I was starting to doubt I would ever truly get away.
Every move and every apartment provided a new sense of security, but it was always short-lived. Without fail, the letters would start right back up. Just thinking about the hand-scrawled words made me retch. This note was different than the others. The words were the same, “I miss you. I am forever yours.” However, before, I always found them on my car’s windshield while I was in a public place. This one was sitting on my bedside table when I got home from work that afternoon.
For the last hour, I had remained stationary, like a statue, in the corner of my living room, wedged tightly between the piano and the couch. My fingers were wrapped so tightly around the handle of a cheap steak knife that my fingers had turned white. I could no longer feel my fingers, but I could feel my heart racing. It felt like it was beating a million miles a minute and was so loud in my ears I would have sworn the neighbors would hear it too. Maybe that’s what would save me. My lousy neighbors would hear the constant thumping and get annoyed. When they came to yell at me, maybe, then I would be safe.
Even though I was sure I had locked the doors and windows, I found myself glancing around in trepidation. The blinds were closed. The only thing lighting the small living room was a floor lamp in the opposite corner. I could see that no one was there, but I felt like someone watched my every move. How was I ever supposed to get away from someone who was everywhere?
I heard my phone vibrate and noticed it light up on the coffee table. It was lying in its usual spot on the far corner of the table closest to the door, which is where I always put it every day when I got home. A burning wave of acid inched its way into the back of my throat. I knew that I needed to get that phone. I took a deep breath, rocked forward onto all fours, and crawled towards the coffee table. As I grabbed my phone, the tiniest bit of relief washed over me. Maybe he could get here in time. Intrusive thoughts filled my mind. What if there was someone in the apartment? Would they hear me make a phone call? They would find where I was hiding. I sent a text message instead.
He found me.
Shortly after I hit send, I heard a squeaking noise come from the back of the apartment. My eyes went wide. The bedroom window, I thought frantically. I couldn’t remember locking my bedroom window. When I looked back down, the screen on my phone had gone back to the lock screen. As I fumbled to unlock it again, it slid out of my hands. It tumbled under the table, my heart sank. There wasn’t time to get it back. A light flickered in the corner of my eye. A dark figure moved into the living room.
“I’ve missed you.”