It was raining as I watched her push her way through the crowded, cobbled street. I could hear the tapping of her heeled shoes against the stones, occasionally stumbling as she hurried on. I tried to keep up with her. I needed to be close enough to see her. But so that she can’t see me.
I could make out what appeared to be blood scattered like ink blots on her white coat and a stain on her red handbag. It wasn’t closed properly, like she left somewhere in a hurry. Every now and then she would move her hand up to fiddle with the strap, or play with a strand of hair, or button and then unbutton her coat. She couldn’t keep her hands still.
She turned sharply into a dark alley way. I almost lost her. Dogs barked and growled as she scurried past, some running right up to the fences. It was dark and dreary; an icy chill was starting to make its way through my clothes and into my skin. The rain came down like shots of silver, giving the pavements a dirty shine. Her crimson shoes were doing her no good in this weather, as she slipped every now and then on the cobbled stones. She wrapped her arms around herself, trying to prevent the cold from seeping in. She had always hated the rain.
She tripped again, tilting sideways slightly, gripping onto a fence with nimble fingers. She paused there for a moment, trying to catch her breath. I hung back in the shadows, still not wanting to be seen. She straightened and rubbed her hands together, which were slowly turning blue from the cold. She was now standing in front of a small house, with red brick walls and plants crawling up towards the windows. She stood and stared for a while. The kitchen window was lit, and an elderly woman stood at the stove, boiling what looked like cabbage and calling for her grandchildren. The scene was homely and somewhat comforting. The girl was, for some reason, fascinated by what she saw in the window.
This could be my chance. I could silently approach her and take her home with me, where she would be mine. She’d never leave my sight; she would stick with me whenever I needed her. She’d always be where I wanted her, her scent lingering in every room. I could smell it now, her perfume. It’s her favourite one, the one she spritzes all over herself throughout the day: floral but subtle, feminine, like a rose.
I was pulled from my thoughts when I saw her break out of her enchanted state. She reached into her bag and pulled out a small notebook and pen. She then flipped it open to what appeared to be a random page and jotted down a few words, her pen moving briskly across the paper. She ripped the page out in one sharp move, looking around as she did. She folded the paper and then flicked it from her hand, watching as it fluttered down on to the street like a feather. She then made a sharp turn and hurried off into the darkness.
As soon as there was enough distance between us I left my place from the shadows and picked up the piece of paper. It was dirty from the pavement, with drops of rain staining the paper like tears. I opened it up and tried to make out the smudged wording.
Stop following me. Please.
Words by Chloe Price
Chloe Price is a third year English Literature and Creative Writing student at Bath Spa University. She is an aspiring author who particularly enjoys historical fiction and crime novels. Her works are often dark and explore feminism and humanity.
Illustrations by Emma Flood (@dilemmadraws)
Emma Flood is an illustrator and designer currently studying Graphic Communication at Bath Spa University. She is inspired by story tellers and wants to one day illustrate her own graphic novel.