Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Watcher

I used the above Wallpaper as a writing prompt. 
Now you try it! Click on the photo for a larger version.
The sun dropped below the horizon and a warm breeze began to blow in from the ocean. The palms swayed as if painting the evening sky with yellow, crimson, peach, and violet. It was a nice night to sit and stare out the window at her hut. Tiki torches danced in the twilight, their glow spilling along the ground to blend with the glow from the open door and windows of her house. He sat the wine bottle and cork on the window ledge, picking up the glass and sipping slowly, savoring the sweetness. 

He'd watched for the last six nights and it was always the same. She'd get up and take an early morning swim around eight a.m. She'd go in and return with her book, a tall cool drink, and lie on the lanai in a lounge chair and read until just after noon. She'd take another dip, go in and not come out again until around four when she'd swim for about an hour and go back in for the evening. Three times she'd sat on the lanai until after ten, stretched out in that lounge, staring into the glittering night sky. At first, he'd thought she had fallen asleep but she'd reached for her drink or turned her head and he knew she wasn't sleeping. She was simply admiring the universe. Sometimes, after she'd gone in for the evening, he could see her walking around through open windows and the open doors. His binoculars had been little help since the blowing curtains more often got in the way. 

It was a vicarious experience for him. After the first couple of days, he'd begun to imagine himself there, with her. He began to believe he could feel the warmth of the water against his naked skin as they swam together, could feel the silky smoothness of her's as his hand stroked her thigh under the water. Sometimes they'd come together there, in the water, hands touching, caressing, lips meeting in a brief salty kiss, a promise of what would come with the nightfall. He'd felt the canvas deck chair against his back as he sat next to her and watched her read. He didn't need a book. All the stories he could imagine came easily to mind and would feature her as the lead character. He would be there with her, talking, laughing, making love to her there on the deck. There was no one to see them because instead of watching her from a darkened room he was beside her, lying with her against his chest. 

He shook his head and drank deeply of the wine, emptying the glass and setting it back on the window sill where he refilled it. He studied the shell that rested there. He'd picked it up on the beach the day he'd arrived. There was no one around when he arrived and he took the opportunity to explore the beach and the two huts that stood just across from one another, where the beach curved sharply inward. It had been around noon and the sand had been extremely warm against his bare feet. The urge to stretch out and let it soak into his flight weary muscles had been overwhelming. Instead, he'd picked up the shell and put it to his ear, closed his eyes, and listened to the roar of the waves. The forlorn sound tugged at his gut and made him abandon the beach for the shade of the house.

Now, he reached out and took it from the window sill.  Holding it to his ear, he listened and watched the waves that rolled onto the beach just outside his window. The sound seemed to blend in with the waves only a dozen feet from where he sat.  

A light went out in the hut across from him. The light in the living room winked out, followed by the porch light. Something was happening. He checked his watch. Bedtime. When he looked up, all the lights in the house were out. Carefully he placed the shell back onto the sill and dropping his arms back to the chair arms he slumped back in his chair. 

The entire week had been a wash.  The whole trip had been her opportunity to escape for a short time. He understood that. During the entire time, she'd done nothing that warranted his attention but he'd been drawn along, a part of her routine and ritual but not a participant. Despite all his efforts to prevent it, he'd become obsessed. 

He got up and padded across the darkened room to his bed and reached beneath it and pulled out his suitcase. Their flights left tomorrow, his at six a.m., her's at ten. They were destined never to meet. It had been determined from the beginning. He fumbled in the clothes until his hand closed around the cool metal. He glanced back to the window and wished for a light. Light would be cold, harsh, and real. There was none. 

Deftly, he shoved home the clip of the black 9mm. The cool of the barrel quickly warmed to his touch, much like he imagined she would have had he had the opportunity to make his daydreams reality. He slid the gun into the back of his waistband and slipped into the darkness at the back of his hut.

There was no sound in the hut when he stepped through the window on the far side of the lanai. He knew her bedroom was on the opposite end and that there was no chance that she'd hear him with the sound of the waves and the breeze blowing in through the windows. He padded carefully across the room and looked into the living area. It was darker than this room but, across from his position, he could see the outline of her bedroom door. A dim light fell across the carpet from inside the room, a soft and warm a glow. The moon had just topped the trees as he'd left his hut and tonight it was full but it didn't look like moonlight. Of course, he wasn't worried. After it was over, no one would see him leave.

He made no more sound than a shadow as he slipped across the thick carpet. Through her doorway he caught a glimpse of a small candle glowing on the dresser, the mirror casting the light back into the room. The warm glow made sense. He hesitated but it wasn't enough to do more than give a dim uncertain light. He stepped into the room and his eyes found the bed.

“Hello,” she said. Her voice stroked him like silk. “I've been expecting you.”

He stopped in his tracks, icy finger snaked up his spine. She was sitting up, her back against the headboard. In her hand, the barrel of a small revolver glittered in the flickering flame of the candle, as if it had a light of its own.

She smiled. “I hope you had a wonderful vacation. I know I did. Sad, isn't it. He'll never really be sure.”

The plane lifted from the runway in one smooth motion and she watched, smiling as the ground fell away beneath her. Sighing, she lay her head back against the seat and closed her eyes. She was tired. It had been a long night. 


  1. It never ceases to amaze me what you write about. Beautiful descriptions. Very good twist at the end. Well done.


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