My foot reflexively punches the accelerator, tires squealing as the car charges onto Pleasant Hill Drive, my mind searching frantically through its memory of the subdivision map. If I charge past the left on Maplewood, take the second left — I can’t even remember what gawdawful pastoral name they gave it, Birch something or other — yes it runs to the right, not the left like Maplewood, eventually this will connect again to Pleasant Hill Drive, which forms like this giant circle around the subdivision. Spicebush, that’s it, Spicebush runs off the drive, I can get to Green Valley Lane from Spicebush. If I have to drive all around this damn subdivision to either lose this guy behind me, or prove beyond any doubt that he has indeed been following me ever since I got off the highway, then that’s what I’m gonna do.
Turn right, then a left. Check the rearview — boxy import’s still there. Nobody’s on the streets, most of the houses are dark, it’s like there’s no life anywhere around. Walked around one weekend after I bought the house, maybe saw three people that day. Sheila had warned me.
A cul-de-sac, one of many I saw on my walk. Six houses in an arc, smaller than mine and most of the others in the subdivision. Pull in slowly, right tires hugging the curb. Boxy import slows at the entrance, then drives past. Not falling for it this time. Exit the cul-de-sac, keep straight, toward the drive. Turn left, check the rearview — yup, there he is again.