Stephanie’s phone rang for the 17th time, in a span of 15 minutes; she looked at her phone screen. It was an unknown number. Just yesterday night as she walked home she had been followed from the bus stop by a hooded gentleman. The same hooded gentleman the security guard at her flat had mentioned a few months earlier.
“That man really loves you. He follows you everywhere, but gives you space. Where did you find him?” The security guard told her. He hadn’t noticed till he saw Stephanie’s facial expression that she had no clue she was being followed. Every evening after work Stephanie would plug in her ear plugs, crank the volume and drown out the world till she walked in to her flat.
After the remark from the security guard, Stephanie started receiving anonymous notes stating unusual statements like, “You are not safe meet me at the staircase in exactly 15 minutes,” began to appear. “Don’t take the elevator” was another one she received. Stephanie became completely paranoid. She didn’t understand why she was the target. She was just a copywriter at an ad agency. She was apolitical and areligious. Her life was mundane and under the radar. She barely knew what her own siblings and parents were up to on any given weekend.
Stephanie was a loner and OK with it. Why was she now being subjected to this? She didn’t want to know or try to understand. She just wanted it to all go away. It was noon and Stephanie was hungry this fine Thursday afternoon, she normally went to grab something to eat at Kenchic restaurant, chips, chicken and soda. She loved her food greasy and artery choking. But today something told her to get it delivered to her office.
Stephanie called up the restaurant and her order showed up in exactly ten minutes. After praying over the food, she opened the box and lo! And Behold! In her food was finger with a note tied around it, instead of her chicken. “You are not safe. You will be next if you keep pretending.”
Stephanie was so afraid, she closed it and shoved the box away from her and began to shake and tear. He lips trembled, she couldn’t speak, she was afraid; she didn’t know where to go, whether to report it, who could she trust? Who would take her seriously? Stephanie was paralysed. She sat at her desk in a daze, tears streaming down her face. Her colleagues walked past her desk, as if completely unaware of her emotional state. Everyone went about their business completely oblivious to the mental breakdown occurring at Stephanie’s desk.
After about 30 minutes Stephanie sensed someone standing behind her. Who was it? She had no clue. He placed his hands gently on either shoulder and grasped her blades tight. Stephanie raised her shoulders gasping and crying. She screamed and in an instant her mouth was covered, muffling the sound and everyone turned to stare. They stared then went about their business.
Stephanie was hoisted from her workstation and the man she only felt, but couldn’t turn around to see, frog marched her to the exit in full view of everyone. No one did anything. What was going on? This wasn’t normal. Why didn’t anyone care?