Dark Stranger (Working Title)

"I know that I am being followed. When I am in a crowd, I can feel eyes locked on me no matter where in the room I go, no matter how many people surround me. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and I know I am being stared at, watched. When I walk to my car after work in the dark and deserted parking lot, I hear footfalls behind me and see shadows chasing me. They stop when I do. At home, I never feel alone. Someone, something is watching me. Stalking me."

Anthony stared at me from the across the diner table, frowning. He didn't believe me. I sighed and lit a cigarette. I know it all sounded crazy. I didn't know how much more I could take. I was being stalked and no one believed me. Everyone thought I was losing it, and maybe I was. I stared out of the window, blowing smoke at the foggy glass and wishing my head would stop pounding. I remembered the other night how I'd awoken with a start and sat straight up in bed. As I sat there, rubbing my eyes and trying to remember what had awaken me it all came back. Someone had been in my bed. Someone had whispered my name in my ear and I had woken up. I started to shake just remembering it. I realized that Anthony was talking to me.

"Macy, are you listening to me?" he asked, concern in his eyes.

I looked at him, knowing how awful I looked with the dark circles and bags under my eyes. I hadn't slept since that night. That was three days ago. "No," I mumbled. "Sorry."

"I was saying that maybe you're just too stressed out with work and everything else. Why don't you come and stay with me and James for awhile? I wouldn't mind."

"No, you wouldn't," I smiled. "But James might."

I loved them both dearly and might have even taken Anthony up on the offer, but I knew how James was about people being at the apartment. He would've helped me out in any way he could, but I knew he was not comfortable having people there all the time. I could never impose on the two of them that way.

"Don't worry about him," Anthony said, giving me a winning smile. It was that winning smile that was sending him straight into what looked to be a promising career as an actor. I just knew he would be the next poster boy for all the young girls. I wondered what they would they think when they found out he was gay.

"The last thing I want to do is cause problems between you two," I told him, and I meant it. "I've been on my own for the past seven months anyway, I'll be fine."

A sad look came over his face. "You don't look fine. I don't think you've been fine since you lost the baby."

An uncomfortable silence followed. This was a subject I refused to talk about, and he knew it. I would rather have pretended the whole thing never happened and that was exactly how I was dealing with it. "I'm fine," I said a little colder than I'd meant to.

"I'm sorry," he said, grabbing my hand. "But don't you think you should talk to someone about it? You're not sleeping, you're not eating...and now you think someone is following you. None of this is healthy, Mace."
I pulled my hand away, "I knew you wouldn't believe me."

"No, I do. It's just.."

"I know, I know..you think I'm losing my mind. You and everyone else."

"We're just worried about you," he said.

I smiled, "I know, Anthony. Thanks. But I'm okay. I have to go. Thanks for listening."

I stood up, not wanting to talk about all of this anymore. My head was killing me.

"Please call me if you need anything," he said, hugging me, his voice full of concern.

"I will. Love you."

And I left.

I walked out in the cold, night air blowing plumes of smoke-air out in front of me as I walked to my car. A large, full moon hung high in the sky and there wasn't a star in the city sky. It was the only thing I missed about living in the country. The drive back to my small, loft apartment wasn't far but I didn't walk anymore these days if I could help it. Oddly, I didn't feel as if I was being watched tonight as I got out of my car, locked it, and made my way to the front steps of my the old apartment building. I felt totally alone. It was nice.

I made it to my apartment and immediately began to fix a cup of strong coffee. I refused to let myself sleep. There were no messages on my machine or in email as I turned on my computer. That was just as well. I had pretty much shut myself off from the rest of the world after Damian disappeared eight months ago. For the first two months I thought I would die, but then I had found out I was pregnant. It gave me renewed hope and for the first time in awhile I felt alive again, and happy. No one had heard from or seen Damian even though his motorcycle had been found abandoned and wrecked on a deserted road just outside of the city. I liked to believe he was still alive and kept a careful record of every part of the pregnancy to share with him when he returned.

He would've been so happy to have a child. When I lost the baby a month ago, another part of me died, too. So did all hope and happiness. I no longer waited for Damian's return, and instead accepted his death as suredly as I had to accept that I'd lost my son. I refused to talk about either of them, and the few friends I still talked to, understood this. Rarely did anyone bring up the baby or Damian in my prescence. I loved them for that. I sat at the table with my cup of coffee, going through the mail from the past week. I was getting so bad about putting things off. The pile had grown large sitting on my kitchen table and after Nala, my cat, had scattered it all last night, I'd finally decided to go through it.