My entire body was frozen. I had stopped the car in the middle of the road. The figure watched me. I couldn’t see its eyes but I could feel its gaze. It was glaring at me, and I was reminded of a predator stalking its prey.
“Are you there?”
Somewhere, a logical part of my brain could hear the voice on the other side of the line of the phone I had dropped. I took a chance and glanced down. “I’m here,” I said, my voice shaking. I scrambled to pick up the phone from where it had dropped between my car door and seat.
I glanced back at the porch. The figure was gone. The darkness beyond the porch suddenly seemed to swallow up the side of my house.
I brought the phone to my ear and tried not to shake. “Hi, yes, sorry,” I said breathlessly. “I was hoping to book an appointment with an optometrist near Cheltenham, and wanted to know your clinic’s address?”
Talking to someone else on the other line helped my heart feel a little calmer. As my senses returned to normal, I began to chastise myself for my imagination. There were dozens of trees lining my property. Any one of those could look like a figure against the rapidly darkening sky.
After the car accident, my vision sometimes struggled in low-light environments. To think that I had stopped the car in the middle of the road made me feel sick. I quickly put my phone back into hands-free mode and parked in my driveway.
“We have a behavioural optometrist appointment available now for the 30th at 2pm.”
“Sounds great, thank you.”
The receptionist busied himself with making the appointment as I turned my car off. The uneasy feeling from before began to return. Before I could think about it, I jumped out of my car and raced to the front door. I couldn’t make myself glance toward the darkness.
I was too afraid of what I might find staring back.