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She Never Looked Away

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The crowd stank of cheap perfumes integrated with the stench of perspiration. Alyssa felt suffocated as sweaty bodies rubbed against her, pushing their way out of the horde to attempt to complete their endeavours of the day. The sun beat down on her and she watched a bead of sweat drip down her nose onto the puddle on the pavement. It mingled in, another forgotten drop lost in the sea of conformity. It reminded her of an innocent victim being forced into life imprisonment, his individuality, his soul gone, lost to the normalcy of jail-life. A chill ran up her spine. 

She wasn’t afraid of much, her lifestyle called for that but the thought of losing who she was, forgetting her person, that scared her more than anything.

Alyssa raised her head above the crowd. She was looking for someone. It didn’t have to be someone particular; anyone would do, so long as they were close enough to her general standards. She tended to express her divergence through uniformity. Scanning the crowds, her eyes caught sight of a tall slender woman with midnight shaded hair trailing down to her lower back. Her pale skin gave her a ghostlike appearance. The woman’s similarity to the others made her seem almost familiar.

“Perfect.” Alyssa smiled to herself.

Exhilarated by her find, she pressed through the throng of human bodies to get to the woman. The woman turned around and saw her. Alyssa’s advancing figure could be perceived as menacing. She did not exactly seem angelic to most people. Her lack of hair and abundantly tattooed body were almost stereotypically gangster-like.  That, combined with her glaring brown eyes was enough to frighten the strongest of wills. However these features were what she considered herself personified and the baldness made it easy for her to disguise herself while the tattoos kept her grounded, reminding her of who she was.

The woman glanced again at her and then reached for a phone inside the pocket of her jeans. After hurriedly typing out a message, she scrambled out from the crowd and turned right at the corner of the street. The turn led to an abandoned street.
Alyssa chuckled. Some of them were as smart as a bag of rocks. That is to say, not at all. Her general strategy was to intrigue them enough to make them follow her or to trail them until they were alone. This, however made her job a lot easier. She followed the woman to the backstreet. There was a dumpster at the end of the lane.  An uninhibited building stood beside it. The smell of sewer rats and gutters protruded out of a pothole towards her. It seemed like a scene right out of an Agatha Christie book. It was almost too perfect, the pothole or dumpster for disposal, the dank smell to camouflage any traces she left behind, the building to hide in in case of any faults in her plans.

The woman was hiding behind the dumpster. Alyssa had everything ready, the glint of her knife gleaming in the sun.

“Wh-why are you d- doing this?” Her polished accent made the words seem unnatural. Tears rolled down her cheek.

Alyssa could imagine the woman watching her life flash by, remembering the good and bad times, hoping whatever help she had called for to arrive before it was all over. But Alyssa was too experienced to be caught. Eighteenth time in she had enough skill to not fall prey to measly obstacles like the police.

She brought out the knife with her left hand, her right engaged holding up her apparatus.
“Please! I d- don’t even know you.” The woman was desperate now. “Wh-what did I do to deserve th- this?”
Alyssa stepped closer, her knife almost touching the woman’s fair-skinned neck.
“Don’t d- d- do this. Please.”

The knife was now touching her skin. Her eyes were open. Fear mixed with something peculiar else reflected off the green orbs. They stared right at her. As her cries pleaded Alyssa to stop, it was as if her eyes challenged her to continue. Alyssa was intrigued. Her eyes remained wide open even as she pressed the knife against her skin harder.  The woman was too scared to fight back. Her body was shaking, convulsing with pain. Her cries grew deafening.

Alyssa switched off her video camera and stepped back. Apologising profusely to the woman, she darted out of the alley and into her car parked inside the market. She drove back to her university before the police or whoever the woman had called could come. Reaching her office, she wrote down the day’s observations.

“Today my target was a British woman, around 25 years of age. Much like the other targets, she was pale and slender. Her black hair framed a petite face. As mentioned in my previous reports, I prefer to go after similarly featured people as the fear is easier to comprehend in a fair face with large eyes.
The woman ran into an abandoned alley when she thought I was coming after her. Clearly, fear makes people do illogical things.  It did make my job a lot easier though. After she saw me chase her, she backed into the end of the lane. Unlike the others, however, she did not attempt to fight back and as I came closer, pretending to be attempting to murder her, she stared right into my eyes. The feeling was unnerving. Generally the victims squeeze their eyes shut in anticipation.
Overall, I think I have gathered enough information for my final report on the fear of death. Once the videos have been compiled, I think I will be ready to publish my piece. It has been a traumatic two years watching people as they thought they were going to die. People have called me sadistic, narcissistic, and heartless but I knew what I was getting into when I decided to major in Psychology. If you want to make something of yourself, all personal spirits have to be set aside. That is why I chose to investigate fear. Evaluating reactions to near death have not been recorded on a scale as real as this before.”

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