The Underpass: A Ghost Story for Christmas

It had been near enough three weeks since I’d last seen Craig before I finally decided to visit him, yesterday. He hadn’t replied to any of my messages or answered any of my calls. It wasn’t like him. If anything, Craig was like the ringleader of our little group. He always led the way, hatched the plans, came up with the schemes, or whatever you want to call it. So, it was unusual not to hear from him, and truth be told I was getting kind of worried.

His disappearance, if you want to call it that, started just after he’d finished his public service. See, Craig wasn’t exactly the most straight and narrow of people. In school, he’d had a reputation as a bit of a troublemaker, and that reputation had followed him out into the real world as well. It wasn’t that he was a jokester, or that he liked to play tricks on people. If I’m being totally honest with you, Craig was a criminal. Only petty stuff, not that that makes it okay, but it wasn’t like he was out murdering people or anything.

Craig had been known to pinch a bag from a parked car or lift the phone from someone’s desk before, though. He wasn’t a nice guy, and I’m not going to patronize you by pretending he was. He grew up in a less than affable area and sort of just fell into the stereotype that so many people have of guys like Craig. But he didn’t go around breaking legs or picking fights. It had started as a way for him to try and get a bit of extra cash. He couldn’t get a job and he wasn’t qualified for anything (his reputation from school was well earned, shall we say), and his mum had arthritis, so couldn’t work. Still, they needed to pay the rent somehow. I’m not trying to excuse his behavior or anything, just explain who he was.

He’d been caught lifting DVDs from a shopping center, and it was his second offense, so community service it was. He hadn’t spoken an awful lot about it with me before starting, but I did know he was going to be painting over graffiti in various parts of town. He didn’t seem too bothered and seemed to think it might be an experience that he could legally put to good use afterward. But once he’d started it he went off the grid, stopped reply, stopped answering. He’d even stopped reading the messages after a while, and his social media was inactive. I wouldn’t have thought much of it if it weren’t for the fact that it was very uncharacteristic of him. As I said, he’d always been the leader, so it troubled me.

He lived on a council estate. One of those remnants of the ’80s where they seemed to try and squeeze as many houses in as possible. It was one of those places that oozed an undesirable atmosphere. Graffiti lined every wall, chicken wire fences held back the overgrown grass of front gardens, and the sharp, bitter stench of urine clung to the air. The paths were uneven and the roads lazily patched up. The houses themselves were all made of a dull grey brick that meant they seemed to be permanently stuck in a miserable drizzle even when the sun was shining.

I had to take two buses to get there – I lived in a nicer part of town – and by the time I arrived the sun was already starting to hang low in the sky, meaning the street lamps had started to flicker on, coating everything in their sickly yellow glow. Craig’s hose was on the edge of a T-junction about five minutes' walk from the bus stop. It was mid-August, and we were in the midst of a heatwave. It wasn’t a nice warm, instead, the air was thick and seemed to melt into you like butter on toast. I regretted wearing a hoodie over my top, so unzipped it as I made my way down the street. Somewhere in the distance, a dog barked, and a siren echoed.

With a gentle jog, I made my way across the road and up to Craig’s front door. It was made of dark brown wood with two frosted vertical lined windows in it. I knocked on it and heard the dog barking from inside.

It was Craig’s mother, Maggie, who answered. She was a nice woman who never meant anyone any harm. Her hair was greying now, but once it had been a bright, fiery red and her face still had the freckles to show it. She was short and a little round in the hips, but not unhealthy. She smoked though, and it showed. Her skin was a leathery texture, and her teeth were yellowing with nicotine stains. Once I had counted her while sat in the front room and she went through fifteen in around ninety minutes. The dog was with her. He was Staffie, greyish, and excitable.

‘Stay back, Dexter!’ she growled, pulling the dog by the collar, “Bloody dog!”

‘Hello,’ I said with a smile.

She looked at me and smiled back. A cigarette hung from her mouth, smoke streaming up from it and disappearing into the night air, ‘Adam,’ she said in a tone that almost sounded relieved, ‘it’s been a while since we’ve seen you.’

‘Is Craig in?’ I asked.

‘Aye,’ she nodded, ‘won’t you come in?’

She didn’t wait for me to respond, instead, she just pulled the dog back and headed into the living room. I followed her, closing the door behind.

The house had that kind of stale smoke smell pubs used to, but here, instead of being mixed with the smell of drink, it was mixed with the smell of dog and farts. I’m not sure it had been redecorated since the ‘90s, either, and the striped wallpaper on one side of the living room had been stained a yellowish color from the years of indoor smoking. The TV was probably the newest thing in the room. A bookshelf shoved into the corner still had old VHS tapes on it, and the dining table – I assume it was a dining table – was covered with magazines, newspapers, and a printer so big you could ride it.

Maggie let go of the dog and he came rushing up to me, sniffing my shoes as if the world depended on it.

‘Can I fetch you a drink or anything?’ she said, ‘I got some ciders in the fridge.’

‘I’m alright,’ I replied, ‘I just wanted to see Craig. I haven’t heard from him in a while.’

Slowly she nodded and then slumped down in her chair. As she did tiredness seemed to wash over her, as if she had just come in from a day's hard labor. She let out a long, aching sigh and rubbed her forehead with the tips of her fingers.

‘Is everything alright?’ I asked.

‘Craig is…’ she trailed off and shook her head.

‘What’s the matter?’

She let out another long sigh and leaned forward. As she did the dog left my shoes and went to sit down next to her, resting his head comfortingly on her leg. She rubbed his head and muttered something to him.

‘I’m sorry,’ I pressed, ‘but what happened? I don’t know anything…’

She continued talking to the dog for a moment and then paused and tutted her tongue as if thinking. I waited, unsure what else to do.

‘I honestly don’t know how best to explain it,’ she said, her gaze fixed firmly on the floor in front of her, ‘but he hasn’t been the same since that bloody underpass.’

‘What underpass?’ I asked.

She sighed and shook her head, ‘I don’t even know if I believe him.’

‘What happened?’

‘They should’ve never left him there, I’ll tell you that,’ she said. She seemed not to be paying me much attention, rather she seemed to be simply allowing her thoughts to spill out, ‘I never would have thought that would be something they’d do. I thought the whole point was to teach him how to work, not to frighten them into submission.’

‘Frighten…?’ I asked, ‘Who?...’

Finally, she looked up at me, and as she did her eyes seemed to fill with worry. She paused, as though considering her words carefully, before finally answering, ‘I think it’s probably best you go speak with him yourself, dear. He’s in his room. He’s always in his room.’

There was a sadness in her voice, as though she hadn’t the energy to try and explain. I wanted to press her, find out what she meant, but I thought it best not to. She didn’t seem to want to talk at any rate, at least not about Craig, so I thanked her and turned out into the hallway and peered up the stairs.

The light from the bathroom cast dark shadows up the stairs, and they creaked as I made my way up, gripping hold of the banister for support. When I’d reached the top I turned to find Craig’s bedroom door in front of me. It was shut, and there were several stickers stuck to it. All of them had been there for years. One had the Liverpool FC logo on it, one said “Craig’s Room”, and one was a picture of Spongebob Squarepants blowing a bubble, but it had been torn away across the face, leaving on the legs and arms in full view.

I approached the door and knocked on it, but no response came.

‘Craig?’ I called in.

To my surprise, the door suddenly swung open, and I took a step back to compose myself. Craig stood there, big black bags under his eyes. He looked terrible, like someone who hadn’t slept in weeks. The musty smell of someone in desperate need of a shower wafted its way out of the room as well, but I tried to hide my revulsion at it. His eyes seemed to dart around me, as though checking to make sure I were alone, and then, once he was certain, he stepped to one side and nodded his head.

‘Come on then,’ he said quickly.

I made my way into the room and looked around. Dirty plates littered the floor, the curtains were pulled shut and a lamp on a bedside table was the only source of light. The walls were bare. Where once there had been posters and pictures of rappers, footballers, and models, now there was nothing but the smallest of clues to their presence; a stain of blu-tac here, a torn edge there.

As quickly as he’d opened it Craig shut the door again and crossed the room, paying me no notice whatsoever. He stepped up onto his bed and sat himself down in the furthest corner, crossing his arms over his knees and rocking slightly.

I pulled the chair out from under his desk and sat down opposite.

The room stank and the heat was almost unbearable. Somehow it was stuffier in here than it had been outside. I watched Craig for a moment, as he quietly rocked slightly, wondering what could have possibly happened to him. This wasn’t the Craig I knew.

‘How are you?’ I said finally.

He looked up at me and nodded his head. ‘I’m good,’ he said, unconvincingly.

I watched him for a moment, as he gripped tighter to his knees as if to steady himself, and rested his chin down on his chest. I shuffled slightly in the office chair, the creaking of its hinges booming against the silence of the room.

‘How come you haven’t been replying to my messages?’ I asked.

‘I haven’t been using my phone,’ came his reply, muffled into his chest. He seemed to not want to talk about it, but I needed to know what was going on.

What had his mum meant when she’d said it was best to speak to him myself? What had happened to this boy? I looked at him now and he didn’t seem to be the person I knew, so lively and always ready for the next adventure. He had been replaced by someone timid, jumpy, and in a perpetual state of fear.

I leaned forward and he pushed back, somehow further against the wall.

‘It’s alright,’ I said, with my best sincere tone, ‘I’m just resting.’

He nodded but didn’t speak.

‘What happened?’ I asked.

‘Nothing,’ he replied.

I sighed and thought for a moment before going on, ‘Something must’ve happened to make you so jumpy. To drag you off social media. What was it?’

Craig shook his head and kept his face buried firmly into his folded arms.

I waited a moment longer before going on, ‘Your mum said something about an underpass…?’ I said.

The word pricked his ears and he shot up in that twitchy sort of way birds move their heads. His eyes were wide with fear and the color rushed from his cheeks. He stared straight at me as though he expected me to grab the chair I was sat on, lift it, and smash him around the head with it. I didn’t, of course, I just sat still, waiting.

‘What do you know about it?’ he snapped.

‘Nothing,’ I said.

‘Then why bring it up?’ he seemed to growl, a rage bubbling behind his eyes, beyond the terror, ‘Who asked you to?’

‘No one,’ I replied, ‘your mum just said…’

‘She doesn’t know what she’s talking about!’ he spat at me, ‘She wasn’t there. I was. I was there. I saw it. Not her!’

His eyes were drawn down to my top, a picture of John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson holding their guns in Pulp Fiction. He stared at it for a moment, a fear returning to his face, and then he looked back up at me.

‘Cover that up!’ he demanded, ‘Now!’

Rather than question him, I obliged, pulling my hoodie over it and zipping it up.

‘It watches me,’ he said, and then he bit his lip back, as though stopping himself from going on. I waited patiently, in the hopes that he might continue, but he didn’t. Instead, he just turned his head away back into the safety of his arms and went back to rocking.

‘Craig?’ I said, but he didn’t respond.

I decided perhaps now wasn’t the best time, and I should return another day, maybe when he was feeling more himself. So I stood silently and headed over to the door.

‘Wait,’ he said.

I turned to look at him and he had his face tilted to the side, looking blankly at me from the corner of the room. He seemed to be pondering his next words very carefully. I waited.

‘You really want to know?’ he asked at last.

I nodded.

‘I wrote it down,’ he said, and gestured his head toward the desk, ‘I wrote it all down.’

I followed his gesture over to the desk and saw that there was a notebook led on it. It was one of those cheap £1 notebooks you get in corner shops and post offices. It ever had the £1 sticker still stuck to the front. I made my way over to it and picked it up.

‘It’s all there,’ Craig said, ‘you can take it.’

‘Thanks,’ I said.

He nodded and then hid his face away again. I nodded pointlessly back to him and then turned and left. The whole experience had left me feeling rather shaken, although I couldn’t tell you what it was that had made it so unpleasant. There was something about seeing a person in a way I had never seen them before, like when a once-friendly relative gets dementia, the way it nibbles away at their personality bit by bit. It was unsettling.

I made my way down the stairs and poked my head into the living room. Maggie sat there with a cigarette dangling from her mouth, staring mindlessly at the TV. The dog was curled up at her feet, breathing heavily.

‘I’m going now,’ I said.

She looked up at me and forced a smile. The dog didn’t so much as stir. ‘Did you get much out of him?’ she asked.

‘I think he’s tired,’ I said, unsure what else to say.

She sighed sadly and nodded her head.

‘What underpass was it?’ I asked. I’m not sure what possessed me to, but in that instance, a curiosity came washing over me and I just had to know.

‘The one down the road,’ she replied, ‘that leads up to the shops.’

I thanked her and said goodbye before leaving. I stood on the edge of their garden, looking down the street before deciding my next move. The underpass was not five minutes from Craig’s house, and I could have a quick look at it and still make it back to the bus stop in time for the next bus. I kept the notebook tucked under my arm as I made my way through the dimly lit streets toward it.

The sun had disappeared completely now and the temperature had begun to drop. It was rather pleasant, given how hot it had been before, so I undid my hoodie and picked up my pace, allowing the cool air to rush past me, peeling the remnants of the heat away. The low hum of traffic in the distance reminded me of the sound of waves at the beach, lapping up onto the shore gently, and the coolness of the air, the breeze of the night, gave me a much-needed sense of reinvigoration. I was awake and felt fresh after the strangeness of Craig’s house.

I turned the corner at the end of the street and paused. The underpass was just at the end of the road now, and I could see the brick wall and road above it beyond the dip down. A single streetlamp stuck up from the ground at the end of the road, but the entrance to the underpass itself was obscured by the path stretching out in front of me.

Here I think it is important for you to know that I have walked through that underpass more times than I care to remember. Craig has too. There is nothing unusual about it. It leads to the shops, and so whenever we needed to go to the shops we would make our way through. Passing through the underpass is something I had never given much thought to before. But, as I stood there staring down the road toward it, a queasiness seemed to simmer inside of me. Suddenly I found myself worried about going that way, and my body seemed to scream at me to turn back and wait for the bus. No matter how much I tried to tell myself that, logically, I was simply suffering the side-effects of the strange behavior I’d seen at Craig’s house, for whatever reason I couldn’t persuade myself to go down to the underpass, let alone go through it.

I stood there waiting for what felt like the longest time, before ultimately deciding to turn away and head back to the bus stop. As soon as my back was to the underpass I was overcome with the horrible sensation that I was somehow being watched. I glanced back as I turned the corner, but there was nothing there.

A few minutes later I was at the bus stop waiting for the bus. The small white light in the bus stop roof seemed to buzz at me as I waited. I rested myself down on the awkward red bench and took the notepad from under my arm. The bus wasn’t scheduled for another ten minutes and so, I thought, now would give me at least some time to read Craig’s account. I looked at the cover and noted that a picture had been drawn there but since scribbled out. What it was before the scribble I couldn’t quite make out, but it seemed to be a face of some sort. I turned to cover a found the first page covered with Craig’s handwriting.

The entire thing was written in pencil and seemed to be rushed. It was less like a piece of writing from someone trying to tell their story and more like the scrawlings of a terrified child, desperate to get their thoughts out onto paper before they forgot the slightest detail. I flicked through the pages of the pad to see how many were covered – only the first six. I turned back to the first page and began to read. This is what it said;

They want me to go back to the underpass today, and I don’t know why. None of them believed me when I told them what I saw. They just laughed and called me lazy. I’m not being lazy. That place makes me feel uncomfortable. I wouldn’t mind it so much if they didn’t leave me, but they tell me I can do it alone and that’s all there is to it. But I swear I’m not making this up. I’m not. I’m not. It’s real. It happened. I saw it.

It around midday and they all broke for lunch, and then Glen told me that once we’d finished lunch he’d take me down to the underpass and I’d have to get to work cleaning the graffiti off the wall. We ate lunch and then he took me down there. I’d been down there so many times before that I didn’t give it much thought when he said he would leave me to it and check on me in a couple of hours.

There was a big tag on the side of the wall that read “I’M WATCHING YOO”. It has been there for years. I don’t remember it not being there. My mates and I used to always say it at each other as we made our way through the underpass. It was a thing we did. I was kind of sad to see it go, even though it wasn’t really anything special. It just seemed sad to lose it somehow. But I had my orders and so I got to work painting over it. It was written in black paint and looked like it had been sprayed in a rush. The two “O’s” in “YOU” had dots in the middle to make them look like eyes. It seemed to watch me as I started painting over “I’M” so I finished up and moved over to them next.

As I was painting over it I felt this chill run over me. It was hot yesterday, but a sudden breeze seemed to swoop its way down through the underpass. It wasn’t pleasant like you’d expect a breeze to be. It was cold. Ice cold. I felt like someone had tipped a bucket of ice over me. I shivered it was so cold, and I could feel the hairs on my neck stand up.

I know it sounds crazy but there seemed to be a voice in the wind, almost like it was warning me or something. I stopped what I was doing and stepped back, and that’s when I first saw it.

A figure stood at the mouth of the underpass. It wasn’t anything that should have put me on edge, but I couldn’t help feel like something was off. Whoever it was just stood there, dressed in black trousers, black shoes, and a black hoodie with the hood up over his head.

I called out to them, asking them if they were alright, but they didn’t move.

The chill hadn’t gone anywhere, and I was still feeling cold. The echo of something smashing on the floor rung out from behind me and I swiveled around to look in the other direction and see what it was. There was nothing there, so I turned back to look at the figure and it was gone. The cold seemed to have gone with it.

I don’t know how long I stood there but Glen came back soon afterward and was annoyed I hadn’t yet cleaned the whole thing off. He shouted at me and told me it should have been an easy job, and when I tried to explain what had happened he just told me I was making it up and that I’d have to go back tomorrow and finish it.

I’m really scared about going back there. Ever since then I’ve had this feeling like I’m being watched. And those words just keep bumping around in my head, “I’M WATCHING YOO” over and over again. “I’M WATCHING YOO”. Even writing them makes me uncomfortable. I’m writing this at 2 in the morning because I can’t sleep. I don’t want to go back there. I know it sounds like I’m being crazy but there’s something wrong with that underpass.

The page ended midway down here and so I flipped over to the following page, which seemed to be an account of the following day. I was about to begin reading when the sudden hiss of the bus lowering itself at the stop brought me out of it. I climbed aboard and paid the fare before taking a seat near the back. It was fairly crowded, so I found myself sitting next to an older gentleman who seemed to be drifting off to sleep.

The low chattering sound of a dozen different discussions filled the bus and so I couldn’t concentrate on the rest of Craig’s writing. I decided instead to wait until I got home to continue, but as I sat there, mulling everything over in mind, I found myself constantly falling back on those words; “I’M WATCHING YOO”. Craig was right, although I couldn’t express entirely what it was about them, for some reason they felt unsettling. “I’M WATCHING YOO”.

They were just… off.

I had, of course, seen the words written on the wall of the underpass myself many times before, and I couldn’t honestly tell you I had ever paid them much notice in the past. They were simply a part of the landscape, like a cracked paving slab or a flickering streetlight, it had been there for so long that its existence was the norm. I gave it no more thought than you might consider the drain on a path outside your house. But now it was on my mind and I couldn’t get it out.

By the time I arrived back home I was obsessed with it, and I found myself looking around, making sure I wasn’t being watched by some distant, spooky figure.

My parents must have been asleep, so I quietly made my way upstairs to my bedroom before sitting down in bed and taking another look at the notebook Craig had told me to take. Before I turned the page to continue reading a coldness seemed to creep up on me, like a finger running itself along the length of my spine and up to the base of my neck. I shuddered with the chill and looked around my darkened room, lit only by the warm glow of the lamp on my bedside table. The shadows that lived in the corners seemed somehow to breathe and move as if they were trying to stretch out over me and take dominance over the light.

I turned the page and continued to read;

The eyes were watching me last night. I couldn’t sleep. This morning, in the safety of the daylight, I took them all down, even the ones on my front door. I threw them in the bin and then took the rubbish out. Mum thought I was being helpful, but it wasn’t out of any thought for anyone but myself. I just couldn't have them stare at me any longer. Getting rid of them didn’t seem to do much, there were eyes hidden in everything. Every reflection I caught a glimpse in, every picture of a person in a magazine or on TV. Even old doodles I’d done on this very notepad… all of them watching. “I’M WATCHING YOO” they reminded me. And they were.

I had to go to the underpass again today, just like Glen said I would. This time he didn’t walk me down there though, instead, he just shoved a bucket of paint and a brush in my hands and told me to head off to work. I did as I was told. I’m not sure what use there was in arguing, none of the guys believed me, and they all took the mic when I’d tried to explain yesterday.

I reached the end of the street and already the cold was on me. It was strange, even though I could feel the sun beating down on my skin, the heat tingling in my arms and face, my insides seemed to freeze. I took my time walking to the underpass, and I’m not ashamed to say I was scared. I don’t know what it was that I had seen, but it had frightened me. If you’d seen it you would have been frightened too.

I feared that I had disturbed something. That by painting over the graffiti I had somehow awoken an evil that lurked in there. Maybe it was a warning to all who pass under it. “I’M WATCHING YOO”. It wasn’t a joke anymore, it was a statement. Whatever it was, it was watching me, and as I arrived at the underpass I knew that it too was there.

I got to work quickly, figuring that the sooner I had got it done the sooner I could leave. To my horror the letters I had already painted over seemed to be seeping back through, so more coats were required. I worked fast, but with each stroke of the brush the air seemed to grow colder, the lights dimmer, and that sense of watching fiercer. I dared not look away from the wall, but I could feel the eyes in the “O’s” peering out at me.

All of this alone was enough to convince me something was wrong. Coupled with yesterday's happenings I had already concluded that something supernatural was here in the underpass. But what happened next changed me. The person writing this today is not the same person who wrote yesterday’s entry. I don’t think I will ever be that person again.

I finished the work, much to my surprise, unharmed. The fear still bubbled inside me, but the words were gone, and the wall was a freshly coated white. I can still see it though.

I can still see it.

I’m watching yoo.

There was something about this that got under my skin. Craig wasn’t the brightest kid, so why was he writing all this down anyway? It all felt off. Truth be told, it freaked me out so much that I probably would’ve just left it entirely if it wasn’t for the fact that last night I couldn’t sleep.

At first, I drifted off without much trouble at all. The story was playing on my mind, but no more than a scary movie or an uncomfortable but passing thought. However, at around midnight I was suddenly awake and aware of the most ferocious sensation that I was being watched. My curtains were drawn shut and there was no one in my room, but still, I could feel these eyes on me, like hundreds of tiny bugs crawling over my skin.

Images of Craig’s bedroom danced across my mind, the posters and pictures with their eyes scratched out. That was enough for me to, at least in my unrested and extremely tired state, to pull down every poster, photograph, picture, and drawing I had around the place and hide them in the wardrobe.

When I awoke this morning, I knew that it was a strange thing to do. Still, the wardrobe seemed now to have taken on this discomforting presence. It was like the underpass. I could almost feel something in it. And I was worried. So I decided the best thing to do was to go back and see Craig, see if I could shed some more light on the strange situation.

The bus journey this time felt different. A sense of dread lingered across it all, and no matter where I looked I was certain I was being observed. The passengers were watching me. The driver was watching me. The pedestrians on the street and the people in their cars… Worse still, the posters and adverts and leaflets everywhere that had faces on them seemed to be following me with their eyes. I hated it.

What I couldn’t quite understand was how their gaze seemed to feel. It wasn’t like simply being watched. It was like being stalked. Being hunted. With the eyes came this malicious intent.

I made my way to Craig’s as quickly as I could, the heatwave still keeping its tight grip across the city. As I turned the corner a dog came speeding past me so fast it almost knocked me off my feet. I watched after it, certain it was Dexter, but it had moved so fast it was nothing but a sort of a greyish blur. I decided to forget it and crossed the road when I felt a lump in my throat.

An ambulance sat outside Craig’s house and his mother stood in the doorway crying. Two serious-looking paramedics were carrying a stretcher from the house to the vehicle, on a body covered in a white sheet.

I knew right then and there that Craig was dead. Worse still, the sheet was soaked with patches of red.

A queasiness filled my stomach as I stumbled toward the house, aware of the dozens of eyes peering out of their windows and doors, watching the scene unfold. Watching me. Their malicious glares all piercing my skin.

As the paramedics loaded the body into the back of the ambulance, I approached Craig’s mum and forced a smile.

‘Hello,’ I said.

‘He’s dead!’ she sobbed.

I nodded; unsure what else I was supposed to do.

‘He’s dead!’ she sobbed again.

‘What happened?’ I reluctantly asked.

She looked up at me and her face went white.

‘He tore his eyes out,’ she said, ‘he used a spoon. God… what possessed him…’

She didn’t even finish the sentence, instead, it just drowned in her cries. She wailed loudly out into the sky and then hunched over sobbing. I bent down to comfort her.

‘It’s okay,’ I said, ‘’I… I’m so sorry.’

As I knelt there with her, I could feel the stare of the neighbors burning into the back of my head. A dozen hot pokers each slicing through my skull. They were watching me, I thought, and I know they are. They were watching Craig too.

I looked down the road toward the turning to the underpass and the words flashed through my mind like they had so many times in the last few hours; I’M WATCHING YOO.

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