Intuition’s Whisper with Footsteps in the Dark

Faaiz Gilani
5 min readApr 24, 2024

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Is this because of all the random YouTube videos I have watched on serial killers and crime? Is my caution misplaced? Or are my nerves on alert as I know of the possible consequences?

That’s a picture from 9 p.m with streets relatively empty

Chariots were racing in my mind. What do I do? Who do I ask for help? Is he even following me? Do I do a subtle glance to get a better view? Well, I may have imagined myself showing immense bravery when imagining such scenarios, but now I am standing on a footpath at 1 a.m., with a guy following me for the last fifteen minutes, calmly waiting for the signal to turn green right next to me, I was silently screaming for help!

The night was surprisingly calm. The moon gleamed with no cloud in sight. Typical Glasgow wind that pierces your chest was nowhere to be seen, with the weather being brilliant for a walk. With a smirk, I began my routine walk back home. It’s not unusual for me to walk at this hour, and with the city being well-lit, safety has not been a concern (except for a rare drunk guy). Strolling through the roads, one turn, two turns, I was covering a great distance. But then again at any other hour, people would be hustling through the spaces, but this late at night, even the owls considered heading back home.

As I crossed a hotel, my ears picked up the low whisper of leather shoes pacing behind me on the pavement. Woah. Peter Parker may have had the ‘spider tingle’, but I also got a random intuition that danger is nearby. Those who know me are aware that I tend to walk fast, and keeping up is not easy. To console my worries, my steps were faster than before, without making the follower notice that I intended to increase the distance. But my blood went cold, as the ‘low whisper’ from the shoes now turned into a ‘roar’ as my follower drastically increased their speed. This strategy was not going to work as with not even a single soul nearby, even with a rapid dash, my follower could catch up.

Soon, reciting prayers, my walk returned to the usual pace, with the expectation that the person on my trail would abide by the imagined rule in my head. “If I walk fast, they walk fast. If I slow down, they will also do the same”. And to my surprise, that is what happened. Now, it was time to figure out who this random person was. The act had to be subtle to ensure they didn’t know I was trying to get a glimpse of their face. Pretending to look at the hotels I was passing by, my neck turned towards the right, with the eyes extending to their furthest, with the mission of catching every detail of my stalker. Must be a junkie from his late twenties, trailing to get some money. But to my horror, the figure reminded me of all the criminal serial killer documentaries I binge-watched. You could place him in a crowd and no one would ever suspect him. A man in his mid-forties, with spectacles and a face you would find passing smiles to every colleague in the office. A man you would look at and trust without a shadow of a doubt.

“Maybe today’s the day?” was whispered by my sunken heart as each step felt heavier. The brain dwelled in a state of delusion, imagining the reaction of all of my loved ones when they eventually received the news. Would they even know about it? Who will even tell them? If he takes my wallet and phone, would anyone know who I am? The thoughts kept getting worse, and my brain intervened! As someone who faces adversities every day in this new city, I just needed to navigate myself through this situation too! Enough with the self-pity it was time to act! He may be following me, but I still have a trick up my sleeve — the fact that I am aware of the stalker right behind me.

He would not risk anything at a traffic light crossing, would he? There are cameras there. With this belief, I stopped at the side of the road, waiting for the green light to pass. And that is when he caught up. Like a ghostly figure, he stood two feet away, sending chills down my spine. Ignoring my mere existence, his eyes were fixated on the other side of the road. The signal turned green and I intentionally stalled my departure, forcing him to cross the road first. With him halfway across, I began walking behind, with my stalker now in front of me. This carried on for a solid five minutes, with his agitation being fairly visible. His neck kept moving around, trying to keep a check on my movements, as I started planning my escape.

Abruptly, he kneeled and attempted to tie one of his laces. That was when I knew I found my moment. With him unprepared, I sprinted past him and ran as fast as I could. The anonymous follower fumbled but managed to find his feet and was now in pursuit. His mouth greeted me with the most vicious abuses I have heard. Despite the possible age difference and my being in good shape, there wasn’t a clear gap between the two. The abuses he earlier hurled at me were now replaced by deafening screams. Imagine a person chasing you in the middle of the night and screaming at you. Yeah, not a fun sight.

To claim that I outsmarted him with some genius manoeuvres would be a lie. It was down to sheer luck. As he began screaming, the odd passing-by people rushed towards the scene. As I spotted a group of three men across the road, I changed directions and sprinted towards them. As I crossed them, I hoped one of them would stop the notorious chaser and inquire. But, he just stopped?!!! He never dared come towards the three strangers. But the danger was not over as I knew the streets were inter-connected and could come across my not-so-friendly stalker again. Therefore, for the next twenty minutes, I walked away from my actual destination, anticipating the stalker to be there, and embarked on a different path altogether.

It’s been more than a week, and with every passing moment, I re-evaluate the entire incident, with a mixed bag of emotions. Scared, knowing that it could happen again and grateful, as I avoided something I never imagined. But yes, now I no longer find it easy walking on the road at night and have to ask friends whenever the situation looks unfavourable.

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Faaiz Gilani

An aspiring writer, with no prior writing experience, talking about his experiences to help others getting bored in Quarantine……….enjoy my short stories!