Short story - Horror

The doorway

The hood of my jacket is pulled forward close around my face as I lean back into the shadows of the doorway. I have found the perfect place: from here I can see into her window, but she can’t see me.

The rough red brick is pressing into my back as I settle in for the evening, the polished wooden door providing a solid pillow for my head. This space – my space – is set between two street lamps. A space completely in shadow, a space the light never reaches.

Occasionally, a figure will walk past. It gives me a thrill to know that I am so close to them, hidden in the shadows.

My hand moves reflexively into the pocket of my jacket to touch the shiny polished handle of the serrated blade hidden there. I feel comforted by the feel of the solid plastic and cold sharp steel.

I look up at her window across the street. She never closes her curtains, which is lucky for me. The glow from her table lamp provides a golden halo that surrounds her and lights her face. I can see her every expression from here. I know what she is thinking.

The thing I need to explain is that I never intended for things to go this far, but sometimes the universe has a different idea. It doesn’t matter how much we plan, how much we prepare. We can set events in motion expecting a particular outcome, but the universe will provide something unexpected, something outside of our control. Like the day I first met her.

You see, it was meant to be.

I should begin at the beginning, the day I first saw her, dropping her shopping basket in the local shop. One of those expensive delicatessen type places that take advantage of people who don’t plan their weekly shop.  They are open until late, which means that, at ten o’clock at night, they prey on tired workers making their way home.

Her shopping went everywhere and she blushed, coloured up bright red, falling to her knees to collect her intended purchases. She was clearly flustered and my heart went out to her. I understood her embarrassment, her need to wipe out the mistake as soon as possible before anyone saw how clumsy she had been.

I knelt down to help her and she looked up into my face and smiled. She just smiled and it was obvious what she was saying to me with that smile – she was telling me she wanted me to help her, telling me she wanted me. I could see it in her eyes.

That’s the way it was between us. There was no need for words, our connection was deeper than that – I knew what she was saying to me just by the way she looked at me. The little messages she sent me with the way she did things, like that first moment when she reached out her hand to pick up the same items in the same order as I did and our fingers brushed together. She was telling me she wanted me to touch her, wanted me to hold her hand.

I know that you won’t be able to understand, you can’t unless you have experienced it. The total symmetry of that connection, how deeply we understood each other.

That’s how I knew, when she left one of her shopping bags behind on the counter, that she wanted me to follow her home. It was a signal, you see, a message just for me.

I could have run after her and given her the bag, but that’s not what the message meant. She wanted me to know where she lived.

I followed her home, a few paces behind, waiting for a few seconds after she had turned the corner. Watching her reflection in the windows, I could see the direction she was taking while staying far enough behind to be hidden.

I saw her walk briskly up the steps to her front door. She stopped on the top step and put her shopping on the ground while she balanced her handbag on her raised knee to search for her keys.

Once she went inside I made my way down the opposite side of the street and that’s when I found this doorway, the perfect place to watch her.

I watched and waited until she appeared in a window, her window. Now I knew I could see into her home.

I watched as she dropped her keys onto a small side table and bent gracefully to pick up the shopping bags before turning to move into another room – the kitchen perhaps?

This was my chance.

I moved quickly across the road and up the stairs to her front door. I felt breathless and excited at being so close to her again. I placed the shopping bag on the front step and knocked on the door before turning away and running back across the street to the safety of the doorway.

I was rewarded by the front door opening a few moments later. She leant forward from the doorway, looking from left to right to see who was there before venturing out to stand on the top step.

That was when I knew she couldn’t see me although I had a perfect view of her.

At first she looked puzzled to see no-one there, but then her beautiful face changed as it displayed a small rueful smile. She bent gracefully once more to pick up the shopping bag she doubtlessly thought she had left on the doorstep in her haste to get inside.

I continued to watch as she turned and moved back into the house, closing the door behind her.

This doorway has become my favourite place and I return here night after night to watch her. The thrill of being so close to her warms my blood and makes my skin tingle.

We are so perfectly matched and one day, when the time is right, we will be together forever.

Until then I am content to watch and wait from the shadows of my doorway.

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