Haunted

People have called Imogen weird all of her life. They say that there's just something about that makes her like this- but what is it?
When Imogen has an encounter with a strange man on the train home, she's left confused and wanting answers. Who is this man and why does she feel a strange pull towards him?

A chilling story about ghosts, spirits and love following the teenage girl Imogen and her adventures into the unknown. Please read and give any feedback and like or fan if you enjoyed it!

P.S. This is not a vampire story by the way!

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1. Chapter 1.

Chapter 1


The train was humid and stuffy, crammed full of business women and men who got increasingly agitated and red-faced as the train went on. Underneath each one, they guarded black, confidential looking briefcases between their knees whilst clinging on to rails above their heads. In their hands, they tapped away at Blackberries which flashed a sour red every second or so. Now and again, they would shiftily steal a glance upwards (trying their upmost hardest to avoid any kind of eye contact) as if they were reading something top secret before returning their attention back to their phones again.


I perched on a standing seat, trapped in by a wall of commuters and balancing my sketchbook precariously on my knee. To do this, my body was twisted in a peculiar angle which I had perfected from many busy train journeys over time- that, in itself was an art. Under my feet my rucksack wobbled from side to side with the train's incessant rhythm; it bulged with text books and rattling lunch containers. I captured the funny scenes of these commuters on the paper in grey, feathery lines. My pencil followed the creases of concentration on their foreheads, forming 'v' formations and I caught the tight, life-dependant grip they held on to the iron bars with; their muscles flexing and palms slipping. It was hard to capture the secrecy in their eyes though as they kept flitting up and down; it took precision, patience and time- something I did not have in this sweaty carriage. I replaced the rubber which I held between my lips with the pencil from my hand and blew my ash blonde fringe out of my eyes for the hundredth time, before frustratingly rubbing out someone's face.


This frantic movement attracted the attention of a young woman who was stood over me on my right. She averted her gaze from the screen in hand and peered over to see my sketch, but then when she realised that I was watching her she embarrassingly restrained her gaze and adjusted her uncomfortable-looking black pencil skirt in a wiggling motion- trying to make the whole thing seem casual. The woman radiated a cloud of sickly sweet perfume, the kind that got right up your nose and down your throat. She was attired in a sharply tailored blazer and modelled a glittering engagement ring beneath repulsive acrylic pink nails- or as I liked to call them, claws. It was easy to see that she had been hurled in the world of business while still being caught up in a princess’ dream. Compared to her, in my comfy Levis and washed out t-shirt, I looked like a slob. She returned to tapping away at her Blackberry (with those nails, it looked like quite some skill) and fading away back into the crowd.


I closed my sketch book with a sigh and got out my own phone. It was the type of phone that you only got out when you actually needed it- a brick phone. I didn't care about mobiles. I only bothered with this one for my mum’s benefit- she insisted that I kept her up to date with my every movement. Personally, I just couldn't be bothered with the effort of texting and trying to interpret someone’s voice over a muffled line. I’d much rather speak to them face to face. This one was bought about three years ago, for my fifteenth birthday. As soon as I get home, it gets turned off and abandoned at the bottom of my bag.


I sifted through my notifications: a missed call from my mum, a text from my mum telling me to answer the phone and a text from Jason (ending with too many ‘x’s for my liking). I tried to look interested with my phone but gave up after a couple of seconds and stuffed it back into my bag. This was a boring train journey- it was just too hot to concentrate on anything. Instead, I looked back up at the people around me for some kind of entertainment.


I felt as if I was in a freeze frame of the train because there was so little movement on it. As time passed, the commuters got more and more tired and drooped down like withered flowers. I could’ve got up and danced through the carriage for all anybody would care because they were so engrossed in their mobiles. I smiled a little to myself at the image of that in my mind but then realised that if anyone did happen to look up at that moment, they’d probably get a bit creeped out so I quickly resolved my normal disinterested look. Just to make sure, I glanced around to see if anyone had seen my secret smile- and that was when my normal Thursday changed.


When I looked around, my eyes caught the strangest man. Firstly, he was strange because he was not wearing a suit among the thralls of penguin-like commuters and secondly, he was staring right at back at me. When I say staring, I mean properly staring. He was a couple of metres down the carriage and was looking directly at me. Even when I caught his gaze his eyes still remained fixed on me. I refused to give up eye contact; two could play at this game. He would have to look away soon, wouldn’t he? I couldn’t believe him; he just carried on- how rude! And he didn’t just act weirdly either, he looked it too. He had the strangest pale blue eyes which bordered on white and bleach blonde hair that he’d messily tucked behind his ears. It was dark at the roots as if he hadn’t washed it for weeks.


Through all this messiness though, he was oddly attractive. He had sculpted, prominent cheekbones which any model would kill for and an intriguing milky complexion which almost glowed. He stood out as not from round here- he looked foreign. He looked like a star in the sea of black-suited commuters. This didn’t help the situation though, now I was mesmerized with him and he was mesmerized with me. Checkmate. But why was he mesmerized with me? Suddenly, I felt madly self-conscience so I wiped my mouth, smoothed out my jeans then ran my fingers through my over-hair-sprayed hair before tucking it behind my ear. Damn it, he was still fixed on me.


This was too uncomfortable now. The tension had risen to such a level that the train felt like it was going to burst. I slowly reached to my phone in my bag, zipped my rucksack back up and subtly stood up, putting it on my shoulder. I could still feel his incessant gaze, those piercing eyes...


“Excuse me” I whispered, slipping through the wall of people who instantly stepped back into place, as if I’d never been there. Only then could I not feel his gaze. I stepped cautiously, worried that any sudden movement would pierce this freeze frame and I would be exposed. I headed for the next carriage, carefully avoiding touching anyone as I slipped through the train jungle.


Suddenly, someone grabbed my shoulder from behind and fiercely turned me round; nearly knocking me over. My heart jumped out of my chest- it was him. He held his face right up to mine; his pale eyes assessing me close up. I wanted to scream but my mouth just wouldn’t move. All I could see were those irises, growing bigger like spilt ink dropped on a page. Why was nobody helping me?! Couldn’t they see us? Just as I thought the irises were going to completely fill his pupil, adrenaline pumped through my veins and filled up my arm with the irresistible urge to hit him. Without another thought, my arm swung with the momentum of a boxer- striking him straight in the cheekbone and stunning him for just long enough for me to escape.


I dashed through the carriage, knocking people out of the way like dominoes. I came out to a clearing and to my amazement, realised that it was the doorway leading out- we had come to a station. A high pitched beeping noise sounded just as I realised what it was- the doors were closing! This was my only opportunity to escape from this man! Without any hesitation, I slipped out just in time; the cool wind from outside pulling me into the open.


It felt like another world off the train; the evening wind was cool and refreshing and suddenly I could breathe again. The station was completely empty except from a lone conductor who guarded the little wooden gate leading off the platform. He looked at me suspiciously from a distance; his little piggy eyes trying to work out my unusual behaviour. He wore an official looking lanyard which rested on a cheap neon jacket. Above him, a sign welcomed me to Mayfield. Mayfield- Mayfield! It was only a couple of stops before my own. Behind the sign, across some fields I could see a council estate; it looked barren and uninviting in the dulling evening light. I dreaded to think what dangers lurked when the darkness set in.


The station itself was old and vandalised- its ticket office had graffiti with various symbols which meant nothing to me. Display boards, which had seen better days, plastered the brick walls. Most of these were smashed and the posters inside were ripped. I squinted at them, trying to read the bold writing. They promised cheap and cheerful train trips to sunnier places than here- a hope for somewhere better.


The droning sound of the train pulling away suddenly pulled me out of my trance-like state. I jerked my body back round to face it- I just couldn’t resist one last look to work out that strange man. My eyes frantically searched through the thralls of commuters on the carriage that we had just been on but he wasn't there. Bored, dull faces met my frantic one. The train started sliding slowly away from me, I had to see him! I quickly scanned further down and to my upmost horror, he was stood at the doors that I had just fled out of, furiously pressing the button and agitatedly exchanging glances between the button and me. Was he trying to kidnap me or something? The droning noise of the train turned into a chugging and it glided away into the distance- taking the man with it.


I stared at that spot until the sound of the train had faded completely away and then adrenaline kicked in again- he was going to come back and find me. I had to get away! I jolted my body towards the wooden gate and flung myself through it. I sprinted away from the protesting conductor and across the fields that lead down to the station. I just ran and ran until my body went numb and until my head pounded. I sprinted through the maze of worn out houses, trapped in by the lines fences and I avoided the cars that seemed to spy my every move. I ran so quickly that they just turned into a blur. I just focused on the getting out of the estate but with every turn I just came to another block of houses. I didn't know where I was; darkness had fallen and shaded everything in so it all looked the same. I was completely lost and felt like I was going round in circles. Through all of this, I did not see one person but felt ominous stares on my back.


What seemed like hours after, my senses kicked back in and I could feel the bitterly cold wind lashing at my face and the heavy rain pelting down at me. The warmth from the run had disappeared completely into the chill night air. I slowed down to a pathetic hop and clutched on to a railing that lead down a dark alleyway. I grasped the ice-like iron and doubled over; clutching my stomach and scrunching my face up in disbelief. I helplessly wiped at the icy rain that came down in cascades down my face but it was useless. I felt all the tiredness, all the pain and stitches from the run come in at once and I felt extremely vulnerable.


After a couple more minutes like this, my thoughts finally gathered and I stood back up straight. I needed to be strong- he wasn't going to come back after me. I was going to be calm, going to be sensible and get back home. I examined the place where I was stood but it all looked the same. Occasional streetlights illuminated my way, outshone by the windows from the houses which flickered with pixel lights behind them. In the distance, I could make out a cross silhouetted against the eerie white of the glowing full moon. A church! This offered me some hope, the clearing in the maze. With a sense of urgency, I walked to it and to my relief; it had the address of the church on a board outside illuminated by a reading light. It really was a gift from the Gods!


I punched in my home number on my mobile, after ignoring the chain of missed call signs and before long, my parents were on their way to pick me up- they sounded as stressed as I felt.
After a whole bunch of questions answered with a load of lies and a firm talking to on the way back, I rushed up to my bed. I felt guilty for upsetting my parents and telling them that I ‘just fancied a walk but got lost on my way’ but I couldn’t tell them the truth. There was something creepy yet intriguing about that mysterious man that I couldn’t put to rest. He wanted me for something. When he grabbed me, it was if we were in our own world and everything else seemed irrelevant. It terrified me, don’t get me wrong, but at the same time I felt a strange pull in his direction- wherever that direction was.

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