She had been through here hundreds of times but today, for some reason, it gave her the creeps. Served her right for watching that British murder mystery last night. She had sworn off watching those types of shows because they were dark and made her uneasy. But, she didn’t want to come across as a Scaredy cat. Plus, she wanted to impress Roland, the new guy in school.
Everyone seemed to think he liked her but she wasn’t as sure. He looked at her a lot, though and was always singling her out when she was with her friends. Still, she didn’t want to get her hopes up just yet. She’d been burned before by another guy who she thought checked for her but it turned out that he was only interested in one thing and when she didn’t give it to him, he dropped her like a hot potato. It took weeks for her to get over him although her friends kept telling her that he was a jerk, not worth pining over. And they were right, of course. The last she heard of him was that he had gotten a cheerleader pregnant and had to drop out of school to support her and the child. That could have been her although, she would like to think that she was a lot smarter than that.
Roland was a lot different from all the other guys. He was quiet but engaging once you got to know him. He was very smart too. They talked about all sorts of things and had similar interests. He didn’t talk much about his family, though. He was an only child who lived with his mother. His father died when he was twelve under very mysterious circumstances. Many people thought that his death was suspicious but there wasn’t any evidence to prove that. Some even intimated that it was his wife who had done him in.
Roland’s mother was a tall, thin and pale woman who hardly smiled. For some inexplicable reason, she got the chills whenever she saw her. Her pale blond hair didn’t go with her dark eyes which seemed to see through a person. She shivered now and her steps quickened. Roland was nothing like his mother. She felt comfortable around him.
As she watched the sunlight flitter among the trees, she realized that she didn’t start feeling uneasy coming through these woods until after Roland and his mother moved into town. Tomorrow, she would walk the longer way.
Strange, the track seemed much longer today. Did it always take this long to get to her house? Hunching her shoulders, head down, she continued on, her heartbeat increasing with each step, trying to ignore the sensation that she was being watched. In a few minutes, she would be home, quarreling with her tiresome brother and enjoying Mom’s delicious meat loaf.
From behind the trees, a figure moved. He watched her retreating back. Beads of perspiration stood on his forehead and he dabbed them with his handkerchief. When he was done, he tucked it back into his breast pocket, so that the edge with the monogrammed letter R was sticking out. This girl was different from the other girls. He really liked her and was thinking of going steady with her but that would only upset Mother and…he tried not to think of what would happen. He didn’t want this girl to end up like the others…or like Father…