They say that you can speak what you need into existence, and so, I suppose you have to be careful about the lies that you tell. It sounds like a simple lesson, but it’s one that I’ve learned in the worst way imaginable.
Have you ever said something without thinking? Have you ever hurt someone without meaning to? It happens all the time, doesn’t it? It’s just part of life, but you can’t take it back.
I never meant for any of this to happen, but she’s on her way here now. She’s only a few minutes away and when she gets here, my life is over, in every sense, so I’m letting you know, whoever finds this letter, that you must be careful what you say, and never tell a lie that you can’t handle coming true. She’s going to kill me. I wish I could stop her, but I can’t. Please, just listen to what I’m saying. Be careful what you say.
It all started with Lorna.
Lorna was the first name that came to mind when Jessie asked me on a date. Jessie was… well… I don’t know. We’d never spoken, and she had always kept to herself, so I knew nothing about her, except for the fact that everyone thought she was a bit strange. I didn’t really know what to say to her when she asked me. I had barely even noticed her day to day.
People in the office used to joke about her having a crush on me, and sometimes, I thought she might, because of the way she’d stare over from her desk when she thought I wasn’t looking, but I didn’t think about it too much, because she’d never actually acted on it. She’d bring me lunch every day, cups of coffee every morning when I arrived at work, and I suppose maybe I should have seen it coming, but I was never the best at reading signs. When she finally plucked up the courage to ask me out, I panicked and just made up a girlfriend.
It sounds stupid, because it was, but it was a reflex, I guess.
Her name was Lorna, named after the cat I’d had as a kid, and we’d been together for a few years, according to my rushed, ridiculous lie. Jessie’s face fell, her heart shattering before my eyes, and I felt awful, but I’d already told the lie, and I had to see it through. She shuffled away without another word, sniffling a little, and I tried to get on with my day, hoping she’d get over it.
She did not get over it.
Jessie started talking to me more after our first conversation, seemingly emboldened by the rejection, and she was full of questions about Lorna.
I was suddenly trapped in my lie, having to come up with reasons for why Lorna never accompanied me to office social events (she wasn’t out to her family yet), why I’d never mentioned her before (we’re very private) or why nobody else had heard about her (again, we’re very private). She started asking what Lorna looked like, and again, I panicked, picking several aesthetics from thin air and pushing them together to create my imaginary girlfriend.
The day after that conversation, Jessie arrived at the office with a freshly cut and dyed blonde bob, and was wearing a halter neck summer dress, just as I’d described Lorna. It creeped me out a little, but I just tried to forget about it. Jessie was strange, and off putting, but so far, harmless.
It was just a haircut, and a dress. It was nothing to worry about. She was a little scary, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I stayed away from her and tried not to look when she’d stare from her desk, and I just hoped she’d get over it.
Jessie asked me more about Lorna. She wanted to know what she was like, what I liked about her, all the details. I just kept spinning lies. I even took the opportunity to try and scare Jessie off, making up elaborate stories about Lorna’s jealousy. I suppose I hoped that she would worry about Lorna coming after her, but she didn’t seem to get the message.
Every day, she had more and more questions about Lorna, and I’d feed her lie after lie, watching her slowly emulate the girl. I don’t even know why I did it. I think I just hoped she’d start to think that she couldn’t compete, but instead, she just tried as hard as she could to be an impossible girl. It all came to a head a few months later. Jessie was buzzing around my desk, asking questions for her attempts to live vicariously through Lorna, and I just didn’t have the patience for it. I shouted at her, telling her to leave me alone. I felt guilty instantly. She looked crushed, just like she had the first time I turned her down, but, well… it had to be done, didn’t it?
She backed off after that, and I didn’t hear much more from her. It was just the same sad looks from across the office but nothing more. Not hearing from her every day allowed her to fade back into the background.
As time went on, I forgot about Jessie, and about Lorna, and I met Dawn. She was perfect. I was crazy about her the second we met, and that was something I’ll regret for the rest of my life.
Dawn and I hit it off right away. We were inseparable. Everyone could see the chemistry between us, including Jessie. She was furious, storming around the office in a rage, shooting daggers at me every time she looked my way, but that was just the start. She cornered me in the office canteen, pushing me up against the wall with a sneer.
“What would Lorna say?” She whispered, her fingers closing around my throat, her eyes manic. “I’m going to tell her” I struggled against her grip, but she sank her fingernails into my flesh, pulling a yelp of pain from my lips. “I’m going to tell her.” Her nails dug into my skin, blood trickling down her fingers as she tightened her grip. I choked under her grasp, her eyes burning into mine with a fury I’d never seen. The others pulled her back, throwing her to the ground as I fell to my knees, spluttering as a few of my colleagues rushed to help me. Jessie was spitting and screaming, restrained by a few of the bigger guys at the office, but they were clearly struggling to keep her away from me.
She was suspended from work after that, but it didn’t keep her away from me. I created a monster, I guess. Love, lust or whatever it was Jessie was feeling was intense. She couldn’t stop herself. She started showing up at my flat, all hours of the day. She didn’t scream and shout like she did at the office, she’d just stand on the pavement across the road, staring up at the window for hours. No matter the weather, rain or shine, every evening after work, she’d be across the road, watching me.
I called the police, but they’d just tell me again and again that until she actually entered my flat or hurt me, there was nothing they could do, so there she stayed, staring up at my window for hours on end.
Her suspension at work was lifted but she never came back to the office. She’d still stand outside of my flat, and started holding vigil outside the office too, just watching me. It was uncomfortable, unsettling, but for the most part, unthreatening. I guess she had got her violent urges out of her system, and all she wanted to do was watch, so after a while, it just became another part of my life. That sounds crazy, but she just kind of faded into the background. I barely even noticed her day to day.
Time went on, and Jessie just became another aspect of my life. She was just… there. She was always watching, but that was all. My life moved on. I got a promotion at work, Dawn and I adopted a cat from the local shelter. Christmas was coming, and we’d talked about getting a bigger place, maybe taking some bigger steps together, so we were supposed to be saving our money, but there was one, rather expensive gift that I couldn’t stop myself from buying.
I was walking home, the ring burning a hole in my pocket, begging me to ask the question when I saw Jessie across from the flat. I wouldn’t have noticed, and I almost didn’t, but as I turned to close the door and head upstairs, I looked over the road, and there she was, side by side with an almost identical woman.
I opened the door again, glancing over and there they were. Jessie, looking back with a big smile, and by her side, a stranger who seemed almost familiar, but I couldn’t quite place her.
They didn’t say a word, they just watched, and as I slowly retreated into the flat, I knew they were still there. I sat by the window, watching them for most of the night, unable to escape the unease of them. Jessie hadn’t bothered me for a long time. She was there, but that was all. Her new friend added something more sinister to the situation. She seemed so familiar, and she just stared up at me as I stared down at her, silence and suspicion between us.
I must have fallen asleep at some point. I woke up, and they were still there, soaked from the rain and watching my window as the first snow of winter began to fall from the sky. They stayed through the storm, always there whenever I checked. Days passed. I went to work, I took Dawn for drinks, for dinner. We went shopping. Life went on, again, and Jessie, along with her new friend faded into the background.
I barely noticed them, until this morning.
Dawn was gone when I woke up. It was a Sunday, so neither of us had work. I walked around the flat, calling out to her, but the whole place was silent. I called her phone, but it just went straight to her voicemail. There was more silence as I hung up, wandering the flat again, checking places I already knew were empty as my heart raced. The silence was stifling, but short lived. All of a sudden, there was a thud against the window. I rushed to the living room, but there was more silence, and I could see nothing out of the ordinary. Jessie was across the street, as usual, wearing matching smiles with her new friend. They kept their hands behind their backs, staring up at me, as usual.
I looked down, trying Dawn’s number again, sighing as her voicemail message began immediately. There was another thud against the window, and my eyes snapped up, watching blood drip down the glass onto the snow that gathered on the window ledge.
I stepped forward, chilled as my heart pounded, watching as Jessie and her friend stepped back onto the pavement. Pressing my fingers against the glass, I looked down at them, watching Jessie’s friend pull her hands from behind her back with a grin, my stomach turning as I watched her raise Dawn’s head above her own. That was when it all fell into place. My lie was across the street, holding my lover’s head in her hands. I couldn’t understand how. I couldn’t understand why, but Lorna was across the street, somehow in the flesh, despite being fictional.
I fumbled with my phone, trying to call for help, my eyes blinded with tears, the two girls walking closer to the edge of the pavement as my mind raced. I felt like I was losing my mind, but, hey, maybe that’s what I deserve.
I did this. I don’t know how, but I did. I told a lie, and now, it’s become the truth. I didn’t mean to hurt anybody, but it doesn’t matter. She doesn’t care. She’s already forced her way through the door downstairs, and I can hear her outside the front door of the flat. It won’t be much longer now. I didn’t mean to hurt anybody, but it doesn’t matter, because Lorna is such a jealous girl.