It was just after my thirtieth birthday that I realised I had been stalked all my life. At around 4:00 AM, I returned from a long night of drinking with the girls from work. Things seemed off right away. It wasn’t any one particular thing; rather it was more of the general feeling, the way that things looked. It felt kind of like when someone is sneaking up on you, and you know for sure that something is going on behind you, but you don’t know exactly what yet. As soon as I opened the front door, I knew what it was. I looked around my lounge and felt a chill. All of my things had been ripped apart or thrown astray, and I had been left a message scribbled messily in green highlighter on the mirror at the front of the room. It read: “WELCOME TO HELL. I’VE MADE YOUR BED FOR YOU. LOOKS LIKE YOU WON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO PACK THOUGH!" I had felt uneasy before, but now I was fairly concerned.
Somebody had come into my home, my sanctuary, and violated my privacy. Not only that, they had deliberately destroyed my possessions and left a message to try and scare me. It took me a moment to get over the initial disbelief of what I was seeing, as it all felt too surreal and dreamlike. I then began the task of cleaning up the mess and deciding what could be salvaged and what had to be thrown away. I continued this up until around 7:00 AM, at which point I literally collapsed from fatigue.
When I awoke in the early afternoon, I could see that it was pouring with rain outside, and I could hear thunder in the distance. Great, I thought to myself, a storm. That’s all I need. As I got up and began walking into the kitchen, I noticed that there was still plenty of mess to clean up. And that fucking message was still there. But I decided I would deal with it when I had gotten ready, and made myself a bowl of cereal.
As I was eating it, I picked up my laptop to check my e-mails. Amongst all the junk, crap and crappy junk, one e-mail stood out. It was sent by someone with the e-mail address “love_u@███████.com”, and had the subject heading “welcome to hell – bed offer’s still open”. I was wary of clicking on it. Surely the person who had written the message on the mirror couldn’t know my e-mail address. That was just impossible. I decided to click on it anyway. It read as follows:
“Goldilocks was a dumb little bitch. She went into a dangerous house inhabited by mean old bears, and she was very sleepy after all the partying she had done celebrating her birthday the night before. She went to find a bed, but one had razor sharp thorns covering the mattress. Another had acid coating the bed sheet. But the third one was just ri . . . ERR! Wrong! The third one had a bear trap on it. After laying in all these beds, she was very badly injured, and began walking out to try and find her father.
But she was too late. The mean old bears returned, horrified to find her in their house. They were so angry, they killed her and ate her entrails in three bowls. But you see, one was too warm, and one was too cold. But one . . . one was just right. Like you, Jessica. You’re just right.”
As soon as I finished that final line, I slammed my laptop shut and threw it across the room. I began to sob hysterically. I now knew that this was no harmless joke. This was serious. I grabbed my phone and rang as many friends as I could think of. Only three picked up: Harry, James and Freya. Once I explained everything to them, they told me they were coming over as soon as they could.
I had hoped to get ready first, but they got to my house a lot sooner than I anticipated. They each arrived within a minute of each other; Freya, followed by Harry, and then James. They all tried to comfort me as expected, but then Freya said something I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of.
“We need to ring the police,” she said.
I guess in the heat of the moment, the thought just hadn’t crossed my mind. This, though, proved to be a fruitless endeavor. They left almost as soon as they arrived, telling me there was really nothing they could do from what I had told them, and to ring them again if there were any developments. I stayed at Freya’s house that night; I couldn’t bear the idea of staying in that house alone at the moment.
I was awoken by a loud bang. I looked at the little alarm clock hastily set up in the spare room I was in. It informed me that it was 3:50 AM. I couldn’t hear Freya getting up; obviously it hadn’t disturbed her. I counted her lucky and headed downstairs to find the source of the noise. I saw that a brick had been thrown through her front window, and attached to it with an elastic band was a yellow sticky note. I picked it up and read the note. Written in an almost unreadable scribble, I struggled to make out what it said, the fact that it was dark and that I was very tired didn’t help. From what I could make out, it said something along the lines of:
“Love you, J. But I don’t love your friends. Sorry”.
I looked up, and was suddenly frozen in fear. A man wearing a black jumpsuit, black hoodie and a clown mask concealing his entire face was stood right in front of the window. I screamed and jumped back.
I became frozen in fear, unable to move or utter a sound. The man moved his index finger to where his lips were under the mask, as if to say “shush”. He then reached into his pocket, retrieved a pile of Polaroids, and began slowly handing them to me through the hole the brick had created in the window.
Still in a state of unimaginable horror, all I could do was take them. I looked down at them, and almost threw up on the floor. They were all of me, taken from weird angles, and very blurry, like the person had been hiding and taken them very quickly, but they were still defiantly all of me. The oldest one was when I was around ten or eleven, and they went all the way up to last year.
The man outside made an action of blowing a kiss to me, and then began running away. This snapped me out of my fearful trance, and I opened the door and pursued him. He either knew this or was aware and didn’t care . . . or it was what he wanted. It was too dark to see anything other than him. He ran across a field,and I followed. He ended up stopping at the edge of a street, though I had no idea where I was in the darkness. The government had been doing construction all over the city, and most of the street lights had temporarily stopped working as a result of this.
He ran into a house I couldn’t see. I slowed down at this point, and began to really think about what I was doing. This man was clearly very dangerous, and he had been obsessed with me for years. But I soon pushed those thoughts out of my head when I remembered what the letter had said. But I don’t love your friends. Sorry. What if I hadn’t heard Freya because . . . I slowly fumbled around in the darkness in front of the house, fear pushing me onto the verge of running straight back to Freya’s house.
But what if she wasn’t there waiting for me? I managed to find the front door, and carefully opened it. Inside, all the lights were off. It was still so dark I couldn’t even tell where I was. I began tip-toeing down the corridor, when I suddenly heard a gasp coming from the room next to me. A voice cried out, “Help me!” It was Harry. I ran into the room and saw Harry sitting on the floor with his back to the wall.
He had a gag in his mouth, and there was a knife stabbed into his right leg. I rushed to his side, pulled the gag off of him and helped him to his feet. He groaned and put his arm around my shoulder. I began walking out of the room, and he limped with me. As I headed for the front door, Harry suddenly pulled me back. “No! No!” he cried, “James is in the room at the end of the hall! That sick fuck dragged him away . . . oh god . . .”
I paused, looking back and forth at the exit right in front of me and the door a few metres away. I imagined all the terrible things that could’ve been happening to James at that very moment.
“Okay,” I finally said, “But you have to go. Call Freya or something. Get to a hospital.”
“No,” Harry protested, “I’m not leaving you with that bastard.”
I didn’t even try to argue with him. I knew it would’ve been a fruitless endeavour. The slow and cautious walk down the corridor felt like it would never end. When we made it to the door, my hands began to shake. Harry noticed my hesitation, and opened the door himself. It slowly creaked open and we walked inside. There was a very dim light hanging from the ceiling, barely illuminating the centre of the room.
My blood turned cold.
All over the walls of this room were . . . so many photos. All of them of me. I recognised a few from the pile of Polaroids I had seen. But there were so many more. There seemed to be a few for every year of my life since I was ten years old. I then remembered why I had come in here, but realised that James wasn’t in here. I couldn’t see anyone. Now that I could actually see, albeit very little, I began to look around. The layout and architecture of this place seemed very familiar, though I had obviously never been in this room before.
But . . . it couldn’t be. This room had always been locked, but . . . this was Harry’s house. I heard a camera shutter behind me, and turned to see a smiling Harry holding the fake knife from his leg in one hand, and a Polaroid camera in the other. He began to laugh.
Written by 3go3