Pamela's heart raced as she looked down at the watcher through the sliding glass doors. Without the lightning, she could only make out a vague outline. She tried to unearth a rational explanation, desperate to put aside the thought that she was being watched. Her intuition wouldn’t let her. She knew they were watching her.

It was the first time in nearly a decade that someone had been this aggressive in monitoring her. In the years since her brief but deadly entanglement with the CIA, she had often felt that people were tailing her, keeping tabs on her. At first she had felt despair; she was a caged woman in a free world. There were shifty glances from alleyways; the ever-present clicking noises during phone calls; cars that seemed to always take the same route as her.

As time passed, she waited for the surveillance to taper off. Surely they would stop observing her at some point. Now, peering through the dark at this man, a bitter but familiar taste spread across her palate.

Pamela folded her arms and swished the wine around in her glass, affecting a cool, confident stance. Another flash, the man was still brazenly staring right at her through the binoculars. He must have noticed that she was looking back by now, but he was apparently unfazed.

The longer she saw his outline against the dark rays of the parking garage, the more real the situation became.

Behind her, urgent drumbeats and a sober baritone voice from the television announced a breaking news item. “We interrupt regularly scheduled programming to bring you this special report.” The newscaster’s words filled her living room, and she wished she could turn from the balcony, forget the man, and enjoy an hour or two of CNN.

Pamela narrowed her eyes even tighter and felt her forehead tighten. She scowled as rising anger began to dominate her fear. The binoculars were aimed directly at her through the sliding glass doors, invading her privacy, her home. At last the stranger lowered his binoculars, but he continued to look straight toward her balcony. Pam wasn’t about to back down; she scowled stubbornly at the shadowy figure, digging her toes into the thick white carpet. She wouldn’t be the first to look away. What in the hell are you looking at?

The man raised the binoculars back to his face. Pamela’s first inclination was to take the elevator down to the first floor and sprint across the street to confront the stranger. But what good would that do? It wasn’t as if the stranger would hang out and wait for her as she ran up to him.

Besides, even if she were able to catch him, what good would it do? The English accented words of her friend Giles came to mind: “Individuals most of the time, anyway are just the eyes of a bigger organization.”

That was exactly what worried her. Suppressing the impulse to close the blinds and put the whole thing out of her mind, she stared back at the faceless stranger. There was no chance she could get a clear view of the man’s face; it was too dark, and he was too far away. So she picked up what details she could the slender build, the black clothes, the casual body language, the self assured posture.

Could this just be some creep? A Peeping Tom? There it was the futile second-guessing. She had tried to get past that, put faith in her own intuition. It had gotten her out of Russia and helped her foil powerful enemies all those years ago. She couldn’t push it aside now and hope for blissful ignorance. Soft thunder rumbled in the far distance. As more dark clouds collected over the city, Pamela thought about all the dark corners her watcher would be able to hide in.

Pamela flinched when the doorbell sounded. She immediately admonished herself. The doorbell shouldn’t have that effect on you, Pamela. This is your home. She turned back to the view from her balcony, but her observer was gone. Pamela scanned the street inch by inch, desperately trying to spot him again. He had vanished.

Hesitantly, she moved from the balcony and made her way to the front door. Irrational thoughts filled her head: Are they here for me? Why did they wait so long? Get a grip, Pam. Get a grip...

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