He watched me on the subway. Dark eyes. Fathomless. Nearly lost in the dark swathes of his hair around his face. I felt the first tendrils of fear sink into my flesh. I knew him. Had seen him around town lately, around me. Moving silently through people as if he was a ghost, as if he wasn’t there. But he was. Those eyes following me everywhere I went. Into my day, my night, my dreams. He followed me and I couldn’t let him go. This dark eyed man with darker hair and pale as moonlight skin. He wasn’t built to overpower. Wasn’t built to cower or to terrify. He simply was. Understated in a lanky build of a runner rather then a prizefighter and yet I feared him.
“What do you want?” I forced passed trembling lips.
“You,” he mouthed and somehow I heard him. A voice like gravel skittering down the street in the wind, or the trickle of water over rocks. Silent, and yet loud. This was the voice of death.
“Am I going to die?” Silly question, of course. Everyone is going today. What I should have asked was would I die now. Hindsight, of course, is better then foresight.
“Maybe,” he seemed to say, shrugging away my words and staring at me. I tensed under his gaze, counting in my head the stops until mine. At each one he shook his head, a slight frown, mocking me, dotting his mouth.
“Not this one,” he would chuckle and the fear grew. No one around me saw him, and I was too afraid to cry out. I watched him as he watched me. Waited as he did. The other people in the cart slowly filing off around us as if I too didn’t exist.
“Maybe,” he seemed to say again and my world collapsed.
The word, the thought, echoed in my brain like a mantra. Maybe I existed, maybe I didn’t. Maybe I would die, maybe I wouldn’t. But who was he to direct that.
“Good,” he said then, tilting his head a little to the side like an inquisitive puppy and I had just made some interesting sound.
The last passenger got off the cart. It was my stop and yet I couldn’t move. He knew it. That’s why he didn’t move either. Tonight I died…