Was it her imagination?
|It was as if in an instant he had peered into her soul and captured everything - understanding her mind intimately, more so than a lover and without the needs that one brings with him. There was no denying that he knew her, better perhaps than she knew herself. As she returned his gaze, she noticed there was a micheviousness to his stare, perhaps malevolence, she was so disoriented by his penetration of her existence that she could not determine which.
They had never met face to face before, until that night in the alley behind the bookstore, though she had felt his presence for what seemed like an eternity. There were glimpses and shadows of him all around her for a long time, but it was only now that she realized it had been he who had been following her all this time.
"Who are you?" Scared to ask, she did because she had to know the answer.
"Don't you know?" He smiled slowly, knowingly toying with her.
"Look, it's late, and it's cold ...."
He moved to block her path. "You should be home, warm and asleep in bed."
"Then if you'll excuse me - " she stopped mid sentence as an icy wind cut through her body like a scalpel.
"Why should excuses need to be made? We are beyond that now, don't you agree?"
She could find no answer, she was transfixed by his voice, which soothed her racing mind. So many times she had thought she saw the tall man with long, black hair out of the corner of her eye - in college she actually believed she was being stalked. Always wearing sunglasses, even at night. Always wearing a trenchcoat, even in the summer sun. Why now, on this night, in this place, did he choose to confront her?
He chuckled softly, and said "It doesn't matter."
Had he read her mind? Confused, immobilized and having no idea what to say, she stood there despite knowing that it was probably not a good idea. "What do you want from me?'
"What do you want from yourself?"
"To go home," she lied.
"You know as well as I do there is nothing for you there."
"Why have you been following me?" She told her feet to run, but they were unresponsive, as though they had taken root in the pavement.
"Because I am with you always."
She tried to scream, but she opened her mouth and no sound emerged.
"Are you afraid?"
She knew she should be, and yet she was not. He knew her, and for the first time in her life she felt understood. Despite this small comfort, she could not tear her eyes away from his gaze behind the dark lenses, so she squeezed her eyes tightly shut. She counted to ten silently, and then opened them again to find he was gone. As though he had evaporated into the night.
Note: This was a late night word dump, years ago, that has since evolved into