Short Story: Jealous
I couldn’t believe I never realized it before now. I mean, how is this even possible, and how long has it been happening?
Let me start from the beginning. I mean, at least as far back as I can trace it to. Of course, the longer I think about it, the more instances pop up.
The first time I think it may have happened was after a big meeting. I was working at my desk when my secretary walked in.
I should point out that we had been having an affair. I was single, but she was married. It seemed to work for both of us.
That day, she walked into my office as usual to drop of some papers. She laid them on my desk and as she was about to turn to walk out, she started chocking.
“Are you alright?” was my fist response. After all, I have never had anyone choke in front of me before.
When I didn’t get a response, I quickly stood up to try to help if I could. I’ve never felt so helpless in my life.
When she started to turn blue, I knew I was in way over my head, so I began to yell for help.
In retrospect, my first clue should have been, as she began to lose consciousness, she didn’t fall immediately to the ground. But at the time, I assumed it was because I was holding her up.
By the time help came, it was too late. Two or three other people softly helped her to the ground, but she was already gone.
At first, suspicion fell on me. Especially since there didn’t seem to be any cause for her choking. However, when they performed the autopsy, while it was definitely asphyxiation, there was no physical evidence to prove it. No bruising around the neck, no damage to the pharynx, nothing stuck in her throat.
It wasn’t long before I had to find another job. I could no longer go to work the way everyone was looking at me.
Even if I had been found to not be guilty, there was still plenty of reasons to suspect I was responsible somehow. After all, I was alone with her, and the fact she didn’t choke on anything, or have an allergic reaction to something, I was the only variable option left.
Not only did I leave the company. I left the state. Moved away as far as I could, where no one would look at me the way my former coworkers did.
That was a pretty intense situation and if it had been an isolated one, I wouldn’t be sharing what happened at all. I would start a new life and omit that part of my old one.
It wasn’t long after I finally settled in, that the next event happened. Again, at the time I didn’t know what was happening, but looking back. It all makes sense. Sort of.
The sun was bright as I sat a local café, enjoying a mimosa. And why shouldn’t I? It was the weekend after all.
As I sat there soaking in the sun, a beautiful woman walked by and gave me a wink.
‘I still got it,’ I thought, and winked back.
She saw my response and asked if it would be okay to join me.
“Of course,” I replied.
She was beautiful. I would have been a fool to have said no.
I couldn’t believe how well we hit it off. One conversation would end, only to immediately lead to another. It felt natural and for the first time in my young life, I could see myself maybe settling down.
She told me she had a joke to tell me, so of course, I had to hear it.
As I waited for the punchline, she immediately stopped talking and her eyes grew wide.
At first, I thought it was part of the joke, but the longer she sat there silent, the more I became confused.
Her head started to shake back and forth and I could tell she was choking.
‘Not again,’ I thought as I called for help.
Once I was sure someone could see that I wasn’t the one choking her, I knelt by her chair and kept asking what was happening.
She looked at me with confused eyes. I expected her to point to her throat or give me some sign of what was happening to her, so I could help, but instead, she sat there staring at me through fear filled eyes.
I could see her eye veins seem to hemorrhage.
All I could do was look on with horror as she started to turn blue. Her eyes rolled up, and then she went limp.
She was already gone before the ambulance arrived.
This time at least, no one looked at me as if I murdered her. This time, I actually got looks of sympathy. Some even gave me their condolences before they left.
“I don’t know much about her,” I explained to the officer. “I only met her a few hours ago. We were talking and all of a sudden, she started choking. We didn’t have anything to eat and she was drinking the same drink the whole time.”
The officer wrote down his notes and thanked me for my help.
This time, I was treated so much differently than the first time I lost someone.
My mind was in a fog as I stumbled into my apartment. I couldn’t believe that this had happened again.
I felt cursed. Even though I didn’t do anything myself, I couldn’t help but feel responsible.
Even though I didn’t know her that well, I went to her funeral. I didn’t think I would ever recover from yet another traumatic event.
It was months before I could go anywhere outside of work. I became a shut in. I worked and then went immediately home. I was too afraid to talk to anyone. I couldn’t stop thinking that anyone I talked to would suffer the same fate.
Seeing me staying home all the time, my friend Jerry from work invited me out. I didn’t really want to, but he had been persistently asking for weeks.
Finally, I gave in and went to a party on a Saturday night. I have to confess, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. I felt renewed being around people again. I was starting to become quite the introvert.
Jerry introduced me to a few friends and as the night went, they introduced me to some of their friends.
That’s when I met her.
Her name was Julie, and she was new to town.
After we were introduced, we talked the rest of the night. We talked about where we had come from, and our reasons why we moved there.
I omitted the part about the death at work, but I did tell her about the death of the woman I had met here, explaining that was why I had stayed home all these months.
She felt sorry for me, which only made her more beautiful.
That night she came home with me. When I first met her, I was terrified of something happening to her, but as the night went on and nothing happened, I started to relax a little.
I woke her up with breakfast in bed. I was starting to think she was the one.
We laid in bed until late morning, and then she got dressed.
I started to walk her to the door, when she suddenly stopped.
I walked around her and saw that she had the same terrified look the other two women had when they were chocking.
Knowing I wouldn’t be able to help her, I quickly went to the kitchen to call for help.
Afterwards, I ran back to her to at least be with her until they arrived.
When I made it back to her, she was on her knees holding her breath and coughing.
“Are you alright?” I asked.
“I am now,” she said, between coughing spurts. “I don’t know what happened. All of a sudden, I felt something around my throat, squeezing. I thought I was going to pass out, when suddenly, it went away.”
This was the first time someone had survived, and she gave me probably the biggest clue that I needed. Before, I could only watch in horror as they died, never knowing what had happened, but now, at least, someone survived and I knew what they had experienced.
I started to move closer to her to comfort her, when out of the corner of my eye, I sensed movement.
At first, I didn’t see anything, only something in the peripheral.
After a few moments, I turned my attention back to her, but almost immediately, I saw the movement again.
Every time I looked in the direction of the movement, I saw nothing out of the ordinary.
No wait, not exactly. I got the sense something was wrong, but I couldn’t place it. Something wasn’t right in the area I was looking at.
Julie stood up, pulling my attention back to the present.
Outside, we heard the ambulance I called for arrive. Not wanting to leave her alone inside, in case she started choking again, we walked outside to explain what seemed to happen.
They took some vitals, but found nothing wrong. They asked her if she still would like to go to the hospital for further testing, but feeling better, she declined.
She didn’t come back inside with me. She still needed to get home and run some errands.
I gave her a kiss and told her I couldn’t wait to see her again. She told me she felt the same way and gave me another kiss before she got in her car.
I watched as the car drove off and gave her one more wave before heading back inside my apartment.
The rest of the next day, I tried to think of what I was missing, but after giving myself a small headache, I gave up on the thought for now.
The next day, we met for brunch at local restaurant and sat outside.
Flashbacks of the day before ran through my mind, as well as the memories of the other two women I had watched die.
She mainly did the talking. I couldn’t stay focused. I kept straining my mind as to what I must have missed.
I quickly returned my attention to her, when I realized, once again, she was choking.
Panic set in, as I once again felt helpless to do anything.
And then I saw it.
Looking at the ground, I saw my shadow choking her shadow.
My mind was racing. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
After my initial shock, I backed away far enough to where my shadow couldn’t reach her.
At first, my shadow held on to her shadow, pulling hers with it as I continued to walk.
Finally, it let go, unable to hang on anymore and seemed to snap back to being just a normal shadow.
Julie immediately started gasping as soon as she was able to catch her breath again. Holding her throat, she looked at me, both relieved and confused as to why I was moving away from her, instead of to her to help.
Once I was far enough away where my shadow couldn’t hurt her anymore, I asked if she was okay.
She answered she was, and while saying how sorry I was, I quickly left.
Now as I sit here, writing my story to post online, I wonder if I’m the only one with a killer shadow.
It has never tried to hurt me, but now that I think of it, it just may not have thought about it, or wasn’t able to.
Either way, I’m not taking any chances.
I surround myself with lights. I took a job where I could work from home, and stay in the one room, with lights shining from all directions.
‘Why would my shadow try to kill every woman I showed an interest in?’ I ask myself. ‘And how long has it been alive? What caused it to come alive?’
I have so many questions and I hope there is someone out there who can help me. I either live in complete light or darkness. I can’t give my shadow any opportunity to do any more harm.
If you’re reading this, please help.
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Published on July 27, 2020 05:26
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