Sophie Caine is a young women who has it all! Wonderful parents, new home, good school, and everything is working in her favor. Sophie is working hard to make herself an accomplished member of society. What happens when it is all taken away?
Please enjoy our short story Stalker – The Dearly Departed Sophie Caine! Please feel free to leave feedback, thoughts, and opinions in the comments below. It is very welcomed and we appreciate the support on our writing journey!
STALKER – THE DEARLY DEPARTED SOPHIE CAINE
A Short Story by Samantha James
When I was eighteen years old, I graduated high school and moved away from my small town to attend college. It was a high point in my life. I was over exuberant to be alone and in my very own apartment. My parents were better off than most and could give me the best. They not only paid my university tuition and living expenses but they ensured I had a good place to live in an upper-class condo in a well-to-do neighborhood. I was set and ready for school. I had everything I could need to begin
I moved at the beginning of summer so I could get used to my new surroundings and make friends before school began. My parents stayed with me the first week. When they departed to go back home, I missed them but was eager to explore Florida and spend the summer at the beach. The first week alone I spent most days cruising along the boardwalk. It was pleasant hanging around the shops and beaches. I met a couple students who were attending summer classes. A new friend gave me a tour of the campus. I was having the time of my life. There was two months of nothing to do but enjoy my new place and have a good vacation. I could blow off steam before I had to buckle down and study.
It was not until school began that this changed. My classes were harder than I ever expected and my new job at the coffee shop on campus left me with limited social time. I ended up staying home most nights and weekends studying more than I felt any other student had too.
It started one night when I heard a knock on my apartment door. It was weird that someone would be knocking. Thinking it was perhaps a neighbor, I looked out the peephole but saw no one. After a few moments thinking I decided to open the door and looked down the hallway but no one was out there.
When I looked down, a single red rose was laying on the ground. That was all. I picked it up and went back inside. Not sure why someone left me a flower and how they vacated the hallway, I looked it over and was flattered. I put the flower in a vase from my kitchen. I never gave the rose another thought. Just added to the existing flowers sitting on the counter.
I continued to struggle with school but was trying my best.
It was about a week after the anonymous flower was left on my door I found another one. This time, it was on my car door. I had seen it one morning when I left my apartment to head to the campus. I had a morning shift at the coffee shop then classes until the evening. I took the flower off my car and threw it in the backseat and like the first flower I was once again flattered but still never gave them much thought.
That evening when my last class let out I walked to the parking lot with all the other students. This is when I saw people surrounding the area I had parked. They were giving incredulous looks and talking about my car. I was very confused at first until I saw a sight that set flames in my eyes and fear in my heart.
There must have been hundreds of roses covering my car. Some were scattered throughout the window shield and others taped all over my side windows and the car’s body. I do not think there was a spare inch not covered in roses. The roof also had a wedding cake topper attached with some kind of super glue. The little white bride and groom were literally stuck to my car’s roof. I was creeped out and furious. I went to my car fuming and ready to throw punches I was so upset. I frantically shoved as many of the flowers as possible off my car to the ground. A couple people in my class who could tell I was not happy about my car’s “decorations” helped me pull flowers off. One girl questioned me asking if it was an ex-boyfriend or someone who liked me that had done it. I had no answer. I had dated no one, and this was getting a little frightening.
Originally I had found the one pretty flower left by my door to be sweet and had fallen asleep that night dreaming of a secret admirer. I pictured a tall dark-haired mystery man who might have noticed me at school or hanging out at the coffee shop. I was okay with being admired. I even thought a week later the flower on my car was equally sweet and daydreamed the same admirer leaving me the rose; however, this was too much. I mean who does this? I finally, after removing all the flowers, drove away. The wedding topper was still glued to my roof but I couldn’t pull it off. I tried and tried and so did some of my classmates but to no avail. I would need something to remove the glue.
Once I made it home, I went to where the maintenance man’s apartment was located. He was a nice older gentleman who had helped me when my closet door became unhinged. I figured he may have something that could remove the topper on my car roof. The man’s name was Terrance Ortiz, and he had lived here for over ten years. When I knocked and explained my problem he walked out to my car. He let out a whistle as he inspected the roof.
“I think there may be something I can do about this,” He said nodding to himself “I will be right back,” He said before trailing over to the side of the building where the maintenance shed was located.
He came back and within minutes had got the offending wedding topper off my roof. Unfortunately, not without damaging the paint on the area of the roof it had been stuck. I was even madder when I saw that. I felt like I had been vandalized. I thanked Terrance for his help and offered to bring him some dinner as appreciation. He declined and said he had already eaten.
I went inside my apartment and sat down on my couch. I thought about calling my parents but I did not want to worry them. They would just get stressed out and I could use the credit card they had given me to get my roof repainted. I felt like it shouldn’t come out of my parent’s pockets. I had not damaged my car and whoever did was the one who should be accountable to get it repaired.
I picked up my cell phone to call my cousin so I could grumble and rumble about the evening I had. My cousin Tiffany was a fantastic listener and the ultimate confidant but before I could dial her, I noticed I had five voicemail messages. I Instantly became concerned and worried that something was wrong with my parents. There were five messages. That was not a usual thing.
The first message nobody spoke but for thirty entire seconds, I could hear slight breathing. Creeped out I played the second one. As the message played I became pale and shocked. The voice on the line was rough and deep with a distortion that made the voice menacing. The message played:
“You are the rose. You are the bride. You are mine”
The next message said pretty much the same thing but the fourth really terrified me. I had never been afraid to live alone in my apartment until I heard the words:
“Rose, you are going to be mine. You are going to be dead.”
I didn’t know who the outlandish voice belonged to nor did I know why he was calling me rose. My name was Sophie. I didn’t listen to the last message. I deleted it before it played. I felt like I was unsafe and did not want to be alone. I called Emily. She was a friend of mine who lived across the way. I told her all about the messages and what had happened to my car. Emily agreed it was very concerning and said she would be right over. I was relieved and happy she could come over and give needed company. I did not want to be alone.
When she arrived at my apartment, I played the three messages for her. She was as deeply disturbed by them as I had been. Emily stayed over that night and we had binged watched our favorite Showtime show while gorging on popcorn. Her presence made me comfortable and allowed me to forget about all the weirdness that had been occurring.
The next morning I called my boss at work and told her I needed a sick day to deal with some personal stuff. I told her my car had been vandalized the previous night and I needed to take it to the mechanics. My boss was understanding and told me it was fine to miss my shift that morning. I was happy I did not make her mad by calling out. I knew if I lost my job my parents would be mad. They had wanted me to develop work ethic and maintaining a job was part of our deal.
The first thing I wanted to do was check with the building manager at my condo building to see if there was surveillance on the property. I felt sure the school or my building would have cameras and I could find out who the dirt-bag was.
My manager told me that there were cameras on the building in the back lot but the one in the front lot had a broken lens which had not been fixed yet. She pulled out the tape from the week before and we sat at her office computer watching around the time there had been a knock on my door but nobody pulled into or out of the back lot. My car was always parked in the front so there was no hope to see who had placed the single rose on my door yesterday morning. I felt annoyed but was okay with it since I was certain the college cameras could shed light on the situation.
Once I arrived on campus and explained to the office administrator my request, she directed me to the campus police building. An officer who was very obliging pulled the camera footage up for me and we sat to watch.
I could see myself pull up in the late afternoon for my first class. We fast forwarded and watched but nobody came near my car. Right before my last class I had run out to the parking lot to switch books and grab the notes I needed for my calculus class. I could see all that as I walked up to the car; however, about thirty minutes after I walked away from my car and had gone off to my last class, the camera suddenly cutouts and was turned in the opposite direction. You could see one white-gloved finger turning the camera. This was strange.
The officer who sat watching this called in his supervisor who also watched the turning of the camera. They pulled up other cameras in the area but as we watched, none of them had an angle to see who had turned that one camera. The two officers were quite outraged about this and profusely apologized. They recommended I go to the city’s police department and file a report for vandalism. This would be my only option since there was no evidence they could use against another student.
Going to the campus police had left me feeling so dejected and disappointed as I walked back to my car. I knew the real police would say the same thing. It was impossible to know who was harassing me. I went anyway because I wanted the harassment on file in case it was ever discovered who was behind it. Once my claim and report were made, I headed to the mechanics and left my car to be painted. They told me I could pick my car up in a couple days. I got food and sat on the pier for a while.
I ended up running into some friends from school as I was eating. They invited me to go see a movie playing a few blocks away. The movie was great and hanging out with people made me feel secure. It helped me forget my trouble for a little while.
One girl gave me a ride to my condo. When I entered my building and got to the hallway, I noticed an envelope stuck on my door. I picked it up with shaky hands and slowly opened it. I sighed in relief when it was a note from the lady next door asking if I could feed her cats because it was bingo night and she would be late. I laughed at my ridiculousness and called myself a drama queen before I walked over to my neighbor’s apartment.
When I returned from cat feeding duty I made a few calls and took a nice long shower. I felt refreshed and grabbed one of my school books to read. It was a nice night so I sat out on my balcony while I studied. I had made some coffee and was feeling rather content. I was out there enjoying the warm evening until after one before I decided I needed a few hours of sleep. I instantly fell asleep once my head hit the pillow and I stretched out all comfy and exhausted.
I was woken up from a dead sleep as I heard my cell phone buzzing loudly and playing the lyrics of my favorite song. I did not recognize the number reading on my phone’s display. I was reluctant to answer it and decided after a few seconds against it. If it was an emergency they would leave a message. I was afraid it was him calling. I got up and started turning lights on throughout my condo. All the blinds were closed and I knew all windows and doors were locked. I waited for my screen to display a voicemail pending message but none ever came. I decided it must be a wrong number or telemarketing call. Annoyed I went back to my room to get a few more hours of sleep. I left the kitchen stove and hallway light on but turned all the others off. Once I had made it back to bed and was about to turn off my nightstand lamp I heard a distinctive *Tap* *Tap* *Pound* *Pound* on my bedroom window.
I jumped up immediately and screamed at the top of my lungs. I made my way to my front door and after a few seconds fumbling with the two locks I managed to get out and pound on a neighbor’s door. They rushed it open and I in sheer panic explained someone was trying to break-in through my window.
After my apartment and the surroundings were searched nobody was found. I knew I could not stay in my place alone. I was just too scared and packed a bag to stay with Emily at her place across the way. She had told me her spare bedroom was mine for the taking.
The next morning I called and informed my parents about all that had been transpiring. They wanted to fly out immediately to be with me but I told them to wait until the following week because it would be spring break and I would have school off which would allow me to spend more time with them. They had already been planning to see me that week anyways and had purchased their tickets. There was no need to rush right to Florida.
After a long debate with my mother, I convinced them to stay put. It was finals week and I promised them I would stay with Emily the entire time and would not sleep alone at my place. Emily and I for the next week took turns staying at each other’s apartments and thankfully nothing had happened out of the ordinary. I took all my midterms and felt confident I would not be failing any of my classes. The days passed uneventfully. No weird calls or roses. I was relieved and began to feel like the whole thing had been blown out of proportion with my active imagination. That was until Friday night.
Emily and I had just returned from a sorority party and were celebrating the end of midterms. We had worked hard so it was good to just blow off steam. An older classmate bought us a couple bottles of wine so we returned to Emily’s place to drink and have more fun. It was a little past midnight and the two of us set up a game of cards out on her balcony. We sat playing and drinking our wine. After some time had passed I just happened to glance over to my apartment. I could see my windows and balcony quite clearly from where I sat. I found something odd as I was looking it over but I couldn’t quite put my fingers on it.
I was racking my brain for what was wrong. I just knew there was something.
Then out of nowhere it hit me. I could see into my apartment through the double doors of my balcony. When I had left my apartment the morning before because I knew I was staying with Emily tonight I had gone around meticulously closing all my blinds and locking the entire place up. The curtains were wide open!
I knew for certain I had closed them.
I pointed this out to my friend but she thought I was being over paranoid and that I must have had not closed them. She excused herself to go inside to use the bathroom and get the second bottle of wine.
I could not get over the fact I had closed those curtains. I know I had. I remembered specifically doing so. I looked back towards my balcony.
Upon further inspection, I realized that light from my bedroom was seeping through the blinds and that it must be on. I walked to the edge of Emily’s patio so I could get a better view when I saw a shadow walk past the bedroom window. My eyes searched my apartment.
I looked to the balcony doors and saw a woman there! She was in a light blue night robe and was casually brushing her light blonde hair while looking down at a book. It seemed as if she had just gotten out of the shower. She walked to the kitchen and grabbed a soda from my fridge. She popped it open and took a long sip. The ladies eyes never left the pages she was reading in her book. She started to walk towards the balcony as to go out there.
My outrage and shock over this lady freely roaming my home as if it were her own quickly escalated to pure horror.
As the tiny blonde woman turned and walked toward the balcony doors. A shadow appeared in the hallway and out into the living room came out a masked man. He quietly stalked and made his way towards the woman. I screamed in absolutely stunned hysteria.
I was too far away all I could do was watch as he snuck up behind her and wrapped his long arms around her mouth and slammed her down on my living room floor. He pulled out a knife from his back pocket. I watched with tears streaming down my face as he stabbed her over and over again. There was blood everywhere. It was splattered all over my floor, walls, and couch. I began to bawl as the intruder in my apartment made his way to my door. He exited my place.
I did not know who the woman was but surmised the man, the killer, must have been the one who had been stalking me and leaving me roses. He must have thought this blonde woman was me. We had similar hair color and style. Our bodies were not far off from each other either. She seemed to have been my build. What had she been doing in my condo, though? I told Emily who had been in the restroom during this time what had happened. I shouted at her to call 911 as I ran from her apartment to go see if this poor woman was alive or not.
I highly doubted it but felt the need to go anyways. I ran and ran across the courtyard into my building and up the stairs to my door. I opened it up and was faced with about ten police officers and paramedics. They were surrounding an opened body bag.
I felt my heart sink. So she was definitely dead then. How tragic. I looked around and was about to tell them I owned the apartment and explain I did not know the poor woman or why she had been here tonight when I noticed the strangest thing.
In the kitchen wrapped in a blanket was Emily. She was weeping her eyes out and was saying my name over and over again to a police officer holding a pad. It looked like he was taking a statement from her but was not getting anywhere. He was trying to comfort her it seemed to me. How did she get over here so fast? Heck, how did all these people arrive before I did? This did not add up.
I walked around the couch to look at the girl. I wanted to see if I knew her. There she lay all bloody and pale. No sign of life was left.
Well, it turned out I knew her very well after all.
The dead woman lying in a body bag on the living room floor was me.
I looked down to see my facial features and blonde hair. On the floor next to my body were a spilled soda can and my geography textbook.
Somehow I had witnessed my own death without even realizing it.
I was killed at the age of eighteen by my stalker and was given the chance to see the events unfold. It would be years before the police made any headway. My murderer would remain free to go about.
The night I was killed the police had found a single fingerprint of the intruder on my bedroom window from the outside. It was left from the time he had scared me and tried to get in through my window.
It would be exactly five years after my murder when a man would be arrested in connection with my death. The police would find my photo, the knife used to stab me to death, and a shirt covered in my blood buried in this man’s background. His fingerprint matched the one found on my window.
The man was Terrance Ortiz. He apparently developed an obsession with me and, in the end, was my death. He now faces life in prison without the chance of parole; whereas, I am buried deep in the ground down. I do not live any longer because of this man. I had no say in this at all. I was supposed to live my dream life and be a major success. Well, no longer.
It is not enough justice if you ask my opinion.
The dearly departed
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