TUESDAY: The Watcher

BY STEVE CARR

Copyright is held by the author.

IT’S NO more than two yards from my apartment building to the adjacent building. My living room window faces his living room window. He’s always there, sitting at his window, watching me, staring at me. His eyes are sunken and ringed with dark circles. His gaunt cheeks and hooked nose give him the appearance of a bird. An angry bird. His face is hideous. Horrifying.

He doesn’t move unless I move. We haven’t tried to speak to each other. He keeps his lips sealed, as do I. I close the curtains so that he can’t watch me, but when I open them, he’s there, waiting for me.

My wife never sees him. “You’re imagining things,” she says.

She has no idea how it feels to know that there’s someone stalking you who lives only a few yards away, who does nothing but sit at their window waiting. Always waiting just for you.

I once called the police and reported him. Two cops came to my apartment and said they checked out who lived in the apartment, who was watching me.

“No one lives there. The apartment is empty,” they said.

“That’s impossible,” I screamed. I opened my curtains and there he was. He stared right at me. “There he is,” I shouted.

They took my wife aside and they spoke in whispers.

“I’ll have him seen by someone,” she told them as they went out the door.

“I’m not crazy and I’m not seeing a psychiatrist,” I told her.

In the middle of the night when I open the curtains, in the partial glow of moonlight or streetlamps, I see his grotesque face half hidden in the shadows.

Enough is enough.

This evening my wife is out with friends. I open the curtains and stare into his chilling, murderous eyes. I go into the kitchen and take the butcher knife from a drawer and hide it inside my jacket. In the darkness I go from my building to his, careful not to be seen. I take the elevator to his floor and pound on his door.

“What?” he says, when he opens the door. He looks different. He’s wearing painting overalls. But it’s him. It has to be him. Who else could it be? I pull out the knife and plunge it into his heart. He falls to the floor. A pool of blood quickly forms around his body.

As I look at his body the relief that he’s gone – that he will never watch me again – washes over me.

I close the door, step over his body, and go to his window. I stare through the glass, immediately terrified. He’s in my apartment, watching me from my living room.

I wipe away the blood that had splattered on my face.

He does the same thing. At the same time

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