Stalked From the Shadows. Short Story.

Finished Coldheart Canyon (finally), the ending was kinda strange, dunno what to think of it, though I cannot think of another way for it to end well. Havn’t read much in the last few days, been distracted and tired. Will have to get back to reading again though, my to read pile is starting to take over the bookshelves.

Holy crap. I just realised it’s Friday. This has been happening all week. I thought it was saturday on Thursday. I don’t know why the days are all scrambled. College is starting soon, maybe that’s what it is? I have to choose electives on monday and I still don’t know what classes to choose. None of them seem interesting at all. It’s very, very annoying. Still it has to be done, only one year and then I have a degree in English and Classical Studies. Kinda strange. After all, the year will pass quickly, they usually do, like this summer, it’s almost over, but it feels like almost not time has passed at all.

I think I’m rambling.
Anyway, on with the show!

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Stalked From the Shadows

The woods were alive with the sound of animals chattering as they moved through the underbrush, the smell of rotting wood was thick and heavy in the air, the ground was damp after the heavy rainfall the night before. He enjoyed walking through the woods when they were like this, it was peaceful but alive, everything was energetic, refreshed, after the rain.

The path was winding but faster than the others, it curved its way through large swathes of trees and bushes, sometimes, when he was feeling more adventurous, he would cut through the wooded areas, mind filled with memories of childhood, but now he took the path. The forests were full of brambles and thorns and his clothing was loose and light, they would easily pass the flimsy barrier and sting him. Normally he jogged through the area quickly, but today, he felt like taking it slow, he hadn’t slept well the night before, nightmares causing him to toss and turn, bathing his body in sweat. He was tired and trying to build himself up. Really, all that mattered was that he was exercising in general, at least he wasn’t missing the day, he paused for a moment, listening to the sounds of the forest around him, then took a few deep breaths and began to jog. He would feel better afterwards, he knew, and after a few moments he felt the effects of the endorphins, washing away his tiredness. He picked up speed and continued through the forest.

It watched him from the trees, silently, he would never know it was there. Clawed feet gripped the bark tightly, sinking deep into it. It was curious as to what he was doing, people did walk through the woods all the time and usually, it had no problem with them. They went about their business as it went about its own, neither disturbing the other, but something about the man disturbed it. It jumped slightly as he took off running, and after a seconds pause, started to follow, leaping from branch to branch silently. There was no sound with its passage, the only evidence the slightly drooping branches which would spring up again once it had left them. It didn’t need to be so silent, the noise of him running would cover its movements, but it was good practice. It had been a long time since it had chased anything.

They were nearing the end of its domain and it decided on a whim to follow him just to see where he was going, after all, it had a right to know exactly who was passing through its kingdom. The coverage was less here, but the park was still teeming with trees, there was no worry about it being spotted.

He continued his run, oblivious of the creature following him, as he ran he tried to decide which route he would take today, and finally, decided he would branch to the left. He thought about the dream he had the night before, though he couldn’t remember most of it now. Something about creatures and an apocalyptic world that was filled with cream and various other things that danced at the edge of his memory. It had been a while since he had gotten nightmares, a few years probably, and the one last night wasn’t as extreme as some of the ones he had before, those would jolt him awake, screaming and, if he was lucky, he was still in his bed. He shook his head lightly, trying to push it out of his mind and just enjoy the exercise, the sun was warm, but there was a cooling breeze. The park was usually empty at this time and, during the run, he only encountered three or four people. Sometimes it was creepy, running alone in the park with no one else around for miles, it felt like he was the only one left, but mostly it was relaxing, just to get away from everyone and to clear his head. He was nearing the end of his route, something which always pleased and disappointed him. He was getting better and knew he would need to extend the route slightly, but so far he hadn’t gotten around to it. To make up for it he would run home too, normally he stopped at the parks edge and walked the rest of the way to cool off.

The creature paused at the edge of the park, nervous, it only rarely left the park, even then it stuck to the shadows, skulking around, nervous of the cars and the lights and the people that teemed from houses. It didn’t like how everything was cramped together, how everything was unnatural and built by man. But it’s quarry had left the park and so would it. It didn’t really know why it was following him now, it could have attacked in the park but something told it to wait. It would be better that way. It followed cautiously, moving behind him, unseen by any creature. As it passed a cat it reached out and pulled its tail, sending it shrieking into the distance. Tonight it would have some fun around the area.

The man had gone inside his house and hadn’t come back out, the creature, sure that he was inside for the night, decided to explore, after all, it should know the area well, it would prevent anything surprising it. There were other things out here, things humans couldn’t, or wouldn’t, see. As it moved through the area it wreaked petulant havoc. Scraping some windows here, tipping over bins there, smashing a few light bulbs. It could do worse, but it was restraining itself. Besides, the small stuff was fun, you never knew how long it would be before someone noticed that scratch in their car, or who they would blame. There was a mewing noise, kittens calling for their mother. It didn’t like cats, nasty diseased, flea ridden things, normally it would kill off kittens, but the mother could be close, normally cats wouldn’t attack it but a mother would. It made a note of where they were, it could return later, there was after all, no rush. It was beginning to enjoy itself, this area was more amusing than it had imagined and, having yet to come across anything else, it became braver, nothing could really hurt it, not here anyway. It seemed that it could easily extend its territory without any problems. It stopped at a car, ripping at one of the tires with its claws, the car sunk slightly and it continued on its way, looking for more things to play with.

When morning came it went back to his house and waited, squatting in a tree. When he came out, it would go inside and wait for him to come home. It didn’t know why, but it wanted to kill him, there was something about him that marked him for death. It would kill him then expand its living space. It would be quite simple really, fun too.

He finished his breakfast quickly, he was running late and, grabbing his keys he slipped through the door, wincing as it slammed behind him. He would make it, if he was lucky and traffic wasn’t too bad. The creature watched from a window as the car reversed out of the driveway, it had gotten inside and now would simply have to wait but while it was waiting, it could explore a bit first. The house was fairly boring, at least, to it. There were no animals it could toy with and only so much destruction it could bring on things. It didn’t want to arouse suspicions after the man died. It wouldn’t kill him with its claws, instead, it would use a knife. It tested them all for weight before finally selecting one that would be perfect.

There was a noise behind it, it turned and shrieked as it was attacked. The attack was swift, brutal as the house was filled with the sounds of tearing flesh and the creatures shrieks. As it looked at its attacker its mind screamed and gibbered, fear preventing it from moving. Chunks of flesh and great splashes of blood covered the kitchen, the killer licked at her hands, she would clear up the kitchen soon, before he got home and enjoy the meal that it provided. The man was hers, she would be the one to take him if she so decided.  She was surprised that the creature came into the house at all, most of them stayed away from urban areas. Still, it was the equivalent of a rat. Something unpleasant but beneath her, though she sometimes killed them for fun, she mostly left them alone and they in turn, ran from her, thankful to still have their lives and sanity.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
This entry was posted in Horror, Short Stories, Suspense. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Stalked From the Shadows. Short Story.

  1. susielindau says:

    I killed a mouse recently with a fly swatter!!! Death to vermin who come into MY house, I say!
    I really liked how you used “he/she” and “it” referring to the stalking creature….
    I wrote a flash fiction today so similar today called The Hunter and The Hunted. Normally I would never blog whore in a comment but it was striking in similarity. Kindred spirits!
    Great story!

  2. eugh! Don’t think I’d be able to do that at all! I feel bad when I kill flys/spiders, nevermind a mouse! I’d probably have to get someone else to kill it or catch it and release it in a field or something.
    Great minds think alike and all that! I’ll have to give it a read!
    And I don’t mind the blog whoring too much, it is pertinant and not a case of
    “banal comment that could be attributed to anything at all. heres my blog”.
    Glad you enjoyed it!
    -Alan.

  3. susielindau says:

    On the mouse subject, I had to kill it because it was in a closet next to my pantry and my dog would only play with it. I couldn’t let it run around in my house! It’s the first animal I have ever killed! Not my proudest moment. Hahaha!

  4. I don’t blame you, it’s safer for it to be gone. Wild animals living in your house isn’t exactly an attractive idea and honestly, never experiencing that myself I can’t say what I’d do.
    My dogs probably wouldn’t even notice it. They don’t even notice rabbits in the fields while we’re walking them. Or if they do notice, run half way across and then get confused as to why they were running after the rabbits hide.

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