I've Been Watching You

By , Lafayette, CO

When they first locked eyes Matthew knew. It was as if he were seeing the world for the first time, the world lit up when he walked by, time stopped and Matthew just knew. Leo on the other hand  just saw another stranger. He walked past Matthew not making eye contact, too focused on his task to pay any mind to the people around him.
It was an ordinary day, Leo was running errands for his boss, a strict and very aristocratic woman. She had given Leo a position as an intern in her modeling Agency. Fresh out of high school Leo moved to manhattan to pursue his passion for art. He had met Lady Magda at a coffee shop, after spilling a cup of burning hot coffee on her and a trip to the ER, Leo managed to convince lady Magda to allow him to work at her company, in exchange for a place to stay and a few connections. Connections he called them, Leo had heard from people around the city that Networking and social events were the only way that people in New York ever got ahead. So that was him, a lonely boy from the suburbs, trying to find a place in a city too big.
The Sun was out the streets were packed, Leo was grabbing Lady Magda her daily dose of caffeine, when he felt someone watching him. Of course people were watching him, he lives in Manhattan and there's always people everywhere, but this felt different. He could feel someone’s eyes on his back. He turned around a few times only to find a crowd of people trying to get to where they were headed. He walked faster the rest of the way back to the agency, fear and anxiety grew inside of him despite the bright day and the crowd of people around him. Surely if he were being followed nothing could happen to him out in the open, he thought to himself. When he got back to the agency he was shaken. Eventually he forgot, by lunch time all anxiety and fear had diminished. He Matthew knew there was something different about the man. The way he walked with such confidence, even the way he was dressed made him look very comfortable in his own skin. He was walking closer. Did he smile at Matthew? The young man kept walking. He held a disposable coffee cup on one hand and a folder on the other. He proceeded to walk past Matthew, not paying any mind to anyone around him, he seemed determined to get to where he was going. Matthew followed him, intrigued by the handsome man. He kept walking for about three blocks, then he stopped. The Man turned around and Matthew smiled back at him. Then he kept walking. Matthew followed the man all the way back to what seemed to be his work. A modeling agency. For a few hours Matthew stood outside the building staring, examining Leo.
At around 12:15 Leo got up for his lunch break. He was really fond of this crepe place just around the corner from the building he worked at. He grabbed his jacket and his wallet and walked out the door. Immediately after stepping foot out the door he felt chills run down his spine, from across the street there was a man, standing, watching, smiling at him. A crowd of people rushed in front of him and the man was gone. He thought nothing of it, and proceeded to grab his lunch. When he returned to the office, something brought him back to that morning. Had he seen that same man watching him when He was out for Lady Magda’s Coffee?
Matthew watched, and waited for the man to leave his work. He thought he’d offer to walk the man home, after all, the city wasn’t always the safest place to be after dark. When Matthew noticed the lights in the building turning off, he knew that soon the man would be out and on his way home. As expected Leo left work shortly after and Matthew was more than happy to walk him home. All the way home Matthew stared passionately at Leo, Leo didn’t seem to notice, mainly focused on his phone, his headphones plugged, he was smiling at his screen. After walking for about 10 minutes Leo arrived to his apartment. Matthew watched him go in and waited for him to close the door. He was glad that he was able to spend time with this stranger that he’d only just met this morning.
That day after work Leo walked out of work after tidying up and turning off the lights he locked the doors to the building and proceeded to walk home alone, like always. Since moving to the city Matthew hadn’t met many people. He only had one friend and she was never really around, as she had to study most of the time. Leo got his phone out and plugged his headphones in, he focused on his instagram the rest of the way home. Only looking up occasionally to see if he was walking straight. Again he felt he was being watched. Only this time there were fewer people on the street and Leo felt more protected by the darkness, which is ironic because, a lot of people are afraid of the dark. He looked up and saw no one looking at him, this time he wasn’t too bothered by the feeling of being watched. He wasn’t too far away from his apartment anyway. When he finally got to the door, he stopped and turned around to find a man staring at him from across the street. He quickly unlocked his door and rushed inside, from his bedroom window, he could see that the man hadn’t moved an inch and the closer he looked the more clear it became that the man was staring at him. Leo felt his heart drop when he noticed that the man was smiling, not moving, just standing and smiling at him. Leo called to Lady Magda. When she walked into his room she seemed more irritated than usual and demanded an explanation.
“There’s a man staring through my Window!” he exclaimed
“Move aside” She responded, as she pushed past him and looked out the window
“There’s no one there” She replied
Leo stood by Lady Magda and looked out the window. To his surprise there was no one there, at least not the man. He tried to explain everything to her, from the strange feeling on his coffee run, to his coffee break, she seemed to believe him, but there was nothing they could do now. If they called the police what would they do? He didn't even get a good look at the man, and he was gone now.
He layed in bed, knowing he would get little sleep that night. He felt uneasy and anxiety grew within him. He drifted off to sleep and woke up around dawn to the sound of something crashing outside his bedroom window. Had he just imagined the man staring at him? Was it all in his head? He got up and looked outside. Nothing. The sidewalk outside his window was empty. He turned around and thought of getting more sleep. His heart dropped immediately when, as he glanced at his room for the first time since last night. He stood there paralyzed with fear, the books on his book shelf were rearranged by color. The pictures on his wall were on the floor. His bedside drawer was emptied out and everything was on the floor. And by the foot of his bed laid a picture of him at his work desk. It looked as if someone had taken in it from outside. He quickly got dressed and ran to Lady Magda’s room. He tried to wake her by giving her a light tug, but nothing. Leo knew she was a heavy sleeper, but not this heavy. He pulled of her sheets, only to find a disfigured women lying in bed. Her face had been carved, Her hair chopped off, and there was blood everywhere. He tried to scream, but nothing came out. He ran for his phone,
“Thump” something was downstairs. He ran for his room. The noise was getting closer and more frequent. He got to his room, and slammed the door behind him. He waited anxiously, but the noise vanished. He dialed the 911 and was told to barricade himself somewhere safe until the authorities arrived.
There was a knock on his bedroom door. The knob wiggled a little then stopped. There was a few seconds of silence before the the door was knocked down with an ax. A face peered in through the doorway, the man stopped at the threshold of the door.
He whispered, “I’ve been watching you” and smiled






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