Silent Watcher- Friday Flash

SILENT WATCHER

By Melissa L. Webb

Goblin

Goblin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 
The dark distorts things in ways we can’t even begin to imagine. Something as innocent as shrubbery or utility equipment tend to take sinister shapes when night falls. We’re tricked into believing something lurks nearby when it really doesn’t.

The dark is tricky like that.

I was leaving my sister’s house last night. My arms were loaded down with the remains of our family dinner as I made my way to the back of my station wagon. Darkness had already descended on our town, leaving my car shrouded in shadow as I approached it.

I fumbled with my load as I unlocked the hatch back. A chill swept up my back as I finally got it open. I could feel eyes on my back. I didn’t know where they were, but they unnerved me to the core.

I turned quickly, tying to find my silent watcher. I couldn’t see anything at first. The only thing surrounding me was darkness and nothing stood out.

As my eyes adjusted, I realized there was something odd across the street from me. A white shape loomed near the curb, silently waiting for something as it watched me intently.

A gasp escaped my lips as I turned away. I didn’t know what the thing was but dread washed over me as I realized something was wrong. I had never noticed anything there before.

I shoved my stuff in the back of the car as fast as I could and hurried back to my sister’s door. I stepped through and slammed the door, causing everyone to look at me in shock.

“Is there normally something white and creepy across the street?” I asked breathlessly. I was sure there wasn’t, but I needed to hear it from her.

My sister gave me a puzzled look and headed outside. I followed close by, eager to have a witness to the insanity residing outside. Her porch light was burnt out and we stood on the porch, squinting in the darkness at the shape across the road.

“Um…” she began, “there’s an electrical transformer box over there, but…” She fell silent, confusion forming on her face. “That’s not the transformer.”

We stepped back inside, trying to put distance between the thing and us. We both knew something was off about the shape, but without walking right up to it we couldn’t tell for sure what it was.

When we were safe behind the closed door, my sister turned toward me. “It looks like some kind of goblin thing. Like Dobby on steroids.”
I had to agree. A dwarf from hell had taken up residence outside my sister’s place.

I couldn’t leave now. I couldn’t leave my sister and her children there alone without knowing what was there. We had to be wrong. It had to be something normal, something we just never noticed before.

But my sister should know what was normally outside her house.

Right?

She quickly went to go look for a flashlight. We would go confront our silent watcher. We would make sure our mind was only playing tricks on us. We’d end up looking like idiots, but at least my sister and her family could sleep peacefully.

She came back, defeated. The flashlight was missing.

We would have to confront it in the dark.

We stepped back outside and stopped in the middle of her yard. The squat creature was still there, in the same spot, staring back at us. We stood there, trying to screw up enough courage to approach it.

Sudden movement caught our attention. A guy was walking down the street. He was going to pass right in front of the thing.

We watched as he passed, waiting for either one of them to react. Neither one did. The man continued into the night.

He hadn’t even notice the thing.

We had been scaring ourselves over nothing. It was obviously nothing more than some everyday object. Something that couldn’t have been watching me in the first place.

Unless…it was something only we could see.

We had to find out what it was. I couldn’t leave without knowing the truth.

We moved closer to the street when suddenly a car came by, shining its headlights on the small creature. My heart thudded as I realized we were idiots.

It was a fire hydrant.

I let out a small laugh, feeling foolish to my very core. Boy, had I spooked us all over nothing. However, even as dumb as I felt, I was glad that was all it was. Just an overactive imagination running rampant.

“I don’t remember a hydrant being there,” my sister said and smiled sheepishly at me. I didn’t remember it either, but I guess we weren’t the most observant people in the world.

I finished packing and left her house, feeling silly the whole way home. I had been creeped out over a fire hydrant. How was I ever supposed to live that down?

Maybe I don’t have to.

I said the darkness tries to trick us into believing something’s there that isn’t. However, maybe it’s not tricking us. Maybe it’s helping us.

By trying to show us the truth.

I say this with some certainty. I did feel eyes on me last night. And my sister and I are more observant than we thought.

Because, today, that fire hydrant is gone.

 

© 2013 Melissa L. Webb

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Collision Ahead- Friday Flash

 COLLISION AHEAD

By Melissa L. Webb

Deutsch: Verkehrsunfall mit zwei PKW.

Deutsch: Verkehrsunfall mit zwei PKW. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Julie sighed as she pressed her forehead against the cool glass of the passenger side window. It felt good against her skin, slightly calming the fury in her chest.

Carl was pushing every button of hers this morning. It made her wonder why they had even bothered to go on this trip in the first place. Her husband was a jerk when he got into one of his moods. He was even worse when he got behind the wheel angry.

“Don’t you think we should stop, Carl? Maybe get something to eat?”

Her husband glanced sideways at her, a frown on his lips. “Why? So you can have more time to yell at me? No way. We are getting to my parents’ house as fast as I can possibly drive.” He turned his eyes back to the road and took a deep breath. “I’ve had enough quality time,” he growled softly. “Ten hours trapped in a car with you is more than I can stomach today.”

Julie felt her eyes sting at those words. What had happened to them? There was a time when they couldn’t stand to be apart for more than a few hours. Now it was like pulling teeth to get them in the same automobile.

She loved his parents, but his mother’s birthday party wasn’t worth the hell she was being subjected to. Would it really kill him to be civil for a few days?

The divorce papers Julie drew up the day before were packed in her bag. She hadn’t told him about them yet. She’d been worried she rushed into things. That maybe their marriage could still be saved. Maybe they could work things out if they tried.

However, looking over at the tight-lipped man behind the wheel, she knew there was no hope. The chasm they created between them was just too deep.

There was no crossing it.

Ever.

She’d give him the papers as soon as they got back into town. Assuming they both actually managed to survive the trip. If he kept going the way he was, she might kill him long before they even arrived at his parent’s house.

“Never mind,” she said glumly as she went back to staring out the window. “I don’t have to pee that bad.”

“Good,” Carl muttered tersely and fell silent.

Boy, it was going to be a long trip.

Julie watched the scenery as her husband slowed with the traffic around them.

“Hmm,” she whispered as she saw a piece of cardboard flapping in the breeze. It was taped to a wooden sawhorse along the side of the road. Written in somebody’s sloppy handwriting were the words: Collision ahead.

“What?” Carl grunted.

“There was a sign. It said collision ahead.”

“I didn’t see anything.”

“It was back there, stuck to a sawhorse.”

“Well, I don’t see anything ahead of us that looks like an accident. Was it put there recently?”

“How would I know? I don’t even know where we are,” she snapped, but she wondered if he was right. Maybe it had been there awhile.
Wouldn’t there be other signs of an accident if it were recent? Like flares, emergency workers, and groups of people standing around waiting to see all the gruesome details for themselves.

“Well, I doubt the sign was from today,” he said, ignoring her. “There’s no accident and traffic is speeding up. There is absolutely nothing to fret about.”

She twisted in her seat, wanting to get away from his condescending tone. Why did everything have to be a fight with him? She had only told him what she saw. He didn’t need to treat her like an idiot.

Julie took a deep breath, fighting back the tears. She just needed to get through the next few days. This whole nightmare would be over as soon as they got back and she gave him those papers. She could move on with her life and away from Carl’s negativity.

However, as the car moved on, she felt more and more uneasy. That sign had been put there for a reason. She was sure of it.

It was a warning.

But a warning of what?

“Something’s wrong,” she spoke impulsively, turning back to her husband. “We should listen to the sign.”

“What?” he said, glancing over at her in shock. “Are you crazy? There’s nothing to listen to. There’s no accident. It’s an old sign. Obviously people are too lazy around here to do anything with it.”

“No,” she snapped, finally putting her foot down. “We need to turn around, or stop, or something. We can’t drive any more on this road.”

“You are crazy. I’m not turning around. We’re already half way to my parent’s house.”

“Please,” Julie begged. “Listen to me. You have to stop!”

“Dammit,” Carl hissed, eyeing the hysterical woman next to him. “Fine. You want to stop? We’ll stop. There’s no way in hell I’m putting up with this for five more hours.”

He changed lanes suddenly, preparing to pull off the road. In his anger, he didn’t notice the truck in the lane next to him.

He did notice the sudden impact as it slammed into them from behind.
© 2013 Melissa L. Webb