About The Follower (A Short Story)
The Follower: A Short Story
Gavin Brace stood in the front walkway, pleading and penitent. His wife looked balanced and complete, holding full suitcases in each hand. “No,” he tried, once more. “Please.”
His slight frame wasn’t enough to block her path. A little push of the shoulder and out the door. His eyes filled with tears as she pulled out and drove away without ceremony. Across the street and two houses to the left, Gavin noticed that same face, blank and interested, like watching a fire already raging beyond control.
“I’m calling the police!” he yelled.
“Rena just leave for good?” The question forced his focus right, away from the man across the street.
“You okay, buddy? What’s with the mirror?”
“She didn’t want to hear it.”
Spence scratched his sunburnt bald spot and walked over to the hedge separating their front yards. Gavin felt the heat on his bare feet and squinted toward the expressionless man. He was no longer there.
“Look,” Spence said, posing with a hand on his belly. “Linds and I will come by in an hour. She’ll cook you up some Italian. What are you looking at over there, chief?”
Gavin turned and walked back inside. He heard Spence inviting himself over another time before closing the door. Leaning the mirror against the entranceway wall, he walked to the big window in the front dining room, expecting to see the man through the curtains. “You’re scared, is that it? I know how to stop you. I remember the stories.”
A few fretful moments ticked by before he grabbed up the mirror and made his way to the bedroom. The closet door was opened. He slumped to the floor when he saw how empty it was inside. For two weeks Rena watched as his reactions became and more dramatic. He couldn’t say what was really going on. That morning, the last straws. He started carrying around the heavy mirror that hung on the hallway wall, offering no explanation.
Gavin didn’t know all the rules or how much to tell her. The last thing he wanted was to see her hurt. Though he was crying next to the closet, a part of him was glad she went away. There would be time to win her back. After. After. After.
Another sighting. He had to mark it. He stood up and went to the kitchen, pulling a length of paper towels from the spool next to the sink. The knife was clean, still sitting in the basin from last time. He made a notch on the inside of his arm, biting his lip as the blood leaked to the paper towel. Two weeks. Twenty-three cuts. Rena hadn’t seen them until a few hours ago. They argued. She left. Another sighting. He’d get her back. After. After. After.
It could be stopped. He finally remembered the stories.