I'm basing a story on completly fictional characters, but using the names of people I know to piss them off. Setting: Scotland
The path was dimly lit as Hanna walked back to her flat. She listened closely to the silence surrounding her. There was something very disconcerting about walking along a street at midnight with no cars speeding past.
Worried about who could be hiding in the shadows of the overhanging bushes, she quickened her pace. The sooner she got home, the sooner she could put the kettle on, make herself a cup of tea and relax for the night.
Hanna looked at her watch. "Damn" she thought. "Why did I volunteer to do the nightshift?" However, the answer to that was obvious. There was a recession on and she needed all the money she could get. But were the extra couple of coppers in her pocket really worth risking her personal safety this late at night?
"I'm just being paranoid" she thought as she passed a deserted bus stop. She tried to focus on something else, something more positive. "Two weeks and I'll be out of this shit-hole and back to Stirling."
Hanna was a second year student at Stirling University, studying French culture. However, it was the Christmas break and she had been forced to go and live back with her parents in Edinburgh while her accommodation was rented out to crazy tourists who visited Scotland over the winter. Almost as soon as she had arrived back in Edinburgh, she had begun looking for part time work. The student lifestyle was expensive. She had learnt that the hard way. By the end of Freshers week, she discovered she had practically drunk her entire month's supply of Student Loan. Hurriedly, she had drawn up a quick budget of next month and stuck to it to the letter. But that extra bit of cash never did any harm.
Except this damn walk home. If the bus service in Edinburgh was half decent, she would catch the night bus home. But it was unreliable. If you were lucky, you waited for 5 minutes and it dropped you off outside your door. However she always seemed to be unlucky; approaching the bus stop just in time to see the bus pull away, meaning an hour long wait. Walking seemed the best choice out of a bad bunch.
It always puzzled her why she constantly volunteered for the night shift, knowing well that she faced the long walk home afterwards. She daren't ask a colleague for a lift. They hadn't quite got to know her yet and still looked down on her.
She tried picturing the beautiful Stirling campus. The loch in the middle. The Students' Union where she had spent so much of her first week. The library...
A sudden vibration from her pocket interrupted her thoughts. Her mobile phone was ringing. Worried there could be something wrong at home, she glanced at her watch just to verify the time. 00:34. Who was phoning at this ungodly hour of the morning? Hesitantly, she pulled the Nokia from her pocket at looked at the illuminated screen.
No phone call had registered on the display. There was, however, a message displayed asking if she wanted to accept a Bluetooth connection from "Chocolat Prince". Assuming there had been some sort of mistake, she pressed the decline button and slipped the phone back into her pocket. Only half consciously, she quickened her pace further. She couldn't explain why, but something unnerved her about the request. If someone had tried to connect to her phone, it must mean they were within close proximity. But where? Behind the bushes? Her aim had now changed to getting home as quickly as possible and bolting the door.
Her phone vibrated again, the same length and strength as last time. She groaned in fear, knowing what was coming this time, even before she looked at the screen. Sure enough, it was another request for Bluetooth connection, which meant it probably wasn't a mistaken request. Just as she was about to decline the request again, Hanna noticed that the name of the requester had changed. This time was more sinister. It read "Your Worst Nightmare."
Hanna froze on the spot. This person, whoever they were, didn't seem to be the type to kid around. What should she do? Call her parents? The answer to that question was simple. Friday night. They wouldn't be in. In fact, they'd be pissed out their faces by now. They always went along to the social club on a Friday night. The police? That was also simple. Friday night. They'd be far too busy to deal with a petty crime like this. When she called, they'd probably laugh in her face.
It seemed her only choice was to keep going, and if her stalker was up ahead, confront him (she had deduced he was male when his first connection name said "Prince). It was only a 5 minute walk from here anyway. Slipping her phone away again, she started walking again, trying not to think of the endless possibilities that may lie ahead of her.
Although not a believer, she audibly thanked Jesus when she approached her front door a few minutes later, with no more creepy messages coming through. She guessed her follower had given up at the first hurdle, after realising she was a tough nut to crack.
Rummaging through her pitiful excuse for a handbag for her flat key, she noticed a large amount of broken glass on the step in front of her. Thinking nothing of it ("the alchies always break their bottles around here") she pulled her key from her bag and slid it into the lock.
The stiff lock took some effort to unlock, but soon budged, easing the door open and revealing the depressingly dark stairway beyond. Up another flight of stairs to reach her destination. Sighing heavily, she headed up the stairs, noticing some fresh scrawls of graffiti on the wall as she passed. She couldn't help wondering where the romanticism was in asking someone out by scrawling it on a staircase wall. If someone pulled a stunt like that on her, she'd be mortified. But apparently it worked around here.
Finally, she reached her destination door and slid the other key on her ring into the lock. This one turned easier and opened the door into a warm, welcoming flat. The walls were at least bright in here, which always seemed to cheer her up after nights like these, but what cheered her up most of all was the prospect of the kettle sitting waiting for her in the kitchen. A hot drink, a good book and then bed. Fantastic.
As she closed the door behind her, something rustled under her feet. On closer inspection of the doormat, she noticed there was a small envelope lying behind the door. "That's strange" she thought, "mail comes at 1pm. Where were mum and dad?" Intrigued but puzzled at the same time, she leant over and picked the envelope up, turned it over and looked at the address written on it. Her heart sank. There were only two words written on the envelope. "Hanna Macauley." She also noticed with dismay that there was no postmark, meaning the envelope had definitely been delivered by hand. But by whom, and when?
Quivering, she walked through to the living room, envelope still in her hand, and collapsed on the sofa. She wanted, at least, to have a comfy seat before opening it. For a period of about half a minute, she sat in silence, staring at the picture of her parents on their wedding day which was hanging on the wall. Then, as if being electrocuted, she sharply took in air and sat bolt upright. With one swift movement the envelope was opened and the single sheet of paper it contained was in her hand. Unfolding the paper, she read it aloud to the empty room.
"I am watching you."
The single line seemed to echo in the empty flat as she read it again and again. She reached inside her pocket for her mobile phone, ready to phone the police, but changed her mind. It was probably her neighbours playing tricks on her. They got rowdy like that when they first managed to get hold of their dose of coke of the month.
Deciding she was no longer in the mood for a cup of tea, she simply headed for her bedroom, ready to jump into bed. Then she remembered the broken glass outside. Was that aimed as a message for her as well? Although struggling to see how windows could be broken in a first floor flat, she quickly checked all the rooms in the house. All the windows were intact. That was a relief. Obviously just a broken bottle left by one of the many drunken idiots of the area.
She entered her bedroom and shut her door, just a bit harder than was necessary, ensuring it was shut. Starting to take off her t-shirt, she paused, remembering there was a block of flats next door with windows looking directly in. And the message had said someone was watching. Sliding her t-shirt back down, she walked over to the window and shut the curtains, tugging them until they wouldn't go any further. There was no way anyone would see in through blue velvet curtains.
She removed her clothes and slipped into her pyjamas, and immediately felt a familiar warm, cuddly feeling. That was always how she felt when she wore her nightclothes. Her body seemed to have a way of sensing it was time for bed, and that always helped her to drift off soundly to sleep. Clicking the light switch to the off position, she climbed into bed and closed her eyes, hoping that her parents wouldn't wake her up when they finally decided to return from their adventures at the social club.