I have written this as part of a creative writing exercise.  This is what happened to me on one journey to work.

A final glance from behind the net curtain before I set foot outside.  Taking a deep breath, my foot finds the step outside the door, slamming it as I go.  It is a short walk to the car, yet when you are hyperventilating, on full alert, ready for a bullet, a knife, anything in fact; it might as well be a mile.

I have my handbag strap in hand – tightly – ready to swing, key ready to push into the lock – or a torso should someone be ready to pounce on me.  The key is now in the lock, opening the car; I step in, throwing my handbag onto the passenger seat.  I slam the door and bang down hard on the lock so the central locking springs into action.  Holding my breath, I now check the back seat; nothing out of place.  Breathe again in…out…in…out…

Now to focus… Where am I going?  Ah yes, work.  A daily occurrence yet hard to remember when so much energy and emotion goes into such a mundane activity.

I reverse onto the road, on full alert all the time, not just for cars and pedestrians passing by, but for individuals’ intent on harming me.  I tell myself; “it’s OK, nothing or no-one is around, just drive the 7 miles to work. “  I put the car into first, then second gear, trying to slow my breath and heart rate down at the same time as being alert as any driver should be, although my knuckles are white from gripping the steering wheel so tightly; opening up my hands, being relaxed is completely alien to me.

Two T-junctions later and I’m on the main road.  Traffic is busy as it is rush hour, the weather fine so visibility is easier, all the time not just being aware of other traffic and what is going on, but having to be aware of anyone intent on killing me.  A car could come from nowhere aiming at me, ‘someone’ could step in front of my car.  Another thought; what if I saw my potential killer walking along the path as I drive along?  How would I react?  Mount the kerb and put an end to this torture once and for all?  Or ignore it and hope he stops his hunting one day?

Where I live is over 100 miles from his home, he has no business or interest in this area; or didn’t before I moved back home to live with my parents to effectively start life again after my husband left, unable to cope with this daily onslaught.

As I drive along the straight, tree lined road, on full alert, sight darting everywhere for movement, person, strange behaviour, I think of how lovely it would be to have a mundane life.  Yesterday, after I had got into work, my colleague arrived huffing and puffing and sighing on how traumatic her morning had been; the cat was sick, her daughter had forgotten to prepare her sandwiches for school and she had her skirt to iron.  “What a morning! I don’t know how I’ve got here.”  I was sitting there feeling pretty chuffed with myself that I had survived my journey to work unscathed and alive. Oh for cat sick being the most traumatic thing of my morning!

As I approach the one house along this road, I notice a white van sitting in the drive waiting to come out.  On the side is a name: “Miic Building Services[1]” Somewhere in the back of my mind, something clicks; where do I know that name from?  Thoughts wrack my brain as I try to remember, is it significant, or someone I’ve used?  My adrenalin increases as I see it pull out behind me, in my rear view mirror.

I keep focussed on the road ahead, we are now approaching a split in the road; the left going towards my work, the right towards a roundabout.  As the split in the road ahead gets closer, my brain goes into overdrive repeating that name; “Miic, Miic, Miic” – it could be something or nothing.

Suddenly, I hit the steering wheel with my hand.  My brain, adrenalin, emotions go through the roof.  A year or so ago, I was going through the civil court trying to get an injunction against this man to try and stop him stalking me.  Nothing had so far – police, court, prison… In my mind, as I drive along approaching the split in the road, a picture of paperwork comes into my head.  At the top of paperwork which had been faxed to my solicitor is the source where the papers were faxed from; “Miic Building Services”.  The writing is so tiny, yet so clear; picturing it in my head.

On full throttle now, both in mind and car, I’ve very quick decisions to make to remain safe, both on the road with other drivers, and from being run off the road or whatever plan he has, as the white van looms closer in my rear view mirror.

Taking control is now a priority, I’ve done this so many times, almost on a daily basis, except for lengths of prison sentences, although he has employed people from prison to monitor me or do other things, in the past.  I choose the right fork in the road and approach the roundabout, breathing very fast, adrenalin pumping.  You have to become a very quick thinker as a stalking victim, to always have to be one step ahead, be fully alert 24/7; just in case.

The van is now right behind me.  I approach the roundabout; my work is the left hand turn.  I know the local police stations aren’t open regularly, and the main one near my work is in a pedestrian area and means I would have to park and run, taking a chance I will get help.  I know it would depend on the view of any officer I spoke to as to how seriously I would be taken.  It is still pot luck whether I would be turned away and told not to worry. This would put me in a vulnerable position – what to do?

Taking control of this situation is vital.  I approach the roundabout, hoping that I get a clear path so I don’t have to stop – even though it is rush hour – what might happen if I have to stop?  Is today the Judgement Day he keeps writing about?  Will he smash into the back of me? Drag me from my car, push me off the road or into a lorry?

Thank God.  A clear path means I can go straight out and so he might have to give way.  I drive onto the roundabout but go around it instead of turning left. He pulls out behind me, taking the road towards my work, knowing it is my normal route, having followed me to and from it many times.  He has tried to get into my work, calling my department pretending to be security asking what time I’ll be leaving,  but I’m lucky to have such understanding, supportive colleagues who are aware of what is happening to me, and don’t give any information to anyone asking ‘strange’ questions.  Some other victims I know of have been sacked for bringing problems into their work.

I’m now behind him.   A feeling of elation in outwitting him – this time. Extremes of elation and despair on a daily basis happen as a normal part of life.   He continues my route to work, all the while with me watching him.

We drive along dual carriageways and go around another couple of roundabouts.  At the one near my work, he is a few cars ahead.  I could go another route, but the need to know what he’s up to, where he is, overrides the need to get away.  If I went another way and lost sight of him, I’d lose control, not knowing again which is worse than playing cat and mouse as we are now.

I’m nearly there. Breathing like I’ve run 100 metres, I swing into the car park, my legs shaking as I try to use the pedals; his van has gone past the entrance.  I abandon the car in the nearest space, check before unlocking the doors, then make a dash to the main entrance and into relative safety; security officers will be on the door. I’m so glad it’s daylight; in the dark it’s a million times more frightening, if that’s possible.

As I dash into the building, a final glance sees the van, engine running, down the road.  What had he planned for me this time?  He has been found with blood transfusion kits in other vehicles, and I know of plans made of how he was going to use them.  Getting in the lift, my heart pumping in my ears, body shaking, I press the 6 button and wait, willing the doors to close quickly and take me further out of reach.

By the time I reach the 6th Floor, I’m a bit more composed – after all, this is normal for me.  I have to get into professional, work mode because I’ve got to get on with my life.  Arriving at my desk, I sit down and call the police.

Now for the next challenge:  Whose voice will I get?  Will it be sympathetic, understanding and take me seriously and deal with this latest incident? Or will I have to explain the history of the previous 4 years and say “no, it will not stop if I try to ignore it” or “no, I’m not good looking or famous to have this problem”, “No, I’m not flattered or lucky” as I pretend to chuckle too; it’s easier than sobbing, which is what I want to do. Is it funny not knowing if your stalker will kill you today?

As I hold the receiver, my colleague walks in and I wonder what trauma she had to deal with this morning. Cat sick, perhaps?  I’ve survived my journey to work; I’m grateful, going home will be another challenge. I smile as she sits down with a heavy sigh.

[1] A fictitious name

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