Check out my flash fiction piece The Watcher in the newest issue of HelloHorror! They had some issues getting this issue out, so I’m happy it’s finally here. Check it out!
Will backed away, eyes no longer on the dark hair in the bed but on the camera. A sound drifted to him, and it wasn’t
but the creak of a floorboard. He had no time to turn. Something hard cracked across the back of his head, and pain exploded in his skull. He fell to the floor. And pictures came to his mind.
Pictures of red lights. In the entranceway, in the living room under construction, in the kitchen, in the upstairs hallway.
And he saw now the black hair on the pillow slither, and the lump rise.
He had to do something. He had to walk to her. He had to see if he could rouse her.
He had to move.
He stepped forward, heart pounding over the
from the bathroom. He took another step, eyes on the limp black hair lying over the pillow. In the corner of his eye he saw an unnatural red light, so like the red light in the hall. So like something he had seen in another corner of the house.
He glanced up. A camera sat on a tripod by the windows, little red light signaling a recording.
Will rounded the corner of the doorway. He could barely see in the fading sunlight that crept through the windows. But he saw a shape in the bed, a mound beneath the blankets. He stepped closer, until he could see dark hair on the pillow. Eva’s hair.
She wasn’t moving.
He couldn’t even tell if she was breathing.
He should have said her name, but the word stuck in his throat, and he didn’t want to call out to her. He had called earlier and she hadn’t answered. She only laid there, a lump like a tumor on the mattress.
came a sound from behind him. He spun around, nearly tripping over his feet. But nothing was there. He listened closely and heard again
from the bedroom. He left behind the still-dark
bathroom and stepped further into the hallway. An unnatural light in the corner of his eye sought his attention – a small red light near the ceiling at the end of the hall – but he was focused on the doorway to the bedroom. He strained to hear any further sound, but he could only hear the
fading away behind him.
Will turned at the smeared painting, and looked down the hallway. Save for a dim light that spilled from the bedroom, the space was black as pitch.
He would just check the rooms, quickly and quietly, and leave. The bathroom on the left, bedroom on the right, closet straight ahead. Then out the door.
He stepped forward, and noticed
A dripping from the bathroom. As he drew closer he heard
it louder and clearer. But when Will got to the doorway the bathroom was in shadows. He reached in, hand shaking, to feel for the lightswitch.
Will climbed the steps slowly, deliberately, waiting for any one of them to creak – a signal to run from the house. But they made no noise.
As he reached the landing a face came into view, one he expected. The portrait, crudely painted in acrylics, hung at the head of the stairs. It was of Eva, but Will only knew that because he had seen Eva pose for it and seen Dan make the childish brushstrokes.
But there was a stroke on it that Dan hadn’t painted.
A hand print, and a thick red streak, smeared across the figure.
Will left the kitchen behind, fumbling down the hallway, back to the front door. He peered up the stairs, into the muddled darkness that was forming as the sun continued past the horizon.
If another creak had sounded, if a footstep had fallen, he would have slipped back out the door. He would have left further investigation into Dan and Eva’s disappearance to the police. But in that moment, there was only the faint drone of crickets outside and the pounding of Will’s own heart. There was only twilight forming the still shadows.
Will stepped forward, and climbed the stairs.
Perhaps forty photographs were spread across the table. All of them Polaroids. Will looked closer, and when he recognized the subjects his blood froze.
Him and Eva. Every photo. Two weeks ago in the rain outside Will’s apartment. Three weeks ago at that terrible Italian restaurant. A park a month ago. An ice cream shop two months ago.
Will braced himself against the table with his hands. His eyes darted from one photo to the next, until they settled on one in particular. A beach, his first kiss with Eva. Three months.
Three months of photos taken from a distance.
The third video was filmed last week.
It started in motion, someone carrying it with no concern for what it was filming. The screen bobbed as feet swam in and out of the picture.
Finally the camera was lifted, and there was Eva, eating at the dining table. The camera went to her, and Will walked along with it. A hand tossed a photograph onto the table in front of Eva. She froze at the sight of it.
“What do you want me to say?” she said.
Will looked up from the screen. There were photos on the table.