No Rest for the Watched

Submitted into Contest #182 in response to: Write a story where someone’s paranoia is justified.... view prompt

3 comments

High School Crime Horror

This story contains sensitive content

Warnings: Vague mention of rape, Animal cruelty, Stalking, and Police negligence.

I woke up to the sound of my alarm buzzing continuously. I groggily sit up to turn it off. Bane, my black cat, was already meowing loudly, for her food. I get up and go into the kitchen, making myself a cup of coffee. Stilts was running in circles around the couch, I wish to have that much energy this early. Then, I started to get the animals' food. Orange bowl with dog food for Stilts, red bowl with cat food for Bane, I put some food into the cage for my snake, Vivalda, and I begin getting ready for school. I grab my uniform, a dark gray sweater with a white button-down underneath it, a pale blue skirt, and black knee-high socks, with a pair of black dress shoes. They make it harder to run. I get my coffee from the coffee mug, adding a large amount of sugar and creamer. I grab an apple. I walk out and lock the door, checking thrice before getting in my car. I message my brother and tell him I’m leaving for school. I get no response, he doesn't wake up until 11 AM. 

I pull into the school parking lot and park at my designated spot. I look around for the person who is watching me but see no one. I shook it off. I enter the building via the side doors, the front doors aren’t open this early. I go towards the office to inform the women up there I am there. I don't tell them about my feelings, as they would only laugh it off, as they have been doing for the past three days. I go to my homeroom and wait for everyone to get there. It usually takes around an hour. I get out my phone, only to see an alert for murder against a girl in my grade. She looks similar to me. Am I next? It happened a couple of streets away from my house. I close the alert, not wanting any more things to worry about. I already am spooked about the serial killer going around, and to find out the victims match my appearance closely, is offputting. I then go into my messages to see my friends messaging good morning, and how their parents won’t wake up to give them a ride. I send good morning, not telling them I’m already at school. They are used to seeing me get here first, but they don’t know exactly how early I arrive. No one does and no one ever will. It keeps me safe.

I look up to see my teacher setting up for class. I tell him good morning, and he returns the greeting. I continue waiting for my classmates. I begin spinning the ring on my right index finger, as I feel watched, as usual. I ignore the feeling and grab my computer from my book bag, and log in. I opened up my school email. I found emails from the grading book, and I have A's again. I ignored them and opened up the email for the student council. We are having a meeting after school, and as Student Council President I have to remind the other members of what they need to bring and what time to get there. I look through the other emails, ignoring the ones from the office ladies telling me to be careful. I always am. 

My friends arrive around 7:30. I greet them and get back to school work. I dislike the feeling of missing work, even if it’s not due for weeks. Mary, one of my friends, is telling the others about how men on Snapchat keep sending her unsolicited messages, and images. I, once again, tell her to block them and to stop adding unknown men. She shrugs off my warning. Esme is going on about her perfect boyfriend and how he gave her candies today. I, then, remembered that today is Valentine’s Day. Esme dislikes chocolate so Kand always gets her gummies in heart shape. Iris then starts jokingly complaining about her single life. I tell her to give Shanga a chance. She laughs derisively going on about how he is a playboy and is only chasing her because he likes the challenge. I shrug and continue on with my English essay. My topic is societal norms, and how they affect today's generation. I could talk about this for hours. 

The day continues as usual. I grab a light lunch and go back to my classroom, instead of sitting in the cafeteria. The hairs on the back of my neck go up, feeling watched once again. I shake my head to get rid of the feeling, even if it stays, and continue with my science work. My classmates start to pile in after 25 minutes. My science teacher starts lecturing about the assignment for today. I put my headphones in and play some music since I’d already completed the assignment. I started working on math. I finish that upright as the bell rings. I start heading down to my psychology class. The human psyche always fascinates me.

After that, I went to band class. I’m a clarinet player. It is odd but it makes beautiful music when played correctly. Xavier is a baritone player. I've heard him mention a dolphin tattoo, I've never seen it, though. He always makes jokes, some are really creepy, so I give him a wide berth when possible. Esme is also in the band she's a trumpet. I never would've expected it from her. She seems more like a flute. Once that finishes I go to the last period of the day, math. 

After the bell rings, I head to my locker. As I'm putting in my combination I feel an intense cold chill. I look behind to see Xavier, heading in my direction. I sigh. He's done this for the past two years. He gets me chocolates every Valentine's Day even though I've told him repeatedly I don't see him that way. He always laughs and says something along the lines of I'll see him romantically one day. I doubt I will, he creeps me out a lot little bit.

At the end of the day, I head into the conference room, used for Student Council, and begin setting up. I lay out papers, detailing how I want to throw the formal for this year, and how we’re going to deal with costs. My secretary enters and starts setting up water and pencils. I leave for a minute to run up to the gas station and grab some food. I get back around 4. The meeting doesn't start until 4:30. I sit down at my seat and wait for the other members to get here. As everyone piles in and sits in their designated seats, I begin to explain the plan and how I expect it to run. There is little discourse allowing the meeting to end by 5:30. I head home. I get home around 5:50. I get ready for work, donning office attire. I head to my job. I arrive at 6:30. I am the PR department’s director’s assistant. Don, the director, leaves most of the work to me. I don’t mind. It allows everything to run smoothly. My shift ends around ten. I get home around 10:30.

I start a shower, after making sure the doors, every window, and cabinet is locked. I spent about 20 mins. I get my animals' food and go to bed, with Bane next to me, and Stilts at the end of my bed. I wake up to Stilts barking loudly. I slowly look down at him and try to shush him, still half asleep. I look at the clock. It’s barely 2 AM. I, then, realize that I can hear someone rummaging through the kitchen downstairs. I grab my phone, pepper spray, and taser, then head downstairs. I look into the kitchen. I see a man’s back. He slowly turns from the cabinet towards the fridge in my direction. As he turns, I start spraying pepper spray, getting ready to tase him so I could run. I realize, belatedly, the man is my brother, Odin. I don't know why he was named after a God. It felt really ironic as he's unlucky, as you see by the situation now. I start berating him for coming home so late whilst helping him get the pepper spray out of his eyes. He explains his friends got caught on a fence and he had to get them untangled. I huffed my annoyance at him and went back to bed, after grabbing some water. 

I woke up and life just hit the repeat button, exactly as the day before, minus the brother being stupid part. I got home at 10:30 again, but the door was unlocked. Mom doesn't get home from her trip for two more weeks. I don’t exactly have a dad. I was wary by this point. I messaged my brother and he confirmed he was still at work, as usual. I know I should call the police, but I’ve already called them thrice this week and it was supposedly me just forgetting to lock the door before leaving. But, I know I locked the door every day. I make sure to check at least twice, sometimes thrice. I grab my phone with 911 dialed and my pepper spray ready to be sprayed. I walk in to find my dog, Stilts, lying on the couch glaring upstairs. I walk over to him and realize he’s tied onto the couch and muzzled. I take photos for evidence to prove I’m not crazy and that this wasn’t a dream from my paranoia. I then untie him and de-muzzled him. Stilts has slight cuts in his snout from how tightly the muzzle was tied. He seems to realize how serious it is and stays quiet. I find Bane locked in her carrier, which I only use for vet visits. Vivalda was curled up defensively, a complete contrast to how she usually is splayed across her cage.

I press call on my phone, and then I’m taken through the usual motions, I tell the operator about the weird way I found my animals and my door. I tell them my address and they sigh, telling me they’ll be here in twenty to thirty minutes. I was shocked. I live five minutes out of town. It shouldn’t take that long. They should be more worried about all the murders happening to women my age happening around town! I realize I’ll have to do this myself. I slowly creep up my stairs. I look in my mom’s room. I see no one. I creep through the rooms similarly. I get to the last unchecked area, the bathroom. I open the door to find no one. I look in the shower, the bath, and the little storage closet. Nothing. I was confused. I check my watch it’s been twenty minutes, and the police should be getting here soon. I slowly turn on my sink to get some cold water on me to calm myself down. As I raise my head to look into the mirror, I see a dark silhouette. I open my mouth to scream, but I feel something hit my head and I’m out.

I wake up. I’m tied to my bed, spread eagle style. I look at my clock, it’s been forty minutes since I called the cops??!?!?!!? They should’ve already been here. A man in a ski mask slowly walks in. I belatedly realize my skirt is gone. As he gets closer I can feel my mind leaving. Everything that was happening felt as though I watching a show. The excruciating pain I felt was just an illusion. I was dreaming, I must have been. “Why would this happen to me? I mean, I’m good at school and I do my chores, and I always do the right thing, or I like to believe I do,” Was all I could think. “The torture is finally over,” I believe, as the man sits up and leaves. I realize he has a dolphin tattoo on his left back thigh, and a mole on his right calf. I catalog that information, for if, no when I survive this, I can tell the police. He comes back with a gun, I realize.

'I’m not surviving this am I?' I start to laugh hysterically. He seems confused. I start spewing the foulest language I never would have dreamed of thinking about. He gets infuriated as I start talking about his worm of a dick, and how I felt more air than his dick. He raises his gun and shoots me. It was supposed to hit my heart, I think, but he was stupid and it hit right below. At this point, I can distantly hear police cars. The man freaks out and tries to put on his clothes and leave quickly. He stupidly trips. I didn’t understand why I could still think coherently at this point. I think it was pure adrenaline. The police pile in, and he is arrested and exposed as Xavier, one of the kids in the Student Council. He was in my grade and about to graduate. He acted weird sometimes but I never would've expected this.

It’s been a month since the attack and the police found that he was the serial killer that kept killing women in our grade. I’m still in the hospital. I just can’t stop thinking that if the police listened to me and came even around the promised time I wouldn’t have been so cruelly violated. I can no longer walk because of complications, and the shot wound. Turns out he shot me twice, another one in my stomach after the first shot. I was too out of it to realize, though.

I find myself thinking was he murdering the other girls because they looked like me or was he just courting me to get a more accessible target? I feel extreme guilt since the former was most probable, as the murders happened after I rejected him for the third time. I find as much information about the other victims. I, now, visit each girl's grave once a month. On the anniversary I was attacked, on the 15th. I just always wonder if everyone heeded my warnings of feeling watched, and followed, none of this would have happened. If only people listened to me.

January 22, 2023 21:58

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3 comments

Wendy Kaminski
04:00 Jan 31, 2023

Wow, Jewleena! Excellent and very dark horror story. It was so creepy, by which I mean, very well done. :) Looks like the contest kicked in when you were in mid-edit - I've had that happen before! (The black-out lines) It was still a great story, and honestly at first I thought those were part of the plot, so it didn't really mess with the story. :) By the way, welcome to Reedsy! :)

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Jewleena Taylor
01:49 Feb 08, 2023

See, I put those there on purpose. ;) Glad to see you like it though.

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Wendy Kaminski
01:56 Feb 08, 2023

Ah ha! Well I thought that at first, but I didn't think the editor would leave them in... so ok then, my mistake! hah Like I said, they weren't distracting, and I will have to re-read now, knowing that it was purposeful! Great story. :)

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