My View From the Window Chapter 3
By Prism Angel
Vincent had left close to three hours earlier for whatever occupation he happened to have, and in the meantime I had continued mending the large dagger holes that had been made in my clothing. It had taken me close to an hour to clean the remaining blood stains out of them, and the sewing was taking equally as long, if not longer. My fingertips had become covered with small needlepricks, and every couple of seconds I found myself licking the blood from my hands. The apartment had turned chillingly quiet, with the exception of the eerie chiming of the grandfather clock in the hallway, but it had lightened up quite a bit, and through the window I could see that the snow storm had finally stopped.
I exhaled a breathless sigh, then let out a quiet, "Ouch!" as I accidentally stabbed myself with the needle again. I flipped a loose strand of my blond hair over my shoulder and continued sewing, then immediately stopped as I felt a foreboding jerk shoot through my veins, causing my to drop everything in my hands. I stared blankly down at my fallen clothing, then slowly turned towards the window. ".............Someone's here..........." I whispered softly, gradually shifting to my feet and slowly walking over towards the pane of glass. "...............I don't know how I can tell.......but I can feel them........Who is it....?"
I pressed my hand up against the window and gazed downwards, surveying the surrounding landscape. The road was strangely deserted, and even the snow lining the pavement remained unusually untouched. Nothing stirred, even though I could feel the glass shudder beneath my palm from a passing breeze, and gradually my vision fell to the small graveyard. I emitted an internal gasp as I spotted the form of a man, probably in his mid-twenties, with short black hair and clad in a heavy ebony coat, sitting atop one of the gravestones and staring up at me. As soon as he noticed my presence at the window, he slowly raised his hand and motioned for me to come down.
Immediately I drew back, clasping a hand over my heart and trying to stop my quivering, then gradually forced myself to take a trembling step forward and peer downwards once again. The man no longer sat on the memorial, but I could see fresh footprints in the snow leading straight towards the door of the building I was in.
I exhaled a terrified gasp and stumbled backwards, lifting a hand to my mouth and listening to my heart pound in my ears. Why am I so afraid...? I thought nervously, gazing out through the window. I....I don't even know who he is....Why is my heart beating so fast....?
I whirled towards the door as a loud knocking came, not from that one but from another seemingly down a flight of steps beyond it, and froze immediately in place. ".............What does he want from me....?" I choked in fear, my voice cracking, as I gradually approached the door with quivering steps. "........What does he want......?"
With shivering fingers I slowly seized the doorknob, hesitated, then speedily tore open the door and gazed outside. As I had suspected, it led out to a short flight of carpeted steps, which fell to a small landing and then curved around the wall and disappeared from my field of vision. I covered my mouth with my hand again as another knock came from the bottom of the stairway, somewhere below the wall to my left. I held my breath and cautiously leaned forward, attempting to hear any further noise, but silence had suddenly ensued. My bare feet felt cold against the icy metallic threshold, and a frigid breeze fluttered up the stairwell, echoing softly like an unseen phantom.
There was a pause, and then suddenly a deep, amused voice came from the doorway below. "........Allie, I know you're there. You can stop pretending you don't think I hear you."
A terrified gasp escaped my lips, and I immediately stumbled backwards and had to cling to the doorpost for support. I staggered clumsily back onto balance, then leaned forward into the stairwell once again. ".....Who.....who's there?!"
"......................Just come down, Allie, I want to talk to you."
"Who are you?!" I shouted unsteadily, praying that my voice wouldn't crack from fear. "What do you want?!!"
"Just come down here, Allie. I won't hurt you."
"Who said my name is Allie?!"
"I know it is."
I drew backwards into the apartment, clutching my heart in terror. Why am I so afraid...? I thought again in panic, swallowing hard and flexing my shaking fingers. I don't know him......how does he know my name....?! "Get out of here!!" I yelled down at him, my voice reverberating on the walls around me. "I don't know who you are, but you'd better leave, now!! My friend Vincent's gonna be back soon, and he'll--"
"He's not coming back. You know that as well as I do. He won't be coming home for at least another couple of hours. C'mon, give me some credit here, Allie."
"Stop calling me that!!"
"What would you rather I call you?"
I fell back into the apartment once more, then managed to seize the door, even though it trembled in my faltering grip. "...He's insane..." I assured myself in a shaking voice. "Just some drunk, that's all.....You know this, Allie, he just staggered in from some bar and is murmuring involuntarily....."
"Don't shut the door, Allie," the voice from the stairwell told me, and immediately I froze in place. "You can't hide from me. I know where you are, every second. I know everything about you. You can't get away from me. That idiot Vincent you were talking about sure seems to be absent-minded--he left this morning and didn't even close the main door down here completely; there's only a screen door, and I'll break it down if you leave."
".....Are......are you insane??!" I screamed despondently, forcing myself to remain on balance by leaning against the postern. "What the hell do you want from me?? I call the goddam police, you miserable--"
"...I wouldn't do that if I were you, Allie."
"Shut up!!" I cried, covering my hands with my ears. "I don't know who you are and this point really don't give a damn, but I want you out of here, now!! I'll call the police, I swear to God I will--"
"No, you won't," he interrupted me. "If you do, I'll come up there. I'll break down this screen door and come up and get you. I don't want to do that, Allie, come down here and make things easier on both of us."
My hands.....they had turned so cold.....and the bathrobe I wore....had it always been so soaked with sweat?... I couldn't stifle the shuddering that had now spread throughout my entire body, and when I spoke again I could hear how tight my voice had become. "That's it, leave now!! You psycho freak, if I ever catch you around here again--"
"I'm not leaving unless you come with me."
Something about the way his tone never changed made my blood freeze over. He was so unmovingly calm, so undeterred by my increasing panic that my hands had turned clammy against the doorframe. "Leave now, do you hear me??! I'm not going to tell you again--"
"Come down here to me and I'll leave." There was a soft squeaking noise, as if he were leaning against the screen door, and his voice sounded reasonably taunting. "Allie, you wouldn't want anyone else to get hurt, would you?"
I blinked, drawing back. ".....Wh...what...?"
"I know about them all--Damien, Ryo, Hiro, Will, Claude, the rest of those homeless bastards you hang around with--I know every single one of them. You can't hide anything from me, Allie. If you don't come down now, I'll kill them. I'll track them all down and destroy them, one by one."
I backed up, staring blankly towards the bottom of the immediate staircase as if he were in view. ".....You're....you're crazy.....if...if you think for one minute I'll believe any stupid threat like that--"
"....Just a threat, eh...? Care to test the theory, Allie...?"
I felt tears of dread welling up in my eyes, and I held my shaking hands against me. ".....Y...You.......Have you been stalking me....?"
A loud, mocking laugh rose up the stairs, and I heard the screen door creak again. "....Have you ever had the feeling that someone's watching you...? Have you ever thought that someone actually might be...?"
A terrified sob escaped my lips, liberating the tears in my eyes, and immediately I clapped both hands over my mouth and staggered several feet backwards into the apartment. "....That's it!!" I declared in a choked voice, whirling away from the doorway and dashing deeper into the room. "You're out of your mind!! I'm calling the police right now, and their going to drag you off to the asylum where you belong!!"
"Allie, you don't know what you're doing."
"Shut up!!" I seized the phone receiver and attempted to dial some number--any number--by my hands were quivering so much and had turned so numb that I couldn't do anything in my panicked state. "Come on, dammit!!" I whispered furiously to myself through clenched teeth. "Come on, Allie, come on....!!"
I immediately emitted an ear-piercing scream and whirled back around as a series of loud, echoing gunshots suddenly sounded out from the hallway behind me, and I could even see a number of bullet holes that had appeared in the wall above the landing. I lifted my hands to my mouth and let out another terrified shriek, sending two frightened trails of tears streaming down my face and splattering to the floor. Several loud pounding noises came from below, finally succeeded by a tumultuous crashing noise and the sound of a pair of heavy leather boots taking two large steps into the room at the base of the stairs. Several more gunshots rang out, and I could see fiery sparks of electricity in the darkness of the stairwell as many ricocheted off the metallic banister.
The footsteps grew louder now, as if they were now scaling the bottom flight of stairs, and I could see an approaching shadow on the wall above the landing. "I warned you," the man told me, his tone as calm as it had been before, raising his gun and firing numerous more shots into the woodwork before him. "I said if you panicked, I would come up and get you. I didn't want it to come to this, Allie, I really didn't. Why did you force me to do this, Allie...?"
I screamed again, my timorous tears soaking my cheeks and bathrobe, and tumbled backwards, into the bookshelf behind me. Several publications fell to the floor with a dull thud, hardly audible over the earsplitting gunshots and the sound of the man's voice, and my tearing eyes suddenly whipped towards an open volume on the floor. It was a photo album, filled with numerous snapshots of various, unfamiliar people, with the exception of one. I drew in a startled gasp and for a moment seemed rather oblivious to the surrounding chaos as my eyes perused a certain shot of an attractive young woman, with long blond hair held in a ponytail and sharp blue eyes behind a pair of glasses. That's her!! I thought in panic, falling to my knees and lifting the scrapbook to my face. That's the woman from the mirror!! L...Lucrecia...?! Oh my God....she looks just like me....!
I was awakened from my thoughts as a bullet pierced straight through the book in my hands, causing scraps of paper to explode upwards as if caught in a windstorm. I emitted a petrified scream, tossing my head aside and throwing the album to the floor, then slowly forced my vision to climb to the doorway. A tall, ominous figure stood at the top of the stairs, holding a smoking black pistol up by his face.
He was muscular and thin, with short ebony hair falling to the back of his neck and a pair of unnaturally sharp emerald eyes. He wore a zippered black coat and dark gray pants, with a shiny pair of dark boots. At seeing my terrified, tearing face, his face slowly twisted into a mocking sneer. "Don't be afraid, Allie..." he told me with feigned assurance. "Just come with me.....Then you won't have to be scared anymore..."
I began to sniffle involuntarily in a panicked attempt to catch my breath, sending two more paths of icy tears down my face, then held my hands against me and shuffled a foot or two back on the carpet. "....N...no......." I whispered hoarsely, shielding my face in a desperate attempt to protect myself. "Please don't hurt me.... Just leave me alone..."
The man's arm suddenly shot forward, sending a series of bullets flying over my head until several struck the lamp behind me, causing it to burst with a fiery eruption of electricity. I immediately threw my arms over my head and let out a terrified scream, choking on my own escaping sobs and fervent pleas for mercy. The man slowly lowered his arm again, then gazed down at my trembling form on the floor. "..............Come with me, Allie," he coaxed, holding out one hand towards me. "Don't make this difficult. I can see how scared you are, how confused. Just take my hand and forget all about it..."
I didn't budge for a second, simply remained shivering and huddled up against the floor, then gradually lifted my head, draped with numerous loose strands of sweaty blond hair and gazed disorientedly at his extended palm before my face. My breaths were heaving and my eyes still released frightened tears. My mind sent a scrambled jumble of random, blurred messages before my face, and for a second I could feel my hand gradually lifting from the floor...
A sudden gunshot sounded from behind the man's back, brushing his shoulder and transforming the large window behind me into a wild spiderweb.
I emitted another screech and the man whirled about, facing the doorway. My eyes suddenly fell to Vincent, who stood atop the flight of stairs with his own revolver aimed straight at the man's face.
"...Next time..." he commanded fiercely, "...I won't miss..."
"...V...Vincent!!" I cried in relief, exhaling a loud breath of ease, clutching both quivering hands against my heaving chest. "Oh...oh my God...!"
The man before me exhaled an impatient snort, then brushed a long strand of black hair from before his green eyes. ".....I don't believe I invited you, my good man...."
"....Well...." Vincent thrust his arm forward, aiming his gun towards the stranger's head, "..Then perhaps I will take my leave!!"
I emitted a terrified scream and covered my ears as he suddenly released a barrage of ammunition, rebounding off the walls, shattering glass. I watched in shock as the man before me held one arm up in front of his face and bent slightly at the knees, shielding himself from the gunfire. Though he wasn't facing me I could hear in his voice that he was now wearing a contented sneer. ".....It seems that your aim isn't quite as good as you made it--" He was silenced as his return fire commenced with a click, and with an aggravated groan he tore the empty cartridge from his gun and tossed it angrily to the floor. His vision snapped angrily up towards Vincent, whose eyes immediately turned wide with horror and his hands that held his weapon trembled for a moment.
In the deathly silence that had ensued, I could hear Vincent's panting breaths murmuring, ".....Y.....you....How.....how in the hell...."
"...Hmph." The man breathed out another irritated grunt and tossed his head, flipping another ebony strand of hair over his shoulder, then suddenly shot his hand into his jacket and pulled out a large test tube filled with some sort of turquoise substance. He cast one more glance over his shoulder at my shivering figure on the glass-littered carpet, then with a powerful thrust of his arm hurled the container to the ground, causing an enormous cloud of crimson smoke to erupt and lash around him like a protective fog. I let out another ear-piercing scream and covered my eyes as the smog shot around me in vicious, whip-like motions, blocking my vision, burning my eyes. Faintly through the haze I heard the sound of heavy, retreating footsteps, followed by the loud sound of a door slamming into a wall and the weighty gait continuing speedily down the stairwell. I could dimly hear the noise of another voice hacking through the thick smoke, but I was too preoccupied with my own choking breaths and fiery eyesight. I covered my mouth to protect myself from the suffocating fumes and rubbed at my tearing eyes.
Gradually the dense blanket of smog began to dissipate into a light scarlet mist, and faintly I could perceive a dark silhouette maybe five or so feet away from me, shielding the lower half of his face with the collar of his black coat and emitting a series of rasping coughs. The image progressively turned to face me, still choking on the disintegrating cloud, then took several quick steps towards me and seized my shoulder, giving me several rough jostles. "....Allie!....Allie, are you all right??... Can you hear me, react to my voice!!"
"....Uggghhhh..." I stared blankly up towards the figure's face through blurry eyes, attempting to recognize his voice that had become muffled by the protective collar over his mouth. "......I......I.....ughh..."
"Allie!! Wake up, can you see me??" He shook me again, more violently this time, and slowly the vapor dissolved enough that I could distinguish the pale complexion of Vincent. "Say something, dammit!!" he cried distraughtly. "Don't you recognize me?? Wake up, please--!"
"............I....." I blinked several times, then slowly shifted from his grip and lifted a hand to my face. .....I......I think I'm ok....." I gazed blankly down at my palms, slowly drifting back into a state of consciousness. ".....I.....I'm still alive......?"
Vincent stared over at me in silence, then hurriedly got to his feet and threw a rather large plastic bag into my lap. "...Here," he ordered firmly, turning his back and walking swiftly into the kitchen. "Take these, now. Don't ask any questions. We'll talk later. I'm getting you out of here, now."
"....What...?" I watched after him for several seconds, then reached into the bag and stared at the clothing I pulled out. "...What are--"
"Just put them on. Now." I could still hear him shuffling around in the kitchen, speedily collecting items and strutting rapidly back and forth. "I said not to ask me anything. Just change into them, right now. We're leaving."
I didn't move for a second, then slowly untied the belt from my waist and shifted the robe down my shoulders. ".............That......that man...." I whispered quietly, glancing slightly to the right so he could hear my voice from his position in the kitchen behind me. "..........Who........who......"
"...I don't know. You're in shock, and you're not thinking straight. Just change into those clothes and let's get the hell out of here."
I cast another glance over my shoulder to check that he was not in the room, then pulled the tight black shirt with large silver letters spelling out EVIL over my head. ....I.....I don't understand....I thought shakily, buttoning the shiny, dark blue jeans about my waist and closing my eyes in jumbled meditation. Who....where....why.... what.......ughhhh....head's swimming....
"Let's go." Though I hadn't fully recovered from my befuddled state, I could feel Vincent's hand seizing my wrist and pulling me hurriedly out towards the open door, where I can only assume the man had escaped from, since it was swinging loosely on one rusted hinge. "I'll explain everything on the way. And hopefully you can do the same for me."
~ End of Chapter Three ~
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