Follower. Short Story.

I am really, really, really procrastinating today. Insanely so. Like I’ve been working on this since like 1.30/2, on and off. Normally I sit down and finish it in one go. I’ve been reading webcomics and looking at youtube and reddit. It is ridiculous. I did do a fair amount of work yesterday but that isn’t really an excuse. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me today. Oh well, I’m just thankful this doesn’t happen that often. Most of the time I procrastinate until I start then it’s fine, but today I just keep stopping and starting.

On with the show!

———————————————————————————

Follower.

He suppressed a yawn, he shouldn’t be here. Not really. He should be at home, in bed, possibly with a book. It was always the same. “I’m not drinking.” Turned into “ah, I’ll have one.” Which turned into stumbling home at four in the morning. It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy house parties, he much preferred them to clubbing, he just couldn’t seem to say no. He’s friends were pushy, but not annoyingly so. He usually just gave in and went along with it. It seemed easier. He looked at his drink then took a sip. It wasn’t strong at all, he had only added a small amount of vodka. It was his first drink. He didn’t plan on drinking more, but he knew that that resolve would most likely dissolve after another few mouthfuls. He watched the TV screen for a few moments, they were playing drinking Mario Kart. He played once or twice but could never remember all the rules, usually resulting in penalty shots. He wasn’t paying too much attention to what was happening, most people were captivated by the screen, he leaned against the table, lost in his thoughts. He had work that needed to be done for college, two essays, a book to read. It wasn’t much but it would be due soon. He allowed the noises to wash over and around him, paying little attention as he tried to figure out which essay he should do first. Someone yelled, startling him out of his thoughts. Dan had won, again. Sandra put down her controller and downed the rest of her drink, then she stood and moved out of the way, allowing someone else to take her place. She moved beside him and started to refill her glass. “Everything ok?” “Yeah, fine, just tryna figure out these essays.” “Ugh. Don’t remind me.” She stopped pouring, then added another glug. “Did you go in today?” “No.” “Yeah, me neither.” He looked at her, her eyes were shiny, but she wasn’t drunk, not yet at least. “Did you hear from that guy?” “Nope. Don’t expect to either. He was an ass anyway.” “Yeah.” He shook his head slightly, he never quite knew what to say to Sandra, sometimes the conversation flowed, other times he struggled to find something to talk about. Last time he had seen her she had been talking about some guy, Jack or John or Jason, something with a J. They stood in silence, both watching the TV screen, “Right. I’m going for a smoke. Care to join me?” “It’s freezing outside.” “Fresh air is good for you.” “Not when it’s filled with smoke.” “Fine, you’re loss. More cancer for me.” She grabbed a packet of cigarettes from the table, “where’s the lighter?” “Here.” Sam grabbed it from the coffee table and tossed it to her, Sandra caught it and smiled. She leaned in towards Tim, “Thought I was totally going to miss it.” She stood back from the kitchen table and went towards the door. As she passed the stereo she paused and started pressing a few buttons, music started playing, low and in the background. As she went out the back door she flicked a light switch, illuminating the back garden. Something outside caught his eye, he glanced out, then froze. Something was looking in the window, his heart beat madly. Sandra stepped outside and closed the door. It was looking in the window. He let out a shaky breath. It was just a mask, that was all. Sandra hadn’t noticed it, she would have seen someone standing outside. Probably one of Dan’s jokes. The mask was freaky looking though, he’d have to find out where Dan got it. It was bright white and completely plain. There was the basic shape of a face but that was it, no shading or colouring, no nostril holes or gaps in the mouth, at least not that he could see. The eyes were also covered, dead and milky white. Probably thin fabric or something. He looked away from the window and back at the screen.

A cool gust of wind rushed through the room when Sandra came back in, “damn it’s fucking cold out there.” The race on screen was intense, everyone was staring intently. He glanced at her, then noticed the mask was gone. She’d probably found it while she was outside. He looked at her hands, expecting to see her carrying it, but they were empty. The wind must have blown it down. That was all. He looked back at the screen, Dan once again winning. “Alright Tim, you’re up.” “I’m ok, I’ll give it a miss. I don’t know any of the rules. Besides, Sandra probably wants a rematch.” Dan sighed, “Fine, if you’re too much of a pussy, I understand.” “Says he who is playing a children’s game.” “Words, meaningless words. You just know you can‘t beat me.” “Ok. I’m playing, I can beat you this time, I know it.” Sandra quickly refilled her drink and sat down. “Ha. You’re already drunk.” “I drive better this way.” The countdown started on the screen. Tim shook his head, then took another sip. There wasn’t much left in his drink and he didn’t feel like pouring another. Everyone was staring at the screen again, jeering both drivers. They’d probably want to go to a club in a bit. He sighed, then took another mouthful. He’d probably make his excuses and leave in a bit. He looked out the back again, the mask had returned, it was in one of the higher panes, looking in. He shivered slightly, then went back to watching the TV screen.

“Where did you get that mask?” “What mask?” “The one outside.” “There isn’t anything out there.” Tim looked at the window, the mask was still sitting there. “Dude, it’s right there.” He pointed “There’s nothing there.” “Seriously, where did you get it?” “I don’t know what you’re talking about, there is nothing there.” Dan looked around at the group, “right guys?” The group nodded in agreement. Tim sighed. “Fine, what ever joke you’re trying to play have fun, but when you’re finished tell me where you got it.” Dan shook his head slightly, looking confused. Tim went around the group, giving everyone hugs, when he was done, he left. Sandra was right, outside was cold. He pulled his jacket tighter and shoved his hands in his pockets.

It wasn’t a long walk, but it seemed much longer in the cold, it wasn’t too bad at first, but the further he walked the more he wished he had brought headphones with him. It would help pass the time. Occasionally there would be noises, loud and sudden. In the day they wouldn’t have caused any concern, but at night they were creepy. There was no one else around and the streetlights threw strange shadows, the harsh yellow light making it hard to discern things in the distance. He stopped. There was something wrong, something off. He looked around the road and saw nothing, the breeze stirred again, pushing and pulling leaves with it, they slid along the road crackling. He looked behind him and froze. There it was. That mask. Only this time there was a body attached. It was medium height and of medium build, wearing all black. It was too far away to tell if the clothing was all one piece, or a long-sleeved shirt and trousers. It stood, looking at him. “For fuck sake Dan. That isn’t funny.” It cocked its head to the side. “Fine. Fuck you too. Asshole.” Tim turned and started walking again. Up ahead he could see a group of girls approaching, they were loud and raucous, probably drunk. Good, they’d see Dan, freak out and maybe hit him or something. Dan did always take things too far. The girls walked past him, he stood in slightly to let them by, he glanced back, Dan was still standing there wearing that stupid mask, he appeared closer. The girls hadn’t noticed him yet. They kept walking, talking and laughing and shouting until they walked right by him. Tim frowned. They hadn’t seemed to notice him. They must have been drunker than he thought. He shook his head slightly. Fuck it. He’d get home, lock the door and go to sleep. Dan could fuck himself if he thought Tim would let him in. He could stay out in the cold and suffer. He turned and started walking again, this time a little faster, the brief stop had made him colder. Never mind, it would be warm in the house. He could have a cup of tea before he went to bed. It would warm him up nicely. He yawned, not bothering to cover his mouth. He glanced back occasionally and saw that Dan was still following him, always staying a little distance away. It was ridiculous. Tim considered confronting Dan then decided against it. It would be ridiculous and Dan would get all offended and give out that Tim couldn’t take a joke.

He got to his house and let himself in. He looked back and saw that stupid mask again, peering around the bush. He waved sarcastically at Dan and stepped inside, closing the door behind him. His roommates were gone for the night, they’d arrive in late enough, but they were considerate enough to be quiet. At least as quiet as drunk people could be. He went into the kitchen and looked at the kettle, then decided against it. He filled a glass with water and quickly drank it. Then he filled the glass again and went to bed. In the hall he stopped. A white shape was at the frosted window, it seemed to be pressing against the glass. Ha fucking ha. He walked by, tapping the glass as he went. Dan didn’t react.

He stripped out of his clothes quickly and got into bed, somewhere in the room his phone buzzed. He groaned. He forgot to put it on silent. He leaned out of bed and grabbed his jeans, dragging them closer. He went through the pockets and grabbed out his phone. There was a text from Dan probably asking to be let in because it was cold. He opened it. “Hey man, did you get home k?” he looked at it for a second. “Yeah, fine. Some weirdo followed me.” He was about to hit send, then an idea struck him, he added “have a bat, fucker is still outside, might go out and hit him with it.” He sent it then smiled. It would freak Dan out. His phone buzzed again, probably Dan coming clean. “Be careful, maybe call the cops, dunno what a psycho might do.” Tim frowned at the phone. “Ok dude, I know you followed me. Stop messing with me. It really isn’t funny.” The phone buzzed again, it was ringing. “Hello?” “Hey. What the hell man? I’m still at mine.” “Yeah haha, don’t lie. I know you’re outside.” “No, seriously, hang on” “Hello?” “Where are you?” “We’re still in Dan’s.” “Seriously, you all followed me?” “What the hell? No. Listen.” He could hear something in the background, faint but getting louder, it was Mario Kart music. “We’re all still here.” Dan was back on the phone. “Seriously dude call the police or something. What did he look like? We can come over to you if you want.” “Uhh…No, that’s ok. The doors locked. I’m gonna go check if they’re still there. I’ll call the police if they are.” “Ok, maybe you should keep talking until you see who ever it is. Just in case.” “It’ll be fine. I’d have heard them breaking in. Probably some sick fuck tryna get jollies out of scaring people.” Tim walked to the top of the stairs and looked down, the white blotch was gone from the window. “Listen dude, I’m kind of freaked out. Who ever it was was wearing the mask I saw in your house.” “I seriously don’t know anything about that. I didn’t see anything.” “It was in your window.” “I’m not lying. I didn’t see anything there.” Tim turned around. It was there. It cocked its head. The phone dropped. Dan heard a shriek, then silence. “Tim? Tim what happened?” he pressed the phone tightly against his ear, hoping to hear something, anything. The others crowded around him, looking concerned, “What’s-” “Shut up for a second ok? Just shut up.” There was something, a noise. Breathing. The call ended.

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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 Fantasy, Horror, Short Stories, Suspense and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Follower. Short Story.

  1. Nooruddin Jalal says:

    beautiful as always 🙂

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