Morgan rummaged through her red leather handbag, searching for her keys. Her hands brushed over her purse, mascara, a comb, a packet of mints, and, finally, felt the cool metal surface of her key chain. She pulled them out abruptly, fumbling in her haste to open her car door. Pressing the raised button on the small silver remote attached to the key chain, Morgan heard her car beep twice, opened the door and slid in.

The car came to life as Morgan turned the key in the ignition. She locked the doors, listening to the four simultaneous clicks that sounded. As she put the car into gear, Morgan glanced at the rear view mirror. Something caught her eye, and she paused momentarily, searching the reflective surface for something out of the ordinary. Seeing nothing, she shook her head, assuming it had been simply the trick of the light.

The headlights of the other cars and street lamps lit up the road, darkening now at five o'clock. Flashes of orange and red appeared every now and then from the side walk, where joggers and bike riders moved past. A dog howled somewhere in the distance.

Morgan drove in silence. It had been about ten minutes since she had left work, and it would be another fifteen or so before she reached her apartment building. She reached a set of traffic lights and slowed as the light changed orange, halting when it turned red. She was behind a red station wagon which, unfortunately, was blaring loud music. Morgan tried to ignore the noise, drumming her fingers impatiently as she waited for the lights to change. Finally, the lights flickered green, and Morgan stepped on the accelerator.

A few minutes later, Morgan glanced up at her rear view mirror, looking to see how many cars were on the road behind her. Again, she noticed something unusual, though when she stared in the mirror, she saw nothing out of place. A few cars, one coming around the corner, and the odd overhanging branch or two. Still, she felt an odd sense that she was being watched.

Just around the corner from her building, Morgan saw something flash in front of the car, as if someone had just jumped out of a car and darted across the street. An angry honk sounded from the driver behind her, and Morgan realised that she had slowed down to have a better look. She flushed, embarrassed at her disturbance, and picked up speed until she was driving at the limit.

Morgan pulled over to the curb as she reached her apartment building. Doors still locked, she looked around the car. The hairs on the back of her neck raised and prickled uncomfortably. Morgan moved to unlock her car door when she heard a rustling noise from nearby the car. She froze, hand outstretched, and slowly turned her head to look out of the window. Nothing was there. Suddenly, a feral cat darted past, running into the trees. Morgan heaved a sigh of relief and started the car again, driving to the car park.

It wasn't until Morgan had parked the car, taken the elevator up to her floor and found her door that she felt an eerie sense of foreboding yet again. A shiver ran down her spine, the hairs on the back of neck stood on end and her body stiffened. Morgan looked around, searching for whatever was wrong, but she found nothing. This only served to heighten her sense of dread, and she hastened to find her keys and get inside her apartment.

As she went to put her keys in the lock to open her door, Morgan tested the handle as she always did. The door swung open as Morgan pushed it with her fingertips, creaking as it went. Startled, Morgan physically flinched. Her hands automatically went for the light switch, brightening the dark room. She hesitated for a moment, her pulse quickening as she wondered if the was a burglar in her apartment. However, there were no signs of anyone else present in the room, and Morgan dismissed it as simply having left the door unlocked.

Keys still in hand, Morgan strode into her living room, her heart still beating unnaturally quickly. She shut the door quickly behind her and headed for the kitchen, preparing to pour herself something to drink and heat up some soup from the fridge.

Morgan tried to shake off the feeling that something was wrong as she walked about her apartment. Having taken off her coat, Morgan shuffled around her small kitchen, taking the Tupperware container out of the stainless steel fridge, a bowl and spoon out of one of the drawers, and a glass out of the cupboard. She filled her glass with orange juice and set it aside, ready to pour some soup into the bowl to heat up. Just as she had filled the bowl and set it into the microwave, Morgan heard the creaking of the door to the entrance. She shrugged, pressed the button on the microwave, set it to four minutes and sat on the stool next to the bench.

Morgan sat upright, tapping her nails on the wooden table top. She drained her juice and waited for the microwave to beep. As she sat there, she thought she heard the sound of footsteps; she stiffened her shoulders and looked around warily. Seeing nothing, Morgan breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly. Convinced her senses had just gone into super drive, Morgan flexed her fingers as she tried to calm her erratically beating heart.

Legs crossed and arms mimicked, Morgan allowed herself to relax. She was alone; no one else was inside, she was just worried. She rationalised the situation at hand, attempting to reassure herself. Work had finished, she had gotten into her car, driven home, and gone straight to the apartment. The person in the neighbouring apartment probably had the television on, she reasoned to herself, almost certain that the only noises apparent had occurred because of that. Almost.

Somewhere outside, an owl hooted softly. Possums scampered over roofs, clicking their sharp nails over the tin. Dogs barked at other dogs in the neighbourhood, communicating over long distances. Different noises came from everywhere, as the nocturnal animals came out to explore the night. Morgan told herself that they were the only noises, that she was safe.

Suddenly, the microwave beeped, signalling the end of the timer. Morgan jumped at the unexpected sound. She stood up and moved towards the still beeping machine.

Outstretched arms reached for the microwave door. Morgan curled her fingers around the handle, about to tug on it when another pair of hands came from either side of her, closing over hers. She froze in terror. The warm breath of another individual heated her neck, causing her to shiver involuntarily. A throaty laugh emitted from the stranger behind her, apparently amused at her fear.

"My lover; I'm home."

He spoke softly into her ear. His arms wound around her in what Morgan assumed was meant to be a loving gesture, though he held on too tight, binding her arms to her sides and her legs together before his, immobilising her.

Morgan tried to move, but her state of fear held her body rigid, regardless of his arms around her.

Thoughts of the microwave were lost as he picked her up, bridal style, carrying her to the couch. He placed her gently on the couch, almost lovingly, though Morgan couldn't comprehend how a stranger could possibly be in love with her.

He sat her with her back to him as her stroked her shoulders tenderly. His grip on her remained firm, as if he loved her, but didn't trust her not to run if he let go.

"You should have stayed with me the first time."

He said, his voice full of mixed emotions; love, resentment, and jealousy.

"But you went to him instead."

The hands on Morgan's shoulders stopped moving and tightened as he spoke, bitterness lacing his words. Morgan sat still in her confusion.

"It's okay now, darling," His voice soothed gently, his hands returned to caressing her shoulders through the cotton of her shirt.

Morgan recognised the voice, but couldn't put a face or a name to it. She was certain her kidnapper – if this could be defined as kidnapping – was insane, but also didn't think she was in a position to tell him that. The stranger continued to speak.

"I'm here now. I love you, and I know you love me too. You're just..." He paused, forming words before speaking them, "too afraid to verbalise it. I know it, I can feel it."

At this moment, he stopped to touch the nape of her neck with his fingertips. She flinched at his touch, a cold rush of fresh fear running down her spine. His fingers traced circles over the sensitive skin, leaving a trail of goosebumps in their wake. Morgan shook violently, completely terrified. His fingers pulled away from her neck, only to be replaced by his lips, where he kissed her softly, the love he felt for her evident through the care he took.

"I forgive you."

Morgan gasped sharply, shocked at this turn of events. Her mind whirled, trying to think who the stranger holding her captive could possibly be. She considered each of her ex-boyfriend's, trying to put a face to the voice, to no avail.

"And we can be together," he spoke, as if he hadn't stopped at all, "Like we were meant to. Like Destiny wanted. Our love is fated; written in the stars across the universe, there for all eternity. No one can part us. The seas mesh for us, the birds sing for us, nature flourishes for us. It is all for us."

He became frenzied, his grasp tightening, his words adorned with possessiveness, obsession and a lust for control. Morgan shivered still, panicky and fearful. She tried to speak, but her words got lost in her throat, her mouth drying out quickly and her throat constricting.

"But I don't know who you are."

Morgan managed to whisper, tensing her muscles in fright as she waited for a response. He chuckled, relaxing slightly.

"Of course you do. You love me, and I you."

He spoke, so matter-of-fact, Morgan wondered if she had indeed met him before. Realising her weakness, she shrugged off her uncertainty and replied defiantly.

"No. No, I don't. I don't know who you are, and I certainly don't love you."

He laughed. Morgan didn't know why, but the sound equated to nails down a blackboard to her ears.

"Who are you?"

She whispered, frightened, licking her dry, chapped lips. Morgan's body shook in terror, rocking back and forth in his arms.

"Who am I?"

He replied, parroting her. He turned her in his arms, so she could see his face. Morgan gasped, both horrified and fearful as he grinned manically, his eyes widening and his cheeks stretching to form an horrific smile. She shrunk back fearfully as he began to laugh; a terrible, grating sound. His hands curled like claws around her wrists, drawing her in tight and wrapping his arm around her neck so her head rested in the crook of his arm.

"Darling, I'm your soul mate."

A loud, screeching noise emitted, which Morgan realised came from him. His shoulders heaved and shuddered as he cackled piercingly, increasing his grip on her as she trembled in fear. Suddenly, he stopped, enclosing her within his arms in a kind of hug. She felt his breath on her neck, and felt her own hitch in her throat. His lips brushed the skin of her ear and he whispered softly;

"Don't be afraid; we'll be together. Forever."

With these final words, he moved his hands swiftly to wrap around her throat and snapped her neck. Her mouth formed her last dying utterances, strangulated noises emanating from somewhere within her, though they were drowned out by the insane laughter of man connected to those bony hands, those sharp nails gouging tiny crescents into her skin. As her words faltered, the echo of his shrill laughter rebounded within her ears, eternally trapped in her mind and her murdered soul.