Tales of Dread is an ongoing series dedicated to showcasing the best works of terrifying short fiction from underrepresented and emerging voices within the horror community.
Story Three: My Killer is Coming by Marisa Martinez
A woman struggles with her intrusive thoughts that provoke an inner paranoia to make her believe she’s going to be murdered at any moment.
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I go to extreme lengths to stay alive. I’m terrified of being murdered and I’ll do anything to protect myself because I know my killer is coming.
Since I was a child, my mom taught me that every man wants to harm me—don’t trust anyone. So, it’s only natural that I feel paranoid if any man looks at me.
When a man speaks to me, my inner child screams, stranger danger. All I can think about is him throwing me inside his van and how I’ll never be seen again.
I’m 27, and have a hard time functioning. I’m constantly paranoid about being murdered. Unlike most women, I get excited about my birthday every year. My killer is less likely to want me as I get older.
He wants young, innocent, and pure women. He’ll think all my good years are gone. A few extra pounds and a few more wrinkles are a turn-off for him.
I’ve never met him before, but I know he’s watching me… waiting until I’m vulnerable so he can take my life. I’ve thought about every way he could kill me.
Using a knife, I pricked my finger to see what it would feel like if he stabbed me. I’ve accidentally burnt my arm before and that was painful. Both of those hurt, so I hope he has other ideas.
I’m conventionally attractive, but I’ll do everything I can to make myself look ugly. It’s wrong, but I’m incredibly jealous of unattractive women. They’re less likely to be kidnapped.
I’m extremely anxious every time I’m side-by-side with a car. I feel like he’s inside there, staring at me through my window, and I can’t bring myself to look.
My apartment should be a safe haven, but it’s far from it. I’ll stare outside my window and memorize everyone’s schedules, patterns, visitors, license plates, and Postmates habits.
I watch self-defense videos and even bought a boxing mannequin to practice fighting. I like to imagine I’m able to fight my potential murderer.
I’ll print photos of serial killers and paste them on the mannequin’s face. I’ll even print and tape photos of men from The Bachelor,too. They’re very attractive, but so are a lot of serial killers.
I have a fake social media account to admire everyone and their ability to post their lives. I fantasize about posting bikini photos and vacation photos.
When I have free time, I dress up, put on heels, and take photos. I imagine myself posting risqué photos online and people admiring me. But that fantasy is over once the paranoia comes back.
When I move into a new apartment, I’ll sneak into the complex at night and look through the junk mail. I’ll take as much mail as I can and research the tenants’ names online to see if they’re criminals.
I’ll label moving boxes, “John’s Clothes,” so the moving company thinks I have a husband. Once they arrive, I’ll play with my fake wedding ring while calling my fake husband.
Whenever I leave, I always have two phones on me. I’ll have a backup phone if my killer throws me into the back of his car and steals my phone. Usually, I tuck my second phone inside my clothing.
Winter is great because I’ll stick my extra phone in my boots. During summer, I’ll stick my phone in between my bra and sometimes my underwear. Typically, my underwear is safest: He’ll feel the second phone in my bra if he grabs me from behind.
I’ve done everything to protect myself, but it all feels pointless. I can feel it in my bones… he’s coming.
Forget getting married. What if my killer waited a couple of years to kill me? I can’t let my guard down.
There’s no point in dating. By the time I start talking to someone, I’ll have to change my phone number again.
After a long day of fighting for my life, I pulled into McDonald’s. I usually don’t eat fast food because I’m very aware they’re recording you in the drive-thru lane and I don’t want to be on camera.
I noticed there was a man in a white truck behind me with tinted windows. His car was close to mine.
As I rolled down my window to order, I tried to make my voice manly so he’d be turned off by the lack of girliness in my affect.
A minute after I took off, I noticed the same truck behind me.
I made a left turn. So did he. I made a right turn. So did he. I circled the block and so did he. I was too scared to do anything but drive.
I kept driving around in circles because I couldn’t go home. I just kept driving. After all my preparation, I was going to be killed by an asshole in a white truck. That’s almost laughable.
I started to cry and laugh, cry and laugh, shake and laugh. Screw it.
If he wants to kill me, he can do it in front of police officers and cameras. I drove to the police station and parked outside. So did he.
He parked one car down from mine and turned off his car. He opened his door and I heard his feet hit the pavement.
He started walking towards my car. I grabbed my knife and pepper spray and got out the car.
He turned the corner and approached me. This is him. I’ve been preparing for this moment all my life.
I was too nervous to even look at him. He had washed-out black jeans and brown boots that caught my attention at first. I scanned his body from head to toe. His hands were huge and could snap my neck without effort.
I stared into his brown eyes and froze. My body was fixed in his gaze as he reached for my neck.
That’s when I knew: My killer is no longer coming. My killer is here, and I’m fucking in love with him.
Marisa Martinez is a contributing writer for Wicked Horror and has also received multiple accolades on Coverfly for her screenwriting.
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