It was a tiny story, an innocent fiction. He wrote it for his friend Cindy and, in whimsical fondness, named the character after her. Cindy, as described in no more than two hundred words, was fond of ancient art, her home, and a little bit of arson. Just a funny, little story.
He began receiving old, dusty postcards in the mail, bearing no return address and "What do you know?" spelled with magazine cutouts. Texts came from unknown numbers asking, "How do you know?" He sometimes thought he was being followed.
Running into Cindy in the local bookstore, he asked if she remember that story he'd given her. She furrowed her brow, stared into the recesses of memory, and said, "Oh, yeah. What was it about, again?" Something about the statement felt deceptive, and he excused himself awkwardly.
He woke at three a.m. with Cindy standing over him, gun pointing at his hairline, and he had to mutter "What?" three times before her words made sense. "How did you know?" she said.
"I didn't! I don't! I just wrote a story! I made it all up!"
"Oh." She lowered the gun. "Can we maybe keep this just between us?"