This is old. I wrote it when I was home alone, last year some time, because I had this niggling feeling in the back of my head that yes, there was someone at the bottom of the garden looking at me. And yes, he was getting closer.
The Man Who Wasn’t There
I caught my first glimpse of him when I was pissing. I leant back, looked out the window to my left, and I saw him, caught an idea of him by the garage, at the bottom of the garden. I didn’t see all of him, I saw a snippet, but what I did see, I knew. Because that was everything I was fearful of, this whole concept of fear came together at the bottom of the garden, and it was just… Standing. He grinned. Winked. Stood and watched, and then as I noticed that he noticed that I had noticed him, I leant back forward, piss nearly spilling off the toilet and onto the floor. I controlled myself. Regained composure, and then leant back, peeking out the window like a scared child (which, in all honesty, I had become). He still stood there. He grinned. He winked. I closed the blinds, turned off the bathroom light, and I left. I left the bathroom, and I went into my bedroom, I closed the curtain (he was just within eyeshot, I saw him, lurking, still near the garage), and locked my door. The light stayed on. I didn’t sleep.
The next day, I looked out my window at first light. Nothing. In the bright light of the day, the worries of yesterday had faded, though, I think, not completely. I saw a shadow by the garage. Maybe the door was open. I didn’t want to check, why would I? If I checked there might be something there. The bottom of my garden was a fearful place. There were corners. Shadows. Places things could lurk and hide and wait. The day ached on, and I didn’t do anything. I sat and I waited for the night. Because, I thought, the night brings comfort. Comfort because it meant the day was coming sooner. When the day was here, I’m uncomfortable in the knowledge it’s going. When it’s not here, I’m fearful, because it’s not here, but then the cycle turns and continues and moves on and I’m stuck. Constantly afraid. Constantly on edge.
Night came sooner than expected. I must have, somehow, fallen asleep. I sat in the back of the house, and tried to read. It was the warmest room we had in this cold, echoing place we called home, and at night, there was a cosy sense of security. The wind outside didn’t bother me, and why should it? The doors were locked, the curtains closed, and the windows sealed. I stood. I didn’t know why. The book didn’t engross me, piffy non-fiction fiction that was wasting the paper it was printed on. The wind didn’t irritate me either. I was pulled toward the doors, and when there, I pressed my hands against the cold glass. The wind whistled louder then. I looked out across the darkness. The grass waved in synch with the wind, and for a minute it didn’t click that one was causing the other, and I wondered why the two were dancing together like old familiar lovers… I breathed out, one long breath, and the glass blurred, and as my reflection obscured then vanished, I wiped my finger down, only to see, framed by the gap I had created, what was beyond the grass. The bench, beside the old shed, was not unoccupied. He sat there. His suit immaculate, his grin constant, and even in the wind, blowing so hard, he did not shiver, he did not shy away. He stared at me. I stared back. He winked. The curtains close soon after. I shivered, not from the cold, and made doubly sure all the doors were locked. I go again without sleep. Merely because.
The day winded on. Too quickly, it felt like. The night came sooner than expected, and I found the centre of the house, wrapped myself up good and proper in a quilt, and I sat. If I looked, he got closer. If I looked, he’s there. If I sat, and I didn’t look, and I didn’t wonder, he couldn’t exist. He couldn’t… Be. I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t sleep. If I slept… If I slept… There was no logic behind why I didn’t sleep. If I slept, tomorrow would come sooner. If I didn’t sleep, tomorrow would come slow and steady. If I slept… He would come sooner. He was there. I could feel it. Probably on the path. Probably on the grass. Probably pressing his face against the cold window. Probably breathing hard and heavy and streaking his finger down the glass pane. Probablys. Probablys.
Fourth day. Was it the fourth day? Could have been the twentieth, the way I was feeling. Drained and dead inside, hoping that the day will end and just end. No more. No more after that. Just… Infinite nothingness. No fear. No nothing. I sat at the computer, buzzing screen before me. I type something on the screen. I caught and then I stop. I caught a glimpse of him and I paused and thought about the words that left me. Who was he? What was he? Why? Why was he taunting me? Following me? Why did no one else notice that this man was standing in the middle of my garden in the middle of the night with the smile and that wink and that suit? Why? I caught my first glimpse of him when I was pissing. The words flowed out like they had to. Like a tap that was left running. I turn to my right, to the door that lead to the garden, and there he is. There he stands, on the porch, watching me tell the story of him and his haunting. I looked away. And stared at the screen. My eyes grew heavy, but I kept writing. I turned, and he was gone. Was he gone? Maybe I was too tired to tell. If I slept… Why hadn’t I slept? There was no logic behind why I didn’t sleep. I should have slept. Should have slept the worry away. I saved the document under a non-descript title. Piffy non-fiction fiction and all that. I stood up, and entered the kitchen, and I hoped a glass of water would drown the dread inside my chest. And quite simply, there he was. Standing inside my house. Down the hall. In front of the mirror, his suit was immaculate, his grin wide and his skin so pale and dead. His face looked stretched, pulled at the back and stapled on. His eyes were thin and black and penetrating. "Hello," he said, as he took a step forward. His voice was soft. Too soft. I took a step back, and he took a step forward, "I have, if you hadn’t gathered, been watching you." The glass in my hand shattered on impact to the floor. "And I don’t mean to bother you, but I need something from you--"