• Blurred faces race through my mind. Unexplainable chills rack my body and the feeling of someone watching me keeps me awake at night, but no one is there. I am alone in my apartment where I am supposed to feel safe, but I don’t. Every creak of the floor sends my heart racing and my teeth chattering. I brace myself going past every corner and rush down hallways; afraid it’ll catch me in such a narrow confinement. I know it’s there, waiting; watching, but no one believes me. They never do.

    TABMy last journal entry was weeks ago and I recall it to Dr. Keller as he sits behind his mahogany desk scribbling away in his yellow sheeted notebook. I’m lying on a typical therapist’s extremely long couch with my legs propped up on the arm rest and my head cushioned against his soft down filled pillow. The room is nothing more than a large square with walls the color of algae and pictures of pink flowers trying to accent the putrid color (it doesn’t work). A large bookcase resides against one wall and is filled with an assortment of books ranging from fictitious horror to the bulk of encyclopedias. Silver frames hold pictures of his family on the holidays and hid in the far right corner of the last shelf is a rather embarrassing picture of him in college trying to pull off a mullet – I’ve visited so often I basically know the room from top to bottom. Cultural figurines from his trip to Africa adorn his desk and begin to collect dust as does everything else in Dr. Keller’s office. An ancient computer hums loudly beneath the desk and the monitor’s glow is faded from age.
    TAB “Ms. Hartz? You still with me?” I start at the sound of this voice intruding on my thoughts, but realize quickly enough who it is. My eyes take in Dr. Keller’s blue shirt with his red plaid tie slightly askew. Large, black rimmed glasses rest on his too-big-for-his-face nose and he pushes them up so he can stare me down with his beady black eyes that grow larger because of his lenses (they make his whole face seem out of proportion). He’s angry with me again.
    TAB “Of course Harold. Where else would I be?” I give him my best fake smile because he hates it when I call him that and that’s exactly why I do it. I don’t like him one bit, he thinks I’m crazy and just keeps me around so he can pay his taxes. I return to my original position and wait for him to finish his “scientific evaluation” of me.
    TAB “You seem completely fine to me Ms. Hartz. Lack of sleep is probably causing you to hallucinate and it seems to have made your brain think that someone is following you. It’s a perfect explanation, seeing as no one else sees this ‘Mace’ person that you refer to. He is merely a figment of your imagination.” Dr. Keller says all of this matter-of-factly, as if he could never be wrong. I knew he would say this, and yet it’s a blow to my sanity.
    TAB “I am not lying! Mace is real; he just doesn’t like other people to see him.” I sit up and perch precariously on the edge of the oddly bright red couch that doesn’t go at all with anything in his boxy office. “He is real and he is out to get me! What don’t you understand about that?!” I’m near hysterics now, my voice rising with every word. “He is dangerous Dr. Keller.” I’m standing in front of him now, my voice no louder than a whisper. “He’s real…” As if to prove my point there he is. Harold seems completely oblivious to the fact that someone else is in his office, even as I’m staring past his shoulder and into Mace’s grave face.
    TAB “I warned you not to tell anyone Kiana.” His voice is slow and deep and wraps around me like a warm hug. His dark black hair falls carelessly over his piercing blue eyes, but it seems deliberate on his part. He’s fashioned in an all black attire; black jeans, black tee shirt, and black shoes which all accent the fact that he is immensely pale… and handsome. The effect he has on me is almost instantaneous. An almost electric current seems to pass between us, which only seems to intensify the closer he is to me, but I am afraid of getting too close, afraid of getting shocked.
    TAB “What are you looking at Ms. Hartz?” Harold swivels around in his high backed leather chair and stares straight at Mace with an expression… oddly uncomprehending. I don’t know how he can’t see Mace; he is right in front of his face, plain as day! “Kiana... Are you okay?” He turns back to me with a questioning look in his black eyes. I can’t answer him because Mace is sauntering up to Dr. Keller as if he owned the place. I tear my gaze away from him for a second just to stare at Harold with amazement.
    TAB “You really can’t see him?” My voice is quiet and my hands are shaking with fear. ‘Maybe I am insane.’ The thought races through my brain, but quickly vanishes as Mace is upon us. I turn to face him and Dr. Keller turns with me, staring at nothing but the dust particles floating in a stream of sunlight coming from his violet adorned window – he really has no sense in color coordinating. I know he can’t see what I’m seeing; he can’t see the knife that Mace is pulling from his pants pocket. He can’t see the way Mace’s eyes linger almost hungrily at his throat and his fingers twitch with anticipation. No one can see it but me.
    TAB “You’re scaring me Kiana! What’s hap-“ But he doesn’t finish because at that instant Mace jumps forward and slices his knife across the doctor’s throat. I open my mouth to scream, but all that comes out is a sob. Mace is standing on top of Harold and by the look on his face and the last fleeting glance the doctor gives me; I know that he finally sees Mace.
    TAB It’s all too much and I find myself backing up; stumbling into the couch. My knees buckle and I fall to the floor. Mace watches me with an amused expression and carelessly wipes the blood from his knife onto his jeans where it leaves a repulsive streak. His eyes gleam happily behind the curtain of his hair and his smile is anything but pleasing. I’m shaking almost uncontrollably and my whole body is drenched in a cold sweat.
    TAB “Kiana… Kiana… Kiana.” Mace holds out his fingers and brushes them against each other, tsking with his lips. “I told you not to tell anyone about me, and look what you go and do.” He advances on me and obligingly, I back up. “I didn’t want to kill that nice man, but you made me do it.” My back is pressed up against the bookcase and the binding of the encyclopedias press sharply into it. “You are the reason for everything I do.” I pull myself up into a standing position with my hands searching hurriedly for anything that could be used as a weapon. Our gazes meet and lock, piercing blue against emerald green. A chill goes down my spine as his presence is made aware in every single cell in my body. My heart beats faster in my chest and my knees become weak, with fright or something else; I don’t know.
    TAB He’s in front of me now and I hold my breath, afraid of what he is going to do. His gaze never strays from mine as he reaches behind me and takes a hold of my wrists. “That won’t do you any good my sweat heart. You can’t hurt me.” He brings them down to my sides and holds them firm in a steel grip. I pull away from him, but he advances until we are chest to chest, merely a hairs breadth apart. He transfers both my hands into his one and lifts his free hand to my face. “I thought you knew that.” He runs his fingers across my cheek and traces them around my lips. I yank my face away, but he grabs it back and holds my gaze with his piercing one. “Don’t look away from me…. It won’t hurt as bad if you don’t.”
    TABMy expression changes from one of fright to one of confusion as I can’t comprehend what he is meaning. My mind searches for some sanity in the situation. My thoughts are abruptly stopped by the explosion of pain that comes from my chest. I tear my gaze from his and stare down at the knife protruding from my chest. Blood wells up around the hilt and starts to stream down my shirt and drop to the floor. I look back up at Mace’s pained, but smiling face as gurgling fills my mouth and blood starts to trickle out. “I warned you Kiana,” he says, wiping away the blood from my lips before he kisses them.
    TAB “You made me do it.” Mace steps back and I slide down the bookcase, leaving a trail of blood on the bindings of all the books. I watch as he steps around the couch and heads for the door and stops to look back at me. My vision is becoming tunnel-like and everything is fuzzy around the edges. I hear my self gurgling and feel as the heat escapes from my body. Mace is trying to say something, but I can’t understand as I’m finally pulled under and the pain vanishes completely.

    TAB“Hello, I’m Kathy Allen and welcome to the local ten o’clock news. Today, havoc arrived late this afternoon in Hysham, Montana at a local therapist’s office downtown. Rachel Vander is on the scene to key you in.”
    TAB“Thank you Kathy. I’m here outside the office of one of our very own therapists. Everything seemed like a normal day here in Hysham, but apparently not so in the confines of this building. Earlier today, Dr. Keller was murdered in his own office by a woman he had been trying to help. Incidentally, she was found dead at the scene also; she stabbed herself with the very knife she used to kill Dr. Keller. We are not disclosing the name of the murderess, but it is safe to say that she will not be striking again. Back to you Kathy….”

    TABMace clicks a button on the remote to pause the image of Rachel. He leans closer to the old set and grins to himself. In the top left hand corner, the violet curtains are pushed aside ever so slightly and he can just make out the face of a man; his face. He shuts the television off and leans back in his chair. A job well done, indeed; no one suspects he actually killed them both… and no one ever will.