The first time I saw Stephen, he painted a hex sign on my right arm, and I couldn’t move my fingers for three hours. I was six years old then. The next time I saw him Stephen was eighteen and his power was ten times that of what it was ten years ago. When you’re six people think you’re just making this sort of thing up. They think you have some sort of imaginary friend. It’s not until you’re sixteen that it's no longer cute and they decide to have you committed for making up boys who can literally freeze you.
Seeing Stephen the second time happened about two years ago now. I told the same story to countless doctors in my time at Smythe’s Mental Healthcare Estate for Young People. I was waiting for the bus after going out to see a movie with some friends when I encountered a boy who had then frozen me in place. I knew it was Stephen only when he began retracing the same spot on my right arm that he had painted that sigil on exactly ten years ago. Only this time it wasn’t just my fingers but my entire body that was immobilized.
He dragged me completely conscious to a dark alley. There I remember trying to get away but he laughed, as I couldn’t even move. As I lay on the cold concrete unable to move a muscle. He didn’t do anything more to me but his touch had burned a mark into my skin that has yet to fade. He didn’t speak out loud but instead I heard his words in my mind.
“You’re mine now, Lindsey.” Stephen said, his green eyes bearing into my soul. “You will always be mine and you will come to me when called. I could make you do anything right now and you would not be able to fight it. But I won’t. I don’t need to... yet.”
Then he left. Just like that. After I got home I spent weeks researching the depths of the Internet for any kind of monster like this boy. I found other girls with similar experiences. All of whom were too afraid to tell their friends and families about them. Some of the young men with this power used it for good and some not so much… Many of these young women were assault victims of the predators or had been forced to commit some horrible crime. The ones who seemed to be doing good with their powers always asked for a favor in return and sometimes that was where their evil came to light. For when you promised something to one of them they held you to it without fail.
I began to have nightmares and Stephen was the star in them. One day I also began seeing him everywhere I went but I couldn’t tell if it was really him or not. I had to tell someone and of course when I did I instantly regretted this decision. My mother came to the conclusion that there was something wrong with me when I came to her. That’s when my stay at the Estate began.
I’ve lived in fear that he might come for me ever since the last time I was frozen. Of course, this is what they call paranoid-schizophrenia in a psych ward. Hallucinations, anxiety, and panic attacks fitting their diagnosis perfectly. They might also call it PTSD if they believed me. If anyone would just believe that what happened was a supernatural violation of my mind and body. Instead I must live in fear of my attacker at all times because not a single soul will trust that I am sane.
On my 168th day at Smythe’s as I climb into my bed I resolve to start pretending I’m “cured” so I can at least get out of here. Anything is better than this. Then just as I slip under the covers I hear a lilting voice say, “Lindsey… Come out, come out, wherever you are...” and I freeze.