I've been participating in open mic for years. Mostly for my singing, but my guitar and violin skills surely get the crowd going. I've received countless offers to perform gigs, but I'm not in it for the money. I genuinely love music. Every note I play spills my heart out into the crowd. I only want them to soak it in.
Unfortunately, local fame doesn't come without negatives. I've noticed a strange man in the very back during every performance. No big deal, he's just a fan of my music, right? But, there's more. Whenever I walk home, I feel like I'm being followed. Surely, he's not going to be there when I turn to look, but I know he's there. I feel it.
Every single time, once I've made it home, I peek out of my living room window and across the street stands the strange man. Of course it creeps me out, but legally he hasn't done enough for me to go to the cops. It's funny how that works. He could be a serial killer for all I know, and yet, the cops will not get involved until I'm physically harmed. How sweet of them.
As my music became more and more popular, I began taking a cab to and from gigs. At the rate of the shadow man's stalking, it was only a matter of time before he was no longer satisfied with just watching me. I prayed that day would never occur, but to be safe I scheduled a reoccurring taxi.
Though the taxi was old and without a window between the passenger and driver, the woman operating it was sweet. She always provided the ride with great conversation. She was also a violinist. She'd been to prestigious colleges such as Juilliard. I couldn't help but get a little jealous, but I never had the money to even apply for such a school. Unfortunately, Inda had family responsibilities. Her father forced her to get into the family business instead of pursuing her dream of being a world renowned violinist. I felt bad that seconds before her confession, I was envious of her.
Every night after the pleasant cab ride with Inda, I'd run into my apartment and lock every lock on my door. I refused to turn on the lights in fear of my shadow casting off my whereabouts to the shadow man lurking outside. Most of the night, I lay awake, imagining his face as he stood lifelessly in the shadows. The mere thought sent shivers down my spine.
Even while I performed, all of my attention was directed towards the back of the audience. Though I could never see his face, I saw his silhouette. Not knowing what my stalker looked like was horrifying. Suddenly, a lightbulb went off in my head...
"Hey, I just want to say I love performing for all of you!" I yelled into the mic.
The crowd went wild, smiling and cheering.
"But, I'd like to give a special shoutout to you shadow man!" I yelled, pointing to the back of the audience.
Everyone turned around, staring confusingly at the area at which I had just pointed.
"What man?" They questioned, looking back to make sure they hadn't gone crazy.
I stood puzzled as I shook my head.
"He's gone," I said.
Embarrassed, I walked off stage and hurried outside to the cab. Inda immediately noticed my change of mood. She asked if I was okay, offering to talk about what had happened. Because she had been such a good friend to me, I spilled the beans, explaining the shadow man and his strange disappearing act at my gig. Inda seemed to recognize my tale as I told it. She was holding something back from me.
"What is it?" I asked.
She paused, swallowing hard as she stopped the car at the side of the road.
"Burā'ī," she said.
I stared at her with widened eyes.
"What does that mean?" I questioned.
"Evil," she said.
I sat back in my seat and released every ounce of air from my lungs.
"In my culture, what you described is a predictor of fate. It watches you up until your end. It feeds on the fear and death," she said.
I shook my head.
"Death?" I questioned.
She nodded, turning slowly to face me. In her hand were a pair of pliers. On her face, a smile stretched from ear to ear. In her eyes, wicked intentions screamed at me. The way she looked at me was... The most horrifying thing I had ever laid eyes upon.
"I can't let you keep your fingers. You can't be better than me," she said in a nefarious tone.
I reached for the door handle, but it was missing... As my mind raced with shock, angst, and fear, I glanced out of the window. Standing there with a smirk on his face was the shadow man. His body... It was horrific. He was bony, his limbs gnarled to the point it didn't seem real. And his eyes. Those sunken in black pits stared, watching as Inda began her assault on me.
While I attempted to fight her off of me, I couldn't help but glance once more at the shadow man. This time, a nightmarish smile stretched over his decaying face.
Written by GreyOwl