As I walked away I glanced over my shoulder and spotted him standing outside the entrance to the cafe watching me.
What was he thinking? Was he going to follow me?
I waved and grinned, attempting to look like nothing was wrong. He held his hand up in response but I couldn’t read his expression. Just before I entered the park I turned again but he had vanished. A chill passed through me as I wondered where he had gone.
I needed to keep moving, but what if he’d come this way? He thought I was going to the park to work so I could use that as a ruse while I figured out a plan. I still didn’t know my next step.
Maybe I was being dramatic, but I was afraid to go home. He had never physically threatened me. I really had no reason to think he would, but the look in his eye, the barely concealed anger when he thought I was leaving, terrified me. There had been a few times when his temper had flared uncontrolled, but I had attributed it to stress, although I had to admit to myself I wasn’t exactly sure what would cause him to feel anxious.
The secret room and the journal entry had helped me see things from a new perspective, and now I was forced to reevaluate the entire situation. I found myself questioning everything, seeing sinister meaning in even the most mundane occurrences.
Noticing a bench slightly off the paved trail I sat with my laptop perched on my legs. Opening it, I connected to the hotspot on my cell phone. My hands hovered over the keys waiting for inspiration, when I remembered I was supposed to be on a conference call.
As I picked up my phone memories flashed through my mind, times over the past weeks when my phone should have worked but didn’t. Was I being paranoid to think he might have tampered with it? Will he know if I don’t don’t actually make a call, or worse, can he listen to my conversation?
Realizing I was being overly suspicious I pretended to dial then propped the device between my shoulder and my chin, freeing my hands to do a search. The best place to start would be the police so I pulled up Google maps and looked for the nearest police station. I was relieved to discover there was one just a few blocks past the far end of the park, an easy walk.
Opening a Word file, I began to write down what I knew for certain, which wasn’t much. Starting a new page, I decided to list what should have been warnings of what was happening. As the list grew I felt embarrassed that I didn’t realize how wrong I’d been about him, about what I had thought was for once a real relationship. How could I have been so foolish?
A susurrus of leaves behind me, a quiet rustling I would have missed if the park hadn’t been so still, made my blood run cold. I was afraid to turn to see what might be behind me, convinced it was Clay. Fighting the urge to run, I slowly closed my computer and slid it into my backpack.
Standing, I began to wander down the path in the direction of the police station. My hope was that he would think I was listening to the call, absorbed in work. I meandered slowly, taking a path that circled a small pond. I was startled when a jogger passed, so surprised I almost dropped my phone.
Taking a route that led toward the park exit I stopped myself from looking behind me, worried I’d show my apprehension, reveal my growing panic. Sudden footsteps approaching compelled me to pick up my pace, fear rising with each step.
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Sussurous and is part of something longer I am working on.