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Lisa got off the bus and pulled her handbag strap up onto her shoulder. It was cold, so she started walking briskly along Longfellow Avenue towards home. As she turned the corner into Wordsworth Street, she happened to see a reflection of herself in the butcher’s shop window on the opposite corner. Lisa also noticed in the swift glance at her reflection, a man walking closely behind her. What struck her at that moment was the intent way he was looking at her. She pulled up her collar against the icy wind she met as she turned the corner, and continued at a faster pace down the street. Lisa became aware of the tap tapping of her feet on the pavement, and the accompanying heavier beat of the footsteps behind her. She could feel her breath, and her heart pounding with the intensity of the cold air and the exertion. By the time Lisa had got to the turn off for Tennyson Place, she was practically running.

Then suddenly Lisa started to feel angry. Why should she be afraid? She had a right to walk home without fear, she thought to herself. She consciously began to slow down, and gradually began to walk at a normal pace. Even so, she was mentally and physically prepared in her mind if he did attack her.  Lisa began to wonder who he was, if he was just a stranger who chanced upon her, maybe a stalker, or whether there was an innocent explanation. Well I’m going to be in control of this situation now, so you better watch out whomever you are, Lisa said inwardly.

So pretending not to notice her follower, she carried on as naturally as possible. At last, she arrived at her apartment block in Tennyson Place, put in the code and got into the building safely. Lisa rushed into her ground-floor apartment and peeked through the blind. The man was standing by the block of flats opposite, and was lighting a cigarette. As he smoked the cigarette languidly, he occasionally gave a furtive look across at Lisa’s apartment block.

Lisa was also taking a close look at him. He was lanky, with a light-blue baseball cap pulled down over greasy-looking dark hair. His ears stuck out either side of the cap, and his nose looked like it had been broken a few times. The face was pale, and his hands bore some tattooed letters across his knuckles. He was wearing blue scruffy jeans, a dirty yellow hoodie, and some trainers.

After about twenty minutes, he flicked the cigarette stub onto the ground, took one more look, and headed off. Lisa made a mad decision to follow him. She hurried out of the apartment block and tailed him, making sure she kept a fair bit of distance between them. Now and again she would dart in and out of shop doorways, or hide behind a tree or a post-box. She had to admit she was quite enjoying her adventure, even though it was freezing and the rain that had been threatening to come was just beginning to start.

Lisa couldn’t make out where the man was going. He seemed to be heading towards the town centre. When he did finally stop, she let out an audible gasp; but the man didn’t hear her as he climbed the steps to the police station. She waited until he went in, and then decided to go in too. The man stood at the police desk inside as a policeman wrote something down. As Lisa entered, the stranger looked up, turned and took a step towards her. Lisa started screaming at him to leave her alone, and demanded the policeman arrest him for stalking her. Then she saw that the man was waving something in her face… it was her purse. Then Lisa accused him of theft and casing where she lived. A strong hand grasped her shoulder, and removed the ear-phones from her ears.

“I think you owe this man an apology young lady. He came to hand in the purse you left on the bus,” boomed the policeman.

“I did try to call after you, but you didn’t seem to hear me,”   the stranger said, looking pointedly at the ear-phones.

Lisa looked at the floor and mumbled a ‘sorry’ and a ‘thank you’ as she reclaimed her purse from the man.

“His name is Ray Hawkins, and you might give the poor man his bus fare home,” stated the policeman winking at Ray.

Lisa silently pulled a note from her purse, handed it to Ray, and left chastened.

Posted February 24, 2015 by eileenmoynihan in Uncategorized

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