102 comments

Mystery

3:11 PM



I'm sure it’s goin 2 be okay, Sarah. still, it doesn’t hurt 2 let someone know. just in case... 


call not connectin. don't know what's happenin with my signal.



3:45 PM



still not able 2 reach U. Grrr. I hate this. typin, walkin, lookin around. yeah, I'm not a multitaskin queen. I get it. LOL


did U see my email? call me



***





To: Sarah Marie John

From: Samah Marie John

Subject: Can't reach you on phone



Hey Sis!


I am sorry I kept ignoring your calls for weeks. Mom tried to call too. I saw all of your messages and I know you were really worried. There is a lot going on. 


I don't want to beat around the bush here. I’ve got news for you! Andrew is alive! The pompous, good for nothing ex-boyfriend of mine? Yes, exactly. And wasn’t he supposed to be dead? Yes to that too. But I swear it was him, Sarah. I saw him with my own eyes. 


It was two weeks ago. I had just closed up the coffee shop and put the keys in my bag. I turned around and there he was. Standing across the street and watching me with a smug smile. My heart skipped a beat. My knees were about to hit the asphalt and I immediately reached for the railing. He looked a bit different. Leaner. Tired. Was it really him? Would it be possible that he was some random guy who looked like Andrew? Like a doppelganger? Intuition was telling me that there was something else going on but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. The twinkle in his eyes. The knowing smile on his face. The jingle bells scarf around his neck. The scarf – I had seen it before. It looked like the one I gifted him last Christmas. You remember that, don’t you? You thought it was hideous. I thought the same too. Andrew wanted it. So I got him one. Looking back, you were right about him, Sarah. He was weird. And I was too blind to notice it. 


 I saw his legs moving and it looked like he was walking over to where I was standing. I froze, rooted to the spot. But then I saw him pulling the phone out of his jeans pocket and moving aside to answer an incoming call. Seizing the opportunity, I bolted for my car. 


By the time I reached home, I was shaking like a leaf. I threw the bag on the sofa, ran around my apartment shutting all the doors and windows. I hadn’t been this frightened since I was nine years old and got locked in the car. The sight of him standing there brought in a steady stream of memories, thoughts, feelings – none of them was pleasant. Andrew was dead. That’s what the policeman said on the phone. Andrew and three of his friends were involved in a bad skiing accident. There was an avalanche. And despite the vigorous search, their bodies were never found. When I was finished with the call I was relieved. Then I felt guilty for feeling relieved. 


Was he really that bad, Sarah? It was so easy for me to fall in love with him you know. I thought he was the perfect boyfriend material. The hard part came much later – staying in love. You and mom didn’t believe me when I said he wasn’t violent. It was true. He never was. Not physically at least. After the novelty wore off, he just became insufferable. Hopped from one temper tantrum to the other. He screamed. Said hateful things. But never raised his hand to me. Would it have changed had we continued to live together? *Shudders*


Somewhere along the journey, I stopped feeling anything for him. Not love. Not even indifference. But I stayed. I know his kind. I had to take it slow. I thought I would just act aloof around him and he would eventually get bored and break things off. But the silent treatment didn’t work. I continued to wait. And while he was on the skiing trip with his friends, I thought it over. I was ready to finally have the ‘talk’ with him when he came back. And then, the call came. Just like that, I was free.


So if someone says I should have shed a tear or two for my dead ex-boyfriend, I have a piece of advice for them. ‘Get yourself a nasty boyfriend and then we can talk about it.’


Seeing Andrew was definitely a shocker for me. But little did I know that time, it was only the start. Not sure when I started to feel like something odd was happening around me. Suddenly, Andrew was everywhere – the coffee shop, the church, the library. I would feel his eyes on me. My neck would stiffen and a tingling sensation would spread all over. I can’t really explain it you know. But it was there. I didn’t know whom to tell. Would someone have believed me? You know what, Sarah. Paranoia is fiction until you experience it yourself. 


I was fine when I was in the coffee shop. Working. Talking. Laughing. But it would change when I got back home. What I once thought was a cosy, little apartment started to suffocate me. I would enter my home, close the door softly and walk around carefully without making any sound even though I was the only person living here. The lights in my bedroom – they were turning dimmer day by day. The hallway to my apartment – it was looking narrower than usual. I would stay up all night waiting for morning to come so I could dress and leave home.


Last weekend when Amira asked me if I wanted to join her for a pizza, I didn’t think twice before saying ‘yes’. Amira and pizza – not my favourites. But I was desperate. I had a nice time with them though, Sarah. Sometimes this is all you need, give others a chance. Amira turned out to be a great company. The pizza wasn’t bad either. We ate. Drank. Gossiped. Bitched. I went to bed with a smile on my face. But when morning came, my mood was sour again. It was like, someone or something was out there deliberately trying to snatch the light from me. Turning my world to a dark, scary place. 


I know. I know. I could’ve. I should’ve. I know.


Hey! Do you still remember the small white brick house on the side of the river? The one with a rose garden in front? That’s where I am going to go now.


I have a confession to make, Sarah. I followed Andrew here. He was standing outside the coffee shop today, his eyes following every movement of mine. Don’t know what got to me when I saw him getting into his truck. I told Amira I had an emergency and took off after him. I stayed behind his truck, close enough to keep him in sight, but not too close to arousing any suspicion. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him heading towards the river. I simply gawked and stared while he parked the car by the riverside and walked towards the house. Do you remember my little obsession with that house when we were kids? I would always talk about how I wanted a house like that when I grew up, with a garden and fountain in front. And you would tell me that it looked like a Halloween prop, just to spite me.


But why would Andrew stay on this side of the town? And that too in an abandoned house like this? With a garden that looks like a jungle with all the weeds growing in between the rose beds and a dry fountain? Surely he can afford a Hilton or a Sheraton, right? 


What I am going to do might be the dumbest thing I have ever done in my life. And I might live to regret it. But it needs to be done. This has gone too far. It’s time I face him. It’s time I face my fears.


Call me when you see this email K?



Love you sis


Samah




***



4:09 PM



no signal again, Sarah. I think I've waited enough. i'm goin to go in now.



4:15 PM



there go all my childhood fantasies! the house is nothin like I've imagined it 2 be. U were right again. it does look like a cheap halloween prop. everythin creaks here. floor. door. creaks. squeaks.



4:21 PM



the air smells funny. mothballs, dust and somethin else. that’s not even the worst part. this place looks like it hasn’t seen water or a broom for decades. grime and mold everywhere. Yuck!



4:28 PM



the walls. look so crumbled. what if they collapse? OMG! It’s startin to creep me out, Sarah. in a horror movie kind of way. i hear alarm bells. gettin louder now. is it too late to turn back and run? but I've come this far. haven't I? I'm tired. of bein scared. of every noise. of my own shadow. of bein a victim. it’s time. to face my fear. to face it and be done with it.



4: 34 PM



hearin footsteps now, Sarah. is it too late to turn back and run? they are comin closer. call me. no. can you come? the small white brick house on the side of the river. with a rose garden and a fountain in the front. you know where it is, right?



4:41 PM



i'm sure it’s goin to be okay. still, it doesn’t hurt to let someone know. just in case… 


July 29, 2020 09:21

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102 comments

Roshna Rusiniya
19:19 Jul 30, 2020

Author's note - I have made some changes to the formatting to make it more believable as a conversation. But I haven't made any changes to the storyline. Thank you everyone for your valuable suggestions and inputs! :)

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Daniela Vaudrey
16:00 Jul 29, 2020

This is amazing! I love how it was written but like Joy said, it would help to have a difference between the texting and the thoughts

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Roshna Rusiniya
16:23 Jul 29, 2020

Hi Daniela, thanks for reading and commenting. Appreciate it. The whole story had only texting. I showed the breaking when she tried to call her sister. Then she was back to texting. Maybe I will edit that part to make it look less confusing.

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Daniela Vaudrey
16:39 Jul 29, 2020

Oh, ok. That makes sense

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Arya Preston
15:17 Jul 30, 2020

I always look forward to reading your stories, Roshna! Your writing is enthralling especially with the first and last sentences being the same. It creates such an eerie tone with the suspense!

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Roshna Rusiniya
15:21 Jul 30, 2020

Thanks Arya! I really appreciate your kind feedback! And thank you for taking reading and commenting on my stories. It means a lot. :) I am going to make some small formatting changes in the story. But I won’t do any changes to the storyline.

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Arya Preston
15:28 Jul 30, 2020

No problem! If you don't mind, please check out my story too!

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Roshna Rusiniya
15:29 Jul 30, 2020

I just did. :)

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D. Jaymz
05:34 Jul 30, 2020

Another excellent story. I like your writing. Your trademark bookending with the first and end sentences being almost the same gives the story a haunting effect, a rhythmic quality of foreshadowing, and coming back to it at the end. The last part, 'Just in case...' dovetails with your title smoothly. Well-done. The part that was masterful was the suspense you eked out of your words by varying the pace through short and long sentences that were strategically placed. I could feel the tension and fear of the main character. I really li...

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Roshna Rusiniya
19:29 Jul 30, 2020

Thank you so much for such a wonderful critique feedback! It was like attending a creative writing lesson. I am so touched by your kindness! I get the part about tense and grammar. I tend to make a lot of errors there. I am working on it. English is not my native language. I started writing stories in English last year only. So your feedback and suggestions mean a lot to me. I have corrected the grammar mistakes you mentioned. Regarding the format, what you said makes absolute sense. After reading your comments, I did some research ...

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D. Jaymz
01:03 Jul 31, 2020

Your English is great for the time you have been working with it. I never want to cramp your style. I've just offered suggestions that could narrow down any studies or research into writing craft that you may do (what to focus on). I hope it helps. As writers, we are all beginners with each new story. I know that's how it feels to me. I look forward to more of your stories.

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Roshna Rusiniya
01:20 Jul 31, 2020

All of your suggestions were extremely helpful and I am grateful to you for that. I followed your advice and made changes to the story without changing my basic style or the plot line😊 I look forward to reading your wonderful stories as well!

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23:55 Jul 29, 2020

I love the imagery and the suspense! Never a good sign when you don't have a signal! Very well constructed!

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Roshna Rusiniya
04:52 Jul 30, 2020

Thank you! :)

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Nicooo <3
18:39 Jul 29, 2020

Nice story! Love how it flowed and the writing was impeccable. However, it'd be nice if you italicized the calls maybe, to separate from the thoughts? It would be easier to read. The whole vibe was really cool, too! Plenty mysterious and intriguing :) If you have time, would you check out one of my stories? I'm pretty new here, and I'd love to receive some feedback!!

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Roshna Rusiniya
19:43 Jul 29, 2020

Hi Ananya, thank you for reading. The whole story is written as text messages. Since it’s confusing the readers, I would try to edit it. Thanks again! I will surely read yours too. :)

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🤩🤩🤩 ~A (P. S. Mind checking out my story ‘Rebel Prince’? Thanks!)

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Jen Park
14:29 Jul 29, 2020

Wow, I liked the mysterious vibe and the description of panicked mind of the protagonist. Sometimes mental abuse is stronger than physical ones. I wish the protagonist would quickly "be free" from Andrew. :) The first and last sentence matching was quite clever. I have never thought of telling the story in a text message form, and you did it perfectly!

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Roshna Rusiniya
15:02 Jul 29, 2020

Thank you Janey! Really appreciate you reading and commenting. I wrote it as an indirect SOS message from the protagonist to her sister. In the ending, she was repeating the description of the house. It was a hint.

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Doubra Akika
10:36 Jul 29, 2020

Wow, this was such a beautiful read! I love the way you told it in sort of a text or conversation kind of way. The past memories and the fear were well crafted. I loved how the story unfolded. And the last bit too. I like how you started and ended the story with the same sentence.

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Roshna Rusiniya
10:51 Jul 29, 2020

Thank you Doubra! Really appreciate you reading and commenting. I don’t usually write supernatural stories. So I am really glad you liked it. :)

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Shruti Saxena
10:13 Aug 06, 2020

That was captivating! The writing style and structure were unique and well done! The ending gives off a sense of foreboding...I doubt anything nice is going to happen to her. Really nice read!! :)

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Roshna Rusiniya
10:48 Aug 06, 2020

Thank you Shruti. Appreciate you reading and commenting. I am glad you enjoyed it. :)

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Daisy Torres
07:05 Aug 04, 2020

Oooohh I reaaally like the suspense in this!!! That ENDING 👌 It definitely leaves me wanting to know more. This was suchh a cool take on this prompt. I liked how clean and crisp your writing style is, and how well it flows. Great job!!!

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Roshna Rusiniya
09:05 Aug 04, 2020

Thank you Daisy! I left the ending open without revealing anything about the mystery behind Andrew’s reappearance. I wasn’t sure how it would be accepted. But so far only positive comments about it. :)

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Daisy Torres
13:43 Aug 04, 2020

You're welcome! You definitely chose wisely 😂 it leaves a lot to the imagination, which left my mind spinning with ideas.

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Roshna Rusiniya
18:39 Aug 04, 2020

I am glad! :)

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Alexi Delavigne
03:52 Aug 04, 2020

Loved reading this! You captured the character’s voice really well. I kept thinking how I would feel if I was Sarah and reading all of that from my sister. Really well done!

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Roshna Rusiniya
09:08 Aug 04, 2020

Thank you Alexi. Really appreciate you reading and commenting! :) The story was written as an SOS message from Samah to her sister. I wanted everyone to fear for Samah just like her sister would.

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Alexi Delavigne
10:50 Aug 04, 2020

You definitely succeeded!

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03:29 Aug 04, 2020

Wow very vivid. You did great job setting the scene. I really like the use of the texts too. Great idea. Good job 👏🏼

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Roshna Rusiniya
18:40 Aug 04, 2020

Thank you Sarah :)

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Annora Chen
23:03 Aug 03, 2020

Oh myy, this is so interesting! I was drawn into the story, and it made me want to find out what happens next! If u dont mind, would u tell me what happened? After the last message, it leaves me wondering, in a good way ofc

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Roshna Rusiniya
18:41 Aug 04, 2020

Thanks Annora! I haven’t decided how to exactly end it, to be honest. Just wanted to keep the ending open in a suspenseful way.

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Annora Chen
11:37 Aug 05, 2020

ohh, i see, yeahh, its nice for both the writer and readers, coz then the writer would not have to think of anything and the readers can just imagine what they want it to be

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Roshna Rusiniya
12:11 Aug 05, 2020

Initially my plan was to show that she was imagining everything because of the guilt in her. That she was kind of relieved when he died. Then I thought to leave it open to maintain the ambiguity.

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Annora Chen
22:54 Aug 05, 2020

Ohhh, thats nice, that makes sense too, uwu

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Roshna Rusiniya
20:46 Aug 09, 2020

I have a new one. If you have time, please check it out. Thanks! :)

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Aditya Pillai
19:03 Aug 02, 2020

Loved the concept of this story! Really good read. The moment you notice you've got no connection, you known something's about to go really bad... ;) I honestly thought it would end in a murder or some sort of conflict, but the way you left it ambiguous is really novel and suspenseful. Will we ever get to know what actually happened? :) Thanks for sharing this awesome work, would love it if you could go through mine!

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Roshna Rusiniya
19:24 Aug 02, 2020

Thank you for reading and commenting :) I just wanted to keep the ending ambiguous. I thought if I reveal the suspense, the story would look plain. Honestly I haven’t thought about how I want it to end. Haha

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Jupiter Moon
15:02 Aug 01, 2020

I really enjoyed this story. I felt like I was reading a thriller and I am a visual person so the whole time I was reading it I pictured the characters. I can really see this being a short film on YouTube. Great job!

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Roshna Rusiniya
15:46 Aug 01, 2020

Thank you for your kind words! :)

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Khadija S.
02:50 Aug 01, 2020

This was a delightful read! Very convincing, and executed well!

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Roshna Rusiniya
07:44 Aug 01, 2020

Thank you! :)

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Emma Lin
23:01 Jul 31, 2020

Hello, hello! Sorry that I have been busy with my personal life! Otherwise, I would check out your stories! This story had such a creepy and eerily tone to it! I was actually praying that the girl doesn't get caught (or even murdered lol) by the guy. Would like to see a sequel to it. Thanks for liking and commenting on my story :) Have a wonderful day!

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Roshna Rusiniya
04:20 Aug 01, 2020

Don’t worry about being late Emma! And thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read and comment on my story. Really appreciated! Take care! :)

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Emma Lin
13:46 Aug 01, 2020

<3

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Anushka Binoy
11:41 Jul 31, 2020

I really admire you and your writing Roshna. You blow me away every single time!

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Roshna Rusiniya
13:18 Jul 31, 2020

Aw! I am touched! ❤️

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San T.
07:29 Jul 31, 2020

Wow... That's a wonderful story.. I loved it so much.. when the SMS trail started again, I was reading so fast to know what's coming... Wonderful!!

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Roshna Rusiniya
16:05 Jul 31, 2020

Thank you Sanghamitra! :)

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