Counting Sheep

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I sat outside, impatient and frightened. I was silent, still, observing everything I could get my eyes to focus on. You can do this, I kept telling myself. It felt like years had passed, but I’d heard that many times before and o...

I sat outside, impatient and frightened. I was silent, still, observing everything I could get my eyes to focus on. You can do this, I kept telling myself. It felt like years had passed, but I’d heard that many times before and only thought to myself it had been about three minutes. I hated the dark and I hated new places. Eventually, I convinced myself how silly all of my thoughts sounded and unlocked the driver’s side door. I checked all my mirrors, stuffed everything but my phone into my bag, hoisted it over my shoulder and shifted my left leg over the hump and onto the ground. I stood tall and made a route of my surroundings, being extremely particular not to get caught under any “unlit” circumstances, so-to-speak. I guess I should tell you why I feel this way in order for you to somewhat understand my thinking. I am twenty eight years old now, but when I was seventeen, I was stalked. Unrelentingly, brutally, disgustingly stalked. He would follow me in public places, call our house phone and leave messages, bother my friends, blow up my email and consistently made it a point to make his presence known. That was so long ago, but it felt like just yesterday. He wanted me to feel like he would always be there, and he did a damn good job at that. I don’t think I’ve ever felt entirely safe since those events transpired, but things are better, they’re good. After restraining orders, court dates and finally a prison sentence after things got physical, I felt okay enough to enjoy life as it was. I counted my steps to keep my mind off the racing thoughts and wondered if my dog could hold his bladder two minutes longer so I could go to the bathroom first. This parking garage was ridiculously huge but well lit so it wasn’t a big deal, it just took forever to get from my car to the stairs. I heard shuffled footsteps and glanced over my left shoulder, only to find a group of girls making their way in for the night, Relief. I turned back around and caught the back side of tall gentleman grabbing the railing and swinging his torso around the steps to start his climb. My feet were so heavy today from running into patient room after room after room, but if I could make this last climb, my bed would love me for it. I grabbed the side rail with my left hand and struggled to take the first step.  After the first two racks of smaller stairs, the next three would have me I was sure. I made my way up the third and heard a muffled noise above me. No big deal, just keep going, you’re almost there. As I approached the bottom of the fourth set of stairs, I saw the tall gentleman in the fetal position in the corner of the stairwell; he was crying. Being a nurse, I dropped everything and ran to him. I held him by the middle of his back and asked if he was okay. After an increased amount of sobbing and no response, something hit me. That smell, what was that smell? It was putrid, awful, nauseating, but why was it so familiar? When I stopped focusing on the smell and came to, the man’s sobbing had stopped. He seemingly collected himself rather quickly and unbent his legs. The slower he stood up, the taller he got. He towered over me and for the first time in years, I felt frightened again. My gut sank to the floor and my heart broke into a million tiny pieces when I saw his left hand fall to his side. That was a scar I knew. I knew because I put that scar onto his hand many years ago. He turned to face me and I lost every ounce of strength I had been building. His crooked smile and jagged teeth shook me to my core. I lost all my senses and his eyes were bloodshot from who knows how many drugs. Silence followed until he grabbed my arms, pulled me into his body and whispered, “I told you I would come for you. I told you in court, I sent you letters and I called you. You never answered but I don’t care. We are meant to be together.” That’s the last thing I remember and now I’m here, wherever here is. I’m lying here in the trunk of a car, wondering if he ever even let my dog out. I regret all the times I never went out to make friends, to have a relationship and I should’ve called my sister back last week. Nobody will know the difference and I will succumb to this chloroform induced slumber or pass out to that god-awful smell. As I lay me down to sleep, my stalker waits and counts my sheep. I cannot smile, laugh or cry, he’ll have me if that means I die.

Alexandra L. Narron

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