The Chase.

I hope everyone had a good weekend, mine was ok, got drunk went to a club, nothing groundbreaking. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me today, I’m just so behind in doing everything. Really, at this point, the only logical solution is to flee the country.

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The Chase.

The park was cold and dark. The occasional breeze stirred the trees but the clouds remained static in the sky, blocking out the harsh light of the moon. Janet’s breath plumed out in front of her as she walked, her high heels creating a steady beat on the pavement as she walked. She glanced furtively around herself again, looking for people in the darkness. Up ahead she thought she could make out two people on a bench, but she could not be sure. As she got closer she realised it was two lovers, kissing furiously, walking passed, looking forward, she heard the woman gasp as the man nuzzled into her neck. Walking faster Janet tried to distance herself from the entangled couple, feeling uncomfortable and nervous. She glanced back at them, to make sure they were still on the bench, she could see them there still. The man looked up suddenly, staring at her. He grinned, his face distorted and shrouded in darkness. The woman’s neck was exposed, waiting for his return. He licked his lips sensuously, then returned his attention back to the woman. Janet increased her pace. Although she was sure the woman wasn’t being attacked by the man, she did not like how he grinned, it seemed feral, almost predatory. Up ahead she could see the sickly glow of the orange streetlamps, the low sound of the cars filtered through, it was early but the traffic had slowed considerably, most opting to stay in doors if they could. Reaching the low wall, Janet continued to the path, then crossed the road, feeling much more relaxed now that she was out of the park. A group of teenagers huddled together in a group, ignoring her passing. Houses lined either side of the road, the streetlights distorting their shape, making them grow and shift and shrink. Janet continued down the path, she had always found the residential walk just as creepy as the walk through the park. Here things were shadowed, bushes and cars provided ample hiding places, and with people indoors watching television, she was just as alone as she had been before. Despite this, she found the residential walk to be slightly reassuring as well. She was almost home at this point and, if something should happen, she would have some chance of attracting attention.
Finally reaching her house, Janet adeptly slid the key into the lock and without breaking stride, she entered her house, closing the door firmly behind her. She turned on the lamp that sat on the small hall table, the hallway was illuminated by its light. The house was deliciously warm after the cold air outside. Stripping out of her coat, gloves and hat, Janet continued to the kitchen. Rummaging through the cupboards, she could find nothing she wanted, everything would take too long to cook, she wanted something quick, something easy. Going to the drawer with the take-away menus, she flicked through them until she found one that was appealing. Selecting pizza, she quickly ordered, then went upstairs to change, hoping that it wouldn‘t be too long before the food arrived.
Dressed in pyjamas and a dressing gown, Janet was sprawled on the couch, watching the television, the fireplace was filled with flickering flames, she had stacked the logs carefully and her effort was rewarded. She settled on a mindless television show, she hadn‘t been following it but the girls in the office raved about it.
Hearing the doorbell, she grabbed her purse and went to the door. “Pizza?” “Yeah” He started handing her boxes, both trying to balance everything in their arms, finally, when she had everything, she put it on the counter, “That’s 19.50”, she quickly pulled out some money and handed it over, “Thanks” the deliveryman smiled at her, the grin changing his face, before he had looked nice, pleasant, but the grin seemed to distort everything. She paused, the grin throwing her off, the delivery man was staring at her, almost expectantly, she had paid him exactly and included a tip. Breaking the spell, she shut the door, pleased to have something between herself and him, she shook her head, trying to cast out the image, then carried the boxes into the living room.
Sitting down, Janet spread the boxes in front of herself went back to watching her programme while she ate, forgetting about the strange encounter. When she was finished she looked at the boxes for a moment, then stood, she didn’t want to bother with them but figured that if she didn’t get rid of them, they would sit there until the morning. Placing the boxes inside each other, she picked them up and brought them to the front door, stepping outside, she pulled her dressing gown tighter against the cold. She lifted the lid of her recycling bin and quickly deposited the remains of her take-away. Closing it she glanced across the road, then paused. There was a man standing on the path, looking at her house, it seemed more than looking though, he was staring. Keeping her eye on the man she backed to the door slowly, not wanting to let him out of her sight. He looked familiar but she couldn’t quite place his face. The yellow glare distorted his features. She clawed for the door handle behind her until her hand found purchase. Stepping backwards, she swung the door closed then quickly looked out one of the side windows, slightly parting the thin netting over it. The street was empty, with no sign of the man. Stepping backwards, Janet returned to the sitting room. Dismissing the strange figure. Her house was locked and she was safe, he was probably just lost and looking for the right house number. Maybe he was considering asking her for directions. Probably ran off because he thought she was weird. That was all. Halfway to the sitting room she stopped, then set the house alarm. Feeling more secure, she went back to watching TV. The telephone rang twice, each time it was ignored. The only people who called her house phone were her mother or people who had the wrong number. Not wanting to deal with either, Janet let it ring out both times. If Mark had been there she knew he would have teased her until she relented and got the phone, but if it was important, they would leave a message. Looking at the time she stretched, yawned, then went around the room turning off the lights. At the bottom of the stairs she glanced around quickly to be certain everything was turned off. Satisfied, she started to ascend the stairs.
Lying in bed she soon fell into a content sleep, she had a long, stressful day and was thankful to finally be in her warm, comfortable bed. She slept peacefully until, all too soon, the harsh bray of an alarm woke her up. It was a car alarm, which Janet assumed had been going for awhile, from the last remaining remnants of her dream, she knew that her mind had tried to incorporate it. Groaning she rose from the bed to make sure it was not her own car. The car in her driveway was silent, glancing further, she saw that a car on the road was flashing its lights, seeing nothing was wrong with the car, she returned to bed, lying back into the warmth she had so recently vacated. She did not know if the alarm had gone until the battery died or if the owner had finally woken and silenced it, she only knew that the noise faded into the background and she found herself back in the world of her minds creation.
He had followed her, carefully of course, from where she worked, some office building. She hadn’t noticed him, he had made sure of it. It was a cold night, but he wasn’t worried, he would be inside her warm house soon enough. As he watched, the lights in the house were turned off, one by one. Good. It was getting closer, soon she’d be asleep. He always waited for awhile after the lights were turned off, just to be sure they had fallen asleep. She was tired, he knew that from the way she was walking, slow, slightly slouched over. He could wait the extra few minutes though, it would make it all the sweeter. Finally, he moved from his hiding place, squatting down between her car and some bushes, and moved towards the side door. She would have locked the front door, she seemed skittish, but people had less security on their back door. The side door was latched, but door wasn’t well secured, large holes marred the surface, with a little effort, he was able to undo the lock. The door swung open easily and he slipped into the small alley. As he closed and locked the door behind him, a car alarm started to shriek into the night. He cursed mentally, it would probably wake her up. He’d have to wait a little longer to get into the house. He moved around the side of the alley, waiting in the shadows. Finally the car alarm stopped, silence falling once again. He counted to three hundred, then moved out into her back garden, standing tall, confident. He walked to the glass door and examined the lock for a few moments. He gave the door an experimental tug, it was locked. Damn. He reached out for the lever and pushed it up, then tried the door again. It slide open, gliding on its rails, he grinned. Perfect.
He carefully closed the door over and looked around the kitchen, it didn’t take him long to find a row of knives. He selected one, tested its weight and balance, then put it back and chose another. After a few moments, he settled on one, its metal gleaming dully in the low light. He crept through the house, enjoying the anticipation that was coursing through his veins. He climbed the stairs, then found her room, the door was open, he could see her, lying on the bed, hear her breathing softly. In and out, in a deep, steady rhythm. He stepped into the room, a floorboard creaking slightly, he wasn’t worried, she was fast asleep.
She sat up, he froze. Janet carefully aimed the gun, “Don’t move. I have a gun and I will use it.” he squinted in the darkness, something was clasped in her hands. He could feel the need coursing through him, just under the skin, wanting, begging, needing him to continue. Time seemed to have stopped for both of them, Janet breathed carefully, slowly. He moved forward, Janet exhaled and squeezed the trigger. The noise filled the room, deafening. She couldn’t see him, he was gone. Frantically, she turned on the bedside night, the bright light filled the room. She could see the blood splatter on the wall, leaning forward gently, she could see a body, crumpled at the base of her bed, a knife still gripped firmly in his hand. Her ears were ringing, there was a noise, one she couldn’t quite make out. He was groaning, his arm moved, he struggled, trying to get up, Janet carefully took aim and fired one last time.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 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.
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