Something had been following Briony all day. It was there when she woke up in the morning, clinging to the bed post and staring down at her. Getting up, had caused the thing to move away and she had tried to put it out of her mind. Claiming it was the lingering effects of a bad dream, she got in the shower and ready for the day.
It left the house with her.
Briony closed the door and walked down the path, juggling her car keys, coffee, handbag and large folder. Something brushed past her at the gate. Stopping, she looked down at her ankles where she had felt movement. There was nothing but the edge of her pants against her high heels. Glancing around, there didn’t seem to be any sign of an animal or even a gust of wind.
Puzzled, she got into her car and locked the doors. Setting off, Briony shook her head and blamed it on the dream. What had that been about anyway? She couldn’t remember the shower had washed it away. Glancing in the rear view mirror she saw a flash of black. Actually turning around, she looked at the back seats and out of the back window. The strange black dot was nowhere to be seen.
Telling herself, she wasn’t going insane, she drove to work.
Even there it seemed to have followed her. Out of the corner of her eyes, she kept catching black dots, shadows and shapes which on closer inspection weren’t there. The feeling of being watched grew and distracted her. Briony couldn’t help shake the feeling of eyes on the back of her head. She stayed in during lunchtime and let her work consume her in the afternoon.
At home time, she lurked as long as she could, but then had to leave as the building was locked up. Sitting in her car, she didn’t feel safe. Something was in the back seat, watching and breathing into her hair. Starting the car, Briony blasted the radio and drove home on the edge of having a panic attack.
Parking up, she got out and inside her house quickly, hoping to catch the thing out and trap it either in the car or outside the house. Dumping her stuff, she hurried to the bathroom and locked the door. Trying to control her heavy ragged breathing, she listened. Was that a creak on the stairs? A tap on the glass? A rattle of the letter box?
Sighing, she ran a bath. Pouring in lots of relaxing bubbles, she undressed and stepped gingerly in. The hot water licked against her skin and ignoring the heat, Briony fully got in. Letting out a deep moan, she settled back. Water sloshed and dripped in the background, calming her further. Letting everything go in the tub, she tried to laugh off the experience. She was just having one of those days, that was all and there was nothing, nothing following her.
An hour later and after sorting herself out, Briony went downstairs to fix something to eat. Turning the TV on, she let the noise fill the house as she cooked. She ate in front of the news channel, but hardly took any of it in. From somewhere behind her, came a mix of tapings, scratchings and breaths.
‘Whatever, you are, please go away,’ Briony whispered.
She put her things down and slowly turned around. The shadows crossing the wall seemed to be looking back at her. She looked harder, trying to pick anything solid out. There only seemed to be a mass of darkness.
‘Go away, she muttered, ‘quit following me.’
Glad, there’d been no response, she got up and went back into the kitchen. Tidying up, she went to bed, hoping she was going to feel safer. Getting warm under duvet and blankets, she pulled a book into her lap and began reading.
Her bedroom door creaked open.
Briony’s eyes shot up. The breath caught in her throat and she waited.
Nothing emerged and the door didn’t open anymore.
‘Leave me alone!’ she shouted.
Clutching the book to her chest, her eyes scanned the room. She heard nothing further or saw anything move. Shakely, she opened the book and began reading again, but she couldn’t concentrate. What was that flicking out of the corner of her eye? She looked up and saw a shadow detach itself from the wall. It floated over to the bed and wrapped itself around the bed post.
Briony swallowed and watched it. She bit her lip, fighting down words that burned her throat. Her eyes flicked back to the book and the lines blurred together. Then in the darkness she heard a scream.