Her name was Ally Harmon and it was happening again. Her body began to tense up and her breathing came quicker and more shallow. She began to look around herself, paranoid, panicked. She knew there was someone, someone was in her kitchen, she could feel it. She looked over the room, her house was open, not too many walls and the kitchen was open to the living room. Luckily, she would be able to see whoever was in her house before they got too close, she hoped.
She could see the front door and wondered if she should try to make a run for it. The living room had a couple couches, a side table and a TV on her left. No one was to be seen. She shuffled over to her kitchen knives, which were in the corner of her kitchen and grabbed her largest chefs knife and waited for the intruder to reveal himself.
She waited and the eerie quite made her heart only beat louder in her ears. She had seen him before, he’s been here before. He stalked her and found her, she got away before but she feared for her life again. Then, she could see him.
He was wearing an oversized hooded sweatshirt and his face was in shadow beneath the hood. He had his weapon again, just like last time, a jagged hunting knife. She didn’t know why he continued to pursue her all this time but here he was again and she was scared for her life just like she had been before.
Last time he appeared in her bedroom. She was cleaning out her dresser when he was suddenly in her room standing like he was now, with knife in hand, waiting. He ended up chasing her downstairs and through the living room. She was about to run for the door when she looked back and he was gone. No reason, no answer. But now here he was again, in her kitchen this time.
She was still frozen in place, he didn’t move and so she didn’t either. She waited barely breathing, waiting for him to do something or say something. Maybe explain what is happening to her and why he’s here, why he was here before and why he won’t leave her alone.
“What do you want?” Desperation and confusion in her voice as she wondered why this was happening to her.
He took an aggressive large step forward towards her. He was about eight feet away from her and she was in a corner, the only thing between them was the kitchen island and she knew she could use that. He moved fast towards her moving to her left side and she dodged right, keeping the counter as a barrier between them.
She wondered why she didn’t try to find her phone earlier to call for help but it wouldn’t have done much good as she couldn’t currently remember where on earth she had left the thing anyway. But there wasn’t much time to think about that because he was moving again. This time to her right side and she moved again to keep the counter between them. She was back in the corner and gripped her knife tighter and prayed she would get out alive.
He moved again, more quickly this time and swung out at her with his knife which she barely dodged and she ran to the front door. He was close behind she could feel it but she was able to get the front door open and she ran out. She started running down the sidewalk and she turned around to see her pursuer gaining ground and she pumped her arms faster as her legs pushed harder against the smooth concrete. She started screaming, surely her neighbors would hear and come out. They would get help or at least seeing them come out would surely scare him off.
“Help! Help me! I’m being attacked!” She screeched at the top of her lungs. “Help!”
She kept screaming down the road and around the next block. She made a complete circle until she was back on her block again. She would turn around whenever she could still seeing her pursuer, still trying to get her. By this time the neighbors had come to investigate and some were on the phone. Concerned faces showing her they were probably calling for help. But there wasn’t much time, he was still chasing her and she was tiring.
“Help! I’m being attacked!” She yelled with less power than before.
Her neighbors looked concerned but nobody rushed to help her. They must be afraid of him too. But the police should be here soon and they can help-. She tripped and fell. She turned around into her back and saw him standing over her. He raised his knife and she screamed. “Aaaaaahhhh, Help! Help!”
He was stabbing her and everyone looked on as she flailed and screamed. Why won’t anyone help me? She cried as she continued to scream and kick out. Blood, blood everywhere. She began to feel hopeless when she heard the sirens. A few moments later she saw the lights but her attacker wasn’t stopping. She screamed for help and fought back as the officers approached her but they didn’t stop the man attacking her. She felt the knife she held knocked out of her hand and she was being lifted up. Her attacker stood off the side, completely calm and no one was arresting him.
“Arrest him! He attacked me! He got into my house! He’s been chasing me! Get him, Get him!” She was shrieking and pointing to where he stood. But the officers only stood there, looking confused.
“Ma’am, there’s no one there.”
She was hysterical now. “What do you mean? He’s right there! He’s standing right there!”
The closest officer to her tried to soothe her. “Okay ma’am, we’re going to get you out of here and we are going to get you help, you’re bleeding a bit so we are going to take you to the hospital, okay?”
It was an understatement, blood had run down her arms and legs although they were surprisingly shallow stab wounds. She hadn’t lost too much blood but it had managed to almost cover her entire body.
“He stabbed me! Why aren’t you arresting him?” Tears started forming in her eyes as one of the police officers took her gently by the arm and helped her into the back seat.
She was still hysterical and balled her eyes out all the way to the hospital, where they immediately put her in a room and started cleaning up the blood and treating her wounds. The whole time she tried to tell them what had happened but they only nodded politely and kept telling her the doctor is going to be here soon.
After about 15 minutes her arms and legs were bandaged, she had an IV in her arm and she began to feel safe again. The man didn’t follow her when she was taken away, he only stood there and watched as she was driven away in the police car.
The doctor finally came in with a woman beside him that held a clipboard and a calm expression. She began telling her story, all the while they nodded and asked the occasional question, waited for her to answer and then would nod some more. After a couple hours of this the doctor spoke.
“Miss Harmon, this is Dr. Applegate and she is our hospital psychiatrist. I brought her in because your story and the police report didn’t add up. I think she will have some answers for you.”
Ally looked over to Dr. Applegate feeling confused but ready to listen to what she had to say. She needed answers. This has happened before, she had told them so but now she needed to know why.
“Ally, after talking to you I think you don’t need to be scared anymore but you do need help.”
Ally, waited and leaned forward a little more, waiting for the answers she needed.
“Ally, it’s difficult to understand at first but you weren’t really attacked. Not in real life. It was all in your head, you’ve imagined the whole thing. We believe you are schizophrenic.”
“But what about these cuts? They’re real! I was bleeding!”
“Ally, you did that to yourself when you thought you were fighting off your attacker. You cut yourself with the knife you were carrying.”
Ally was very quite then. It was a lot to take in but it all started to make some sense. Mainly because the man attacking her more than once for no reason really didn’t make any sense and now she knew why. She knew why her neighbors looked on but didn’t help and why the police stood around and didn’t arrest her attacker.
The psychiatrist spent the next hour and a half explaining what schizophrenia was. She learned that she might see things and even experience things that weren’t there and that she could experience anxiety because of it. She learned about treatment options and set up an appointment with Dr. Applegate to continue to learn more and get help.
She was released from the hospital later that afternoon. As she walked out she saw the hooded man standing in the parking lot. But this time she was more calm.
Ally, it’s not what you think.