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Ever had that feeling of being watched? The hair on your neck prickles, you turn around, or maybe you flee. Who, or what is watching?
This week, writers pushed into the territory of watchers, exploring who and possible motives.
The following is based on the February 16, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a watcher.
The Watcher (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee
Torry aims her phone at rubbish in her newly-acquired back yard and clicks a picture. Turn slightly, aim anew, click. Turn, aim, click. These should let Juan-Jose-Jorge-whatever-his-name-is know what to haul off.
Her back to the empty house, she can feel it, a physical force between her shoulder blades.
She whirls toward the house. Upstairs, undraped windows stare like blind eyes. Lower, behind winter-bare rhododendrons tangled with weeds and trash, sun manages to glint off a dirty basement window.
When she’s done, safe in her car, her skin is still crawling. And she’s supposed to live here?
Haunted? by Jules Paige
When a person dies before their time…or at least the time is too
early, like a parent before a child reaches the age of recognition
and memory; often the child is told that their parent is angelically
watching over them.
I saw the staged play ‘Our Town’ – where the dead are boldly
told to let go of earth and what they can no longer have. Does it
help to imagine the photographic eyes of our loved ones watch
our decision making?
Perhaps I believe that only genetics are the true watchful eyes of
where I might go next…
The Watching Spirits by Ann Edall-Robson
Tall. Silent. Formidable. Welcoming only those true of heart. In search of guidance, not all who make the journey pass the test. Their search not always clear. Their direction muddied.
Yet, they come knowing they are watched over. They’re not alone. They will be given the chance, only once, to reach the desired result of the challenge. They must be focused. Ready for the trial. Ready for the blistering, mind altering vision.
It is here the young men came. Following the path to the towering rocks. To the place of the watching spirits. And so began their vision quest.
Falling Shadows (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
The Beehive was where granite met duff and towering larch. Hikers said they saw a dog like Bubbie run up the trail. She swore she saw dog-prints by the spring. Nothing. No Bubbie. Just a warm breeze through the pines.
Looking up, high on the granite mound considered sacred to the Salish, and called the Beehive for its shape, Danni could see the shadow of a dog. How did Bubbie get up there? She’d need a rope to ascend.
Her breath left her as the shadow fell. Before impact, it spread wings and an eagle flew away.
Watched by FloridaBorne
“Dingo,” his master called out, opening the gate to her country home. “Let’s walk.”
A head peeked through the dog door. “YiP-yIp-YIP!” he announced his joy.
Ears up, eyes alert, each bush an adventure, he ran toward an all-you-can-sniff world of possibilities.
Feet fluttered over a carpet of pine needles. Tail up, head outstretched, he sprang forward.
Zagging around a flora of obstacles, he jumped at the squirrel scurrying up an oak tree, missing the back legs by an inch!
“Dingo!” A scolding voice yelled. “I’m watching you!”
Tail tucked between his legs, head down, he lumbered toward home.
The Watcher by Irene Waters
He lay watching, hidden by the elderberry. Its clusters of purple fruit succulent like the woman he watched. Visualising his capture his pupils narrowed as he imagined her softness. She would not be able to escape. She would succumb to his attentions. He’d cut her if she didn’t and she’d know that he would. He’d captured her in the garden on another occasion. She didn’t sit on the love seat often, usually protecting herself with the tools she toiled and turned the earth with. But he watched. Today he’d have success. She sat. He pounced.
“Oh! Killmouski good pussy.”
The Porcelain Cat by Allison Maruska
Skylar sees it as soon as she wakes—the small figurine on her desk. She picks it up, turns it, strokes its glass ears. I wish she could see how happy her discovery makes me.
I couldn’t give it to my granddaughter before I passed, as my grandmother had done for me. The porcelain cat is old, precious. It deserves to be in kind hands.
So, I broke a silly old rule and moved it. I was careful. No one saw it floating.
And watching her now, I know I’ve done the right thing. They will protect each other.
The White Porch by Sarah Brentyn
She was about five when she stopped crying. But she still crawled into bed with me. Me. The broken one, the brave one, the older one.
My identity was older sister.
I’d been alive three years longer than she. That’s all I had to offer.
She snuggled with me, her raggedy stuffed rabbit tucked tightly to her chest.
Sometimes, on summer nights, we’d tiptoe to the porch. I’d point to the trees and tell her they were our watchers. They would protect us.
I remember those evenings the most. When the skies were beautiful watercolor paintings of our bruises.
Friends by Norah Colvin
He stood at the periphery, silently observing, calculating their disposition, weighing his chances. Were they friend or foe? Appearances could be deceiving, as could his gut reaction.
They seemed harmless enough; but his sweaty palms, throbbing temples, and churning belly turned his legs to jelly. Even breathing was a struggle.
He became aware of someone tugging his shirt. Though unsure if she was talking or mouthing, he understood, “Would you like to play?”
His head would neither nod nor shake, but she led him by the hand anyway.
“Hey, everyone! This is Amir,” she announced.
“Hi Amir!” they chorused.
Mamma’s Here, Leroy by Anne Goodwin
His mother watches. First the cap. Then the wrist and ankle straps.
He always welcomed me and my “box of tricks”. Vocabulary, comprehension, digit symbol. If there were points for effort, he’d have been off the scale.
Mamma’s here, Leroy. She knows her words can’t penetrate the glass. She’s here because she birthed him, the cord around his neck. I’m here because I couldn’t trade his failures for the court’s compassion. He’s there because he’s poor, uneducated and black.
She watches the electricity convulse her baby’s body until it breaks him. I watch his mother witness this country’s shame.
Watching the Hanging by Luccia Gray
‘We’re going to Horsemonger Lane, Boys,’ said Fagin.
Dodger pulled away. ‘Ain’t nothing there except Southwark prison.’
‘A public hanging!’ said Fagin.
When they arrived, the street was teaming with watchers, howling, screeching and yelling like animals.
Oliver gasped. The place was crawling with thieves and prostitutes fighting and shouting obscenities.
‘Might as well get some work done. Look, there’s a fancy looking toff over there,’ said Fagin, pointing to Charles Dickens.
‘Bet I can half inch his bread and honey,’ bragged Dodger.
‘Watch the hanging carefully, boys,’ warned Fagin. ‘Remember, if you get caught you’ll be brown bread.’
Watchword by Bill Engleson
I can’t take my eyes off me. When I was younger, that observation might have embarrassed me. But there is nothing to be ashamed about.
We, each of us, are unique. We live our lives creatively, every step, every thought, every breath.
I look outward, sometimes to the sea, sometimes to the sky, less than I should to her.
I always see me.
Good citizenship requires us all to have a strong and honest eye looking inward.
This is how we serve our great country.
We know when we deviate.
It is our duty to report every single deviation.
Being Watched by Pensitivity
It was a big world out there, one where they did not belong and would never begin to understand.
It was unsafe and unpredictable, a place where no-one could be trusted.
You couldn’t tell a friend from an enemy, and who would know the truth from a lie?
Here inside, no-one could harm them, they could live forever in a safe haven, everything always familiar and unchanged.
Some saw it as boring and dull. They wanted adventure, to explore the unknown.
They were tired of predictable and fed up with being watched.
Tentatively they stepped out of the television.
The Watcher by Victoria Bruce
I watch. I wait. I report. I never intervene.
Day or night, I watch.
I watched her laugh with the barisita as she picked up her coffee. I watched her walk down the sidewalk, her bright pink coat a splash of colour in the early morning grey.
I’d watched her all of her life – in silence.
I watched as the black van turned the corner. I watched as it sped up.
I said nothing. I made no sound of warning.
I watched as they collided and as her blood turned the white snow crimson.
And I wept in silence.
Being Watched by Michael
When I look down my hallway I catch a glimpse of someone standing there. It happens often enough for me to think it’s real. I am being watched, not like a guardian angel but more like by someone curious about who I am and what I’m doing.
They vanish when I glance up at them, blending into the background, the dark curtains in the back room an ideal hiding spot for them.
I wonder what they make of me, sitting here tapping away. The past trying the fathom the future?
One day they might have the courage to ask.
The Watcher by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Joseph leaned against the hardware store’s outside wall, impatiently tapping his fingers. Its surface was cool in the shade of what promised to be another scorcher. He drew on his cigarette, then used the same hand to slide his sunglasses up the bridge of his nose. His fingers trembled and the ash dropped to the dirty sidewalk.
He’d waited here every morning for the past week, sure that she would walk down this neighborhood street again. She’d shown up every couple of months, in her bright yellow dress, ever since they’d split.
He had some words for her. Finally.
Flash Fiction by Paul Chiswick
April stares at me, invitingly. What a woman: glowing olive skin, hair the colour of espresso, deep brown eyes, glossy red lips.
My eager fingers trace the pencil-thin seams from the heels of her impossibly high red stilettos, up along her shapely calves, past the contours of her perfect thighs. Her eyes never leave mine, never blink.
Oh, man, oh, man.
‘Lights out!’ The screw’s barked command echoes on the cell’s bare walls.
I kiss the tip of my finger and place it on the calendar girl’s bare rump.
‘Till tomorrow, babe.’
I smile. Close my eyes.
Who is watching who? by Geoff Le Pard
‘It’s just a painting. It can’t watch you.’ Mary smiled at her daughter’s scowl.
Penny turned away. ‘It just does, like it’s possessed or something.’
‘You watch too much TV. Well the wrong sort.’ She followed her daughter into the kitchen. Penny had picked up her father’s laptop bag. ‘What are you doing?’
Penny said nothing until the computer was on the table. ‘There’
‘What’s that?’ Mary studied the piece of tape on the edge.
‘Dad says it’s to stop anyone watching him through the internet.’
Mary picked it off. ‘You’re both as bad as each other.’
The Watcher by Kecia Sparlin
Mall shoes still did a fairly brisk business. Browsing the internet wasn’t the same, not for them, not for him. At lunch time, Marty often sat alone on a bench facing into the store.
Her skirt was slit, ankles slim, her shoes…worn and scuffed. He winced. Then she took them off. Marty clenched a fist and gnawed his knuckle. When she wiggled her toes, he swallowed his gasp.
The salesman brought a box and slipped her tired foot in a new, patent leather shoe. Candy apple red. Marty swiped sweat from above his lip. His eyes watered with love.
Third Time Lucky by Sherri Matthews
Three times around the park, that’s what she always did. He’d watched her so long that he almost regretted it was coming to an end.
He crouched down low behind the hedge, his heart racing at the thought of having her all to himself at last.
She walked by, once, twice and almost upon him, third time a charm.
And she kept walking, oblivious to the danger lurking just a heartbeat away.
‘Business owner found dead of heart attack in park’, the local news reported days later.
The body was found by a woman who walked there regularly.