It’s so good to be back at Pulp Metal Magazine with my new short story Paranoid!
This one is about a man suffering from paranoia who believes he has been targeted by a religious cult. I have always found cults to be fascinating, and when I grew up as a teenager in the late seventies, cults seemed – if the newspapers were to be believed – to be proliferating everywhere!
Just like my character Frank one of these organisations had, for some reason, decided I might be worth pursuing. It went on for months, but it began one innocent Saturday afternoon while I was out shopping by myself. This incredibly handsome young man opened a shop door for me; I was very surprised and smiled back. His eyes were mesmerising and it literally took me several seconds to notice his shaved head and orange robes…
When I came out of the shop he and several of his ‘gang’ were waiting for me. They began calling after me and following me down the high street. At the time I thought it was funny, like something from a bad Monty Python sketch … until it happened every time I went to town. The stupid thing was that I was the least likely person I knew to be indoctrinated, as I hated conformity of any sort and I would have looked really sickly in orange.
It is true that we all have our individual perceptions which are coloured by our memories, past hurts and special recollections. It is completely unrealistic to assume that others experience the world in exactly the same way as we do, as individuals. I imagine that given the right circumstances, everyone can experience a feeling paranoia to some degree…
“They would lay in wait outside of the shops at the mall in the afternoons. I would catch threatening glimpses of their vivid orange robes as they lingered in shady doorways, waiting for an opportunity to lure me away. I was already on their radar and I’m not sure how I got there. Maybe it was something to do with the weird phone calls; disembodied voices would ask for me using my name, Frank, and then refuse to speak. It felt as though they were trying to bait me, waiting for me to reveal myself to them, through my fear.
I became anxious and stopped enjoying going to the mall, or talking to anyone on the phone, in case they were listening in. I didn’t know what powers they had or what they wanted from me.” Read more at Pulp Metal Magazine