via Daily Prompt: Blink
When I saw this Daily Prompt, I immediately knew I had to write a story. The start of the story, the first line kept, well, blinking in my mind. The story came slowly, forming over a few hours. When I finally had the short story mostly written in my head, the word “stalker” came to mind. The short story, included below, is a cute story about a woman being chased by a man. She likes him; it turns out well. But she does jokingly use the word “stalker”, which made me think.
When someone pursues another, and both like each other, we call it pursuit. When one does not like the pursuer, it is called stalking. That made me think of the story in a very different way. I had to write both stories. The first story is the nice one, the one where both like each other. In the second one, the woman does not like the man. It is not a nice story. Without further ado, I give you
Let’s see if he finds me here, she thought with a smirk on her lips. An embarrassed look crossed her features as she realized she wasn’t alone in the alley. The couple close by rolled their eyes at her.
“God damned Dynamics.” The woman with her back against the wall looked to the man. “Told you we should have gone back to the hotel room.”
The man stammered for something to say as Stacy looked away and walked passed them to the head of the alley. At the head of the alley, she pushed the tourists from her mind and looked around. As she planned, she was about two blocks from her favorite café.
By the time Stacy arrived, there was a smile on her face. The sun was shining, the air smelled of food and the breeze was light. It was a perfect day. There weren’t too many people around and Caffe Rosa was not too crowded. She took a seat at a table outside, and nodded to a waiter as he made his way to her. She ordered an espresso and thanked the waiter as he walked away.
By the time she was taking her first sip of the strong drink, Kenny’s magic prickled the back of her neck. She smiled, then raised an eyebrow as he appeared before her.
“Found you. Took me a few tries, but here I am.” He gave her a boyish smile full of mischief.
She leaned back in her wooden chair, trying not to return the smile. “You know, there are rules. Appearing in a crowd of people can get you fined.”
He looked around at the disapproving looks of those around them, shrugged, then indicated the empty chair across from her. “If I get fined, it’s worth it. May I join you?”
The smile broke out on her face and she nodded. “Sure.”
He turned the chair around and sat in it backwards. She burst out laughing. He always sat that way.
“Why do you sit like that?”
He crossed his arms on the back of the chair. “To keep my elbows off the table.” He turned to the waiter who was frowning at him and smiled. “Coffee, please. Black.”
“There is a spell that allows you to speak the native language.” She ordered a black coffee for Kenny, in Italian. The waiter nodded and left them alone.
“Though I do know that spell, I had no idea what country we’re in. There aren’t any landmarks that I can see, and I can hear too many different languages.”
“That’s fair. We’re in Venice.”
He nodded. “I should have guessed. This is your favorite place to go, isn’t it?”
She took a sip of espresso. “Why do you say that? It is, but how did you know?”
He grinned sheepishly. “I cheated. I cast a spell that allows me to more easily track you. If you go someplace you’ve gone before, and I’ve been there as well, the spell lights up in my mind. There are a few places you go that light up like that.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Stalk me much?”
He blushed a little. “That’s not nice. You love that I chase you. Admit it.”
She gave him an annoyed look and crossed her arms as she leaned back in the chair. “You are one of the most annoying men I know.”
He stared into her eyes. “What was the first think you thought when you arrived here? No lying, the very first thing.”
It was her turn to blush as she remembered her thought. “I smirked and wondered if you would find me.”
“No annoyance, no anger, no fear?” He asked with gentle curiosity.
She found herself falling into the look in his eyes. Her voice was soft when she answered. “No.”
He gave her a lovely, hopeful smile. “Please go to dinner with me.” He held up his hands when she raised her eyebrow. “It won’t be like last time, I promise. We’ll meet in one place, stay there, and if we decide to go someplace else, we’ll walk, or drive or cast the spell separately.” He took a breath, stared into her eyes and gave her an imploring look. “Please?”
“I don’t want to end up in the hospital again. That was embarrassing.”
“I thought I had the spell down. Obviously, I didn’t. I’m forbidden to use that spell for the rest of my life. We won’t end up looking like conjoined twins again. We can’t. Please, Stacy. Every time I think about you, all I see are wonderful possibilities.” He sighed. “And every time you raise that eyebrow, I want to kiss you.”
The look he gave her was full of hope. She had to admit to herself that she liked the way he looked at her, liked the way she felt around him, too. She sighed and rolled her eyes. “All right.”
Joy exploded on his face.
“We’re going to a restaurant in my neighborhood. You can meet me at my apartment, ring the doorbell, do not just show up inside my apartment. We’ll walk around the neighborhood until we find a restaurant we both agree on. If we decide to do anything else, we will be walking. No more trying to zap us to a different location at the same instant.”
He gave her a sorrowful look. “I told you, I can’t use that any more. And I won’t. I didn’t like that night either, Stacy. Well, I liked most of that night. That’s why I’m still trying. I want to show you that I don’t usually act like that.”
She gave him a steady look. “I already said yes, I’m just laying down the parameters.”
“Right, you did, didn’t you?” The smile was endearing. “So, when?”
“How about Tuesday?”
“Not Friday or Saturday?”
“No. I’ll be at a conference this weekend for work and you are not allowed to find me. We’ll meet Tuesday. 6pm. My apartment.”
Stacy stood, pulled money out of the air and placed it on the table. At some point, the waiter had appeared with Kenny’s coffee. She hadn’t noticed when. She paid for both drinks and looked to Kenny as he stood. She raised her eyebrow. He noticed and licked his lips.
Kenny rounded the table, took Stacy in his arms and gave her a gentle kiss on the lips. She waited only a second before slipping her arms around his neck and kissing him back.
When they let go, Stacy giggled. “Tuesday.”
They smiled to each other, then Stacy walked away. He watched until she literally disappeared into thin air. She made sure there weren’t too many people around before casting the spell. Once she was gone, Kenny cast the same spell and disappeared without finding a good spot. No one knew who he was, it was a good chance no one would report him.
There you go. A nice little story of magic and being chased. Kenny’s not so bad, seems like he enjoys pushing boundaries, but he’s not really an asshole. If that were it, I wouldn’t have written that introduction. What happens when the pursuit is not wanted? And one or both are magic users? Keep reading…
Stacy blinked and looked around quickly. She ran to the head of the alley, completely ignoring the couple screwing close to where she landed. At the head, she continued on in a rush. She needed to get to a populated area. Hopefully he couldn’t find her. Kenny had a way of finding her, but she wasn’t sure how. Though the jump spell allowed a person to move from one place to another, it rarely allowed a second person to find the first. She worried he had a finding spell cast on her or something else.
To her disappointment, Caffe Rosa wasn’t crowded, at least not outside. She went inside, asked for a bottled soda at the bar, paid for it and sat in a corner table. She probably wasn’t staying long enough to finish it, but she preferred the quick energy the soda would give her. There were more people inside, and she hoped the people would deter anything Kenny planned on.
A few minutes later, soda bottle empty, she felt magic and cringed. Kenny appeared at her table and smiled.
“Thought you could hide from me?”
“I was hoping to. I have a restraining order against you, Kenny. You can’t keep following me.”
“It would be funny if they could prove it was me.” He sounded like he was smiling, as if he thought all this was a joke.
“What are you talking about?” Fear gripped her heart.
He smiled. She hated that smile. “People can see you talking with someone, but they don’t really know what I look like.”
“That’s not a legal spell.”
He shrugged. “I don’t know how I’m supposed to talk to you, Stacy. You keep trying to run away. When are you going to realize we’re meant to be together and go out with me?”
She stood, fear turning to anger. “Think of the words you just used, Kenny. Your words: I keep trying to run away. You’re right. I’m trying to run away. I don’t want to date you.”
He gave her a confused look. “Why not? Our first date was so much fun!”
“We ended up in the hospital! I only went out on a date with you because you tricked me! You used the same spell you’re using now to make me think you were someone else. When I figured out what was going on and tried to get away, you tried to take us both to an ice cream shop. The spell backfired, and we ended up as one person. The doctors said we could have died! You almost killed me that night. I don’t want to go out with you.”
He looked taken aback. “As long as you come with me willingly, that won’t happen again.”
“I don’t want to go out on a date with you, Kenny. You scare me.”
He giggled. “There are spells for that.”
She backed up. “Oh my god.”
She blinked and was gone. Stacy went to her apartment, half the world away. She ran to her second bedroom and stepped into a plastic box. This was a prototype, but it worked. A year ago, a friend of hers got it into his head that a jump to the moon or the bottom of the ocean would be possible, if they could take a container with them. He didn’t want to use a suit, as he felt it separated him from the environment. He wanted to be able to look around without his periphery being blocked.
The box worked on the moon, but not in the ocean. It was too deep. There was too much pressure. Her friend was working on a spell that might balance out that pressure. He had found a spell to balance out the pressure of the vacuum of space. It worked well, and both had enjoyed the trip to the moon. He had made a box for himself and a box for her to avoid what Kenny did to her on their first date.
The box was made of plexiglass, was an inch taller than she was, and barely wider than her shoulders. She had to be touching all sides in order for the jump spell to work. Now, as she waited for Kenny to show up, she hoped she wouldn’t have to use it. She was pretty sure she would kill him if he followed her.
Back at Caffe Rosa, Kenny frowned when Stacy disappeared. He moved to the spot she vacated, and allowed her magic to surround him. He used the dissipating magic to cast his own spell. It took a few minutes, but he jumped to Stacy’s apartment. He called her name, but when no one answered, he walked around until he felt her energy. He smiled. She couldn’t get away that easily. He would find her. It was easy, since he was using her energy and her magic to move around and find her.
In the second bedroom, he was surprised to see Stacy in the odd box. He frowned but didn’t think about it too much. “Found you.”
“Yeah, I guess you did. I don’t want to go out with you, Kenny. I want you to leave this apartment and leave me alone.”
He frowned. “I love you.”
Her eyes went wide. “You tried to kill me.”
“It was an accident.”
“How are you able to follow me?” With all that was going on, this question weighed heavily in her mind. It seemed that if she knew this, all else would be clearer.
He gave her a school boy grin. “I really shouldn’t say.”
She took a deep breath and gave him a sweet smile. She didn’t like doing that, but needed the information. She wasn’t recording this conversation, but a Wizard Elder would be able to read her mind and see her past with the right spells.
“Kenny, please tell me how you follow me. I really want to know.”
He giggled. “I’m using your magic. The residue you leave behind. It makes it really easy to follow you. I like using your energy. It feels good.”
“We’re not really allowed to do that, Kenny.” What he described was classified as energy stealing and was against the law.
“I know, but I can’t tap into my own energy. I wasn’t born with that ability.”
She looked at him for a long moment. He wasn’t even a witch. She didn’t know how he had figured out how to do everything, but that didn’t really matter. It was illegal and that was the end of it. Something he said at the café occurred to her, and she carefully asked another question.
“If you don’t have your own magic, how are you going to change my mind with spells?”
He smiled. He looked so innocent. “If you go out with me, I’ll make sure you never leave me. You’ll never be afraid of me again. It won’t matter if I’m not a witch.”
Stacy didn’t want to use the box, didn’t want to take the last step, but his words worried her to no end. She had no idea what his answer meant. “Are you going to use magic to change my mind and make me fall in love with you?”
He took a step back and looked as if he didn’t want to answer. Kenny looked around as if searching for something. “Are there cameras in here? Are you recording this? Are you going to go to the police with lies?”
“No, no cameras. Only me and you.” He apparently didn’t know enough about magic to know that a Wizard Elder could read her past.
He smiled. “Doesn’t that sound nice? You and me. Forever.”
“Maybe. But I don’t want you to change my mind.”
“Oh, you won’t notice. I’ll use your energy. No one will ever know, and you’ll be mine.” His voice was completely innocent. It scared Stacy to no end.
Her eyes went wide, and she stepped further back into the box. He lunged at her. Not having time to cast the right spells, she simply blinked and left the apartment.
Stacy made several jumps, staying no more than one minute at each spot. It usually took Kenny two to three minutes to find her. Staying for a minute allowed him to find her more easily, but it also allowed her to gather her own energy for the next jump.
She jumped three times, and stopped. She was in Venice again and ran to a nearby restaurant. She was ravenous. Stacy bought a sandwich and ran a few streets from where she landed. Once far enough away, she jumped back to her apartment.
Stacy ran to the second bedroom. Kenny was gone. She stepped into the box, closed the door and locked it with a special spell. It sealed her in, with enough air for an hour. She spread her legs a foot apart, making sure to touch two sides with her feet. Her back went to another wall, her right arm touched the right side, her right hand touched the front panel. Her left arm touched the left panel and the ceiling. It didn’t take her too long. She had practiced a great deal in the past months since Kenny started relentlessly pursuing her.
Once touching all sides of the box, Stacy recited a difficult spell and appeared on the moon, inside the box. She held her breath as long as possible, then let it out slowly and took a careful breath in. When she was able to breathe, she stopped herself from sighing. She had to be careful. Kenny was probably following her, but she wasn’t sure. She needed to conserve her air. It usually took him a few minutes to jump to where she was.
She could continue jumping from one place to another, but jumping took a lot of energy. She would have to eat after every third jump. It was better to have one clever jump than to take many small jumps. It took less energy and usually, the pursuer was not able to find their prey.
Stacy hated thinking of herself as prey, but didn’t know what else to think. As she stood in the box, waiting for Kenny, she wondered if he would follow her. She didn’t know if he could see where she was before he jumped. Stacy almost didn’t want him to follow her, but she also didn’t want him to try to pursue her. The Wizard Elders said a few times that she could go to them, but she was starting to wonder if anyone would be able to help.
When they had been talking in the café, no one seemed to notice what was going on. That scare her too. If he could hide what he did it was possible no one would believe her. Hoping to right the situation soon, she waited for Kenny to arrive. He showed up a few minutes later. He gasped for air, then seemed to recite a spell. He looked to be ok after the spell. He glared at her.
“What. The. Fuck?” He mouthed the words.
She held up her hands and a white board appeared in front of her. There was black writing on it. It read, “Agree to leave me alone and I’ll take you back to Earth.”
He moved closer to her box, placed hands on the wall and stared at her as he mouthed words. “You will be mine.”
The sign changed, and she put it in front of his face against the glass. “Never.”
Stacy lowered the sign and watched as Kenny recited a spell. Worry clouded his eyes when he didn’t leave. She frowned slightly and put the sign up for him to read.
“Agree to leave me alone and I’ll take you back to Earth.”
She could see him struggling. His air was running out. She put the sign up to the glass again, but watched him. He shook his head and mouthed the same answer as before.
“You. Will. Be. Mine.”
Terror filled her body. She didn’t want to stay, didn’t want to kill him, but he wasn’t changing his mind. She did the last thing she wanted to do. Stacy cast a spell to read his mind. She invaded his thoughts. For a moment, all she could hear were his struggled breathing. A moment later, there was a sigh in his mind. She could hear what he was thinking.
“See, you love me. You don’t want me to die.”
He wasn’t supposed to be able to tell she was in his mind, but he could. She tried to pull out of his mind and found she could not. He had her trapped somehow.
Stacy watched from her box as he smiled. She struggled to get out of his mind as he struggled to stay alive.
“You will be mine.”
Stacy heard this in her mind and felt something odd. She liked him. She should take them both back home.
Stacy screamed and used all her energy to rip out of his mind. He stumbled back and the last of his air disappeared. The vacuum of space claimed Kenny, but Stacy didn’t watch. She crumbled to the floor of the box and cried out, screaming her pain. He had managed to change her mind, but it wasn’t permanent. His death gave her back her thoughts and mind. With the last of her energy, Stacy jumped back to her apartment. She fell to the floor and cried for a long time before calling her Elder Wizard and the police.
… So there you have it. I’m not sure I illustrated the stalking as well as I wanted to, but it’s a bit hard to do in a short story. Feel free to let me know what you think of the stories. I’m open to suggestions.