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My feet and legs are screaming as each step hits the mossy forest floor, "how much longer can I do this?" I worried. I leap over fallen trees and branches as my adrenaline courses through my veins, my lungs burning more and more in the harsh, cold, nighttime air. I hear heavy boots and labored breathing behind me. A loud bang echoes in the emptiness of the forest around me. "Please let him miss me, please let him miss me, please let him miss me" I begged God as I pleaded the sky with my eyes, I keep running faster and faster, I can no longer feel my legs, all I can feel is my forward momentum as I run for my life. I spot a crudely marked trail just a few feet ahead of me "Yes! A trail could mean civilization, hikers, someone could help me." I thought. I take what energy I have left and run the fastest I have ever run, my body buzzing with exhaustion and cortisol the barren dirt floor turns into pavement and suddenly I'm in a parking lot, I don't hear heavy boots behind me and for the first time in days I felt hope. I see a car at the very end of the parking lot with the interior lights on. I run to the car and bang on the windows, I scream "Please! Please he's got a gun and he's chasing me!" I wait for a response, and was hit with silence. The lights in the car turn off revealing my reflection and a large familiar masculine figure behind me in the car window, just as I regain my bearings, I hear a loud crack and intense pain radiates through my head, my vision turns silver around the edges, then red, then suddenly everything turns black.

I lay on a bed tied to a bed post with thick, braided rope. Feeling drugged or drunk or both, my mind starts racing, I survey my surroundings and just as panic starts to set in, I hear the words "Baby girl don't you miss me? Don't you know you'll never escape me?"

My familiar alarm tone shocks me out of my sleep, as it always does. It has to be that loud in order for it to actually be helpful. "Another nightmare, awesome" I thought. I let my heart rate return to normal and I rub the post-sleep haze out of my eyes just enough to be blinded by the intense sunlight streaming through my new bay window. "I bought those stupid blackout curtains for a reason, I swear I shut them last night." I thought. "Why can't I just be one of those people that feels energized in the morning?" I murmured softly. I begrudgingly roll out from underneath the covers and my feet thump against the hard-wood floor. I glance toward my calendar knowing full well what day it is. The first day of Spring, coincidentally the first day of my new job in my new town, "I have to do this, no more looking over my shoulder, life has to go on."

I pad across the floor to the bathroom where I see my own disapproving reflection in the mirror. My skin, it's normal rosy tint, my hair it's normal unruly light-brunette tousles. I meet my own gaze and wince at the dark circles under my hazel eyes. "I suppose moving to a new town in desperation of carrying on as normal after being stalked for 4 months isn't agreeing with me" I pondered. The sound of the default marimba ringtone on my new iPhone trills across the room. "I'm coming, I'm coming" I snipe. The screen reads "Mom" I tap on the green old fashioned phone icon and speak to my first person of the day "Hello?" I managed. "He-ey, just wanted to make sure you were awake". Her southern drawl broke the word hey into two song-like syllables. I fidgeted, "yes mom, thank you for the wake-up call I-" my next words were interrupted by my bathroom door slamming closed. My heart thrumming, I say "Mom hang on a minute". An all too familiar feeling washes over me, the feeling of "am I crazy or is he here?" a feeling I became far too acquainted with over the last few months. "No". "That isn't possible, he disappeared and I was very careful of not telling anyone of my whereabouts. The window is open, the wind blew the old door closed and that's all there is to it.

My focus comes back to center when I hear my mother shouting over the phone in an attempt to gain back my attention. As I shut the window I stammer "Hey I'm sorry about that, I left the faucet on" I lied, "no need to make her paranoid too." I reasoned to myself. Unconvinced my mother says, "okay well I suppose I will let you go, I don't want you to be late for work". "Thank you mother dear, I'll call you later with all the details of my new exciting life as a barista". We exchange "I love you's" and conclude our conversation.

I arrive at my job, my coworkers and managers were extremely welcoming and after a long day of cappuccinos, double shots and douches with laptops writing "their next big screen play" I return home, exhausted and for the first time in a long time I felt the warm hum of safety and excited for what's to come in my new town and new job. As I walk through the door, I notice my feet feel oddly cold and then realization struck, my feet were wet. "What the hell?" I said out loud, breaking the sound of the rhythmic babbling of my faucet in the bathroom. I slosh toward the sound and to my disbelief and horror, I realize the hot water was running and in the steam of the mirror were the words "You shouldn't lie to your mother babygirl".

April 04, 2020 03:49

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13 comments

Chandler Hileman
01:10 Apr 07, 2020

Like, genuinely cool. Would love to read a longer version of this with more context, characters, etc.

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01:34 Apr 07, 2020

Wait, really? Wow I'm so flattered.

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Chandler Hileman
01:09 Apr 07, 2020

Woah, this had me gripped from start to finish.

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Emily Harden
01:15 Apr 07, 2020

PLEASE do a continuation of this.

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01:36 Apr 07, 2020

I definitely will, this story actually stems from a real life experience.

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John Williams
01:23 Apr 07, 2020

I had my wife read this, and she said "Finally a story that tells you to listen to your mother".

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01:34 Apr 07, 2020

That is so funny, my mom said the exact same thing.

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Courtney Haynes
21:50 Apr 08, 2020

I'm racking my brain on something to critique the story about, but honestly I love it. I don't know if it's intentional, but they way you pack a lot of actions into one big paragraph, really heightens the tension. And when you have to, you do a great job of just expressing a whole lot in one quick sentence. I guess the only critique I can have is that it's just the beginning of a real good story. There doesn't seem to be time to form some character arc. I'm not an expert on flash fiction so I wouldn't know whether your story qualifies ...

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Cassie Pinasco
04:08 Apr 08, 2020

Love, also hey! My name is Cassandra too!

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04:58 Apr 08, 2020

Haha hey there! thanks!

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Cara Abshire
03:04 Apr 07, 2020

There are definitely some grammatical mistakes but overall this was exciting to read.

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03:14 Apr 07, 2020

Yeah, I absolutely agree. This was my first story on here and I'll admit I rushed to finish in time for the contest to end. Thank you so much for saying it was exciting to read as well as the constructive criticism.

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Cynthia Obinabo
22:10 Apr 09, 2020

Very well written! The suspense was real. The end unexpected but with a wry twist.

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