Being Followed

You know what it’s like. You are walking down the street at night or sitting alone watching a horror movie and you have that feeling someone or something is watching your every move. What if there really was something there? Would you know?
Janet was at home alone baking muffins. Her girls, Courtney and michael, were at a slumber party at their friends’ house. She sat in her living room, waiting for the blueberry muffins to be done. On the TV was a comedy with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.
The timer on the kitchen counter summoned her back to the oven. She pulled the muffins out and left them on the stove. She turned the oven off and returned to the couch.
Her dog, Ford, a big yellow lab, jumped up and laid his head in Janet’s lap. The movie was soon over and Janet decided to put in another. She picked out a scary movie from the late 80s and left it on the coffee table.
Preparing to pop some popcorn, she put the bag in the microwave and pressed the ‘popcorn’ button. She sauntered over to her newly baked muffins that were still warm. Ripping off a muffin top, Janet tasted the beautifully formed muffins. The popcorn was popped and she added m&ms to it. She tossed a few popped kernels to Ford and put the DVD in her DVD player.
Getting settled in, Janet covered herself with a blanket and laid on the couch, holding her bowl of popcorn and soft m&ms. Ford came hobbling up and decided it was cuddling-with-mommy time. She pressed play and began to watch her scary movie
In the middle of the movie, she heard a tapping on her window. She turned and saw that it was just a tree branch. She stared at it, almost spacing out. Then a shadow of a man in a hat stopped in her view. She screamed in sync with the movie and fell off the couch.
Scared, she got back up and saw that the figure was gone. Janet thought it was just the movie playing tricks on her. She got up, but before she could get back to her movie, the phone rang. At first she thought it was the movie, but then realized it was her’s.
She picked up the phone expecting one of her daughters, “Hello?” Janet answered.
An eerie, hoarse voice replied, “Hello Janet. I know you, but you don’t know me.”
“Who is this? If this is one of my daughters’ boyfriends making a prank call, you better knock it off!”
“Nope, but you better be careful. Because of me, your life is endangered.” The line went dead. Janet dropped the phone. She ran to her room as the phone hit the floor. She grabbed her heys, ran back downstairs, and opened the front door. Stunned, Janet screamed again and kicked her neighbor in the leg. He yelled, grabbing her shoulders, “Janet! It’s me! Howard! I heard screaming. What is going on!”
Janet looked at him and shoved him aside, knocking him into the flower bed. She yelled to him behind her back, “Sorry! Family emergency!” She slammed the car door and drove to her daughters’ location.
She was definitely speeding. Whipping turns, running red lights, it was a surprise she didn’t get pulled over. As she whipped onto the street that the party was on, she saw a dark figure of a man in the middle of the street that looked identical to the one outside her window. Janet shrieked and slammed on the brakes and swerved, trying to avoid the figure. The car came to a stop and Janet didn’t move. Deep breathing was all she could do. After what felt like a millennium, Janet stepped out of her car and noticed there was no man to be found. She felt so scared she was shaking. Janet sprinted back to her car and squealed the wheels down the street to the slumber party. She left the car run as she went up the the ouse. Knocking violently, the door flew open with five fear-stricken girls. Janet grabbed her girls’ hands and pulled them to the car. They yelled goodbye with question to the their friends and jumped into the car.
They didn’t say a word. They just stared at each other, then at their whacked-out mother, and back at each other. Michael spoke up, “Mother?” Janet kept her eyes forward with tears flooding out, “Mom. What the hell is going?” Janet turned around and looked at her children. She pulled into the driveway.
Janet turned the key, shutting off the car. Not turning back, she commanded motherly, “Courtney and Michael. You will both do exactly as I say. No arguing. No whining.”
Courtney replied, “What is happening? Are we in trouble
“Not the trouble you’re thinking of, and it’s all three of us, not just you two. Now, you two need to run upstairs, empty your backpacks of school stuff, and put a couple pairs of clothes in. Also bring a couple books and your mp3 player and something else that you want like your jewelery that I gave you. You have a half an hour. Go. Hurry!”
With no question, the sisters ran to their rooms. Janet broke down crying. She set her forehead on the steering wheel. She sniffled and looked up, and to her unexpected surprise, there was the man’s figure. She screamed and turned the car back on. Janet couldn’t see the man’s face, even with the headlights on. She drove the car right into the garage door, squishing the figure. She hit her head on the steering wheel a couple of times, accidently honking the horn. She jolted her head up noticing that she was beeping the horn. She looked at the garage door and realized that the figure was gone, only leaving an impression on the door. Getting frustrated and worries, she turned the car off again and went into the house.
Wore out, Janet went up to her room. She took out her travel suitcase and put a pair of purple pajamas in with some underwear and comfortable work clothes.
The phone rang. Hesitant, Janet answered, “Hello?”
“You’re pushing it!” the hoarse voice yelled, “I’ll give you a hint to who I am. You only get three. If you live that long.” The voice chuckled.
“You listen here! You leave me and my family alone!” Janet fought back.
“Oh no,” the stranger explained, “It’s too late for that. You are in this and you have to find a way out.” The stranger started to whisper, “If there is one.”
“Now,” the voice began, “Your hint.” He paused, “I am a regret and years of guilt.” The line immediately went dead. Tears rolled down Janet’s face as she hung up the phone, but as she hung up the phone she noticed there was a note. Typed on a typewriter, it read:
You and your family are in danger.
There is a purpose as to why I am hunting you down.
You.
You have brought this upon yourself.
Sincerely,
Your preditor.
She shoved the note in her case and also threw some of her valuable jewelry, afraid the man would also rob them.
The children were standing at the door. Janet stared at them. With a quiver in her voice she said, “My babies. Come here. I will explain things to you later. Do you have your phones?” The both nodded. “Hand them to me.” Janet threw them into her suitcase. “When this is over, you will get them back. Now, get your bags and put them in the trunk.”
The girls did as they were told and Janet got her’s. Before leaving, Janet went into the bathroom. She turned on the light and looked into the mirror, and catching her off guard was the man standing behind her. She scream and turned to see that nothing was really there.
Janet was paranoid; she was losing her mind. She got her things and rushed everyone to the car.
Janet pulled out of the driveway and left streak marks as she sped off. She drove as fast as she could without getting pulled over.
Whipping onto a gravel, Janet started to swerve. Jenet realized she was going 90 miles an hour, making the swerving worse. She slammed the brakes trying to slow down. She had no more control. The car went into the ditch. All seemed to be in slow motion, no matter how hard she tried to open her eyes she couldn’t, everything was dark. Rolling, tumbling, and crunching to a complete stop, roof upward but smashed. “Girls?” She looked behind she at her daughters, “Girls!”
Both Michael and Courtney were unconscious, bruised, and bleeding. Janet threw out her idea of hiding them at her parents. And turned around and took them to the hospital, and getting her to the police.
The car, rattling but okay, was able to drive out of the ditch. Janet called 911 as she rushed to the hospital.
The dispatcher answered, “911, what’s your emergency?”
“I rolled my car and my kids are very hurt. I am driving to the hospital.” Janet rushed.
“What are the conditions of your children?”
“They are both bruised, bleeding, and unconscious.”
“We will have an opening for you at the hospital’s emergency room when you arrive.”
“Thank you.” Janet said as she hung up.
Janet pulled in to see paramedics on-site to take care of them. The chief paramedic wanted to help Janet first, but was pushed off by Janet. She wanted her kids helped first.
Janet shut the car off and hobbled out. Her leg was broken and she had a black eye. Michael and Courtney on the other hand were worse. Courtney had a compound fracture on her arm and a cuts on her face and bruises everywhere. Michael had a broken wrist and black eyes, along with a few bloody gashes.
Janet was escorted inside and patched up. Learning a lot about how bad her daughter’s conditions were, she broke down crying.
The doctor walked in and she wiped her eyes. The doctor began, “I am Doctor Kress. Your injuries are stable enough that you can go home. Your daughters will have to stay the night.”
“Will they be okay?”
“Yes ma’am. The are both conscious. You can have your own room if you’d like, you’ve been through a lot.”
Janet muttered, “You don’t know the half of it.” She looked up and asked, “Can you get an officer or a detective?”
Dr. Kress questioned, “What do you need them for?”
Getting upset she screamed, “Just get them!”
Dr. Kress picked up the phone on the wall and dialed a number. He requested the chief of police and hung up. He assured Janet that they were on their way and left.
Janet’s phone vibrated, she looked at the text, it read:

You’re really asking for it!

Hint Two: 1984
Janet screamed and yelled just as the chief of police walked in. The mustached man ran to her side, “Ma’am! Hey! Calm down! I’m officer Nelson, tell me what’s happening.”
With a shaky deep breath Janet whispered, “I’m in trouble, but I’m not allowed to say. He said going to you would make it worse.”
“Who is he?”
“I don’t know.”
Come with me to the station, I’ll give you a lift. Your children will be safe here.” Officer Nelson escorted her to his police car and took her to the police station.
Nelson took her to his office for further questioning. He pulled up a comfortable white lounge chair for her as he went behind his desk and into a large, desk and into his large, leather desk chair. He pulled out a legal pad and wrote in chicken scratch letters “Janet Johnson”.
He looked up at her and asked, “Are you okay? Do you need a soda or something?”
“No, thanks. Can you just ask me the damn questions now?”
“When did this all start?”
“Early this evening, around seven-thirty to eight o’clock.”
“Describe to me the situation.”
“A man is following me. I don’t know who he is. His giving me hints cause he claims I do know him. He’s threatening me and my family, but mainly targeting towards me.” She paused and drew in a deep, shaky breath, “I’m scared.”
“I can understand you are,” he said as he finished writing his notes, “What hints has he given you?”
“Nineteen eighty-four and he’s a regret and years of guilt.”
“I’m going to have you come with me. You can spend the night with me and Rusty, my K-9 unit dog. You’ll be safe with us. Are you okay with that? OR would you rather stay at the hospital?”
Janet thought about it. If she stayed at the hospital, she had no protection from him. If she was with him, he could protect her and she’d be more safe. She nodded in agreement and said, “I’ll go with you, I will feel more safe.”
Nelson continued, “I will ask you more questions tomorrow after you have had some rest.” Nelson las her to his powder blue Buick and handed her a brown wool blanket. He commanded rusty into the back seat.
The car ride to Nelson’s house was quiet; no radio, no talking, and Rusty and Janet slept on the way.
They pulled up to his average house and Nelson turned the car off. He nudged Janet awake, “Janet? We’re here. You can have my bed. I can sleep on the couch, and Rusty will give you his guarding company.”
“Okay.” she took his hand that caught both, him and her, by surprise, “Thank you for all your help.” She kissed him passionately on his cheek.
She proceeded inside and headed up to his bedroom where she was to sleep for the night. There was no sign of a wife or kids.
Nelson was a single cop with his police dog. That was pretty much all Officer Nelson was.
She got into bed and Rusty came with her. She put her hand out so Rusty could get her scent. He licked her hand and she patted his soft, cocoa-colored head.
She pulled the covers over her shoulders, feeling more secure what she had all night. Within seconds, Janet fell asleep.

*
*
*

A sudden slam, a shrill yell of a man, and bitter silence, this woke up and scared Janet beyond reason. Rusty crept off the bed and crawled to the doorway. He turned left and started to growl.
After Rusty’s tail left Janet’s sight, Rusty barked fiercely. Then there was a whimper, and a snap. Following was complete silence.
Janet tried to stay as still as she could, covering herself up completely, like a child hiding from the monster in the closet.

Janet woke up that morning, realizing she was okay. She threw the covers off and looked at the floor to see bloody footprints right next to the bed.
Everything went black.

*
*
*

Janet woke up with throbbing pain in her head. Though she was awake, she couldn’t see. She felt a scratchy piece of cloth covering her eyes. She smell of blood and burning smoke. She could hear anything except for her sudden breathing. Her hands were wrapped to a leather chair and her feet were bundled together.
She heard a door creak open eerily, and with a sudden gasp of air the door slammed shut, making Janet jump. She couldn’t hear any footsteps but she could sense it growing closer.
She could feel it now. It was breathing in her ear. It was making her squirm.
She spoke, trying to stay calm, “What do you want with me?”
“I want you to feel my pain.” the recognizable horace voice from the phone calls replied.
“But why me?” she pleaded.
“You deserve it. You are the one who caused my pain and eternal misery.”
“But I haven’t hurt anyone in my life!”
“Well you’ve hurt me beyond repair!” he hollered angrily, “And now it’s time for you to feel it!”
“I’m sorry! Can you tell me who you are at least?” She pleaded harshly.
“That for you to figure out, along with your last hint. Your hints are: that I’m a regret and years of guilt, 1984, and I was a newborn when you were 16. Here’s one more thing, you have 15 minutes to figure out who I am.”
“Or what?” Janet questioned.
“Don’t wait that long and you won’t need to know.”
Puzzled, Janet thought aloud, “In 1984, I was 16. He was a newborn,” She paused, “Oh dear God.”
She whispered, “Jeffrey...”
She put her head up to face the being, even knowing she had a blindfold on. “Jeffrey! You are my son Jeffrey! Hon, I’m sorry! I just couldn’t handle having a kid at 16! I’m sorry! I don’t expect you to understand, but I am truly sorry! It was a mistake.” Janet’s blindfold was torn off, and she could see the man’s hideous face. The sight of his disfigured, rotten face horrified her.
“You are not sorry! You left me in a dumpster. You secretly got pregnant and hid it pretty good. You couldn’t stand the thought of getting pregnant at 16 because you were the popular, smart girl that everyone envied. You gave birth to me in a scummy gas station bathroom and put me in a dumpster and got away with it. I died and was out of the way.
But I’m back now! And since you killed me, that gives me the right to kill you. I hope you understand dear ol’ mother.”
Jeffrey left the room; this was that last Janet would see of her dead son. This would actually be the last Janet would see period.





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