Short Story: Stalked

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

Unrestrained by physical limitations like distance and direction, the ability is every bit as useful as it sounds. Without it, I wouldn’t have noticed a shady man following me while I’m out on a walk.

He’s close enough to lunge at me if I try to call anyone. The only other person I can see on the road is a girl even younger than me, hunched over with a school bag almost as big as herself. Like a predator, he’s waiting for a good spot to ambush me, and if I run, he’ll just turn his attention to the other girl instead.

So I string him along, casually fiddling with my necklace to hide the fact that I’ve pressed the distress button hidden in the flower pendant. Pulling him away from the other girl, I pretend not to notice his creepy smile behind me as I wander into a small reserve that will hide us both from view.

Then I sprint off the trail.

He curses and charges after me. Even without the racket he makes as he tears through the thicket, my black eye easily finds exactly where he is, allowing me to keep the distance between us. At a particularly thick patch, I duck underneath, using my special sight to check that I’m truly out of view.

And now I wait until Uncle James comes.

I clamp my hands over my face to muffle my breathing. I’m not here. I’m a tree, the best tree that ever treed in this reserve. I’ll be fine.

With my heart beating in my ears, and my hand smooshed painfully into my face, I see the man snarl and kick at the plants around him. He’s in the wrong area, but either through skill or through luck, he’s slowly making his way towards me.

I quickly take my black eye off the shady man and look for Uncle James. He’s already at the entrance to the reserve with backup, but he’s not close enough. My stalker’s only two steps away from me.

The only sound I can hear is my frantic heartbeat and too-loud breathing. My body wants to gulp frantic mouthfuls of air, but I know that would give my location away, and then the very vegetation that’s keeping me hidden will also trap me in place.

I’m not here. I’m a tree. A mushroom. A rock. There’s nothing interesting here. Go away.

The man steps in. The thick grass between us brush against his clothes. He grabs an angry fistful and tears the top off. His arms sweep over my head, missing me by just a hand’s breadth. I can’t breathe. He only needs one more step to find me.

Then I hear my salvation.

“Hey you! Stop right there!”

~End~

Genre: fantasy

Camp NaNoWriMo short story count: 26/31

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