The Pursuer

The dread was almost paralysing by now. The lights of the carpark were bright in the gathering gloom ahead of them. Their pace was already erratic, but the sight made them pause. John held his hand out, stopping Pam and Lisa in a sudden stumble beside him. “Wait.”

He scanned the view ahead of them. It all looked clear. Common sense said they couldn’t have been beaten there. Common sense said there was a clear path between them and the safety of the car. Common sense said there was nothing to fear. Common sense said don’t turn round.

He couldn’t listen to common sense. He looked back at Pam and Lisa, and the terror in their eyes. Then his gaze was drawn further back into the evening’s gathering dark. The eyes reflected the carpark lights. They were closer, always closer. Every time they turned round, they were nearer. No matter how far they’d walked in their attempt to lose the owners of those eyes, they were there every time they turned round.

The eyes were yellow in the sodium lights, like slits looking into an inferno. All else was lost in the darkness. Their stalker was silent, unmoving, and relentless.

He tried to control the jolt of fear and the waver in his voice. “Come on girls, let’s get going.” He took Pam’s cold hand in his and drew them with him as he started towards the safety of the lights. He ignored what sounded like movement behind them. He knew what he would see.

It was their own fault. They’d seen the signs, and they’d been warned. In the moment though little Lisa had been unable to resist breaking the rules. When nothing bad had happened straight away, he had done the same. Then, when they’d tried to leave they had realised why the signs had been so specific.

The slow pursuit had been immediate. At first they’d laughed it off. The slow pursuer was always behind them, always watching, always getting closer. Nearer and nearer it had got, and now the final distance was about to be closed.

They stumbled into a ragged run as soon as they hit the tarmac. Behind them they heard the pursuer running after them. Keys were ready, the safety of the car was close. As he practically bundled his family in, he looked back once more.

The deer stood at the edge of the light and walked slowly towards him, hunger, or at least appetite, clear in its body language. As he jumped in and started the car to escape, they all vowed never to feed the deer in Bushy Park again