have you play! So, what do you want to talk about? :)

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Riddhi S.
23:20 Jan 14, 2021

Hmm...I kinda want to add some stuff to my bio. It seems pretty plain rn. Do you have any ideas?

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Maya Emerson
23:27 Jan 14, 2021

Hmm... I love the star bullet points! Some things I've seen other people add are favorite books/authors, their harry potter house and other stuff like that, trivia, fun facts. Maybe one of those? :)

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Thrilling. Is there a second part in store?

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Maya Emerson
14:12 Jan 14, 2021

Thanks! I think I probably will do a second part, maybe from Elias's POV.

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Meg S 🌼🌊
13:31 Jan 14, 2021

CLIFFHANGER WHAT Noooooooo It was amazing. I loved the suspense-build up. Amazing job!!! -Meg

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Maya Emerson
14:13 Jan 14, 2021

Thank you so much, Meg!

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Nainika Gupta
13:17 Jan 14, 2021

🍓 🍓 🍓 🍓 🍓 🍓 sorry i love strawberried :D:D:D:D and ooooh REALLY GOOOD STORY OMG I LOVE IT AND ITS BEAUTIFUL WELL WRITTEN STORY OF THE WEEK IN MAH BIO :D:D:D

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Maya Emerson
14:10 Jan 14, 2021

Yay!!!!! OMG THANK YOU! THAT MEANS SO MUCH!!! <3 <3 <3

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Nainika Gupta
14:12 Jan 14, 2021

OF COURSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ♡ ♥💕❤😘

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Maya Emerson
14:14 Jan 14, 2021

:DDDDD

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Hope Reynolds
21:44 Jan 17, 2021

Hi Maya!! Here to give feedback to your story! It is a great topic, definitely not boring or cheesy. Nice nicknaming. I confess, if it were me I don't know if I would be having done if those thoughts, but then again maybe I could. It may have been hard for a person to be that creative, though, in the moment. Could go either way. But you have established her as a caring person. Great description and imagery, too. Other than the above-mentioned, I would critique these two parts: first, when she sees him following her in what seems to be the re...

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Maya Emerson
21:59 Jan 17, 2021

Thanks for the detailed feedback, Hope! I really appreciate it. :)

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Hope Reynolds
22:25 Jan 17, 2021

Of course!!

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Maya Emerson
22:41 Jan 17, 2021

:DDD

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Hope Reynolds
22:25 Jan 17, 2021

Of course!!

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20:52 Jan 15, 2021

Intense, like it. Not really sad though, I would say suspense or speculative because her fate is unknown.

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Maya Emerson
20:53 Jan 15, 2021

Good idea, I'll change that.

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13:18 Jan 14, 2021

whoa- what? No! That cant be the eendddddd:c The buildup to get to that cliffhanger spot was amazingggg!!!!! You could feel the fear Nadi and Elias were feeling! This was so good Maya!!!!

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Maya Emerson
14:11 Jan 14, 2021

Thank you so much, Luna!

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Frances Reine
13:17 Jan 14, 2021

I love a good story with incredible imagery. In other words, I love this story. I think something you did RLLY well was the paragraph size. They were easy on the eyes and not daunting to read at all.

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Maya Emerson
14:11 Jan 14, 2021

Thank you!

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Frances Reine
14:15 Jan 14, 2021

No problem :)

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Josh Gelb
22:16 Feb 05, 2021

Good stuff, Maya.

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Maya Emerson
16:18 Feb 06, 2021

Thank you, Josh!

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Amelie Averre
15:49 Feb 02, 2021

I am inspired to write books like this, (I have not written any stories on this website so far) have you got any tips?

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Maya Emerson
16:22 Feb 02, 2021

You should definitely write stories here on Reedsy! I think I would say to just go for it and write something, and not to be nervous about if it's good enough. I took a while to post my first story cause I was worried it was bad. The Reedsy community is really welcoming so you can always get great feedback on your stories. If you do decide to write something, I'll definitely read it and share it with people I know on the site if you want.

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Maya Emerson
16:29 Feb 02, 2021

Also, as far as the website works you can comment on stories to give feedback or talk with people, you can like stories to save them to your library, and you can follow people (when you follow people their new stories show up in your activity feed) To go to your activity feed you go to the "stories" page and there's a button on the top left side. Once you submit a story it shows up on your page so people can see it, then once the judges approve it it shows up on the main page under the prompt. You get one point for every like and ten when yo...

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Amelie Averre
15:47 Feb 02, 2021

I love mystery books, and if you wanted to, you could definitely make this into a published book!

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Maya Emerson
16:14 Feb 02, 2021

Thank you so much, Amelie. That mean a lot to me. I actually am turning it into a series on Reedsy, I wrote a second part of the series called "Hopeful Promises".

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Amelie Averre
15:46 Feb 02, 2021

This was AMAZING!

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Maya Emerson
16:14 Feb 02, 2021

Thank you!! :)

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Lillian Brooks
18:06 Jan 29, 2021

Wow, Maya. This was such a great display of storytelling, it's so amazing, I could really see it sitting in a bookstore. I love the interactions between characters because it was all so clever and I can't wait to read the second part! -lily

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Maya Emerson
18:09 Jan 29, 2021

Aww, thank you so much, Lily! You're so sweet. That means so much to me! :))) <3 I actually did the second part, it's called "Hopeful Promises". I honestly should put "part 2" in the title or something because as it is it's confusing. XD

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Lillian Brooks
18:25 Jan 29, 2021

Hahaha, maybe. You put it in the very beginning though so I think its fine. :D

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Maya Emerson
18:26 Jan 29, 2021

Okay. :D

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LOVE THIS!!!!! <33333 AMAZING STORY!!! Def want a part 3!!!

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Maya Emerson
23:13 Jan 27, 2021

Thank you! <3333333

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Kate wants to join.

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23:45 Jan 25, 2021

oh my god that cliffhanger- YOU NEED TO MAKE PART 2 NOW this is sooo goooooood I noticed you made a mistake here: “I’m sorry, really. I didn’t mean to make you worry. Work was just… hectic today.” I tell him. I know you know how to do that, so I think you just forgot :) IM WAITING FOR PART 2 AHHHHHHHH ~ Amethyst

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Maya Emerson
23:48 Jan 25, 2021

Thanks so much! XD I feel like I'm being super dumb right now, but what was the mistake? I think maybe I'm just not getting it, sorry!

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23:49 Jan 25, 2021

oh, it's just when a sentence within quotation marks end with a period, you replace it with a comma. you put a period instead of a comma so that's the mistake :)

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Maya Emerson
23:51 Jan 25, 2021

Oh, yeah, oops. Thanks for pointing that out. :)

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23:51 Jan 25, 2021

:D np!

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Maya Emerson
23:53 Jan 25, 2021

:D

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B. W.
04:14 Jan 22, 2021

new thread?

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Maya Emerson
04:32 Jan 22, 2021

Sure! How are you? Btw I posted my new collab. :)

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B. W.
08:38 Jan 22, 2021

Really? who'd ya do it with? and I guess I'm fine

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Maya Emerson
13:19 Jan 22, 2021

I did it with Danny Glipo (Pineapple Poppy). That's good. :) You excited for the new prompts to come out?

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B. W.
18:24 Jan 22, 2021

The prompts are out now, what do you think?

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Maya Emerson
18:30 Jan 22, 2021

Um, I like then pretty much. How about you?

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Danny ~
02:17 Jan 20, 2021

Hellooo, wanna finish the basic plot? Or is it already late where you live lol (just asking cause turns out the orientation was today sooo we won't have classes :p)

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Maya Emerson
02:20 Jan 20, 2021

Sure, it's not that late for me. :) Lol XD

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Danny ~
02:21 Jan 20, 2021

:DD

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Danny ~
03:21 Jan 19, 2021

Hellooo, how are youu? Hope your having a good night or day :)

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Maya Emerson
03:22 Jan 19, 2021

Hi!!! I'm great, how are you? :)

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Maya Emerson
03:22 Jan 19, 2021

By the way, it's still me I just changed my name for fun.

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Danny ~
03:24 Jan 19, 2021

Yeahh lol, I read your bio. I was confused for a moment

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Maya Emerson
03:25 Jan 19, 2021

Lol you should do it too cause lots of people have fruit names now. :D

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Danny ~
03:27 Jan 19, 2021

Hmm, what would be a good fruit to name myself with?

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Maya Emerson
03:28 Jan 19, 2021

Umm... pineapple, peach, blueberry, watermelon, mango :D

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