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Tales & Wails: Hidden Obsession

Entry 4: Love can be wonderful, but what happens when it goes too far?

Hidden Obsession

Kelly Kennedy

It’s claustrophobic in the closet, but I can’t leave. Not yet. I can still hear movement coming from the kitchen downstairs, and I can’t risk moving until I’m sure Cameron is asleep. I don’t even dare stand up from my crouched position, though my legs are screaming from so many hours cramped up. Any sound could give me away.

I’m almost grateful for the pain in my legs, which has made the dull throb of my left eye seem less pressing. It’s been three days since Cameron and I had our fight – since I took a punch so hard I thought my optical bone would shatter. It was the worst fight we’ve ever had, though we’ve had many.

Cameron’s words run through my head on a loop.

“You’re obsessive, controlling.”

“You act like you own me.”

“It’s time we go our separate ways.”

I’d pleaded that everything I’d done, I’d done out of love, but it hadn’t mattered. I’d even latched onto the hood of our car, unwilling and unable to let the love of my life drive away. That’s the last thing I remember before waking up on my ass on the curb, with nothing but an overnight bag and a swollen eye.

The bruise has faded to an ugly mottled green and yellow, making me look like one of the walking dead. Maybe it would be better if I was.

It’s dark now. I can tell by the lack of light seeping in through the crack under the door. It was just after lunch when I shut myself in here in a panic when Cameron came home early. I’d been in the kitchen myself, but managed to flee upstairs when I heard the jingle of keys in the lock. I’d chosen the guest room, which was probably why I hadn’t been discovered.

I’ve had time to plan, though. I know Cameron so well. I just have to wait a couple more hours, then I’ll be free to sneak back down to the kitchen and slip out the back door. I’ll dodge the creaky floorboard in front of the fridge, and jimmy the door open so slowly it won’t make any sound.

I could even re-lock the door behind me if I wanted to. It’s broken. That’s how I got inside in the first place, three days ago.

My legs are fully numb by the time I hear the door to the primary bedroom close, and I let myself stand up, so quietly. My legs regain feeling in painful tingles, but I make myself wait another hour before I ease open the closet door.

I get outside without incident, just like I’ve done the last two nights. I relieve myself in the hedges and take a minute to stretch my legs in the relative safety of the yard before returning to the quiet stealth that has kept me hidden for so long.

I have to say, I’m impressed with myself. I hadn’t had a plan when I first broke into our house – all I’d known is that I’d give anything to be with Cameron again. Hiding had been an instinct, and at first I was sure I’d be caught.

But now I have a good routine going. I hide in the closet when Cameron is home before and after work. During the day, I soak up as much of our life as I can – looking at old photos, lying in our bed, smelling her clothes. At night, I watch her sleep.

It isn’t much. And I don’t know what my game plan is. I just know I have to be close to her, watching her, knowing her.

She’s mine, whether she likes it or not.

About the story

I'm a known scaredy-cat, so writing spooky stories isn't really my forte. But I love flexing my creative muscles, so I wanted to participate in Tales & Wails anyway. To come up with this story idea, I just thought of the things that scare me most -- and I have an incredibly irrational fear of someone secretly living in my house.

Connect with Kelly

Tales & Wails is a short story competition is a chilling combination of spine-tingling stories and visuals co-hosted by the Slush Pile Monster Writing Group and Fantasticarium.

All lovers of the macabre, gothic, and spooky stories are encouraged to participate. Whether you’re a writer, ghost hunter, or just want to get into the Halloween spirit, join us!

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