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The Passenger
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The Passenger
A short story from the point of view of a spectral being that manipulates strangers into acting on his whims.
[778 words]
Paul Simon Gregory
I am a 31 year old married father of one who had been writing for many years but have only just got a PC so am trying to get feedback on samples of my work as I would love to have my novel "Pop is Dead" published someone when it is completed.
[September 2004]
[email protected]
The Passenger
Paul Simon Gregory

The Passenger

I am the shadow man.
I am the phantom.
I am the nagging doubt in the back of your mind.
I am the thing you worry about but canít place.
I have been here forever and you will never know I exist unless I choose you.

I first saw her standing in line at a record store. I liked the record that she was buying, what attracted my attention was something that trivial. It always is the little things that bring you into my sight.
Remember that.

I followed her that night and lurked in the shadows of her home watching from the shadows of the corners of her rooms. I saw the tension between her and the longtime partner that stays over once in a while. He was there that night, they argued. Looking through the walls into the neighbouring building I could see that those next door could hear. I knew that this was regular occurrence whenever he comes to stay. The neighbours, a quiet middle aged couple, were sitting at their dining table eating dinner. The looks they shoot at each other says that they have grown accustomed to the noise.
They will be perfect witnesses.

He leaves after a blazing row over nothing and goes off to get drunk.
I follow him around the bars, smile as he knocks back drink after drink, laugh as he snorts cocaine from the toilet seats.
When he eventually arrives home to the flat he shares with his work colleague he has worked himself into a state of helplessness. His colleague awakes and sits with him as he cries about how much he loves her and how he cannot please her no matter how much he tries. His friend nods in all the right places, adds a drop of wisdom in the awkward pauses. He too is used to this endless cycle of events.
He too will make a perfect witness to the end.

I return to the woman and find her sleeping. No tossing and turning for her, just a nice deep slumber. I enter her dreams and stroll around her mind for a short time. She has enough anger stored for two people, her subconscious shows me a history of bullying and victimisation. Her treatment of her beau is payback.

It will be easy to make her snap.

The following day is their last together, only I havenít let them on this little fact yet.

At both of their places of work I manipulate the day so that both of them reach the place I need them to be. By the evening when he arrives at her door for the ritual night of abuse I dart inside and start to prepare.
Whilst they argue I place the knives within reach, I open the front door slightly, I turn up the heating, I place alcohol in their line of vision, I open the windows so that the neighbours will hear the screams.

Within an hour he is sobbing like a child. He finds it hard to catch his breath. She thinks he is pathetic. His helplessness makes her feel stronger. I whisper in his ear that it is time to cut the bonds that tie him to her.
He obeys.
It is her turn to switch on the waterworks. She cannot lose her symbolic punch bag, she cannot go back to her weakened mental state.
I whisper to her that the only way to show him who is in charge is to use violence. She picks up the knife I place by her hand and puts it to her chest. She makes the age old threat of suicide if left alone.
He obeys.
He rushes to her to take away the knife. I flick her switch, I whisper that he means to hurt her like They did. The knife plunges into his eye and it bursts like a water balloon. The screams send the neighbours rushing from their house to the source of the cry. The door is open, they enter to find her raining blows onto his bowed head. The knife is covered in slivers of brain that spray the witnesses as they stand there shocked.
It is finished.

I stand beneath the streetlight as the police lead her away.
I have made an impact on this quiet suburban street. I given life as well as taking it away. The inhabitants of the street line the pavement watching the horror unfolding before them. I sense excitement in most of them. Its like TV to them. Its then that I see the youth standing by a wall a few yards away. He is wearing a badge on his lapel. This catches my eye as the blue light bounces off it.
I cross the road and take my place beside him.


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© 2004 Paul Simon Gregory
September 2004

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