‘Just keep running!’ I told myself as I dashed through the dense woods. My feet ached, my heartbeat echoed in my ears, my lungs felt as though they were on fire, but I had to keep running for as long as I could. My pursuer was hot on my heels with no intention of stopping anytime soon, it was clear they wanted me dead!
It was a rather warm September day. My friend Alex and I were college bound and it was my first time being outside of my hometown so I was excited yet nervous at the same time. I gazed out the window as we drove over the bridge. I was as some people would say the observant type of person. So much so that Alex came up with the nickname Ollie the observer.
I watched as the sun glistened off the rippling waves of water below us while the birds soared through the air without a care in the world. “Earth to Oliver, are you even listening?”
I snapped out of my thoughts at the mention of my name. “Huh? Oh sorry, what were you saying again?”
“Ah I see, you were in observer mode weren’t you?” Alex chuckled. “Ollie the observer strikes again.”
“Oh shuddap. What were you saying?”
“Well while you were staring off into space I suggested that we should go out to celebrate after we settle in, sound good?”
“Yeah, sounds great.” The drive was a long one but we finally made it to the place that would be our home for the next four years. The building itself was impressive as it stood tall against the woods surrounding it. The beige color of the exterior gave it a welcoming atmosphere. Once Alex parked the car we quickly got to work on bringing our belongings into our dorm. I started to unpack when Alex stopped me.
“We can do that later, let’s go find us some college babes!” I released a sigh, it would have been best if we unpacked everything now but I knew that there was no point in arguing with him. Alex was the kind of person who would put things off until the last minute then scramble to finish them. We were able to find a shopping center fairly close to campus, about six or seven blocks away. It was most likely built for the convenience of the students. As we looked around for the pub I took in several places of interest to keep in mind. There was a food market, a movie theater, a 24 hour convenience store, a variety of fast food shops, and at the end of the rows of stores was the local bar.
Alex whistled as we entered. “Man, what a sight for the eyes.” He was right, the placed was packed with all sorts of people. “Damn, Check out the rack on that one.” I immediately clasped a hand over his mouth as soon as those words left his lips. The girl in question walked passed, giving us a quizzical look as she did so to which I responded with an apologetic smile.
“Idiot do you even think before you speak?” I asked as I removed my hand.
“What? It’s a compliment.” I shook my head, he was an oblivious moron.
“Let’s go find a seat.” Luckily we were able to grab a spot at the counter. We ordered our drinks and proceeded to have a good time. As I took a swig from my glass I looked around the room. Everyone was enjoying themselves, some were watching the game on the T.V, a group of girls were sitting at a table chatting away about their day and sharing laughs, and others were playing billards. There was one person who stood out from the crowd.
She sat in a booth to the very right side of the bar, away from everyone else. Her sleek dark brown locks framed her face perfectly as she read, she looked to be around her mid twenties. Upon closer inspection I noticed a streak of blue in her hair. She suddenly looked up at me as if she knew I was staring at her. Her hazel eyes held a certain warmth as well as a hint of something else. The most interesting thing about her though was the scar across the bridge of her nose. She offered me a small smile and a wave to which I gladly returned. I was captivated to say the least.
Alex looked between the two of us before his lips curled up into a stupid grin. “Go over there and talk to her dude.”
“I don’t know, I mean what would I even say?”
“Just walk over there, look her in the eyes and say ‘Hey baby is your last name Gillette? Because you’re the best a man can get.’”
“I’m not saying that.” I deadpanned. Screw it, I’m just going to wing it and if I fail then at least it will be on my own terms and not by some cheap pickup line. So with that thought in mind I downed what was left of my drink and headed towards the girl.
“U-um hey.” I tried to sound as confident as I could. My heart was beating so fast that I thought it was going to explode.
“Hey.” She replied.
“Mind if I sit here? I-I mean, if it’s okay with you that is?”
She giggled. “Sure, name’s Siya by the way.
“Thanks, I’m Oli-Oliver.” I sat down across from her. “Siya huh? That’s a beautiful name.”
“Thank you, my mom came up with it. I like your name as well.”
“S-So what are you reading?”
“A crime drama. I just got it today from a friend and I’m already hooked on it.” She replied excitedly.
“Cool cool.” There was a thick, awkward silence between us after that. I wanted to talk to her more but there wasn’t I couldn’t find anything else to talk about.
“Well it’s getting late I need to be going now, it was nice meeting you Oliver.”
“It was nice meeting you too… Hey Siya?”
I steeled myself as I dared to ask. “If it’s not too much trouble, c-could I have your number?”
Her eyes widened in surprise for a moment then she gave a warm smile and pulled out her phone. “Sure.” My heart swelled with happiness as we exchanged numbers.
“Damn it, that’s not right either.” I cursed as I erased my answer from the paper for the umpteenth time. I placed my pencil down and messaged the bridge of my nose. It was currently 8:30 p.m. and I was finishing up my homework or at least I was trying to anyway. I released a sigh before picking my pencil back up. “All right, let’s try this again.”
“Ollie can you do me a huge favor?” Alex asked as he burst into my room startling me a bit.
“You know there’s this thing called knocking, maybe you ought to try it out sometime. You almost gave me a heart attack.”
“Never mind that, I need you to do me a solid.”
I sighed. “Let me guess, you want to copy my notes again don’t you?”
“No… well yes that to but anyway I’m trying to go on a date with this girl but she’s not willing to go if it’s a date. That’s where you come in.”
“Okay.” I looked at him warily. “I’m a bit scared to ask but what exactly do you want me to do again?”
“It’ll be weird if just the three of us go so I want you to call your girlfriend and ask her if she wants to come along. That way although we’ll be going in as a group it’ll secretly be a double date.”
“G-Girlfriend!? She’s not my… I-I mean, we haven’t even made it official yet.”
“Well you can make it official tonight. Please Ollie, I’m begging ya here.”
“Okay okay, geez.” I didn’t know what it was but I just couldn’t say no to a man who was groveling like Alex was.
I called Siya as asked and she agreed to come along. We went to see a classic slasher film. Truth be told I’m not a big horror fan but we did a vote and it was three to one. Siya on the other hand was ecstatic, she wasn’t even fazed by the jump scares. She was so fearless.
“That movie was so cool. One thing I don’t get is why does someone trip over something every time? It’s always that one person.” Siya said as we exit the theater.
Alex laughed, “I know right! It’s like dude pick your feet up.”
“What did you think of the movie Ollie? Oliver? H-Hey are you okay? You’re shaking like a leaf.” Siya asked as she turned to face me.
“Y-Y-Yeah I’m f-fine, just a bit sh-shaken up is all.” This usually happens every time I watch scary movies. I get all jittery and my hands get clammy.
“Why didn’t you tell us that you didn’t like horror movies? We could’ve watched something else.”
“N-No no, it’s fine really.”
Siya gave me a concerned look. “If you say so. Well anyway, thanks for inviting me out tonight. Call me later?”
“Y-Yeah.” As Siya proceeded to walk away I felt a light jab to my side and turned to see Alex with a big goofy grin on his face. He then mouthed the words ‘You’ll thank me later’. I knew what he was getting at. “Hey Siya wait up.”
“Hm? What’s up?”
“A-Actually let me walk you home.”
“Are you sure? You were pretty spooked back there.”
“It’s late and I would be worried if I didn’t know for sure that you made it in safely. Besides a girl like you shouldn’t be out alone at this time of night.”
“A girl like me huh.” She muttered as her eyes became downcast.
“No no! I didn’t mean it like that! I just um…” I trailed off not knowing what else to say.
Siya looked up at me with her usual smile. “It’s fine let’s go.” With that she started walking leaving me behind.
“H-Hey, wait up.” I gave Alex a quick wave before chasing after her.
I looked around nervously as Siya lead the way as we walk through the dead of the night. It was eerily quiet for only being 11p.m. She said that she knew a short cut to her apartment but it meant that we had to go through a series of alleyways to get there. I agreed on taking the shorter route and I tried my best to be brave but after watching that movie the shadows that surrounded us made me on edge.
“Ah!” I yelled as a trash lid fell behind me. I turned around swiftly only to see a stray cat looking back at me curiously.
Siya laughed. “I’m sorry… but that look on your face… it was priceless.”
“Y-Yeah well y-“ I started to remark when I froze. The hair on the back of my neck stood up as I saw movement from behind her. The man crept out of the darkness slowly, revealing himself to me and me alone. His greasy disheveled hair, his yellow teeth, his overgrown dirty finger nails as he gripped the knife in his hand.
Siya stopped laughing upon seeing my expression. “H-hey what’s-“ The man lunged out, one of his hairy arms wrapping around her throat like a snake.
“Alright kid fork over you cash or else I’ll have to mess up girlie’s pretty face. Well mess it up even more that is.” He cackled as he pointed the blade towards her neck.
I took a step forward preparing to take on the man. Was I scared? Yes but even so I had to save Siya!
“Ah ah ah, I wouldn’t take another step if I were you.” He then held the knife closer. “Now hand over your wallet. I ain’t f*****g around.”
With no other choice I started to pull my wallet out when I heard a giggle. I looked up at Siya with a confused look. She let out another giggle then her head leaned back as she started laughing hysterically.
“W-W-What’s so funny?! A-Aren’t you afraid?!” The man demanded looking equally confused as I was.
“Afraid? I’m ecstatic!” In a swift motion Siya drove her elbow into the man’s gut, forcing him to release her. Before he had a chance to recover she landed a blow straight to his face, I heard a cracking sound as her fist made impact. As he proceeded to fall towards the ground she grabbed his arm that held the knife and twisted it in an awkward angle. The man opened his mouth to let out a scream in pain but Siya slammed a hand on it, making it come out muffled as she landed on him, holding the blade to his throat.
I watched on in shock as the scene played out like something straight out of an action movie. Was this really the same girl I met at the bar the other day? The same girl that I had fallen for?
“Now you tell me, are YOU scared? I wonder what would happen if I applied just a LITTLE bit more pressure. Let’s find out shall we?”
I snapped out of my dazed stupor. “S-Siya stop, he learned his lesson.” She didn’t respond nor did she stop her assault. The man let out another bone chilling yell into her hand as the knife slowly sunk in. I had enough, I ran towards her and placed my hand on her shoulder. “Siya STOP!! You’ve done enough damage! Just stop please!” Tears threatened to spill from my eyes as I begged her to stop this insanity.
Fear. Pure fear took ahold of my heart when she turned towards me. In her eyes, the same ones that once held so much warmth, now held a mixture of amusement and madness. I fled, I couldn’t take it. My mind was telling me to get far away from her.
Trees. All I could see for miles upon miles were trees as I ran. “Oliver~. Oh Oliver~.” That familiar haunting voice called out to me. “Ollie Ollie oxen free~.” The voice laugh hysterically as long, pale, and boney hands shot out from the never ending darkness. I felt their icy touch as they gripped my ankles, throwing me to the ground. “Are you afraid?” I looked up at the voice. Their hazel eyes filled to the brim with crazed excitement, their once cheerful smile that would brighten up a room was now a sick and demented grin. “Found you~.” The hands suddenly dragged me backwards at a rapid pace.
I woke up in a cold sweat. It’s been a week since I left Siya in that alleyway and within that week I had the same nightmare along with the unshakable feeling of being stalked. My eyes darted to the clock which read 2:45a.m. I wiped the sweat from my brow before get up from the bed. I haven’t called Siya nor has she called me. I still couldn’t believe someone as nice as her could do that to someone. It wasn’t out of fear either, she was ENJOYING every second. It was a good thing I never brought her to my dorm, It was nice knowing I was safe here.
“Hey Alex are you awake?” I asked as I knocked on his door. I waited for a moment but there was no answer. Since the incident I would often ask Alex if he could drive me to stores if I wanted to buy something. I could’ve just asked for the car keys if I had my driver’s license as he’d let me drive a couple of times when we were in high school.
I didn’t want to walk to the convenience store but coffee helped to put my mind at ease. I also refuse to go back to sleep knowing the horrors that were waiting for me in my dreams. I sighed. ‘I can do this.’ I grabbed my coat and left the safety of my dorm.
It was a cold night as I made my way to the store. I didn’t know why but I found myself thinking about Siya. Is she okay? Did she end up going to prison that night? A part of me wanted to see her again. It was strange, even though I had met her only a little while ago I felt connected to her as if I had known her for a long time. Maybe… maybe I was just overreacting, we did just finished watching a horror movie after all. I shook my head violently. What am I thinking? There’s no way I could have imagined all that no matter how wild my imagination is.
I took a sip of the hot beverage while walking back. Pictures of her smile flashed in my mind. Was it all just a show? A disguise to hide her true nature? Did she pretend to have an interest in me? As these thoughts swam through my mind a feeling of dread came over me. I looked around in a frenzied fashion. The street was completely empty yet the intensity of someone watching me remained. I quickened my pace. ‘There’s no one there, it’s all in your head.’ I repeated those words trying to convince myself. Relief washed over me as I neared the dorms, I was back in my safe zone.
When I turned the corner however my heart sunk into my stomach. There, in the middle of the pathway to the dorms, a figure stood motionless underneath the lamppost. They were dressed in all black with a hooded cloak and what seemed to be a black wolf mask. Their head tilted ever so slightly as I stared at them in utter shock. They took a step, then another, soon they slowly started to approach me. I ran, dropping my cup of joe as I did so.
‘Just keep running!’ I told myself as I dashed through the dense woods. My feet ached, my heartbeat echoed in my ears, my heart felt as though they were on fire, but I had to keep running for as long as I could. My pursuer was hot on my heels with no intention of stopping any time soon, it was clear they wanted me dead!
I didn’t know where I was going and I didn’t care. I had to get away from my stalker. Dead leaves crunched under my shoes as I ran, dodging tree limbs as I did so. I let out a shriek as a tree root threw me to the cold ground. My attacker pounced, rotating me so I would face them. I gasped for air as their gloved hands gripped my neck in a tight hold. I was forced to look into the dark voids of their mask as they proceeded to squeeze the life out of me. My hands flailed around in search of something to defend myself with. I felt something hard and without a second thought I swung it with all my might. The mysterious attacker fell over from the blow allowing me to get up. I glanced back at the figure only to freeze. This had to be a nightmare. Their hood was opened just enough for me to see a streak of blue in their dark brown hair.
I don’t know if she was either dead or knocked out nor did I wait to see if she would move. I made a mad dash back to the dorms and flung Alex’s door open with a loud bang. “We have to leave NOW!”
Alex may have been an idiot at times but he knew when something was wrong. We drove off into the night, leaving our belongings behind. “Mind telling me why you wanted to leave so suddenly? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Alex asked casting a worried glance my way.
“I-I’ll tell you later.” My heart pounded rapidly in my chest as I looked back through the window. There standing ominously in the middle of the road was the masked woman. I still have nightmares to this day that one day she will reappear and finish what she started. I became a somewhat of a shut in afterwards, going out the safety of my house only if I absolutely had to. Even then I looked around cautiously, always on edge, always vigilant.