's 2014 Horror Write-off:

"  Past Tense "

Submitted by   Rahkshasarani

  I used to have a stalker.

I didn't really know the guy. I hung out at the end of my sister's jazz dance class, waiting for her to be finished. He would be there: bald, well over six feet, giant baby-cheeks frosted with stubble.

When he first spotted me he swaggered over like he was doing me a favor by talking to me. I put on my bitchface and pretended to be doing something on my phone.

“Hey girlie,” he said. Girlie. Can you fucking believe that?

Of course I ignored it.

“What? You too good to talk to me?” He pretended to be offended.

I didn't respond.

“You know, purple just ain't your color.”

I had just streaked my hair purple.

“I bet the rest of your panties are just as cute as the part I can see.”

And so on. Everything you're thinking of, yes, I did. I moved. I told him to fuck off. I flipped him off. I threatened to call the cops. He thought it was cute.

I finally got the studio to shut him out. I don't even think he was there for anyone, just liked hanging out and eying the girls.

I liked to go out jogging around six in the morning. The day after they evicted that creep, guess who I ran into on a remote path?

“Hey cutie.” he was blocking the path, waiting for me. “I bet you missed me.”

I turned and ran like my ass was on fire. I heard his footsteps after me, but I guess he wasn't in as good shape as he thought.

Yeah, I stopped jogging. In fact, I kinda stopped being alone in public at all. I didn't even go to the store without my mom or someone. Did it rankle? Hell yeah it did. It was unfair and I knew it, but there was no way I was going to be caught alone with that guy for one second.

We gave the cops a description of him, but since he hadn't crossed the line and touched me, there wasn't a whole lot they could do.

Then the morning I went downstairs and found the sliding-glass door completely off its tracks. Nothing had been taken, but the cops took fingerprints anyway. Of course there was no match in the system.

Then, when I went upstairs to get my earbuds, I had my second surprise for the day. All the stuff in my room had been thrown around, my underwear was tied into a little chain. Even my bed looked mussed. This had all happened while the cops were downstairs.

I slept on my parent's floor for a while, but nothing else happened. We put in a regular door with three deadbolts and I managed to sleep on my own again after a while. I did't know what that asshole did to it, but it smelled a little like farts and sweat. I changed the sheets, I even scooted the mattress away from the wall to see if he took a shit between it and the box spring, nothing. Then my stuff started going askew. It didn't go missing, I mean, it did for a little while, and then it would wind up in a place where I would never have put it. My shoes in the hamper, my tampax in my sock drawer. My brother tried to set up a webcam to catch whoever did it, but the wire kept conveniently getting unplugged.

Around this point we developed a roach problem. The exterminator said it had to be someone hiding food, because our house was otherwise spotless. None of us would fess up.

We decided to have the place tented, packed our bags, and went to stay at a motel.

I slept better on those creepy sheets than I had at home. Also (I didn't notice this until I slept in another bed) my mattress was too warm. Like, ridiculously warm. And it hadn't sat the way a normal mattress would have. It always mounded in the middle so I would roll one way or the other.

The day we went back to the house, the smell kept us from going in. Not the chemical smell, something else. Something rotten. My brother joked that it was where the roaches had come from. Then we found the source of the smell.

It was my box spring.

I used to have a stalker.

Used to.