I’m not entirely sure where to start. I know the beginning would be the obvious choice, but that was so long ago I don’t trust myself to remember.
Sorry. I am sure you are confused, I know I would be.
Lets start with my name. I am Jessica Platt. You are the reader- you don’t get to share your name- so I will refer to you as Reader. Not very imaginative, I know, but its easier that way.
So I’m twenty four years old, in human years anyway, and what I am about to tell you- I swear its true, every single word. I’m shaking as I write this, constantly checking over my shoulder just in case anyone finds me here. If they do, this story will remain unfinished, and I apologise for that in advance. So let me try to start, as best as I can, given the circumstances.
When I was twenty one, I shared a flat with my then boyfriend of two years, Robert. He was a complicated man, always busy doing this and that. He had a very demanding job, but I won’t bore you with the details. We were speaking of marriage, usually after a couple of bottles of wine. I wasn't entirely convinced, but I supposed I could do a lot worse. He was handsome and kind, but I couldn’t help but find my mind wandering into the land of fiction, where I lost myself daily. I fell in love with the love interests in my books, hated the villains and pitied the fools. Robert complained this was why I was dissatisfied with my life, he argued that I was setting an unrealistic standard that was simply unattainable. I suppose in retrospect, he does have a a point. Who can compete with imaginary lands, where gold grew on trees and men rode around on horseback, or women were Queens and ruled with kindness or a deadly darkness.
I’m getting there, I promise.
One night I had a dream, so vivid I was convinced I was there. I could touch the leaves on the trees as I passed on horseback, the morning dew wetting my fingers. I could smell the bread baking, my tummy rumbled with delight, my senses heightened in this strange world. I rode this horse through a path made by nature; almost as though some magical being had parted the woods so I could ride through untouched and unseen. My clothes were not any I recognised, my waist held in by a tight corset that was hidden by my dress that flowed to my booted feet. The horse paused, grazing on the deep green grass I noticed someone approaching from the distance. It was a man, also on horseback. I couldn’t see his face, no matter how hard I tried. As he drew closer to me, I noticed he had dark hair, curly tendrils framing his face. He became level with me and nodded at me, dipping his head slightly. I was mesmerised by his eyes as they met mine, a deep intense blue like that of the sky. He said nothing, but slid off his horse, making he way to my side. His clothes were strange, a beige shirt that had a rust coloured belt attached to it, holding his dark bottoms on his slender waist. He held his hand out to me, and I noticed it was rough and chapped, his fingernails dirty. I hesitated before I took it, my eyes reassured by his confident demeanour.
So as I took his hand, I jolted awake. I was shaking and dripping in sweat. I turned to see Robert snoring soundly beside me. Instead of finding this reassuring, I climbed out of bed and padded across the soft carpet of my bedroom floor to the window, readying my forehead against the cool glass. My breath was warm, causing a slight mist on the window each time I exhaled. I stared out onto the street below, savouring the silence of the empty streets, the streetlights lit for no-one in particular, burning away brightly just in case they were needed.
That was when I saw him. He was standing in the darkness, a hood over his head as he gazed up at me.
At first, I thought it was tiredness. Then, I thought I was still dreaming. I rubbed my eyes and pinched my arms, before I saw him again. He didn’t move, he just stood watching me from the shadows. I glanced back at Robert who had turned over, still sound asleep. As I turned back he had completely disappeared from my view, despite me searching the street for any sign of him.
I shook my head as I drew the curtains, telling myself I needed more sleep.
And that was when I saw him for the second time.