Schockmel Jana


The first time I see her I am late for class.

I am taking the steps two at a time, already sweating even though I’ve just entered the building and it is freezing cold outside. I’m only 5 minutes late, so I shouldn’t be this stressed, but I’m used to being on time and I don’t want my professor to think badly of me. “It doesn’t take a lot to lose a good reputation”, my mom always said, and I still live by that.

My class is on the third floor, and when I reach it I briefly stop to catch my breath. A group of people is coming in my direction and I can hear that they’re complaining about an upcoming exam. For some reason some of them are laughing, but I don’t find out why because as soon as I see her, everything fades into the background. It feels like a movie scene; the sound is cut out, everything except for her goes out of focus; even time seems to slow down. My whole being seems to zero in on her alone.

All I can think is that she’s the most beautiful person I have ever seen. A mess of curly blond hair, with a single pale pink strand that frames her face. I can practically feel my mouth hanging open. A laugh that brightens more than just her face. She almost starts to glow, and seeing it feels like a punch in the stomach. I blush and can’t help the small, dumb smile creeping onto my face. Her eyes twinkle, she smiles and shakes her head, and then her eyes land on me. Shock. Like cold water being poured all over me. She winks at me, and when the group passes, my eyes can't help but follow her. I'm starstruck. When they disappear behind the next corner, time starts moving at a normal pace again. It takes me so long to gather my wits that I end up being 15 minutes late to my class. The professor doesn’t even notice.

When I come home later that day I think I see a shadow pass over the wall of the hallway. I can feel my heart rate rise. I close my eyes. No one is here. I live on the 5th floor. No one is here, my apartment door is very secure. No one is here. I open my eyes with a sigh. Visions. I can feel this time it’s going to be bad.


The second time I see her I find out her name is Stella.

It is a Thursday night, about a week after I have seen her for the first time, and I am at a bar with my friend Arden. The bar we’re at isn’t pretty. Some people might say it has ‘character’, but really it’s just ugly. Dark wood everywhere, colour-changing LED lights that make you dizzier than the cheap alcohol they serve, chairs that sound like they will break any second now and the stickiest floor I have ever had the privilege to walk on. Arden and I are regulars.

I have just finished telling him about the ‘most beautiful person you will ever see I swear’ when I get a full face of messy blond hair. The girl bumping into me manages to knock the glass out of my hand, then she turns around in shock, which makes her stumble into our standing table and me stumble back into the table behind us, effectively making two glasses spill. I don’t even notice. It’s her. It’s her. I look at Arden with a look that screams panic, then back at her. A look of recognition passes over her face and that same smile I swooned over last week brightens up her features. She screams a ‘HI!’ at me that I can see more than I can hear it, mostly because I can’t hear anything at all right now. My ears are buzzing. I try to smile back at her, but then I see a shadow on the wall behind her. The LED lights change to red. My smile freezes, my heart rate rises again. I know if I don’t sit down I might faint, which I want to avoid doing in front of her at all costs, so I try to make a break for it. Two steps into my sweet escape though I feel someone taking my arm and firmly leading me to a couch in a corner of the bar. She sits down with me and breathes with me; in and out, calm down, in and out… When I manage to look into her eyes they almost seem to glow a faint red. She smiles gently at me, the lights change to green, and her eyes are normal again. “My name is Stella”, she says, “Are you ok?”. I swallow, “Still a bit dizzy, but fine. The alcohol and these stupid lights certainly don’t help. Thank you, though, seriously”. “Of course”, and she smiles her dazzling smile again. Everything blurs but her.

My ears are still ringing from the loud music as I’m walking home at night. Arden isn’t walking with me tonight. I knew what was coming even before he said anything because I could see him grinning stupidly at his phone. “Hey Moth?”, he said, looking up at me with an apologetic expression, “you can find your way home without me, right? It’s just… B just texted me to come over and, well, we’re doing kind of okay right now so I thought-“ “It’s fine, man. Go see your girlfriend. And say hi to her from me. I haven’t seen her in ages!” “Thank you. Text me when you get home! And Moth?” “Yeah” “Don’t follow the light!”. I could still hear him laughing when I turned the corner.

Now everything is quiet. Eerily so. I could swear I can hear someone following me, but it’s just my own steps echoing. It’s just my own steps echoing. Calm down, no one is here. I stop at a street corner to catch my breath, which is when I notice that I must have started running. I really need to stop doing that. Running every time you’re scared won’t help you overcome your fears, you idiot. No one’s here. You’re overreacting. A movement in the corner of my eye stops every thought. I turn toward it slowly, my heart pounding so hard it feels like it wants to break out of my chest. I see first one hand, then a second one slowly clasp their way around the edge of a garden wall. I turn away and start running for my life. One more second and there would have been a face following those hands, I just know it. I’m out of breath and still a little dizzy – or dizzy again, from all the running – but I can’t risk stopping and letting that- that thing catch up to me. The trees start blurring, I stumble, but I manage to keep running. The street lamps change to red. And then I fall.

I wake up in my own bed at 6am, with no idea how I ended up here, how I got home. My heart is still pounding. Stella, I think, how fitting. She does light up the room as if she were a star. And I fall back asleep.

(to be continued...)

Envoyé: 23:50 Sun, 24 March 2024 by : Schockmel Jana age : 20