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In the shadows

Nobody ever noticed that I was there, people barely blinked an eyelid whenever I walked into a room. As a matter of fact, well anywhere really. It had been this way my whole life, ever since my mother’s frequent amorous attention was drawn to the company of strange men rather than to her only son. The anonymity that came with living under the radar and hiding in the shadows of this thing called life came to be very liberating, never feeling the need to conform. I was happy to be free.

I enjoyed watching people, having developed a photographic memory and attentive to the minutest details. I spent hours on trains, at cafes and in town squares, watching as people went about their daily lives. I was always more of an observer, rather than a participant in the world. My intuition and attention to detail had served me well and kept me safe through my youth, but sometimes you don’t see what is often in plain sight.

The park was particularly lovely today, the grass was freshly cut and the trees were in full spring bloom. I enjoyed taking my lunch near the lake, where I could sit and watch the ducks paddle freely in the water, the world just passing by.

I wondered sometimes what it would be like to have the freedom to take off at a whim and a fancy, to fly off wherever I wanted. There were a few people around today, but the bench was far enough away and under the shade of the tree canopy for me to remain inconspicuous.

As I bit down on my sandwich I noticed a lady jogging around the lake. She looked rather young and was keeping quite the pace on the track. There were often joggers on the well-worn path, at the time I thought nothing of it. It lead deep into the surrounding bushland, well away from view.

Another jogger soon passed, but this one looked a little odd. It was a rather warm day, but the man wore a full tracksuit and was gaining rapidly on the jogger in front. He was rather tall, some salt and pepper stubble on his rugged face with a solidly built frame. Not your usual attire for a casual jog in the middle of the day, I thought to myself.

He paused briefly, catching his breath and looking squarely in my direction, his expression was unusual but distinctive. There was an uncomfortable familiarity about him and those eyes but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. He continued on his run, quickening the pace to gain some ground.

The serenity of the park was suddenly shattered, the birds scattering from the trees as screams filled the silence. Throwing down my sandwich I bolted over and found her, battered and bruised on the dirt path. She was covered in dust and there were signs of a struggle.

“Are you alright?” She seemed startled by my presence and began to back away, but I calmly reassured her that I was here to help. She was in shock after the traumatic and unprovoked attack.

“Make sure you tell him. Make sure you tell him it was me.” She repeated this, as I knelt by her side, her pupils fully dilated and her breathing was rapid and shallow.

“Tell who?” my heart racing as I waited for her response, the crowd now building around her.

“You,” as she pointed in my direction, her voice quivered as she made eye contact with me. “He said he was coming for you!” By now, the police had been called by a passer-by.

My worst fears had come to fruition. He had found me.

© T. Zerafa 2023

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed my writing. If you haven’t read any of my other pieces, take a look through my blog. Please feel free to like, share, follow or comment below.


2 responses to “In the shadows”

  1. I want to know who it is!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, what a nice and unexpected twist! Very engaging writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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