General Fiction posted September 7, 2016


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A sick man feels someone is after him

The watcher

by oliver818

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

The words seemed to dance mysteriously on the page as the sun flashed in through the curtains. That's weird, he thought, they don't normally do that.

His leg vibrated along with the buzzing phone. "Ramon, it's nine thirty, where are you?"

Confusion painted long, deep wrinkles over his forehead. "I thought I wasn't on today."

"Man, you are. Get in here, the boss is pissed!"

Toothpaste dripped from the mirror, a wet towel slashed across a puddle on the floor. One leg poking through a leg hole, bouncing back and forth, Ramon realised his trousers were on backwards. This was going to be one of those days.

As the door shut behind him, a shadow slipped away down the corridor. His neighbour? Who cares? he whispered to himself.

The number of times he had used the bathroom that day suggested something was up. The take-aways he had washed down with warm beer the night before must have been older than he thought. His cheeks burned, reddened by the beginnings of a fever. The fiery bile forced itself into his mouth again, he flipped up the toilet seat just in time.

"Ramon, seriously, you need to go see a doctor," his collegue remarked, as Ramon washed him face in the sink.

"Nah. I'll just sleep it off." Cold water dripped off his chin.

Back home, his eyelids fluttered, and droplets of sweat soaked into the pillow. The edge of the quilt rippled under his hot breath as a deep, repetitive snore rolled around the room.

His eyes burst open as a long buzzing droned in his ears. He flicked open the phone.

"Yeah?"

Nothing.


"Who's there?"

Nothing.

"Is that you John? Don't you know I'm sick? I was asleep, arsehole!"

His long fingers slammed the phone shut. His hair stuck to the sweat-stained pillow as he rolled over, desperate for sleep.

The buzzing began again.

"Hello? Oh what a surprise, no one's there! Fucker!"

The phone crashed down on the table again. A dry cough rattled painfully from his chest.

The third time it rang he was seriously aggravated.

"What?" he shouted. The heavy breathing on the other end was too much, and his phone smashed against the wall.

Something woke him up three hours later. He felt like a saw was slicing tiny pieces off his brain. His parched throat ached as he tried to place what had woken him. His forehead still burned beneath his cold fingers. Could he just have imagined it?

The sound came again and this time he was sure. Someone was in his apartment! He shivered as the cold air hit his skin, the sweat-soaked quilt falling backwards over itself. Pearls of perspiration rolled down his forehead as his feet slipped into his slippers.

Muscles tight, fists raised, his footsteps echoed down the hallway. His skin tickled as a cool draft curled through the apartment. His slippers crunched over the remains of a smashed water glass. Standing dead still, he listened for anything other than the ticking of the clock. His legs shuddered under the warm caress of a furry body. Bloody cat!

Suddenly, he felt a chill penetrate his very core. Arms wrapped around his chest, coughing and wheezing, his feet scuffed the floor on his way to his bedroom.

The cold, damp sheets didn't help him warm up, the mattress creaking as he shook.

And then, the front door slammed. His frozen feet hit the floor, his head whirled, eyes wide and staring. Hadn't he closed that earlier? Now real fear began to creep into his feverish thoughts. Was someone in here?


And then his phone, screen smashed, lying in the corner, began to buzz again.

" Who, who's there?"

The heavy breathing again.

"What do you want?"

"We're watching you, Ramon."

"Oh fuck," he murmured, the phone smashing against the floor. It exploded into pieces.

The fever seemed to be getting worse. The bed sank under his weight. His temples throbbed terribly, and he slipped into sleep again.

What was that? Seconds before he had opened his eyes and felt something weird lying on his chest. He reached out a white, bony finger. It was a postcard. A short, pointed sentence was scrawled across it.

"We're watching you, Ramon."

Terror ran through his blood. His body curled into a tight ball, he sat, eyes staring into the blackness.

It was his bladder that forced him to get up. He hobbled on weak knees to the bathroom. His eyebrows shot up as he spotted another postcard taped to the mirror. He dashed to the kitchen. Another. The lounge. Another! All were blank except for the single sentence, "We're watching you, Ramon."

The thought of ringing the police crossed his mind for a moment. But would they really care?

The room whirled around him once more. He knew he needed to get out. His skin crawled under the flowing dressing gown. Floorboards creaked under his slippered feet. His hand trembled as the door swung open. The corridor was silent, a dim light glowing eerily from the street.

His hands caught the wooden rail as the stairs dropped steeply away. His eyes burned with dribbles of cold sweat.

Somewhere below, something scraped along a floorboard. His left foot hovered in the air, eyes desperately searching. Nothing.

As he reached the bottom, he could have sworn he heard whispers. His eyes swept the staircase. Nothing. Hands shaking with the effort, he crept forward, step by slow step, towards the door. If he could just get outside.

His fingers curled around the long, thin handle. It squeaked ever so slightly. His teeth bared, he pulled it down, and click.

He was outside. The only sounds he heard were his own. His footsteps picked up pace, faster and faster, the wind licking his face like a hungry wolf.

And then, a shadow was in front of him. Gravel spun around him, he tasted blood.

A cold hand reached down, and pulled him up. His fingers came away red as he rubbed his burning face.

His eyes froze as he spotted the gun in the man's hand.

"Don't move, Ramon. You're under arrest."

The hands on his arm was rough, and he felt the fear settling in as the handcuffs tightened around his wrists.

A bird sang softly in the early morning air. The gun was still sticking into his back as they entered the dark building of the secret police.


Suspense contest entry


This story is for the real Ramon I heard about from Russia who was arrested many time for protesting illegally.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by Mr Jones at FanArtReview.com

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