The old man comes in from outside and goes into his wife’s sewing room, where she was working on a scarf.

“Maggie, I wish you’d let me smoke inside tonight,” he said.

“What for?” She asked, not looking at him.

“Well…I just wish you would,” he said.

“There must be a reason.”

He hesitated, then goes on. “Well, I think somebody’s stalkin’ me. I can’t see ’em, but I can hear ’em gettin’ closer all the time.”

She laughed. “Oh, Honey, I didn’t think you watched them scary movies.”

Annoyed, he said, “Damn it, woman, I ain’t talkin’ ’bout movies. Somebody’s stalkin’ my ass out there and no matter where I look, even with a flashlight, I can’t see ’em.

“It’s kinda making me nervous,” he added, more quietly.

She turned to look at him sternly, and said, “Bob, quit your cussing. And you know good and well that’s just the wind blowing leaves around. Silly man. You’ve heard it your whole life. I ain’t gonna have the house smelling like smoke again just ’cause you finally got spooked in your old age.”

He turned and went into the kitchen for a drink before he could say something that started a real fight. Almost fifty years of marriage had taught him that.

He went without smoking for as long as he can, but finally at 11 after the news and Maggie had gone to bed, he couldn’t wait anymore, so he stepped out onto the porch.

He lit his cigarette and tried to look around the yard. Even with his glasses on, his vision seemed to get worse every day. They live down in a wooded holler, so at night, it’s almost pitch black, and the closest neighbors are five miles away. He used to have a good dog named Bruce, but he died last Summer. Maggie never liked him, but Bob sure missed him.

The wind was blowing, and the leaves were rustling. He knew he heard that. Maybe that is all he heard. He thought about opening the door and switching on the porch light, although he didn’t like to because of the bugs. But hell, that noise was so damn creepy. Getting louder and closer, louder and closer.

Although it’s early Spring, and getting warm even at night, he shivered. Even at 70, Bob didn’t like to admit he was scared, but there it was.

Then, all of a sudden, the sound stopped. He tried looking around again…nothing. He grinned, confused.

Bullshit, he thought, as he tossed the finished butt. The old woman’s probably right, and I’m just getting crazier. It’s nothing but the damned old—

Before he finished his thought, the knife was thrust deep in his chest. He was too stunned to even cry out, and he never saw his attacker. He gasped and staggered and fell off the porch, breaking his hip. He was dead within just a few minutes.

The last sound he heard was a woman laughing.

by Brian Taylor

From: Friday Flash Fiction

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