The One Who Follows
A short horror story
Yesterday, you asked me to move in with you, but I refused, not giving you any concrete reason at all. You asked why I refused, but I didn’t answer.
Let me explain.
Have you ever had that feeling? The one where you think there’s someone watching you? It feels like something prickling your back, tickling it, but not pleasurably. Because I have. And it’s not fun.
I really shouldn’t be writing this. He might find out. Might come for me, like He has, the others. But I am. Because soon it won’t matter. But someone else should know the truth.
I got that feeling first on the highway, in the car at night, when I was eight. I looked out the window to see what was causing this strange feeling, what had so easily spiked my interest. And I saw two eyes, two glistening jewels in the night sky, red as blood, pupil-less.
I told my parents, I screamed and shouted, but to no avail. They said it was just my imagination. That my thoughts ran too wild. That I’m too proactive for my own good.
Little did they know, little did they know…
That night, as I lay awake, curled up on my bed, staring out of the window, onto the meadows beyond, I saw those eyes again. Those cold, unforgiving eyes. Those eyes that shouldn’t have conveyed anything yet said so much. Those eyes that I was ghastly afraid of. They stood out amidst the storm that billowed around them, a violent red between the gravel grey.
I screamed out in fear, my howls echoing through my room, and then through the house. I heard my mother’s footsteps coming from down the hall to check on me. And that’s when I saw the eyes move.
What were only eyes at first, became a black, furry face, with a slit for a mouth, and an empty space where His nose should have been. As He moved across my lawn, his feet ruffled the leaves and caused an eerie, unnerving sound to emanate from him.
I screamed even louder. I howled, I wailed. I didn’t know what else to do. My body had inexplicably shut down, and refused to move no matter what my brain tried to make it do.
My room door slammed open, and my head whipped towards the door. It was my mum! Okay, now everything will be fine. Don’t worry Tim, nothing’s going to happen. Mummy’s here. I tried coaxing myself into thinking everything was fine. Little did I know how far from the truth that was.
On the other side of my room, the window flew open, and He came flying in. He didn’t hesitate for even a second; He didn’t waver. He just went straight for her. Sunk his impossibly large teeth right into her neck, and there was nothing I could do. My body was still frozen. And to make matters worse, a chill had descended upon the room, a chill that actually froze me.
I watched in horror as the straight-line slit turned into a wide, cheek-to-cheek grin. I watched as the life slowly drained from my beloved mother’s eyes. As the colour drained from her face, and her once rosy cheeks became pale.
I still couldn’t move.
Then He looked up at me. And the grin spread even wider. His teeth were dripping with my mother’s blood, and He relished it. He relished the fear in my eyes, He relished the fact that I was frozen with fear. And I hated it. I hated Him. But I couldn’t do anything.
He proceeded to float towards me. This close to Him, I realised He didn’t have any legs. He just sort of hovered there. The rustling sound he made when he moved came from His cloak brushing against the ground. He came towards me and grasped my face. He stared into my eyes for a moment, my blue-green being reflected into his pure red then sneered at me and spoke in a thick, raspy voice that I was to know all too well,
“Well done. You have done well. And you will continue to do so, or…”
The answer to that was obvious.
Then my body decided to work. As He flew out of the room, I lunged to the other side and crouched over my mother’s dead body. The tears came, silently at first, but then accompanied by a horrible wailing and shouts for my father. He came almost instantly, but he too crippled and fell to his knees at the sight of my mother’s body. We stayed like that for what felt like an eternity. I had nightmares of that night every night for two years. Until one night they stopped. And that was even scarier.
It was the night of my next encounter with Him. I was ten, and the scene was much like that night two years ago. We had moved houses though, because Dad said that the house reminded him of Mum’s death.
Cold memories, memories that I had been long trying to forget came rushing back to me. They hit me like a tidal wave with full force, without any warning. But this time I was ready. This time I was prepared. Since that night, I kept a knife in the drawer by my bed. Dad didn’t know about it, and it was best that he didn’t too. Never would he have allowed it. But I had it, and that’s what mattered. Or so I thought.
I reached for the knife, and my hand wrapped around nothingness. The knife was gone! And the room was suddenly colder too. I whipped my head around, and to my great terror, saw Him floating at the foot of my bed, my knife in His hand. As the confusion crept into my eyes, His smile grew. As confusion became shock, and then fright, the smile became a menacing laugh. It rippled throughout the house, chilling me to the bone. He cackled louder each second, revelling in the fear He brought upon me.
My father heard this noise. He came thundering towards my room to try and sort out the commotion. I heard his footsteps coming, and I shouted out in warning, trying to get him to stay out of my room. But it was too late. No sooner had my father stepped inside my room, He sprung from his position, dropping the knife to the ground, teeth bared. I tried diving between the two, but it was no use. He moved too fast; He got to my father first. He got to him and sunk those dagger-shaped teeth of His, right into my dad’s neck. The blood spilt from my father’s body, squirting all over the room, permanently staining the walls and carpet.
I tried calling out to Him, offering myself instead, but it was no use. He just kept chugging the blood out from my father’s neck, draining him of life, like He had my mother. I stared on in horror, unable to look away, fixated upon the horror in front of me. When He was done, the slushing noise stopped.
And so, the visits continued. He would show up at my window, the weather the same each time, and take someone. Each time I tried harder than before not to scream, to not “call them”, as He once put it. But it was all to no avail. Everyone has a fear or two in life — one that would absolutely rock them to their core, no matter how old they are. He is mine.
I’m twenty now, and I live alone. This time when he comes for me, there will be no one for me to call out for. This time, it will be my turn. This time, my ten-year-old self would have his wish granted. He would take me.
But now you know the secret. So, it’s okay.
Hope you understand,
P.S. Don’t look out the window while on the highway at night.