ALL ALONE

Do you ever get that feeling that something isn’t right? What was that noise you heard just now? Was it in a dream or was it real? It sounded like an engine. A deep, throaty engine that you recognise and have heard many times. You sit up in bed and see that it is nearly three in the morning.

You tilt your heard and listen, ears straining for that familiar, dread sound. You hear nothing. Perhaps the engine has been killed and that vehicle is sat outside now. Am I say in the pool of darkness cast by a fence, alert and watching your house. That knotted sensation is quick to take hold of your stomach as you slowly emerge from the bed. You move carefully feeling as if the rustle of the duvet or your bare feet on the floor will make a sound that I can hear.

You know it is foolish for my hearing is not that sharp, but you are placed on tenterhooks and accordingly move in the same way. You make your way to the window where the curtains are drawn. You feel like flinging them back in one sudden motion hoping to make me jump. You see an image of my face pressed against the window, devilish leer prominent and unnerving.

Carefully you move the curtain a fraction and peer through the gap. Your range of vision is limited and you cannot see everything but my vehicle does not appear to be there. Am I watching those curtains which I used to gently pull apart once upon a time? Or am I prowling about the outside of your house, looking for an open window or an unlocked door?

You have held your breath, not daring to breathe, your drumming heart loud and roaring in your ears and you wonder if you mistook that sound for the one of my car engine but you know what you heard. Perhaps I had just driven past? How many times have you seen an anthracite black Mercedes from the corner of your eye as you have walked to the shops, headed to a bar or emerged from work?

Your heart leaps every time you see one and your eyes dart to the registration plate to ascertain whether it is my car. Of course, I might have changed cars now. You do not know for sure. You want to drive past where I live and ascertain which vehicle I drive so that you can keep an eye out for it, but you fear that I may see you doing this and derive satisfaction from your appearance. Something does not feel right. You experience this sensation often these days.

The hairs on your neck stand up as you feel that you are being watched. When you are about to emerge from your office building you stand behind the glass and chrome scanning the plaza outside for any sign that I am stood there. You think you have spotted me twice but then I departed, evidently alert to your perception. Once you walked leisurely from your place of work to the car park but now you scurry, hoping not to be spotted and hoping that your car has not been tampered with. Your eyes follow the same drill.

They flash over the windows to ensure they have not been smashed. You look to the windscreen wiper to see if a hate-filled note lies tucked beneath one of the blades. There have been several although they are always printed so you were never able to demonstrate they were from me (you wouldn’t be able to anyway – I have them printed on a lieutenant’s PC not my own, I am no amateur).

Your eyes look over the external bodywork for signs of scratches, dents and lights smashed before you check the exhaust and tyres. You never get in without ensuring nobody is lurking in the back seat and once in you lock the doors automatically and then allow yourself to breathe.

Something does not feel right. It is the same sensation as when you walk anywhere alone. Your steps are hurried, furtive glances cast over your shoulder, alleyways scrutinised, walking by the kerb, away from gates and hedges. You cross the road when a shadowy figure walks towards you.

Often you have someone accompany you but it is not always possible. You pull the curtain aside a little so your range of vision is increased. You can see all to the left of your house but nothing appears to be amiss. You look to the road but you cannot see any vehicle but then again I might be parked around the corner and now stood in the shadow of a tree watching your pale face peering out. You look to your mobile ‘phone, always charged and ready and consider calling the police, but what would you tell them? You think you heard my car engine?

They have been out once this week and although they are always polite you gain the impression that the officers are beginning to think that you are hearing and seeing things. You can tell. Their polite reassurances do not entirely mask the resigned tones with which they speak. Should you call the police? It might be sensible. Even if I am watching, the arrival of a patrol car should send me slinking away and what about if I am caught lurking outside at this time? T

hat would be good. Then again, perhaps you should wait until you have some concrete evidence, until you see me and then you should call. You do not want the police labelling you a time waster, but something does not feel right.

You shift your position so you can look to the right and silently curse a kink in the curtain as it is obscuring your view. You will need to push it aside and this will surely alert me to your presence. With trembling hand, you move the curtain and then crane forward so you can look over the garden. With experienced ease you let your eyes drift over the garden, the wall and the fence, looking for shapes that do not belong. Your eyes stop on something in the corner of the garden, where the wall and fence meet, a pool of shadow. Is there a figure there?

You stare, eyes adjusting to the darkness and wait. You feel light-headed as you stare trying to see if that inky shape is me or just the imagination that these days seems to be out of control. No, you cannot see anybody. Your eyes scan the garden again from your lofty vantage point but you see nothing. What if I am underneath the window, tight against the front door and hidden from view? What if I have gone around the rear of the house? You did lock the side gate didn’t you? You cannot remember.

You think you did but you have so many repeated checks before retiring at night that it has become something of a blur. All gates need to be checked, windows closed and locked with keys removed – even during summer you endure the heat rather than keep your windows open.

Door handles are tested twice and twice more. French doors pulled and pushed to ensure they are secure. It is a nightly ritual but a necessary one. A friend suggested a dog but who would look after him whilst you were at work. You once felt safe here, especially when I lived here with you, but no longer and moving, in the current market is not an option. Maybe a lodger would be answer? The money would be welcome and so would the company, but this is your home and you resent being forced into these steps by my lingering presence.

Every day when you return from work you sweep the house making sure there has been no entry during the day. You look for anything that has been moved or is out of place which denotes whether a listening device or camera might have been placed in your living room or bedroom. You were pleased you changed the locks straight away when everything went wrong. You ought to have the place professionally swept.

You used to wander about the house naked but no longer, you even feel uncomfortable standing in the shower, nervously glancing upwards looking for the winking red light denoting that a camera has been placed on a shelf and you are being watched. Nowhere feels safe from me now. Your sleep is fractured and this had led to you struggling to gauge whether your fears are real or imagined. There are too many withheld calls still, the empty texts from unknown numbers and strange voicemails left at work. You know I am still out there somewhere and you have no idea what I might do.

You can see nobody outside and consider whether you ought to check the rear but you really need to sleep. You lower yourself and sit on the edge of the bed, listening for something, anything. You are met by just the blanketing silence. No throbbing engine, no footsteps on the drive outside, no creeping advance up the stairs, no shattered glass, no jemmied door.

You continue to look outside but nothing is moving. Maybe it was a dream? No, you definitely heard that distinctive growl of the engine but maybe it was further away or someone else with the same vehicle. That is possible isn’t it? Your breathing slows and you begin to convince yourself that it was another false alarm. Still, you have that feeling that something doesn’t feel right. You feel as if I have been near. Your eyes shoot to the wardrobe, mind suddenly filled with the thought that I am inside it, peering through the slats and amusing myself at your fearful expression. You try to shake the thought but you cannot.

A sudden ball of anger forms inside of you and with a cry you jump up and fling the wardrobe doors open and drive your hands into the clothing inside, you push and pull but find only dresses and tops, suits and jumpers carefully hung up. I am not there. You close the doors and run back into bed, jumping into it, like a frightened child who has to run from door to bed so the monsters under the bed do not grab her ankles. Once in that bed, you are in a cocoon of safety.

You pull the duvet over your head and lie there, curled up tight in a ball, cursing me and breathing hard.

Eventually you emerge, face warm from breathing under the duvet and you are grateful for the cold air of your room. You lie back and allow yourself to gradually uncoil, ears still listening out for a sound but there comes none. You glance at the clock and see it is now 3-15 am and you really ought to sleep.

You roll on to your side and adjust the pillow, praying that slumber visits you soon. If only that feeling that something is not right would leave you.

Morning arrives and you emerge from bed bleary eyed but thankful that you have at least slept. You attend to your usual routine in the bathroom before dressing and heading down the stairs ready to prepare some breakfast. As you descend the stairs you halt as you see something is lying on the mat underneath the letterbox in the front door. It is square and plastic.

It is only 7am and the post man has not yet been although you did not hear anybody put anything through the letter box. You slowly pace down the stairs as that sensation of something being wrong engulfs you. You see it is a CD case that has been deposited. That is not right. Nobody has borrowed any of your CDs. Something is definitely not right. With churning stomach and laboured breath, hammering heart and rising nausea you pick up the CD and turn it over to read the cover.

The Police: Every Breath You Take

That was one of your favourite songs wasn’t it?

Until I told you what the lyrics really meant.

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A FEARFUL TERROR

Fear comes in many forms. It has the capacity to cause dread, anxiety and nervousness. Fear is one of the most powerful tools that exists to facilitate control over somebody. Think back to when you were a small child and the things that frightened you. Many of them have a universal applicability. How many times did you cry out to your mother and father in the night because you were frightened of the “monsters under the bed” and you were terrified that once the bedroom door was closed that something would come creeping out of the wardrobe and induce utter fear throughout you? Perhaps it was the strange shapes that formed once the light was turned off with only moonlight streaming through the crack in the curtains so that the shadow thrown across the room appeared like some old crone waiting to come and take you away and eat you. How many times were you warned as a child never to speak to strangers, never to get into a car with somebody you did not know and never to accept sweets from a stranger? Do you recall how this conjured up images of smelly old men in stained raincoats who waited to abduct you and spirit you away to be locked up who knows where? Perhaps there was that house on your walk back from school which had attracted a certain reputation. It was run-down, the garden overgrown, with bushes spilling onto the path, the windows grimy and paint peeling. You were never sure whether anybody actually lived there. Some said that a witch resided there and she waited for children passing on their own before grabbing them and stuffing them in her cellar to starve to death. Others told tales on stormy afternoons which made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, about the spirits that haunted the old house. A friend would swear that he had walked past, one wet and windy evening, just as it was going dark and he saw the face of a ghostly child staring at him from an upstairs window, the child’s spectral hands knocking against the window as if requesting help. After hearing that tale you took a different route home from school so you did not have to pass this particular house anymore. If that was not possible, you would run past, head down, shouting at the top of your voice to drown out any strange sounds that might come from the trapped ghost child, as you dared not even look towards the house. Fear often stalked your childhood and resulted in sleepless nights, nightmares and a reluctance to go to bed. Do you remember being sent to bed and staring up the stairs towards the darkness wondering what was waiting for you? How you did not want to appear scared in front of your parents (especially since they had let you stay up a while longer because you were a “big boy/girl” now). You wanted to hand those words back as you hovered at the base of the stairs, the hallway colder than the living room from which you had ventured. How many times did the noise of the house settling, resulting in strange groans and creaks convince you that somebody was waiting out of sight in a doorway, their heavy booted foot resting on the squeaky floorboard, rusty axe clutched in greasy, long-nailed fingers?  Did the sight of a clown have you running to hide in the folds of your mother’s dress, that strange leering and accentuated mouth creating panic in your tiny mind? What did that eerie clown have in mind for you?

It might have been a reluctance to paddle barefooted in the sea or a river because you could not see where you were putting your feet. You felt something brush your foot, most likely seaweed, but in your mind some razor-toothed fish was about to take a bite from your ankle or a crab was about to affix a pincer to your big toe. You turned and ran hollering from the edge of the sea back to the safety of the sandy beach. There may have been a murderer’s alleyway in your town, a badly-lit passageway between two roads which was a convenient and easy short cut during the day but a night the purported preserve of lurking knife merchants and yellow-toothed stranglers who were just waiting to pounce and take your life. You stood staring down the alleyway trying to drive the rising fear from you but it just would not go and instead you opted to walk the long way around. It took twenty extra minutes but at least you got home safely.

Fear continued to stalk your life as you grew older. You might not be worried about the bogeyman anymore but he has shapeshifted into the fear that comes with finding a lump about your body and not knowing what it is. Uncertainty about the business for whom you work has you tossing and turning at night. Wondering where the next pay check will come from has you similarly fearing for the future. Walking alone along a road at night and hearing footsteps behind you still causes your heart rate to increase. A glance over your shoulder as you cross the road to the over pavement only serves to heighten your worry as a hooded figure also crosses the road. Your step quickens as your fear increases and your mind floods with images of robbery, rape or murder. When alone in the house at night the sound of a bang from downstairs has you sat bolt upright in bed. What was that noise? Did you dream it? Was it somebody breaking in? Was it something not of this world, a poltergeist perhaps hurling a book against a wall. You cannot see what caused the noise and immediately the fear forms in the pit of your stomach, your racing mind conjuring up a score of unpleasant scenarios as you debate creeping to the top of the stairs and peering down to see if you can ascertain what it was.

Fear takes hold of you and makes your reasoning faulty. It tightens around your throat stopping you from calling out and turns your legs into stone so you are figuratively petrified and unable to escape that unseen tormentor. Fear withers you, paralyses you and you will do anything at all to escape that sensation of fear. It is pervasive, damaging and controlling.

Your greatest fears always stem from the unknown. It is that which you cannot see which causes you the greatest terror. When you cannot see something you are plunged into fear, its icy grip takes hold and you crumble. The unknown and the unseen create the fear. That is why we are so devastatingly effective in our control of you. That is why we create such numbing fear in you.

GHOSTS

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, we certainly behave with certain similar attributes. We appear out of thin air. It is similar to how you can never remember the beginning of a dream can you? You cannot remember quite how we appeared. We just did. We seemed to coalesce into your life with the ease of a ghost walking through a wall. We arrive and ghost into your life. In the same way as seeing a ghost, when you experience us, it is not an event that you will forget in a hurry. We sidle up to you, insert ourselves into your lives and make connection after connection with you as we feed from you. Like some wraith we attach ourselves to you and steadily begin to suck the life force from you as we gorge on the fuel that you provide.

Often we will vanish just as we arrived, without any warning or announcement and try as you might you cannot find us again. It is as if we have disappeared off the face of the earth. Naturally we chose the moment of our vanishing act without any concern for its effect on you. We slip away like a mist evaporating. Once we were everywhere, woven around you and captivating you. Much in the same way as one might be transfixed by the appearance of some spirit. You are entranced by our appearance, there is something ethereal and mysterious about us that causes you to be drawn to us and then we are gone.

We are that elusive spirit that can now not be found. You might go to the same place where we first manifested but there is no sign of us. We have left no footprint, no trace of our existence when you try and seek us out, just like our spectral cousins and then suddenly we have returned. We ghost back into your life and continuing our haunting of you. We are incessant and ever present, drifting about you as we resume our extraction of fuel. We resume our draining of your spirit, leeching it from you as our cold, dead hands take hold of you once again.

People have many theories as to what ghosts are if they indeed exist. Some suggest that where there has been a sudden explosion of emotion, a heightened experience, then an imprint has been made on the fabric of existence. This imprint appears to those who are attuned to seeing it. That imprint is seen doing the same thing over and over again. It walks the same route, passes through the same wall and then vanishes only to appear the next night in the same place. The spirit follows the same routine like a piece of video film stuck in an endless loop. Just like such a ghost we engage in the same behaviours over and over again. The same actions all designed to haunt you as we extract our fuel. The same gestures, the same actions all of which must be replayed. Some believe that a ghost is the soul of someone who has suffered eternal damnation. He or she has been denied entry to heaven or hell and instead has been consigned to walk the earth for eternity, stuck in an unceasing routine. Our endless quest for fuel finds us in such a similar position. We must make our way through life, restless and never finding peace. We move from place to place, unable to rest and be satisfied. Instead we are driven onwards, plagued by the curse of our need for fuel. Thus we must haunt others, our appearance bringing dread and fear in the same way as terror follows the appearance of a spectre.

Unable to quite fit in we are ghost at the feast. Even when we have vanished there is a lingering coldness that strikes you to your core. You still sense us, able to feel the effect of our chilling appearance. You are wary and anxious as you know we will appear once again. Quite when is a mystery but as we first arrived and as we first disappeared we will ghost into your life and continue our haunting of you. Better consult that exorcist.

H.G Tudor - Narc Tales Volume 1 e-book cover

The Three Little Pigs? They’re bacon now.

Rapunzel? Had a nightmare and all her hair fell out.

Sleeping Beauty? Overslept and missed her appointment with her plastic surgeon.

 

You may be familiar with fairy tales but prepare yourself for Narc Tales, a collection of dark, entertaining but most of all instructive and educational tales written by the creative and insightful HG Tudor.

What better way to equip yourself with unique information about narcissists, empaths and the dynamic between them than to do so through the medium of story telling. Yet, these are no ordinary tales, no fluffy yarns with a happy ever after. No, these are Narc Tales and you will find fantastic knowledge wrapped up in amusement, intrigue, beguilement and shock. Where Prince Ultra Charming roams, The Very Wicked MatriNarc schemes and The Super Empath Strikes Back – a delicious read from the most delicious of dark minds.

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