And Then We Danced

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story inspired by the song of the same name by Toyah Wilcox.
A woman is being stalked by a man. Or is she?

Submitted: April 14, 2016

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Submitted: April 14, 2016

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And Then We Danced.

I don't know how long he has been watching me before I even notice him. Probably quite a while. You see there is nothing special about him. He is neither particularly ugly or handsome, tall or short, thin or fat. He is Mr Average in every way, blending in instead of standing out. And he is following me.
I would call him a stalker except there is nothing about me that would attract such a thing. I am not famous, not successful, not beautiful, pretty or a knock-out in any way. Like him I would totally blend in with a crowd, Ms Average in person.
Perhaps I am imagining it. Perhaps it is a total coincidence that I now notice him in so many places that I go to. I will ignore him. I won't look at him. Maybe then he will go away.

I am waiting at the station for my train home from work. I have a pretty boring job as a secretary in a large office block. I work all day with a lot of other secretaries. We all get on okay, I don't have any real close friends there but we'll go out to cafés together at lunch. Not a very exciting way to make a living but it pays the bills, keeps me off the streets. I'm not an ambitious person and am quite content.
I can hear the train approaching. I hold my bag close, ready for the rush and crush to board the train, and then I see him. He is standing about four people away from me. If I stay where I am we will end up sharing a carriage.
I could stay back, wait for the next train, but it would be just my luck for it to be cancelled or at least delayed. No, I decide that I'll wait until the last moment, push sideways and get into the next carriage instead. He is too far on my right to be able to manage that manoeuvre.
The train pulls to a stop and passengers start disembarking. I risk a quick glance his way and see that he is moving forward towards the carriage doors with the other passengers. He has not looked at me. I quickly push my way to the left and ignore the curses that are aimed in my direction. Once inside the train I squeeze my way as far from his carriage as I can.
But of course now that I am on the train I am going to have the problem of getting off it again. Does my stalker know my destination? Well, its the same place I always get off so I would have to guess that he does. I could push my way off and make a dash for it, hoping he'll find himself caught up with the other passengers. Or I could get off at a different station. Not a later one because then he might get back on if he notices that I have stayed on board the train. No, I will get off on the previous station to normal, waiting until the last moment to disembark. I'll treat myself to taxi for the rest of the journey.

Once back home I think that maybe I am over reacting. He is probably quite an innocent person who just happens to end up in a lot of the places I frequently visit. There are probably a hundred or more people who do the same thing without me even noticing.
There is no sign of him outside when I pull my curtains closed. So, its still a bit light outside. I'd rather close off my windows from any prying eyes. Besides, a girl on her own just can't be too careful.
I'm going to the pub later with my sister Tracy and her boyfriend Paul. It's only the local, nothing special, but we are guaranteed to know a few of the regulars. It is always a good place to go for a bit of a laugh.
When they arrive to pick me up there is no sign of the stranger. I really am starting to believe that he was just an innocent passenger who just happened to be taking the same train as me. I was going to mention him to Tracy but now I don't think I'll bother.
Beth, Rosie and Aiden are in the pub when we get there. We see each other probably several times a week but there always seems a lot of catching up to do on each others lives every time we meet. The time seems to fly in a haze of laughter and gossip.
When I am returning from buying my round of drinks at the bar I see him. My stalker. He is over the other side of the room, not obviously looking my way, but I am sure it is him. All the laughter seems to drain from me.
"What's wrong, Patti?" Tracy asks when I get back to our table. "You look like you have seen a ghost."
"Don't look round straight away but there's someone here I want to know if you recognise."
She can't resist and has to look. "Where?"
"Across the other side of the bar. Sitting at a table on his own," I say.
"I can't see anyone. You're going to have to point him out."
I try to make moving my head subtle so he won't notice me looking for him but the table I saw him at is now occupied by four people, none of whom are him. I scan the rest of the bar but he seems to have completely vanished.
"Doesn't matter, Trace. He's gone now. It was probably no one we know anyway."
It did matter though. Even though I did not see him in the bar again the fun had gone out of my night. Tracy gave me a few funny looks but didn't say anything. She probably thought I'd seen an old boyfriend or something.
We didn't stay much longer. As we said our goodbyes to Beth, Rosie and Aiden I let my eyes roam around again. Not a sign of the stranger who was so unsettling me. With a sigh of relief I went out to the car and Paul and Tracy dropped me home.

I put my key in the lock, opened my door and turned to wave as Paul pulled away. And that was when I saw him again, standing in the shadows on the other side of the street. I waved to Paul to stop but neither he nor Tracy saw me and the car disappeared from view.
I hurried through the door and as I turned to shut it I saw that he was still standing there. At least he had not made a move to follow me inside. But now he knew where I lived, and he had probably worked out that I lived alone.
I don't have a very large flat; a living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. I went from room to room, checking all the windows, turning on all the lights. Even so, I felt nervous, on edge. Should I phone the police, say that I am being followed. I part the curtain very slightly and look across the road. No one is there now. If I phoned them they would almost certainly laugh at me. After all, even my own sister who I had been out with could not back up my claim.
I pour myself another whisky, drag my quilt from the bed to the sofa, and drift off into a very uneasy sleep.

I didn't bring my alarm clock in from the bedroom so I have overslept. I'm not going to have time to go through my usual morning routine, just a quick tidy, a change of clothes and even so I miss my normal train.
Still, there is no sign of this stranger and I don't have time to worry about him as I almost have to jog to get to work on time.
"Like that last night, was it?" Clare smiles sympathetically as she hands me a couple of aspirin and a coffee.
"You could say." I'll let her think I had a night of heavy drinking. I don't think I could stand to talk about this stalker any more. And the last thing I need is for the girls in the office to think I'm going a bit gaga.
The morning passes as it always does at work, with nothing special to mark it out from any other day. That is until lunch time when Clare again approaches my desk holding a bunch of flowers.
"These are for you, Patti. No name or card with them, I'm afraid. That guy over there dropped them off."
She points towards the door but there is no one there. "Sorry. He must have gone."
I don't need to see him. I know who it was. He obviously has not decided to give up on me yet. But why?
"Look, I'm sorry Clare but I really don't feel well. I think I must be coming down with flu or something. Would you please call me a taxi? A bit extravagant, I know, but I just can't face the train."
Clare calls after me as I leave the office to say I had forgotten my flowers. I don't turn back to get them.

I did not return to work for the rest of the week. In fact I did not leave my flat at all. I was well enough stocked up on groceries to not even have to venture out for milk or bread.
I did not open my curtains and I did not look out of my windows. Nobody knocked at my door and it stayed firmly shut. I told myself I had the flu but I knew that if it hadn't been for Him I would have gone to work as usual.
When Tracy phoned me to ask if I wanted to go out with her and Rosie, I agreed. I had really had enough of isolation and was bored of my own company. We planned to go shopping, treat ourselves to a new outfit, pair of shoes, make-up or something. Just a girl's day out, nothing serious. I was a bit pushed for money as I'd had a few taxi fares to cover that I hadn't budgeted for; I'd take something out of the bank and sort it out later.
"You look better, Patti," Traci said as she gave me a hug.
"Yeah, Patti. You looked a bit pale the last time I saw you," Rosie added.
"It must have been the start of the flu." I would not even think about the real reason for my off days recently.
"So, are we all ready for a bitchin' good spending spree?" Tracy laughed.
"You bet." Rosie and me spoke together, and the three of us headed towards the station.

I treated myself to a bottle of perfume, a lighter fragrance than I would usually use and a long sleeved top that even on sale would be one of my most expensive items of clothing. It was a cream colour with a faded design of red and pink roses on it. Not too flashy for work but also suitable to wear on a night out, I figured it's double wardrobe role was worth splashing out on. Rosie bought shoes. She is one of those people who can never have too many pairs; flats, stilettos, platforms, she has got them all. Tracy bought a couple of outfits for her and Paul's planned holiday in Italy.
I was feeling quite good as we made our way to a table in a coffee house that I'd never been to at all before. Cappuccinos and cakes all round. The three of us were laughing and joking and having a good time. It had been ages since we had just gone off together and we all agreed that we wouldn't leave it so long again.
Tracy and Rosie stood up to leave. I waited to let them pass me before getting to my feet. Somebody bumped in to me and there was a pain in my arm that was indescribable. It was as though it was freezing and burning at the same time, as though it had been crushed and mangled.
I looked down at my arm but could see nothing wrong with it. The arm that had touched mine was just moving away and it was his, my stalkers. How could he be here, somewhere that I had never been to before. It couldn't be a coincidence. He must have been following us all day.
I'm sure he said, "Soon," before moving away.
Had he injected me with something? That was my first thought but there was no pin prick, no bruising. My arm looked in perfectly normal shape but even though it was fading the pain was still there.
I couldn't see any sign of him when I pushed forward towards the door. Both Tracy and Rosie had already gone out onto the street. I had to find them, then I would feel better again.
There, across the street! I can see them stop and look back towards me, waiting for me to catch up. I move my bags closer to my side and step on to the road. And as I do my stalker walks straight towards me.
He stares straight into my eyes, reaches out his hands, and we are dancing. Right here on a busy road with hundreds of people around us. He pulls me close, then whirls me away, faster and faster. We are turning and twisting, swaying to a silent beat. Our feet are moving in perfect synchronisation.
How can that be? I can't dance. It has always been as though I had two left feet. And how come no one else is dancing? They all looked shocked, mouths hanging open.
As if from a distance I hear the squeal of brakes and the thud as a moving vehicle makes contact with a body. I hear muffled screaming which strangely seems to be coming from Tracy and Rosie.
My stalker and I keep dancing. Suddenly I realise my feet are not on the ground any more. We are floating, dancing in the air, rising higher and higher above the people who seem rooted to the spot below us.
Tracy runs towards the road and it is then that I see the body. Strangely it is dressed in my clothes, with my hair and carrying my bags. I want to shout to her, tell her it is not me, that I am up in the sky dancing with a stranger. My voice will not come, it refuses to obey me. I am unable to make contact with her at all.
And as I rise higher and higher the truth dawns upon me. My stalker was nothing more or less than my death.

 

 


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