If only I knew what would have happened if I never saw him…if I never laid eyes on him. Would I be trapped here in this windowless room, where there are bars all around me? I am doomed to live the rest of my life here. Never to experience what life is like beyond the ten-foot wall that encircles this place I call hell. Then I thought it’s better than being dead. There are others who live here, but not all are here for the same reason as I am. I want to take everything back! But I can’t. It happened and I can’t take it back. Not now. Not ever.
It started out like this: It was a sunny day as I walked out of the coffee shop drinking my favorite drink, a caramel latte, I saw him. He was on the other side of the street when he caught my gaze. It seemed like time stopped, and everything was quiet. The only thing that could be heard was my heart pounding rapidly. We held each other’s gaze for thirty seconds, but it felt more like thirty minutes to me. He was first to smile and look away. He continued walking. As he walked I watched him go in the opposite direction.
When I came back to the coffee shop the next day, he was there at a table staring at me with a knowing smile like he knew I would come. This shocked me. I had no idea of what to do. Whether or not to sit at his table, say hello, or ignore him completely. What would you do?
By the time I got my drink, I made my mind up. I was going to go over just to say hi but not sit unless he insisted on it. As I made my way over, I could feel my face going hot and my legs growing weak, as I got closer. When I finally arrived, it was the first time I got a clear glimpse of him: he had broad shoulders, brownish-blackish hair, watery blue eyes, and this smile of confidence. He was the first to speak.
“Hey, I was hoping I’d be right and you’d show up…guess I was.” He gestured to the empty seat across from him, and I took it without even thinking. There was a silence, and then he broke it with asking, “So, live around here?”
Almost instinctively I responded, “Ummmm yes… I have lived here all my life. I live right outside of town.” Then I couldn’t help but ask, “Are you new here?”
“Yes, I moved here three days ago, but I have family here so it’s not big adjustment for me.” He responded without any hesitation. “You might know who they are, their names are Jill and Tony and they have their own store here in town,” he pointed towards the other side of the street. “Yeah,” he continued, “they are my Aunt and Uncle.”
I knew whom he was talking about. They owned the local bakery. “Yes, I went to school with their son, Peter, I didn’t know you were related, but now that you mention it, you do look similar.” I laughed and so did he. It was soothing to hear him laugh…as if all the awkwardness just disappeared.
After that, we just talked and talked for what seemed like mere seconds quickly turning into minutes, which then became an hour. When I looked at my watch, I realized that I going to be late. I promised my mom’s friend that I would babysit her son so they could go out. He read my face perfectly.
“Do you need to be somewhere, because by the looks of things you going to be late,” He said smoothly.
“Yes, sorry, I need to go. Sorry.” I looked up, apologizing for leaving abruptly.
I move to go but he quickly added, “before you go will you tell me something first?” with pleading eyes. I turned to him, as if that was all he needed to go on “What is your name, in case we were to meet again?”
I looked at him puzzled, almost wondering if there would be a next time. I answered almost in a sing song way with, “Faith and yours is…”
“Brad. It was nice getting to know you. I hope we can do this again sometime,” he added swiftly.
Without hesitation I responded with, “Yes, I would like that.” And with that, I left.
In the beginning, I had this feeling of wanting to get to know him better, and to see him more. There was something about him that made me want to be around him. You are probably thinking ‘what could have possibly go wrong…he seems like a decent guy’ right? Wrong.
After running into Brad off and on for weeks on end, it almost became routine. I would see him from across the street and smile back at him when he spotted me staring. Or just say hi to one another as we walked by, but nothing to intense. I was curious about Brad. To me, Brad has this charming aspect that was different from the rest of the other guys in town.
One day, out of nowhere, Brad was at the same place where he was in the coffee shop waiting for me but with two cups on the table. He motioned me over and told me to sit. Brad pushed the cup towards me. I stared the cup debating whether or not to drink it. “What did you get me?” I asked, not trying to reject the offer.
Brad answered, “What you always get. It’s a caramel latte, right?” When he finished, he smiled like he already knew all about me. So I took a sip and it was what he said it was. I was still taken aback by how he could have possibly known that kind of information about me. But I still drank it thinking it was harmless.
We talked, but it was mainly Brad doing the talking. But when I finally was able to speak, I asked, “How did you know the kind of coffee to get?”
Brad answered staring straight into my eyes saying in a low voice, “I like knowing people that interest me before having to ask them myself. I already know a lot about you. Where you live, where you went to school, how many siblings you have, your favorite movie, what you like to eat, where you like to hang out, and where you work. And there is more for me to learn.” At the end, he smiled crookedly.
My eyes grew wide in alarm. True, I do live in a small town. I grew up here, but I just met Brad so how could he have possibly known all about me in a short amount of time? My mind was telling me to run but my legs didn’t move. My legs felt like they were cemented to the floor. Brad kept gazing at me and I couldn’t help but return his gaze. I couldn’t look away…like I was in some trance. When my mouth and throat began to work again, I could only manage to spit out a few words, “you couldn’t…possibly know all of that…no one could know all that information…without being a…a…”
“Stalker...?” he took the word right out of my mouth. I felt disorientated. I couldn’t breathe, and my mind could not grasp this as reality. I needed to leave now! By that point my legs were working again. I began to get up and reach the front door, but Brad cut me off. He was smiling this wicked smile that I have never seen on anyone’s face before. “No one will believe you if you tell anyone, so I suggest that you don’t, and if I hear a word about this I will be forced to **** you.”
I looked up at him so frighten I could hardly speak “Why me…why do you have to target me…what have I done that made you so interested in me?”
“I feel this…connection between us that is different from all of the others?”
Others? What others? Was what Brad telling me the truth? Were there other women? If so, how many and where were they now? In a low voice that is almost a hum, he said “Don’t you feel it, Faith? It is the way you looked at me on the day where we first saw each other. That one moment is what makes me resist the temptation of just killing you now. I feel more connected with you than I did with anyone else and I want to see where it may lead. Who knows? It could be for the better.” He reached over with the back of his hand and touched my cheek. I flinched at the coldness of his hand. Without even thinking, I somehow managed to stomp my foot on his with my heel. When Brad flinched, I bolted.
Now you see what I mean when I mentioned he was not who I thought he was. Brad was after me because of the way I looked at him that one time. I admit that I too once felt this attraction between us. If I hadn’t I noticed Brad in the first place…would I be already dead? It made my head spin; the only thing keeping me alive was the fact that I notice him and had this feeling of affection. This made me sick.
Brad threatened my life and no one could save me from him, not even the police. What would you do in my situation? Run to the police…did that…tell your parents…that too…confined to your friends…tried to, it didn’t work; they all thought that I was crazy! I didn’t know what to do. I felt hopeless, not knowing how to handle this situation.
I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, I didn’t want to leave my home for the fear Brad might be around the corner, or nearby watching my every move. I felt trapped in my own home; I kept telling myself this isn’t right. I shouldn’t feel forced to stay in my home. No one should live like this. No one deserves this.
My boss threatened to fire me if I did not start showing up for work. I was finally forced to leave the safety of my home. I was timid to leave. I was so cautious I looked under, around, and above anything that was a possible hiding spot. When I reached my car, I hopped in and I booked it to work. What would have usually been a thirty minutes, drive turned into fifteen minutes; it is amazing what fear can do to one’s mind.
When I made it into the building my boss called me into his office. It was small with lots of files stacked high on his desk and tons of books that he might have not read. I took my seat, and waited for him to start. “Is everything ok with you?” he asked
“Why do you ask?” I didn’t really want to tell him that I met my stalker because I didn’t trust him like that. I didn’t need my boss thinking that I was crazy; then I would really start considering entering an insane asylum.
“Well you haven’t shown up to work for a whole week. I’m just worried, that’s all. Is there anything I should be concerned about?” My boss looked at me, as if worried for me. He was actually concerned about my wellbeing. This was refreshing in a way. I insisted that everything was fine; I was just taking a short break from life. He took that for an answer and went on to explain why he also called me into to see him. “I have an intern for you to work with and train. He is new here and actually requested you.”
An intern…maybe this will keep my mind off reality. And he requested me made me feel wanted, in a weird way. But when the intern appeared in the doorway, it was Brad, standing there smiling at me like he just out smarted me! No, no, noooooo this can’t be right, he can’t be here, I thought. My boss was somehow oblivious to my reaction to Brad being here. He introduced us and dismissed us. After that I tried to get away from him and out of this room. But Brad kept pace with me and I could not get rid of him.
When I had enough of speed walking and making a scene at the office, I made my way to a secluded part of the office. I turned to confront him. He was closer than I thought. All he did was smile at me like he was enjoying the chase. “You’re harder to keep up with than I thought.” Then lowered his voice “I hope that you didn’t tell anyone of my little secret, because you know what will have to happen if you did. In fact, that’s why I am here: to make sure that you keep your mouth shut until I am ready to put an end to your life.” Softening his voice in an almost an affectionate way, “I don’t want to do anything prematurely now.” He looked up and saw someone coming. “Smile and say nothing,” Brad said harshly, clenching my shoulder.
I looked to see who it was; it was my friend that works right across from me, Sue. She walked past me like she didn’t suspect anything was out of the ordinary. I wanted to cry for her, to get out of here and away from here but Brad had this firm grip on me. He was hurting me just to keep me quiet. I was so scared. Once she was out of earshot, he continued, “You’re going to act like everything is normal and pretend that you have no idea who I am.” His grip became stronger until I nodded yes he then let go of me. “Good, now that we understand each other, where’s your desk so we can get to work?”
As I started to walk, there was this anger and hate towards Brad that began to grow. My fears were slowly dissolving away. On my way to my desk, he was right behind me. I was looking for something to use as a possible weapon if need be. There was nothing I could see, until I spotted it at my own desk. My scissors! That could work, but I needed to wait till Brad was in the right position for me to strike. I took them before Brad saw them…hopefully.
My mind was racing. I knew that I needed to act soon before Brad suspected anything and when I did, I better not miss or that will be the end of me. “So…” the sound of his voice startled me “this is where you work?” I nodded not trusting myself to speak. “It’ll do, where is my section?” I pointed to an empty chair towards the back, which was set up when I came in this morning. He took it and sat down then looked at me. “Well, what should I do? You’re supposed to tell me what to do remember?”
I nodded looked around my office to see what he could do. I saw a stack of papers that needed to be organized. I grabbed them with the scissors in hand. I walked over trying to tell myself what I was about to do was the right thing and it needed to be done in order to stay alive.
I dropped the files on his makeshift desk. He looked at them. He started to leaf through them when I lifted my arm with the scissors and quickly lodge it into his neck, pulled them out, and did it again, and again.
Screaming, “Die, die, you *******! You don’t deserve to live!” when he fell to the ground I jumped on top of him and stabbed him more and more in the chest until I knew he was dead for good and there was no way of reviving him.
When I got up, I saw everyone looking at me and staring like I was insane. Minutes later, I heard sirens and the police arrive. Once they saw me with Brad’s blood all over my clothes, they arrested me and took me into custody. I was screaming, “he was going to **** me…I had to, he made me **** him.” They had a firm grip on me like I was going to run but I stood there trying to convince them of what happened, but they didn’t believe me. No one did.
As they dragged me away from my office I saw them place a sheet over Brad’s face and I heard the police confirming that he was dead. I felt a relief rush over me like I was free from death. I began to laugh but then it turned into crying, knowing what I just did and the punishment that came with it.
During the trial it was quick. I was found guilty and sentenced life here in this prison. Since all the witness at my office claimed that it was an unlawful act of violence toward a person that I did not know, it was my word against a dead man and there was no evidence to support my claim that he was stalking me. How I wished there was.
In the end, I don’t blame the outcome; I accept it. I know what I have done was wrong. But no one seems to understand what he did was wrong too. And yet I am the one who gets punished because claiming to stalk someone is not illegal and killing someone is. I call myself a victim, but others call me a murderer.
Now I am here in this place of hell, doomed to live the rest of my life here in this godforsaken place. This enclosed room where there is barely enough room to breathe. I still think about that final day when I killed him. His evil grin telling me that I would never be free of him. He was right; I’m not. He haunts me in my dreams telling me over and over, ‘you made a mistake you will pay for it when the time comes!’ what does that mean? Will I be condemned when I die here?
Somehow that idea doesn’t scare me anymore now knowing that I have nothing to live for. My family a banded me when I was arrested and now claim they don’t know me anymore that I have changed. In a way I have but not for the better. Since I have been living here I have been thinking about death what would happen if I were to die. Would anyone miss me? Would anyone care if I died here? That I will never find out.
Ever since Brad came into my life death has been lurking around me. Telling me that it’s my time to go, I have tried to ignore the voices but it’s been harder now that I am actually considering death is not all that bad. Have I become crazy like everyone thinks? I say yes. I have been thinking thoughts that I would never have thought of if I never had met Brad.
Faith puts her pen and notebook down; she is satisfied with what she wrote. Her story is now written and told for the final time. She looks around her cell and spots the sheets on her bed. She gets up from her desk grabs the sheets and begins to tie a loop around the top of the bed and ties a noose around her neck. Then Faith just sits down. She feels the constriction of the bed sheet around her neck slowly taking the air out of her. It becomes harder for Faith to breathe until she loses consciousness and falls asleep, than dies.