In the Mind's Eye

June 14, 2011
Hurrying down 9th Street, basked in the dim glow of the street lights, Jeff could sense someone present other than himself. The hair on the back of his neck was tingling and chills were spreading down his arms until he was nearly overcome by nervous goose bumps. With his stomach in knots, Jeff pulled his jacket tighter around himself and rubbed his arms in hopes of massaging some courage and strength into his anxious body. He longed to turn around and look for a trace of danger, but the thought of doing so made his stomach turn even more and heart pound impossibly louder. Jeff decided he wouldn’t stop until he reached his house and could lock himself into a safe abode free from mysterious shadows and hidden perils.
Although he often let his imagination run wild, the nervous man could often decipher what was and was not an image of his own creation. So when his legs locked up against his will and he found himself unable to walk further, Jeff was forced to acknowledge the fears that gripped him firmly and resolutely. Surely he wasn’t imagining the soft, icy breath on the nape of his neck. Of course it was impossible to feel something so chilled in the humid Midwestern twilight. Yet, there it was. His nerves tingled as gusts came regularly as though someone was breathing directly behind him. Jeff was forced to make a frightening choice. He was unable to see any other option, and so it was with resolved reluctance that he clenched shut his eyes and slowly—oh so gradually—revolved around on the spot.
With his eyes pinched shut, he could still feel the soft flurry of iced air brushing his face. But when he brought himself to unclose his eyes, his heart both plummeted to his stomach and rose up his esophagus simultaneously. He again rubbed his arms as shivers overpowered them and his eyes prowled the streets searching for whoever was not behind him. The street looked as vacant as ever; the only activity was a rather large rat scurrying along a worn brick building and the street’s singular light bulb flickering ever so slightly. So with a deficiency of proof, he finally allowed for the event to be registered as yet another independent act of his sub conscience. Jeff felt relieved for the first time that evening as he turned around and continued his trek back to his home. His only enemy appeared to be himself and his wild imagination the source of any fear. The knot in his stomach was not instinctual but rather self-imposed; so it was with a lightening in his step that Jeff arrived on the porch of his apartment.
He searched through his jingling pockets past the accumulated change and stray gum wrappers until he closed his hands around the metal. The door clicked when he finally fumbled the tiny key—which was rather small for his bulky fingers—into the lock. Jeff let out a sigh of relief when he had made himself quite comfortable, locked the doors, and turned on every light he could find. Yawning and stumbling his way over to the refrigerator he hoped to find a small bite to eat from the leftovers he reserved from last night’s takeout.
The beeping from the microwave was the only sound in the house and the smell of stir-fry diffused to every inch of the tight space only a few minutes later. Jeff sat down at his petite table and was twirling a noodle on the end of his fork when he heard someone knock on the door. With a groan and a mind cleansed of all fears from his journey home, he stumbled to the entrance and pressed a tired eye up to the peep hole. He looked for what was probably thirty seconds but saw nobody there and nothing out of the ordinary. Jeff rolled his eyes and mumbled something about kids these days and headed back to his dinner. But when he turned himself around he gasped and let his fork clatter to the recently cleaned and glistening white tile floor.
“Hello Jeffy.”
And Jeff’s mind blacked out. His creative abilities had exhausted his thoughts and inadvertently stopped his heart.

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This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

Delictious said...
Jul. 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm
You described what he was feeling very well, and loved the ending! Very nice :D
booklover04 said...
Jul. 13, 2011 at 10:20 pm
besides the formatting/visual aspect of the piece I simply adored the content...keep writing :)
MidnightFire said...
Jul. 10, 2011 at 9:09 pm
I liked it, you described the way Jeff was feeling so well :)  great job ... P.S. i would have commented/rated this earlier but my family went on a weekend trip and i couldn't connect to teenink
DemonXxXchild903 said...
Jul. 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm
UGH!! MORE MORE! This was fantastic! I wish I could write like  this! Wonderful Job!
RFrocker23 replied...
Jul. 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm
Thanks so much I really appreciate it!
Hippiealien said...
Jul. 5, 2011 at 1:30 am
really good! I liked it,and just how suspensful it was :D
CarrieAnn13 said...
Jul. 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm

This is a great suspenseful short story.  I think many people have had paranoid moments like this, so they can relate to your main character quite well.  I just have a bit of criticism:

1.  'sub conscience' should be 'subconscious' because you are talking about someone's mind.

2.  "But when he brought himself to unclose his eyes..."  'unclose' really should be 'open'.

Other than that, excellent work!

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