I’m writing today from the comfort of a secluded luxury cottage in the heart of a Scottish forest.
The morning air is fresh and the smell of dew on wood reminds me that I am miles from the city’s smog.
The light against the stone shines pink.
Coffee steams up, up, up and away guided by the sharp chill.
Squirrels scamper and birds tweet.
You get the idea.
Yet there’s something that spoils this stay for me.
Something that only occurs to me after dark.
A feeling I just can’t shake.
When the owls twit twoo and the branches crunch.
When the wind howls and the rain slaps the windows.
Something that keeps me from sleeping and leaves me yawning now.
Something I just can’t get out of my head.
He is all I can think about as I lie in bed amongst these beautiful surroundings.
Have I locked the doors?
The bathroom window?
This is exactly the sort of place where he would roam.
I check my mobile phone.
It’s still under my pillow where I have hidden it.
Just in case.
I listen for him breaking in, silently.
Creeping upstairs to where we sleep.
If I keep at least one eye open, we might have a chance.
Of foiling him before he sinks the knife in.
Or pulls the trigger.
What if I set a booby trap?
Useless if he has been hiding in the attic all along.
Watching us through a peep hole.
With his beady eye.
We could escape through the window.
If we were quick.
Run to the road and flag down that one car on the road.
He would chase us.
In his dark clothes.
With athletic strength built for a struggle.
He would know each tree stump, clearing and cover.
He would have already anticipated our escape attempt.
And set traps.
Or maybe he would follow us in his car.
What if it’s him that we flag down on the road by mistake?
We would have to hide at the side of the road.
Until we were certain it wasn’t him.
Where are our car keys?
irrational fear of serial killers.
Oh man – I clearly watch far too many movies!
This piece is based upon a life long occasional recurring nightmare of mine. It has stuck with me for as long as I can remember, from rural Scotland-to rural Louisiana-to rural Queensland and back home again. Last night it returned in to haunt me in Perthshire, Scotland.
Am I alone in letting my mind play tricks on me after dark like this when I should be relaxing and enjoying myself?