As I head out of the building, I hear my name called.
— Miss Steele?
I turn expectantly, and an ashen young woman approaches me cautiously. She looks like a ghost so pale and strangely blank.
—Miss Anastasia Steele? - she repeats, and her features stay static even though she’s speaking.
She stops, staring at me from about three feet away on the sidewalk, and I stare back, immobilized. Who is she? What does she want?
— Can I help you? - I ask. How does she know my name?
— No … I just wanted to look at you.- Her voice is eerily soft. Like me, she has dark hair that starkly contrasts with her fair skin. Her eyes are brown, like bourbon, but flat. There’s no life in them at all. Her beautiful face is pale, and etched with sorrow.
— Sorry-you have me at a disadvantage, - I say politely, trying to ignore the warning tingle up my spine. On closer inspection, she looks odd, disheveled and uncared for. Her clothes are two sizes too big, including her designer trench coat.
She laughs, a strange, discordant sound that only feeds my anxiety.
— What do you have that I don’t? - she asks sadly.
My anxiety turns to fear. — I’m sorry—who are you?
— Me? I’m nobody.- She lifts her arm to drag her hand through her shoulder length hair, and as she does, the sleeve of her trench coat rides up, revealing a soiled bandage around her wrist.
— Good day, Miss Steele.- Turning, she walks up the street as I stand rooted to the spot. I watch as her slight frame disappears from view, lost amongst the workers pouring out of their various offices.
What was that about?