By Emily Oliver

I’ve been told I’m paranoid. I mean, not that I’m told much of anything anymore. That’s just another beautiful result of moving to the middle of nowhere: people don’t feel as inclined to come tell you what they think. Not like in the city, with everyone constantly nagging me—“You need to get out of the house.” “Stop worrying so much.” “You need some serious help.”

No, the country is much better. Quieter. No one to tell me I’m wrong about the things I’ve seen with my own eyes.

You see, I knew they were watching me. A shadow here, an unmarked car there. Try and tell me it’s not suspicious when you’ve heard footsteps behind you for the last three blocks and when you turn around, no one is there. Try and tell me there’s no reason to be jumpy when you feel eyes burning into your skull from all directions.

It wasn’t always like this. Things changed that night, the one when Mia was supposed to come home from work and never did. I was looking out the window, I remember, watching for her car. I thought maybe I should call again. She wasn’t normally that late. I stepped away for a second to check the voicemail on our landline. Maybe I’d missed a message from her on there. I mean, it was unlikely considering we’d used that number maybe twice in the last ten years, but it was still possible.

I saw it when I turned back. Mia, dead. I saw it, more clearly than I’ve ever seen anything. There was so much blood, oh god, the blood. I raced over to the window, begging my eyes to see something different.

The thing is, they did.

One moment, I saw through that window Mia’s lifeless corpse sprawled haphazardly on the pavement. The next, nothing at all. Pavement wiped completely clean.

That’s when they started watching me.

I called the police. Of course I did. I was told I was crazy. There was no evidence of anything happening outside that window. No evidence of anything at all except my wife leaving me, according to one officer. He didn’t know Mia the way I did. She never would have done that. I tried to wait for answers as long as possible. Except, how long am I supposed to wait when the police have completely written me off and the feeling of being followed everywhere I go grows stronger and stronger every day? That’s why I moved to the country, where they can’t find me, where no one will ever find me again.

I’ve been told I’m paranoid. But wouldn’t you be too, after that?