Waiting. Short Story.

And we’re back!

I’m still sick but not as bad thankfully. It was a fairly nasty dose, I tend to be one of those people who doesn’t get sick very often but when they do it hits pretty hard. The holiday period was a little strange due to everyone being sick, the days were all a little jumbled, we didn’t bother with the presents until the 28th or so. Even New Years wasn’t amazing, but I think that was more due to the count down television available. Definitely would have been better off to just watch something normal and take a few minutes to celebrate the new year at midnight.

Hope everyone had a wonderful time over the last few weeks!

__________________________________________________

He was out there waiting for her. She could feel it, just as she could every other night. It was the waiting that Deirdre hated, but she had been waiting a long time already and she could wait a little longer. He would come for her sooner or later and when he did she would be ready.

Her mother had told her all about him when she was a teenager, telling her to be careful, that there was someone out there waiting for her. It happened to all the women in their family, sooner or later they were attacked. The strong survived, the weak were killed. Deirdre knew she would be one of the strong ones. She had seen him three times throughout her life. The first was the day after her mother had told her about him. Deirdre had been on the bus, staring out the window and lost in her own thoughts when she felt like she was being watched. She looked around but saw no one, looking out the window again she spotted him. He was standing at the bus stop, staring at her, his face blank. He didn’t look as she expected. He was handsome for one and well groomed, his eyes were a bright blue that would have been beautiful if they were not so flat and dead. He smiled at her, a cold smile that revealed his perfect teeth, one side curling up slightly more making it look almost like a snarl. He raised one hand slowly and gave her a little half wave, then the bus pulled out from the path and he was gone.

The second time was when she had been out with friends, she had been drinking and was drunker than she had planned, mostly due to the insistence of her friends and the constant cries for shots. The thought of him had started to fade and she had begun to convince herself that it was just some silly family legend. The music was thumping heavily, she could feel it through her body as she danced, the flashing lights turning everything into shadowed blurs. He was standing against a wall, his eyes never leaving her. When she saw him she froze, her mind felt sober but her body wouldn’t obey properly, her movements were slow and inexact. She had rounded up her friends quickly and herded them from the club, claiming she was going to be sick. She didn’t see him outside, though she kept scanning the passing faces as they waited for their taxi.

The third time had been only a week before. It was a regular day, she was caught up in work and at lunch she needed some fresh air so Deirdre decided to get a coffee from the small coffee shop around the corner. The lines would be long but the wait would be worth it. She left the office, not bothering to grab her light jacket, it was a pleasant day with the sun shining down. The coffee shop was as busy as she predicted and she joined the end of the queue. Normally in situations like this she would pull out her phone and busy herself, but today she decided to people watch. Scanning the crowd in the shop and the people passing by outside. Someone behind bumped into her and muttered “Sorry.” The voice sent shivers up her spine, though she didn’t know why. It was deep and pleasant, she turned a smile already forming. As she saw him the reassurance it was fine died on her lips. He was standing there, smiling at her. He was bigger than she had thought, and this was the first time she had seen him up close. He was as handsome as ever and barely seemed to have aged a day. “Allow me to buy your coffee, to make up for it.” It took Deidre a second to respond, “No, that’s ok, thank you.” She turned around and stared straight ahead. She could feel his breath on the back of her head, the heat of his body almost pressed against her. She wanted to shout something, to run, but she couldn’t. She was stuck. Slowly the line moved forward and with each shuffle it felt as though he was getting closer. Leaving was dangerous, here there were lots of people, surely he wouldn’t attack her here. The route back to the office wasn’t usually that busy, maybe one or two people and occasionally there were none. She was safe if she stayed here.

Deirdre held her coffee cup tightly in her hands as she walked, she had removed the lid and as she moved along the path she kept glancing around herself. If he attacked a hot coffee in the face would be a good deterrent and would give her time to get away. But there was no sign of him. When she had ordered her drink and stepped to the side she glanced behind herself and saw that he was gone. Was he waiting for her somewhere? Crouching and ready to pounce?

Deirdre had made it back to the office without seeing him again and she spent the rest of the day on edge. That was a week ago and since then she knew he was close by, she could feel it. He would never stray too far from her, he was drawn to her.

Deirdre got ready for work quickly, she was running a little late but nothing too bad. As she opened her door a bouquet of flowers fell into her apartment, someone had placed them against the door, there was a small card with only one word, “soon.” She threw the flowers in the bin outside her apartment building, one hand was kept firmly in her pocket, gripping the small knife she carried with herself for protection.

It was another week before he made the next move, a photo of her sleeping, slid under the door of her apartment. The photo had been taken from inside. The photo seemed recent, but that couldn’t be, she had taken to moving a small table in front of her door so it couldn’t be opened without noise and each window had a large, delicate vase of flowers sitting in front of it, even though she lived on the fifth floor and had no balcony or outside fire escape. The photo didn’t make her feel afraid, instead it made her angry. A deep, steady throb of rage. How dare he? How dare he violate her space, trying to scare her like she was some frightened rabbit. He could try to take her but she wouldn’t go without a fight and she knew that should she lose, she would do everything in her power to take him with her.

Deirdre was walking home when it happened, someone tapped on her shoulder, “Excuse me? Miss?” the voice was different but she knew it was him, she spun around, pulling the knife from her pocket, she barely had time to register his smug grin, the balled up fist that was already moving towards her face. She tried to duck to the side as she drove the knife into his belly, his fist clipped the side of her face, dazing her. She pulled the knife back and stabbed again and again, the ferocity of the attack had taken him by surprise. Deirdre was dizzy, disorientated, but she could feel the knife making contact. He stumbled back from her, clutching at his bleeding belly, tiny little gasps exploding from his mouth. This was her chance, she pressed forward, stabbing over and over, not caring where she hit.

When it was over she was gasping for breath, he was still alive but he wasn’t moving. He was lying on the ground, moaning. Blood was pooling around him, the deep red puddle growing almost too fast to believe. She could hear sirens in the distance, getting closer. Someone must have called the police. She looked around at the empty street, then turned and ran. Her breathing came in heavy gasps, her lungs burned and her arm was almost too tired to move, but she had never felt so alive. She had done it, she had survived.

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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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