Serial Saturday has been quiet over the Christmas period, while I took some much needed rest, but this week I have part 1 of a new story for you. It’s another horror, and it’s called I’m Watching You. It’s one man’s descent into madness as he struggles to comprehend what is real and what isn’t.
It was a fun story to write, and is featured in my book A Sinister Six. I hope you have as much fun reading it…
“Alright, Alright!” Mike didn’t like shouting at his wife, but sometimes she really knew how to push his buttons. “I’ll do it later. I already said that.” He ran a hand through his hair and reached for his can of beer that rested on the arm of the sofa.
“Later, Later. Always later. Why not now?” Gloria stood, hands on hips, in front of the television.
Mike leaned over to his left and took a swig from his can.
“Well, at the moment, I’m trying to watch the television.” He learned further out and waved his arm at his wife, who didn’t move.
“It’s a job of five minutes. Tops. In the time you’ve spent arguing, you could have had it done already.” Gloria turned around and pressed the power button on the TV. The picture winked out, and Mike threw up his hands and made a show of sighing loudly.
“Why would you want to go and do that?” He picked up the remote control and attempted to turn the TV back on. As soon as the picture came back, Gloria turned it back off, and he tossed the remote to the other side of the sofa. “Give a man a break! I’ve been at work for the last twelve hours. All I want is to put my feet up and have a beer. Is that too much to ask?”
“You’ve been at work twelve hours a day for the last week. I’m here on my own all day, looking after the house. All I want is a tiny bit of help.”
“Well if you’re here all day, why haven’t youput the bins out?”
Gloria closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath.
“I’ve done everything else. All I need is the damn bins putting out.” She lowered her voice, which made her sound more menacing.
“Okay.” Mike threw his hands up. This was not an argument he was going to win. He stood up and went to the back door. The bins were just outside, and he stepped into the cold night air. There was a light rain falling, and he wiped his already-slick hair out of his eyes as he pulled the bins around the house to the front,
“Mike!” Gloria’s voice sounded exasperated, “You’ve got a call. It’s Hank.” Hank was Mike’s partner in their business. They had owned the garage for only a short time, and work was slow. They had been taking on any jobs they could find, even the ones that kept them both at the garage late into the evening.
“Jesus,” said Mike. “I only saw him half an hour ago. What does he want?”
“How the hell should I know? He probably wants you back at that damned garage.” She thrust the phone out towards Mike as he stepped back into the kitchen.
“Hello?” said Mike. He listened intently for a minute or so. Gloria watched as his shoulders sagged, and he dragged a hand across his face. He needed a shave. “Really?” he said. He leaned against the wall and dropped his head. “I’ll be right there.”
“You going back out?” Gloria’s hands were back on her hips.
“Hank says he’s got a rush job. Something about a large contract, but we need to show them that we can handle it. I won’t be long.”
“Be as long as you like. I won’t be up. Just put the bloody bins out on your way.” Gloria flapped a hand in his general direction and turned away.
Mike threw his coat on and walked out the back door, banging it shut behind him.
As Mike opened the front door, he glanced at his watch. There would still be time to get a handful of hours sleep before he had to be back at work. Just get a bed in here, Hank had joked. Mike hadn’t found it funny, but perhaps he had a point: when the new business was established, there would be time for home comforts, a warm bed: a warm body to cuddle up to. Actually, he thought, when was the last time Gloria had wanted a cuddle, let alone anything more?He could hardly blame her though; his work schedule had been punishing over the last week or so and several weeks before that, setting up the garage. When she hadfelt in the mood – which wasn’t that often – he had struggled to get it up, blaming the stress of the new business, the long hours, the tiredness. That hadn’t gone down too well with Gloria, and she had moaned at him, like it was his fault! I’m the one bringing in the money to keep you in your Jeremy Kyle lifestyle,he thought. He never said it, though, choosing to avoid an argument. All he wanted after a long day at work was a beer, the TV, and bed. A bed at work might not be such a bad idea. It would make life easier; give him a break from the nagging. He didn’t want to leave Gloria, he just wanted a quiet life.
He closed the door and walked into the kitchen. He flipped open the fridge and saw his half-finished can of beer. Pulling it out, he sat down at the kitchen table and scraped a hand across his chin; the stubble was now long enough to cut with scissors, not a beard, but only a day or two away at most.
The beer was cold, but flat. He didn’t care and threw his head back, draining the can. He tossed the empty into the recycling bin, knowing he would only have to empty it again in the morning as soon as Gloria woke up and realised there was rubbish to take out. He pulled open the fridge again, looking for more beer. There was none, so he reached up into a cupboard above the sink and removed a bottle. Wine – Gloria’s – but it would do. He’d buy more tomorrow, probably before she even noticed it was missing. He didn’t bother with a glass, tipping the bottle back and taking three large gulps. It wasn’t to his taste, but needs must, and he drank the last three inches in the bottle, with two more pulls.
He settled back into the chair, hands on the table. It took him several minutes to realise what he was seeing out of the kitchen window; the blinds had not been fully closed, and Mike could see something shining outside. He got up and walked across the kitchen, stubbing his toe as he did. He swore loudly and clapped a hand to his mouth – he didn’t want to risk the wrath of Gloria at this hour in the morning. As he leant forward to get a better look, he could see what had been shining: there was an eye just beyond the glass.
Mike continued staring for several seconds. The eye didn’t blink, it didn’t move. His first thought was burglar, or possibly a peeper, although what they were hoping to see at this hour was anybody’s guess, and a burglar would find the house devoid of anything of great value. Either way, Mike didn’t want someone in his garden, and he pulled the back door open and stepped back out into the cold night air. There was no one there, and if there had been, they had made a swift exit. He walked to the end of his garden, tripping on a coil of garden hose as he did; perhaps he had consumed more alcohol than he had realised. That was his thought as he closed and locked the back door: too much alcohol, not enough sleep. Whatever it had been, it was gone now, and his bed was calling.
After lowering the empty wine bottle into the bin, Mike went to bed.
That’s it for part 1. pop back next Saturday for part 2!