The Watcher. It’s a 6.

The key turned reluctantly in the weathered Schlage single cylinder, deadbolt screeching in protest, only to submit and retract once more; entrance to the home was achieved.

Arriving shortly after dusk, ink dot sky already setting up, I brought in the homeowners’ mail, turned on a few lights and began the tedious task of retrieving a week’s worth of groceries and a couple of overnight bags from the car.

Five years and running, the family’s summer vacation at the beach had finally taken a seat at the tradition table so, for the 6th successive year, 2 adults + 2.5 children loaded up the 4 wheel to head out to the highway and beckoning coastline.

My stay as overlord of hearth and home was a given, serving as a sort of vacation as well, typically uneventful but for at least one summer storm and a poltergeist experience or two however, this year included an added component, one of flesh and blood – she was 9 years old, had been living in (and out) of foster homes at least 7 of those years having lost her parents at age 2; since then, she’d been institutionalized and with each successive foster family, the hope of permanent adoption dimmed like an aging star until that is, the 2+2.5 family paid a visit 3 weeks before summer vacation.

Provided her brief history, assured of her gentle nature, cautioned about her tendency towards self-isolation, I did as instructed at dinnertime and tapped the metal bowl with a spoon exactly 3 times, soon hearing an unmistakable thud on the hardwoods from the bedroom on the upper level of the house… black and orange body, fur glinting under a strip of moonlight streaming through the French doors, appeared stealthily from the shadows of the living room. She was hungry.

30 thoughts on “The Watcher. It’s a 6.

  1. Liz H July 10, 2021 / 11:22 am

    I love this, how you unfold each detail of normalcy (including the poltergeist as off-hand foreshadowng), then tighter with the mention of the fosterling left behind (why?!), tighten with the 3 taps (magic), and the thump of cat feet on the wooden floor.
    And then, the noose snapped tight with that video.
    Brilliant!

    Liked by 2 people

    • GirlieOnTheEdge July 10, 2021 / 11:45 am

      Glad you enjoyed 🙂 It was one of those “in the moment” writings – started with the vid and worked backwards, lol
      Thanks so much, Liz!

      Liked by 1 person

    • GirlieOnTheEdge July 10, 2021 / 11:52 am

      Thank you, Chris!
      Watched the film on the big screen, shortly after it’s release. Very cool. (David’s voice – melty good in this one 🥰)

      Like

  2. Michael B. Fishman July 10, 2021 / 11:40 am

    I liked how the “poltergeist experience” was just dropped in there as if it’s a usual occurrence in the home. Each sentence had me thinking in a different way which was fun and I enjoyed the reveal at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GirlieOnTheEdge July 10, 2021 / 11:55 am

      What?! Poltergeist experiences are not typical, lol
      Thank you, Michael. I enjoy writing sentences that imply alternative meanings and/or themes or simply offer a path for readers’ imagination to explore.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Frank Hubeny July 10, 2021 / 1:34 pm

    I like the string of numbers in this: “for the 6th successive year, 2 adults + 2.5 children loaded up the 4 wheel” I was expecting a child but it looks like the 9 year old was some sort of animal, hopefully a dog, but given the poltergeists perhaps not.

    Liked by 2 people

    • GirlieOnTheEdge July 10, 2021 / 5:14 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Frank. I’d not considered it before, my propensity for using numbers in some of my stories. Funny, I’m by no means a math person by nature, yet I do enjoy using numbers in my writing 🙂
      I hate to disappoint… the music vid is a definite giveaway. Nope. In this case, it was not the poltergeist doing the thumping!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. messymimi's meanderings July 10, 2021 / 2:49 pm

    We’ve had that cat in the shelter, more than once. It’s so hard on the animal when it gets returned, the best hope is a good, new forever home and i hope this one turns out so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GirlieOnTheEdge July 10, 2021 / 5:19 pm

      No doubt you have, Mimi. It’s so heartbreaking! I imagine some don’t ever seem to recover. This is one former foster who has definitely found a forever home. My niece and her oldest son went to the Humane Society last month. Seems “C” picked them!

      Like

  5. UP July 10, 2021 / 3:19 pm

    Frank’s comment sums UP my reaction. You’re a beautifully subtle writer

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Atomic Mage July 10, 2021 / 3:47 pm

    Love it, D. Superbly set up and with so many possibliltes… like, why did the family take ownership of the ‘cat’ 3 weeks before their holiday (I so want it to be a special supernatural cat!); what is the relationship between the family and the narrator; the significance of numbers; why was I getting goosebumps?
    And you just had to throw in there: “and a poltergeist experience or two” lol, awesome.
    I still miss Bowie 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • GirlieOnTheEdge July 10, 2021 / 5:52 pm

      Thank you, V. You make me smile. I can see the dials in your head flashing, the cogs and wheels spinning with fantastical possibilities. That, is why you were getting goosebumps! Most excellent, lol.
      But of course! Can’t leave out the poltergeist 😎
      Say, feel free to pick up from this story and lay down additional tracks. For me, this was a stand alone, so have at if you are so inclined.
      Yeah, me too ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Atomic Mage July 12, 2021 / 3:51 am

        Lol, D, don’t tempt me to lay down an additional track (You know I want to! 😎).
        It’s fittingly rebel and rock n roll of you (which you are, and you know it) to create such a wild and mysterious setting as this Six and then say, ‘Nah, ta very much, I’m done, it’s a standalone, so there!’
        Love it 👏👏👏
        Let’s see how the stars align then, for maybe a part II, if my cogs and wheels spin the right way ?? 😁😁😎

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Doug Jacquier July 10, 2021 / 6:42 pm

    I’m not quite sure who is the more possessed, you or the house, but I am delighted to not care and just go along with your beautiful (and misleading) descriptions. PS – Is the .5 child a top half, a bottom half or split down the middle?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jenne49 July 10, 2021 / 7:31 pm

    Yes, I’m with Doug on the .5 question! Your descriptions let me visualise the whole episode, building up to the twist! Great.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Keith's Ramblings July 11, 2021 / 11:39 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed this, especially the way in which you told us of her chequered existence during her nine years. Excellent

    Liked by 1 person

  10. clark July 12, 2021 / 7:15 am

    hate like hell to see what this house has for mirrors!

    nice atmosphere and excellent introduction to a place and characters

    …bet ‘cha the place has staying power, all the more conducive to the realitizing of the characters

    ‘cellent Six

    Like

    • GirlieOnTheEdge July 12, 2021 / 6:38 pm

      Good point – best not to seek them out 😆

      Thank you, Clark. It was a fun write 🙂

      Like

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