The Watchers Part 2

It all began with a conversation, with a friend of mine. Let’s call her Alice. We met up at a small coffee shop, next to the supermarket, as we did every Saturday. I was reading ‘The Guardian.’ It was the usual depressing spiel about crooked politicians and drug-addicted celebrities. When I looked up, I saw Alice standing in the queue, waiting to be served. I waved and she nodded back. No smile though. I thought that she might be having man trouble again.
‘Hiya.’ She said breathlessly, when she eventually sat down opposite me.
I folded the paper.
‘Hi. How are you? You look a bit flustered.’
‘Mmmm’ She replied, as she sipped her coffee.
‘I do have something to tell you, but you go first.’
So I told her about my week. How work had been. The usual. What I did notice was that she wasn’t paying any attention to what I was saying. I felt a wave of annoyance wash over me.
‘So how about you Alice? What news have you got for me?’
She started, when I said her name.
‘God, I’m so sorry. It’s just I haven’t been sleeping and I keep switching off.’
‘Is Nigel playing you up again?’
She looked at me as though she had no idea about what I was referring to.
‘Nigel.’ I prompted. ‘You know, the love of your life?’
‘No, no I haven’t seen Nigel for weeks.’
I was shocked. It was unheard of for Alice not to be obsessing about some guy.
‘So it’s someone new?’
‘No, no, nothing like that.’
Now she really had my attention.
‘So?’
‘Bloody hell. You are going to think I’m mad.’
‘Try me.’
‘It’s just. I think I’m being followed.’
‘What? By an angry wife?’
‘No. No, I’m being serious. It’s probably nothing. It all started when I was cycling to work the other day. I was cycling through the fields, when I saw, what I thought was a dog walker standing there in the distance. He was staring at me. I carried on cycling, but, well, something wasn’t right. So turned back to look at him and he was gone. To be honest, I began to think I was imagining the whole thing.’
‘So you saw a dog walker and then he was gone? I don’t get what the problem is.’
‘Well, I can’t put my finger on it, but something wasn’t right. It was like he was a shadow. I didn’t see the inner features of his face.’
‘I still don’t get it. You said it was early in the morning and he was far away. It’s hardly surprising.’
‘I knew you’d say that. I suppose I wouldn’t have thought any more of it. If it hadn’t been for an incident that occurred at the bike shelter, later on.’
She sat back and for the first time I noticed that she was quivering.
‘What happened at the bike shed?’ I prompted.

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~ by envisioningutopia on November 29, 2012.

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