The Making of A Sinister Six – #2 I’m Watching You

Last time I talked about the thinking behind Die, Blossom, Bloom. This week it’s the turn of I’m Watching You, as the next of the stories in A Sinister Six.

The inspiration for this story, came from two completely separate sources.  The first was a short story I read by Stephen King. It was called The Moving Finger. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you seek it out and give it a read.  It’s the story of a man who believes there is a many-knuckled finger coming up through the sink in his bathroom, and his efforts to rid himself of it.

The second inspiration was a dream, believe it or not.  I dreamed that I was at home and there was someone looking through my bedroom window at me.  That my bedroom was (at the time) one floor up and it was the middle of the night did not occur to me at the time.  I remember watching the face, unmoving, unblinking, staring at me.  I moved to get out of bed, but when I did, the dream shattered and I woke up.  I picked up my phone, which was next to my bed, and dictated a few short notes about the dream, which I knew would be gone by the morning, as, indeed, it was.

But weeks later when I read The Moving Finger, the dream came back to me.  Just fragments, but it was enough to remind me that I had dictated some notes about it.  I made the connection, and I’m watching you was born.

Protagonist, Mike, is a man who works hard.  Twelve-hour work days are the norm as he and his friend try to make a go of their business.  His long days and late nights place a considerable strain on his marriage, and his wife lets him know how he is failing as a husband, a mechanic, and as a man.

Whether as a result of stress or supernatural forces, Mike begins to believe he is being watched; at home; at work, or just out walking.

As his paranoia builds, so does his relationship begin to decline, until he ultimately decides to act to rid himself of these visions (as he sees it).

I’m not really into blood and violence, but this book was only ever going in one direction, at least for me.  Usually my stories take on a mind of their own, but I saw this coming from a mile away.  I hope you get a chance to read it and get as much enjoyment from reading it as I had writing it.  Along with Die, Blossom, Bloom, it is one of my favourites in the book and along with DBB, it forms the bookends of this collection.

Preview

Here is Mike’s first encounter with the eye…

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 had felt 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. 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.

I’m Watching You is one of six darkly disturbing tales in A Sinister Six and is available now from HERE.

person thinking

My question to you:

Have you ever been tired enough to see things the aren’t there?

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