Strangers are very rarely seen in Nashtown, where I stay. It is a small town with perhaps two thousand people residing there. Everyone knows each other and even though I was a new resident, having moved there a couple of months back, most of the residents knew me well now and treated me with respect. They tried to help me settle in quickly. Being single and a well known author, I wanted the calm surroundings to think about my next book.
Today morning, it was Mr. Keys, the grocer, who asked me in casual conversation, if one of my relatives was visiting me. I answered his query with a no and on asking him the reason, he told me that he had seen a stranger following me for the last couple of days. On asking him more details, he said it was someone from the city.
“Another city fella he seems to me, Mr. Davies, for he was dressed the part. I’ve been in Nashtown all my life and I’ve never seen such a flashy dress in these parts. It’s like them modern dresses kids these days wear. Torn trousers, shirt with words on them, sunglasses… no sir, I’d never wear such outfits. He seemed kinda young too, early twenties perhaps.” He said, and then looking out the window, he exclaimed, “Blimey, there he is. Can you see him Mr. Davies?” I think he must have noticed the grocer staring, for he ran off, covering his face with the morning’s newspaper. I thanked the grocer and walked off.
Later that afternoon, as I was washing up for lunch, I saw that young man the grocer described. He was standing at my neighbor’s mailbox, looking across the street into my house. I picked up the kitchen telephone and made a call. He was walking by every ten minutes, I noticed. A little later my neighbor, who had snuck up unknown to him, brought him to my home holding his hands behind his back. He was making no attempt to keep silent.
“Keep your hands off me, you fool”, he shouted to my neighbor. Turning to me, he spat on the floor. “You… you call yourself an author? All you’ve been writing are what I’ve been through. It’s my life you write as your fiction. It is me who should get credit, not you. It is me who should be rolling in money. I followed you all these days to get you. You knew it. You never come out at night now do you? Coward.”
Even successful authors need some inspiration at times. A car drew up outside my gate and the local police had arrived. My neighbor, Officer Lewis, read him his rights and arrested him. Stalking is after all a crime, invasion of one’s privacy. He may not have read the page before my novels start. One that says it is all fiction and that if anything can be related to reality, it is coincidence. But he had unknowingly given me the inspiration for my next novel.
Roaring trade, that’s how Mr. Keys described the sale my novel “The Stalker” had got. I’d made quite some money again. As for that insolent fellow who followed me for no reason, he got some time in the county jail and a dedication at the beginning of my novel.