The Mysterious Stranger - A Short Story
The flight had landed and she was anxious. Her heart was fluttering, beating loudly and ready to jump out of her chest. It was as if she had stepped out of a strenuous cardio class. Thankfully there was no accompanying sweat or else she would be deeply embarrassed. She tried to control herself, her emotions, her random urges to get up from her seat and run down the aisle screaming loudly. What was happening to her? Was she out of her mind? The cause of her anxiety and almost panic attack was the person sitting one row behind her.
She did not understand. She had never seen him before, and she had a pretty good memory. She didn’t recall ever in her life coming across this person, so why did he seem so familiar? And most importantly why was she suddenly reacting so strongly on seeing this stranger? The reactions had started the first time she had eye contact with him, which was when she boarded the flight and was trying to stow her small carryon bag into the overhead bin. The 6 feet tall stranger with a better reach as compared to her 5’2 self, had graciously offered to help her and she had let him. His hand had grazed hers making her freeze. She had inadvertently strayed few seconds looking into his blue eyes while she thanked him. She had goose bumps all over her arms. Suddenly her teeth were chattering as she managed to utter a jittery “Thank you”.
Later when the seat belt sign was turned off, she had made fake bathroom trips just to get a better glance at him, to get a better chance at recognizing him in case she had missed it is the first place. Blue plaid shirt, black jeans, with bronze hair, a slight stubble, hint of an Australian accent which she detected when he spoke to the little girl sitting next to him - there was no way she knew him. He seemed to be travelling alone because he was asking the woman sitting with the little girl (presumably the mother) for good places to eat in Manhattan. The flight was headed to New York city and she picked up from his conversation as she shamelessly eavesdropped, that this was his first time in the city, he was visiting on work.
Her next reaction had been to dismiss all this as her mind playing tricks on her out of sheer boredom. It was true - she had been bored out of her wits lately. Moreover, she had finished reading the most enticing series of books, “The Periwinkle Chronicles”(c), a mystery series about art thefts. It was a chance find, and she had thoroughly enjoyed them and was sad that there were no more left in the series to read. The lack of any exciting projects or books in her life was making her slightly batty she concluded. She tried to concentrate on her trip, looking forward to visiting her cousin. But then she remembered her cousin’s annoying husband and became gloomy. She chided herself for focusing on the negatives and was about to think about the attractions of the city when she felt the back of her head burning. She could feel the stranger looking at her.
She tried to think again, maybe he knew her from somewhere. Well then he should be the one having this unexplainable reaction, not her. Nothing made sense, maybe he was a terrorist and her sixth sense was warning her about an attack. But it wasn’t fear that she felt, it something more intense, it was an adrenaline rush, her mind was signaling that something exciting was about to happen. Was she losing her mind? Perhaps she was. She went through her mental database again and tried to place him, no this was a total stranger. She needed to get all this under control. And now that the flight had landed, she had a chance to do just that, just get out of here, away from him.
The passengers were de-boarding now, he must have been a few spots behind her. As the distance grew, her heart eased and stopped pounding madly. He must have crossed to the other line exiting the plane, because she came face to face with him again at the gate of the aircraft. And as she was about to step out, he smiled at her and said, “Goodbye, hope you have a nice stay”. She was taken by surprise and that made her loose her footing and she stumbled badly and started falling and landed with a crash.
She got up only to realize that she was in her bed, her own bedroom, cold sweat dripping from her forehead. This had been a dream after all. What a strange dream she thought. She could remember everything with great clarity, right from the color of his shirt to that of his eyes. It was just so weird. She had been fretting over the idea of visiting her cousin and her sissy husband and that could have triggered this odd dream. This strange feeling was going to stay with her all day at work.
Later that day after she had gotten home, she settled in front of her laptop with a nice cup of tea, catching up on news and emails. On a whim, she browsed to the website of “The Periwinkle Chronicles (c)”, her latest favorite book series. She was excited to read that they had finalized the deal to make a movie on the first three books. The next page in the article just knocked her off her chair. They had announced the cast members that very day and the lead character of “Detective Winkle” was to be played by an unknown Australian actor “Matt Garelson”. He was none other than the stranger from her dream.
(c) Simply Untangled
- The Mysterious Stranger (Part 2) - Ring of Purpality
The flight had landed, she was anxious again. For this was no dream. She was flying out to New York City for real, completely on a whim. Yes, she had officially lost her mind. Who chases an unexplainable and...