Authors: Shane Morgan
The whole thing was weird, not to
mention frightening. With any luck, I’d figure out who this creep was soon and
inflict on him the same kind of stress he was causing me.
I called in sick on Friday.
Greg Wilcox said it was okay since they had enough covered for the fundraiser.
I stayed home and had a security company set up the cameras in my apartment.
Mr. Farris, my landlord, recommended them. He was starting to worry.
He’d been questioned by Amber and the
police about my intruder. Now he was standing outside my door, concern
blanketing his wrinkled face as he observed the security guy inside my
“What’s going on, dear? First your
friend asked me if I’d seen anyone suspicious, then you requested to change the
locks on your door and install an alarm. Next, a cop’s car gets trashed, he
asks me a bunch of questions, and now you’re setting up cameras. Are you in
some kind of trouble, Bristol?”
A lackluster smile reached my lips as I
answered, “Well, uh, I didn’t want to scare you or anyone else in the building,
but there’s someone who has a serious crush on me.”
He creased his forehead and narrowed his
eyes. “A serious crush? It must be really serious if you’re doing all this,” he
said, looking over my shoulder.
The security guy had finished installing
a camera in the ceiling lamp above the living room and was heading for my
“I’m only taking precautions,” I said,
spinning back to Mr. Farris.
He half smiled, still worried. “I see.
Well, if you ever need anything don’t hesitate to knock on my door, all right?
I might be old, but I can still throw a punch.” He raised a hand and clenched
his fist, positioning it as if he were about to box.
I managed a titter. “Thank you. That’s
nice of you.”
Mr. Farris was much older than my dad.
He and his wife had purchased the building back in the eighties and they’d
settled in one of the apartments on the first floor. He was always willing to
help out his tenants.
“Don’t mention it. In any case, my son
is around. He can help me fight.”
Stumped by what he’d said, I tilted my
head to one side and furrowed my forehead. “I didn’t know you had a son who was
living with you.”
“No, no. He doesn’t live with us
permanently. Only stays some nights,” Mr. Farris explained. “He’s a good man
who stops by now and then to take his mother out, give his old man a break.” A
proud chuckle gushed out of him.
“Well, I’ll let you get back to your
security stuff.” He patted my hand, then turned and went on his way.
I paced around the living room, waiting.
A minute later the security guy rounded the corner.
“You’re all set,” he said. “We’ve set up
this main frame so you can see what’s going on inside your apartment from
wherever you are.”
He handed me the device. I noticed there
were two frames with live feeds, one from the camera in the living room and one
from the camera in my bedroom, as I’d requested.
“Thank you,” I told him, grateful. “I’m
so ready to catch this guy.”
“You sure are,” he agreed, nodding.
“Remember, our office is also connected to your device and security alarm, in
case you need help.”
Giving me a form to complete and
confirming with the company to charge my credit card for the installations, he
treaded over to his equipment bag that he’d placed by the couch.
Picking it up off the floor, he opened
the door and said, “Have a good day,” before stepping outside. I locked it
immediately after he left.
I grew restless sitting around the
apartment. There wasn’t anything on TV that had piqued my interest and my
friends were working.
Unable to relax, I hopped up from the
couch and went to my bedroom to change. I threw on workout clothes and grabbed
my gym bag from the closet. Perhaps I could sweat out all the stress from my
mind and body.
I dropped the device and my cellphone in
the bag along with a towel and two water bottles, then headed out to the gym.
I’d been on the treadmill for twenty
minutes and I was still frazzled. Sporadically, my mind would drift to the
device in my gym bag. I had an itch to check the cameras in my apartment.
Turning off the machine, I stepped down
and walked to the lockers. When I flicked on the device, the cameras showed
nothing. Both the living room and my bedroom were clear. I ran the footage back
to make sure; relief engulfed me when nothing showed up.
I tossed a towel over my shoulder and
wandered back inside the gym, placing the device, cellphone, and the bottle of
water on a table. I wanted to rest for a while before resuming my workout.
“Bristol Armando?” a strong voice
bellowed from behind me.
My head whipped around and I saw a tall
blond-haired guy coming toward me. He looked awfully familiar. I turned on the
device’s screensaver and rose from the seat as he drew closer.
you,” he confirmed. I
squinted at him. Realizing I couldn’t remember, he said, “It’s Ray, Tyler’s
“Oh.” Of course. They had the same
hooded blue-gray eyes, that muscular boxed face and aquiline nose. “Ray. It’s
been a while.”
His smile broadened, showing off his
pearly whites. “Yeah. The last time we saw each other was when you two first
started dating back in January last year.”
“Yeah.” I shrugged. “How’s it been?
How’s your freshman year at college?”
A conceited expression twisted his
features. “Great. New York is quite the city.”
“I bet it is.” Ray was different from
his brother. Even though he was younger by three years, he partied more. He did
everything more than Tyler, like they were in a competition.
I flung the towel around my neck, wiping
sweat that had streamed down from my hair.
“So, uh, I heard you two broke up,” Ray
carried on. “That’s kind of hard to believe.”
And so the awkwardness began.
“Yeah, we did,” I muttered, not trying
to hide my uneasiness.
Ray sighed, as if he was regretful on
his brother’s behalf. “I’m sorry about what Tyler did. He can be an idiot
sometimes, but he does love you. You were the first girl he brought home.”
I forced an uncomfortable smile while I
bobbed my head slowly.
Taking the hint, Ray motioned to leave.
“Well, it was good seeing you again, Bristol.”
“You too, Ray,” I breathed, thankful
that the conversation was over.
He started to leave, but then turned
abruptly and said, “Tyler’s a fool. You’re a rare gem.”
My body tensed at his words. “What did
Ray frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“Y-you said…you said that I’m a rare
He snorted. “Yeah, so?”
“Is it you?” I blurted, clenching my
fist. “Are you the secret admirer? Are you the pervert that’s been sending me
shit and keeps sneaking into my apartment?”
Ray stepped back in confusion. “What the
hell are you talking about?”
I got up in his face, yelling, “Stop
playing games already!” He winced. “You waited. Was it because I was with your
brother? So what, now that we’ve broken up, you think you can be with me?”
Repulsed, Ray’s features warped into a
scowl. “What the—Bristol, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t
want to be with you. I have a girlfriend.”
“Liar!” I barked.
Everyone inside the gym turned their
heads our way, bewildered. It sounded as if they’d lowered the volume of the
Over Ray’s shoulder, I glimpsed one of
the employees approaching.
“Look, you’ve got the wrong guy,” he
said calmly. “My brother loves you. I would never try to get with you.”
“Is everything okay?” the employee asked
as she reached us. She regarded Ray for a passing second, then cut back to me.
“Is this guy bothering you?”
her?” Ray scoffed.
“She’s the one accusing me of something I have no idea about.”
“I’m calling the police,” I told him and
spun to pick up my cellphone from off the table. “They’ll uncover your
extracurricular activities, which includes tormenting me.”
“Oh, for Christ’s sake,” he huffed at my
back. “I wasn’t even in Rhode Island until two days ago.”
Just as he said that, my hand jerked the
device and the screen flicked to the live feeds. A man wearing a dark hooded
jacket and black gloves was standing inside my bedroom. At the side of his
hidden face, I could see black hair sticking out of his hood. He placed a
bouquet of roses, a medium-sized box, and another blue note on my bed.
“No…” I whimpered, confused. A second
ago I’d been totally convinced that Ray was the creep.
“What’s that?” the employee asked.
Ignoring her, I snatched up the device
and my phone. I continued to watch my intruder while I dialed 911. A chill ran
through me when he strolled over to my dresser and opened the top drawer. He
began running his gloved hands over my underwear.
Bile burned my throat as he picked up
one of my panties and brought it to his nose, sniffing it.
“Ugh! Turn around!” I shrieked. “Damn
it! Look at the camera.”
“911, what is your emergency?”
“There’s someone inside my apartment!” I
yelled. “It’s at eighteen Wellington Ave. Number five. Send the police now
before he gets away!”
Anxiety stabbed at my insides. I prayed
the police would arrive in time to catch the pervert; I thought they might have
a chance since he was so engrossed in my clothes.
“Bristol, what’s going on?” Ray asked.
I dismissed him and continued to watch
my admirer. He moved over to the closet and started caressing my clothes. Not
once was his face caught by the camera, like he knew how to position himself to
where the camera was.
Confirming this, he draped the hood
further over his head and moved alongside the wall, keeping his head low. He
disappeared out of my bedroom and appeared on the camera in the living room.
He was leaving.