The stalker

Man, this guy is amazing, Leandra thought to herself. How could I not fall in love?

The slender woman stretched her legs, alternately, one to each side from her crouched position. She watched, through the densely grown hedge, as the target of her affections unloaded several large black bags from his SUV. She watched him drag those bags through the wrought-iron gate that led to his immaculately manicured back lawn.

“Today, Jean-Pierre is looking mighty fine in his tight jeans and Docs. He’s wearing a bright orange shirt, but it looks amazing on him. He can pull off anything,” Leandra whispered into the tiny microphone of her smartphone. Her notes on the good-looking man of her dreams were copious, all dictated quietly into the notetaker app on her phone.

“He’s carrying some bags,” she continued, “They almost look like garbage bags. But I don’t know why he’d be taking them into his back yard.”

Leandra leaned forward, craning futility after Jean-Pierre. But the man had vanished into his yard. She waited for several minutes, crouched painfully behind the neighbor’s hedges, but her heart’s desire never reappeared.

Thinking the man had simply gone about his business and then retired for the night, Leandra swiftly rose from her hiding place and scurried across the darkening night to slip through the, fortunately, unlocked, ornate wrought-iron gate.

The dark was deep in Jean-Pierre’s back yard. No lights from the street penetrated so far and the moon had waned to almost nothing. Leandra paused, fidgeting, as she waited for her eyes to adjust to the new levels of blackness before her eyes.

A metallic sound nearby almost made her drop her phone. Another metallic sound, slightly further away, caused Leandra to whip her device forward, thumb pressing into the flashlight app she’d recently installed.

Brilliant white light burst from her hand, the tiny LED bulb brightening everything within several feet to visible levels. The scene unfolding before her made her stomach lurch sideways.

Jean-Pierre, her heart’s heartbeat, stood before her, stripped of his clothes, an open garbage back in front of his feet. Spilling from the torn black plastic were several body parts. Leandra saw, with her first horrified glance, a dark arm, two pale left feet, and a mop of blonde, curly hair. She squeezed her eyes shut, fumbling with her phone, trying to turn off the cold spotlight.

Panicked, she turned to the right, blindly searching for a way out of the nightmare, but her foot stumbled upon a chilled, fleshy object on the shorn grass. Reflexively, she looked at the thing in her way. A gruesome, Frankenstein’s monster of a child’s doll.

She screamed as the psychotic man of her dreams lunged for her and caught her arm.

“Yes! Just what I needed!”

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