Estimated reading time — 9 minutes
I’ve decided to write this out in the case that something bad happens to me. I’ve begun to play a dangerous game, and I can’t guarantee that I will come out on top.
It all started about a month ago.
I work at a small grocery store stocking shelves. I work through the day and partly in to the night, usually getting off work around 10-11 PM.
I live in a bigger city, so even though I do have a car, I walk to work. My workplace is only a little over a mile from my apartment, so it’s probably quicker to walk anyway with the way traffic is, plus it gives me a little bit of exercise.
For context, I am a smaller guy, I stand about 5’6”, and weigh around 140 lbs. I wouldn’t consider myself particularly attractive either, but I suppose that’s not all that a stalker looks for when picking a victim.
I first noticed him when I was about to finish up my work for the night. He was taller, at least 6’2”. He wore baggy clothing, so I couldn’t really put a good estimate on his weight, but he had to be at minimum 220 pounds. White, probably mid 40’s, he also donned a baseball cap. He was a couple aisles over, so I couldn’t really make out facial features.
Of course there was nothing to be alarmed about at this point, but I’m a very paranoid person, and for whatever reason this person set off alarm bells for me. I made a mental note to be more aware on my walk home that night.
Once my shift ended, I left the store. I didn’t spot the man on my way out. After I had traveled a couple blocks I pulled out my phone and took a selfie. I didn’t do this to post to social media, or to send to a friend. No, I used this selfie as a way to get a view of what was behind me without looking suspicious.
After looking around in the photo and zooming in, my heartbeat quickened. The man from the store was there. He was quite a distance behind me, but he was there. I couldn’t be absolutely certain it was him, because I had to zoom in so much that the photo became pixelated, but if I had to put money on it I wouldn’t think it could be anyone else.
I began to pick up my pace. The roads were still busy, so I wasn’t afraid I would be assaulted there in the streets, but if someone was following me I didn’t want to lead them back to where I lived. A few blocks from my apartment was a crosswalk, the only one I needed to cross to get home, so I knew if I could beat him across there then I would easily be able to lose him.
After I made it past the crosswalk I pulled out my phone and took another selfie. In the background down the previous street, he was still there. Unless he risked getting run over though, he wouldn’t be able to catch me tonight.
When I made it home my heart was still beating out of my chest, even though I knew I was safe. I should have called the police right then, told them about what had happened, they could have taken a look at the store cameras and possibly identified the man. I could ask my boss to switch me to day shifts, to avoid a situation like this again.
Those are things I should have done, but I didn’t. I had never thought of myself as an adrenaline junkie, but this experience had awoken something in me I didn’t know existed.
I don’t know what this man wants from me. At this point it was still quite possible that I was simply overly paranoid, and the man was simply making his way home as I was. Oddly, part of me hoped that wasn’t the case. Whatever this was, I didn’t want it to end yet, but I also have no intentions of being a victim.
I didn’t spot the man while I worked the next day, but once I was off I decided to once again use my selfie trick. It turns out my new friend would once again be joining me on my walk home. Much like the previous night I quickened my pace. I still didn’t want him to know where I lived, at least not yet.
Once again I managed to lose him at the crosswalk, but he had certainly gotten closer this time.
Over the next two weeks this game played out much the same, with him inching closer each time, until finally he made it past the crosswalk. I’m sure he saw where I lived that night, the first time he made it past the crosswalk, but he still hadn’t made his move yet.
He wasn’t the only one making progress, though. I had begun prepping myself as well. It’s incredible the things you can buy online nowadays.
My first investment was a Taser. I carried this on me on my walks home, just in case he tried to pull anything outside my apartment, but since he follows me on foot, it’s my belief that he won’t try anything until he’s inside my home.
So naturally, my next move would be to booby trap my apartment. I live alone and don’t get any normal visitors. Even the landlord never bothers me as long as I pay my rent. So, setting up traps in my apartment wouldn’t be a danger to anyone except my stalker, and potentially myself.
The first trap I set is by far the most simple. A makeshift tripwire just inside my front door. It’s not connected to anything complex, as its name suggests, it is just there to trip my friend over, or at least make him stumble. It won’t do any extensive damage, but should it work it would at least alert me to my stalker’s presence.
The next trap is also simple, but perhaps a bit more cruel. You see, the main floor of my apartment is wooden. So I took the liberty of removing a couple of the boards leading to my room and placing a fine row of nails in the space underneath. I then placed the boards back, and made sure it was very loose, so if anyone were to step on those boards, they may have an unpleasant experience.
My third trap is probably the trickiest. This relies on a string attached to my door. I set this trap each night before I go to bed, and disarm it each morning I wake up. The string is connected to a hammer set at the top of my door. Once the door is more than halfway opened the hammer should be triggered to swing downwards. Based on my estimations of the man’s height, the hammer should land somewhere on his forehead. I only hope there should be enough tension in the trap to create a force strong enough to knock the man out.
My final trap isn’t so much a trap as it is a decoy. Should the intruder make it past all my traps and approaches the figure in my bed, they won’t find me. Instead, when they remove the covers they will find a mannequin. I haven’t slept in my bed since the first time I saw the stalker. Instead, I sleep under it. There I will be waiting, with my trusty Taser in hand, of course.
I didn’t bother trapping any of the windows, because they are all far too small for this man to fit through. If he wants in, it will have to be through the front door.
I’m still not entirely sure what I will do with the man should I succeed. I have rope on hand to tie the man up (shout out to YouTube for teaching me how to properly tie knots), and duct tape, of course, to cover the man’s mouth. Whatever I do, I don’t think I can tell the police about this. It’s too late for that.
There’s also the chance that I don’t succeed. If the man makes it past all my traps, and somehow manages to disarm me, then I know there is no way I can outfight him. I don’t know what his full intentions are, but that’s part of the game.
Now all that’s left is to wait for the man to make his move. He has gotten closer tonight than he ever has before. He even walked past my front door a few minutes after I made it home from work this evening. In fact, I think I can hear noises coming from my front door now.
* * * * * *
Things did not go according to plan.
When I last left off I had heard noises at my door. Even though I had mentioned hiding under the bed before, since I was still awake I decided to opt for the closet instead of the bed. I didn’t want to restrict my movement; the closet would be much easier to escape from. I left the closet door halfway open so I could peek into my room.
I heard the front door click, a sound that I knew meant it had now been unlocked. And so the final showdown began.
I waited to see if I would hear a thud, but instead I heard the sound of creaking wooden floors. So he had stepped over the trip wire at the entrance. No big deal. I never had high hopes for it anyway.
The creaking drew closer. It was incredibly difficult to focus as quickly as my heart was beating so quickly, but I knew he would be approaching the second trap shortly.
Except he didn’t. No, the creaking continued until it was outside my door. He had somehow completely avoided the false floor. This was not good. I knew they weren’t great traps, but I had hoped at least one would work, so as to at least slow him down. Oh, well, I figured. I still had the hammer.
Well, that’s what I thought, at least.
My bedroom door began to slowly open. After a few seconds the trap reached its trigger point, and the hammer released. What I didn’t hear, however, was the sound of a hammer connecting with flesh. It was a dud.
I thought I might die of a heart attack before this man even got to me. Everything up until this point had been a complete failure. Why not add my heart to that list as well?
From the darkness of my closet I saw the man enter my room. He began to move towards my bed. At the very least, he couldn’t possibly know that the figure in my bed was a mannequin. I began to ready myself, Taser in hand. Once he attempted to go for the decoy in the bed, I would jump out and stun him with my Taser.
Except he didn’t attempt to unmask the mannequin. Once he got close enough to my bed, he instead began to lower himself to the ground, to look under the bed.
I didn’t question why he was doing this, but instead seized the opportunity. He was at his most vulnerable.
I jumped out of the closet and shoved my Taser in to the man’s back. He collapsed instantly. As he did, I noticed he dropped something.
I picked it up and quickly injected it in to the man. I didn’t care what was in it. The man had clearly intended to use it on me, but I assumed it was some sort of tranquilizer. I brought out my rope, and began to tie the man up.
Once I made sure he was secure, I turned him over, so I could get a good look at his face.
I studied the man’s face for several minutes, but it was no use. I didn’t know this man. There was one thing I did notice, though.
He wasn’t breathing.
I checked for a pulse, but there was none. This man, whoever he was, was already dead. I’m not entirely sure if it was the Taser, or whatever was in that syringe that did him in, but he was gone.
It may seem a weird thing to say, but I was oddly satisfied. I had won. Of course I still had problems I needed to deal with, mostly disposing of this body, but I couldn’t help it when a large smile crept upon my face.
After basking in my victory for a few moments I decided to search the man for a wallet, to see if he had identification on him. I didn’t find an I.D., but I did find a note.
This is what was written on it:
Congrats! If you are reading this, it probably means that you won, and that I’m dead. I could tell you were the right choice from the moment I laid eyes on you. You see, you and me are one and the same. I killed my own stalker 15 years ago, but it wasn’t enough. You will have that craving soon enough, too. Even if you killed me, you have much to learn. Did you think I didn’t know about the traps? What do you think I did while you were at work? Learn from your mistakes, and you may have a long life ahead of you.
That was it.
Of course he had known about my traps. How could I be so stupid to think that he wouldn’t break in to my apartment while I wasn’t home? The only thing that had saved me was my last-second decision to go into the closet instead of under the bed.
He was right, though; we were the same. I knew it the moment I saw he was dead. I still could have called the police. It was self-defense, after all. But no. The first thought that came to my head was how I would dispose of the body.
I have enjoyed all of this too much. There was no way I could just simply go back to my normal life of stocking shelves. My life had no purpose before, but now I have something to live for, and potentially die for.
As I have said, I am not a big guy. So, to be successful I need to be smarter, much smarter. If I’m to believe the note, this man had been doing this for 15 years, yet he lost to me. I can’t let that happen to me. I will be better.
The last thing I did was pick up the man’s hat and adjust it to my size, and place it on my own head. Perfect. A trophy of sorts, I guess you could say.
Now, it’s time to go. I have a lot of work to take care of in front of me, literally. My new life has only just begun.