'Prickly Fingers' by Miranda Kate
The tips of Fraser’s fingers tingled. He glanced over his shoulder, but couldn’t see anyone else in the library. He looked back at his hands. They were never wrong.
He put his pen down, his chain of thought now broken and stretched, leaning back in his chair, listening. His ears strained for the minutest of sounds, a turn of a page, a breath, but there was nothing. His fingers hadn’t given up though; it felt like hundreds of pins were attacking them.
He sat forward and gathered his books together, sliding them carefully into his backpack, making as little noise as possible. Then he heard it; a tiny scrap across a page.
Fraser had narrowed down his stalker to one of two girls on his course. He should be flattered but he was tired of their efforts to debunk him. They thought it was funny. They liked to tease him. They pretend they were interested in him, but they weren’t, it was his fingers they were fascinated by.
He scanned the aisles as he left, catching a glimpse of something light in the second to last one. It was the blonde.
Once out Fraser dashed to the right, hiding behind a large potted plant at the entrance, and waited. When she appeared he watched her pause, looking round for him, before heading across the lawns back to the resident halls.
He followed - stalkee turned stalker.
He could see her head flitting from side to side. Did she sense someone watching her? Did her body give her signals about the presence of unseen people too? How did it make her feel? Comfortable? He moved closer.
She stepped into the shadow of a mature oak and he reached out, putting a hand on her shoulder. He felt her gasp as she stopped. He moved up against her, his hand sliding round to her throat, his mouth by her ear.
“Looking for me?”
“Yes,” she breathed.
“Thought you could outsmart me, did you?”
A nervous titter escaped her lips as his prickling fingers massaged her larynx. “Yes”.
“Sorry to disappoint but my fingers tell me everything.” His grip tightened on her throat. “Many ask what it feels like.”
She started to gag, a hand coming up to pull his away, but he ignored it.
“And I tell them it’s a bit like pins and needles.”
Her hand batted at his.
“Which is caused by the circulation being cut off.”
The batting slowed.
“And the limbs going numb.”
Her hand dropped.
“Some say dead even.”
Her body went limp. He lowered it to the ground, laying it in a foetal position so passersby would think she was sleeping. He stood, adjusting the backpack on his shoulder, and looked at her, all serene. It was a shame they couldn’t take his word for it. He glanced around, but no one had seen him. He’d know, his fingers would tell him.
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