Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hiding Isn't Passive When You Are a Ninja - Part I

Jane shivered as she turned the final corner on her walk home. Lately she hadn't been able to shake the feeling that someone was watching her. It was making her paranoid and grumpy. Living downtown was exciting and energizing for the most part. But it did have its downsides. Being single and living alone fit her independent nature. Until evenings like this when she wondered if maybe there wasn't something to be said for actively finding a guy to settle down with.

"Grrrrrr," she said making a rumbling sound low in her throat. It didn't sound very intimidating to anyone who may have heard it; it was more like a purr than a growl. The sound reverberated more loudly in her head, making her feel more like ninja than a damsel. Except that ninjas are stealthy and quiet. Noises were more for pirates. She threw her shoulders back and slowed her naturally quick gait to a bouncing jaunt. She hoped she looked confident, pleasantly comfortable in her neighborhood as she strolled home. Failing that, she hoped it at least made her look mentally disabled.

She started to giggle as she remembered the story her friend, a fellow public transportation fan, once told her. Every day on her way to work Kaybee would share the bus with a gorgeous girl who was well put together. This girl always had a wide circle of empty seats surrounding her. Apparently her rocking back and forth while muttering to herself intimidated even the shadiest looking character on the scariest bus route. Kaybee always theorized that the girl was actually fine, but acted like that on the bus to discourage attention. Single women have ways of looking scarier than they could ever possibly be. Like the king snake, hoping appearances will fool predators into thinking they are the deadly coral snake instead of a harmless fake. Thankfully there are no magic rhymes to allow people to distinguish between someone who is mentally unstable from someone who just wants to keep people at bay. Jane became completely distracted from any fears by composing rhymes. "Rock and then sing, death she might bring. Sing before rock, she will freeze in shock." "Laughing at the unknown, your mind will be blown. Knowingly laughing, safe for attacking." By the time she reached her apartment building, she had forgotten her sixth sense had been acting up. In the safety of her snug studio she laughed off her suspicions as silly and unrealistic. Still she checked her deadbolt three times before retiring for the night which was twice more than she normally would. But she had lived so long on her own, she had become and expert at compartmentalizing her fears in favor of sleep.

Bolting upright at 5:00 am with a gasp, she awoke from a deep slumber. Every hair was standing on end and her skin prickled with the rush of adrenaline that pushed through her veins. Catching her breath, she tried to remember her dream so she could confront the fictional fear and calm her subconscious. She able to vaguely recall a TV chef conducting a contest in her Aunt's kitchen, but nothing seemed scary about that.

The whispering, rustling sound was barely audible, but horribly out of place. Suddenly she knew it wasn't her dream that had awakened her in a state of panic. Not being able to identify what it was, her logical side tried to preach reason. Unfortunately it was trying to debate against intuition that seemed to scream at her when she realized it was emanating from just outside her door. She froze, unable decide whether the sound was harmless or threatening. Forcing her breathing to slow so she could hear over her heart thumping in her chest, she recognized the sound. This did nothing to soothe her fears as she realized it was the sound of paper rustling. Someone was standing outside her door reading her newspaper. Were they waiting for her?

It was only another thirty minutes before her alarm went off starting her morning routine. After putting on a robe, the first thing she did every morning was open her door and grab her paper. She reached for her cell phone, wanting to call someone. Anyone. But the terror of being heard cautioned against it. Summoning up her courage, she silently crept up past the kitchen area to the entryway being careful to avoid making shadows under the door in case the mystery person was looking. Suddenly she realized that now she was acting like a ninja and her mind wandered into thinking about how comfortable it would be to sleep in one of those suits. The non sequitur nearly forced a hysterical laugh. Stopping, she mentally shook herself into focus before continuing forward. Her previous perception of the almost too small studio was altered forever. The eight feet to the door felt like a mile. She tried to sink into the wall next to her door and almost fell trying to look through the peephole from an awkward side approach. No one was there. Still the rustling continued. Deciding she would rather face her horrible fate than spend one more minute in suspense she unlocked the deadbolt and flung the door open. The very second the door was unlocked, she wondered why she didn't grab a knife from the counter on her journey to the door. Defenseless, she stood looking. At nothing. As her eyes drifted downward, she watched the top few pages of the paper rise and fall to the current of the hallway air conditioner.

Coming EVENTUALLY, Part 2


  1. I like it so far. Keep it up. I am awaiting with interest the next part. Are you going to work in some Electric hug-suits?

  2. I haven't really figured out the villain yet, so I could use that as a jumping off point. I am not sure I really want them to be THAT creepy though. :)

  3. My favorite line is "Her logical side preached reason." I like it.