Bittersweet

44.3K 1.4K 467
                                                  

Someone was watching.

                The fine hairs on the back of her neck stood up. She clenched her jaw, ignoring the eerie sensation. Her tennis shoes pounded the asphalt beneath her. Annette felt sweat bead along her hairline, dripping down her face. She heard something rustle behind her. Her steps faltered for a mere second as her heart began to race so quickly, she was sure it would burst. Goosebumps shimmered across her bare arms. Annette couldn't hear anything but the sound of her own breathing. She faced the darkness surrounding her, warded off by the dim, yellow street lights overhead.

                "Hello? Is anyone there?"

                The darkness didn't respond. Annette swallowed, her throat suddenly dry. The loud sound of glass shattering knifed through the still night air. Her blood ran cold and she froze, rooted to the spot. Her body trembled faintly with each heartbeat. She could feel them getting closer. This startled her back into reality. She turned on her heel and sprinted, her heart pounding erratically. The loose gravel from the worn road rolled slightly underneath her as she flew across the pavement. She dragged in lungful after lungful of crisp, dry air. Her hands, clenched tightly into fists, became moist and clammy. She swore she heard another noise behind her. Not more than five feet away. She felt a prickling sensation as her hair stood on end. She stumbled slightly as she swerved sharply to the left, the gravel sliding underneath her. Her ears strained for noise, but she couldn't hear anything beyond her own heartbeat. Uncontrollable panic writhed within her. Her legs seemed to move by themselves. She stopped abruptly at the brick stair steps to the house and the sudden change in speed caused her to fall onto the unyielding concrete. She skidded slightly and felt a muted sting. Annette stumbled to her feet and hammered her fist against the door. Her heart lurched within her chest as the door swung open. Annette ran into the house, slamming the door shut behind her. She twisted the lock and leaned against the door, her lungs drinking in the precious air.

                "Anne?" Annette turned towards her father. He took a tentative step closer and patted her shoulder, his blue eyes shining with concern. "You alright, girl?"

                Annette inhaled sharply. "Water," she rasped as she sank against a nearby wall, her limbs becoming heavy and her movement slow.

                He disappeared only to return a moment later with a tall glass of water. Annette tilted it backwards and guzzled it without stopping. She sighed and leaned against the wall, too weary to do anything else. She'd never sprinted so fast in her entire life.

                "Hey, what's wrong, kiddo?"

                A loud snort came from the kitchen. Annette glanced that way, finding Kimberly leaning against the kitchen doorway. "This isn't about someone stalking you again, is it?"

                Annette pursed her lips, tasting salt from the drying sweat.

                "Annette?" Her father glanced at her questioningly.

                "But it was real!" she blurted.

                Her father straightened and fixed her with a look. Kimberly rolled her eyes in disgust.

                "No, really," Annette insisted. "I was jogging and I could just... feel someone was watching me. They were following me, I promise! I wouldn't lie."

                Her father patted her head, as if she were a lost, little puppy. "I don't doubt your honesty—"

                "But your delusional," Kimberly finished with a smirk, twirling a strand of strawberry blond hair around her finger. Annette smothered the sudden anger that swelled within her.

Captured and CrownedWhere stories live. Discover now