A Life of Doom. By Anime Queen

The still candle flame shot up from its wick, and its light illuminated my room. It was a windy evening, way after dusk- it must have been nine o'clock. I was sitting at my desk, just finishing off the day's report in my diary.

Suddenly, the candle flame started to flicker. Slightly, but evidently. I looked up, to try and see what was causing the draught. I went up to the window, thinking that I must have left a gap from where the air was coming through.

And then I saw.him. Of course, my eyes could have deceived me, and it was pretty dark outside, too, but I could feel and smell him. My stalker. So he has followed me all the way to Spain. An uneasy shudder ran down my spine. Pulling the curtains closer together, I went back to my desk and sat down. I couldn't concentrate on what I was doing anymore. All I could think about was him. How on earth could I have gotten myself mixed up in such a mess? And it all started on my dream holiday to Fuengirola.

He and I met at the resort and were quite happy for the start. But when I broke it all off, he couldn't accept the fact that I wasn't interested in him anymore. It's funny: guys expect us to be honest with them, and when we come straight out to tell them it's over, they just don't give up. That's the quality I hate most in men. He was constantly following me wherever I went, be it to another city, or just around the resort. I could always feel his eyes penetrating my back. It used to make me feel frightened and insecure, but I never let it show. So when I flew back home, I thought it was over. Until today.

I gave up my old job on the outskirts of the city and started working in a nearby hotel. And that was where I saw him day after day, watching my every move. And following me. Always behind my back. I felt so helpless. And then I met Jack. He was everything I was looking for, and it was not long before we started going out together. I felt safer with Jack around, but the stalker was still there. And I could see he was getting jealous. Jack sometimes noticed how nervous I became at times and would ask me what was wrong. But I could not tell him. Much as I trusted him, I couldn't.

Days dragged by, and all the time I could think of nothing to shake the stalker off my back. Somehow, he always managed to know everything there was to know.

But one day he didn't show up. He didn't follow me to work, and I haven't seen him all day. I was too happy to wonder why, and for the first time in ages I felt free. By the time I came home in the evening, I convinced myself that he is not going to follow me anymore. I phoned Jack to arrange a date. I planned to tell him about my past.

I got ready, and I was just locking the door of the apartment when I saw someone crouching behind the wall. All the tension came back, and I was sure it was him. He was back. Not taking my eyes off the spot, I reached up and pressed the call button of the elevator. I stood impatiently, and after what must have been ages, the elevator doors opened, and I screamed. I've never seen such a gruesome sight in my life. There was my cousin, lying in a huge pool of blood on the elevator floor. His body was cut open, it seemed, in a million places, and all of his organs lay sprawled around in a mess of flesh, ripped clothing and blood. Lots of blood. It seemed there was blood everywhere. But the most terrifying sight was his head. It lay in the middle of it all, his two eyeballs looked up at me from their place between his front teeth. Pieces of ripped flesh hung loosely over each empty eye socket, and the skull was bashed open on one side, revealing what once must have been his brain. As I looked at my poor cousin's body, a rage swirled up inside me, and it gave me the urge to kill.

I turned sharply around, and made for the spot where I knew my stalker was hiding. I found myself face to face with him, and stopped. His face was expressionless, and I felt even more furious. I took a step towards him, and landed a hard punch on his lower jaw. He was so surprised he tripped and fell over. There was a hollow thud as he landed on the floor.

I walked up to him, and grabbing him by his hair I swung him about in a circle. I kicked him, over and over again in his stomach, never letting go of his hair. I let myself loose, and wanted to pay him back for all that he did to me. I kicked him about on the filthy floor of my block until I felt two strong arms seize me from behind. I recognized the grasp- it was Jack. All my fury dissolved and I sank to the floor sobbing.

People were arriving now, and soon the police were called. I buried my face in Jack's shoulder and started crying. It was all over now. The tide has turned, better days are ahead.