Writing prompt: Write about a stranger in more than 200 words.


You come in the night, always the night. I awake to find you already in my bedroom, as if I had gotten up and ushered you in through the door, but I know I haven’t. It makes no difference – you always find your way in, somehow, some way. I feel your presence, as if you are standing before me but remain indistinct, like some type of ghostly presence. But I know better. This is not our first encounter, nor will it be our last. You intrude upon my sleep night after night in a soundless reminder that you are in control.

I try to make out your face, but you have concealed it beneath the brim of a large black fedora, tilted down over your eyes. The tan trench coat drapes over your body, its wide belt tied, straight out of a 1940s noir movie. How can I know you if I can’t see your face, your eyes? I struggle, try to scream, but to no avail. I am paralyzed, my voice mute. I only know you are still there. I watch the minutes tick by on the clock across the room. It ticks absurdly loud, both as real and as insubstantial as you.

I watch you float out of my room and into the living area behind the wall. You begin muttering, indistinctly, your voice joining the murmuring of others that have themselves suddenly appeared and wait there for you. There is no way to look around the wall, but I see your image sharp in my mind. I can’t hear your words, but I am afraid, pondering my fate.

I try to scream again. I hear my mind ordering my limbs to move, to seek you out, to find out who you are. But I remain unmoving on the bed, frightened to the core. There is no escape but one. I never remember taking it, but I always do.

I fall asleep again and this time wake up normally, to a lighted room empty of strangers. The paralysis has passed, but the memory of you never does. As always, I know that you will come for me again the next time I close my eyes.

(c) 2017 Miriam Ruff All Rights Reserved