SepSceneWriMo 2022 – Day 6 – Watched

Having noticed a streak of the setting sun come through the window at the landing, Petunia rushed up the stairs and pulled the curtain shut. How could I have missed that? Once she made sure the entire window was covered, she crouched down, carefully inched the bottom left corner of the curtain away, and peeked outside. A country road with trees and fields on both sides stretched in front of her eyes; no soul in sight.

Petunia scanned the view twice more and then made sure the window was completely covered before standing back up. Just because I didn’t spot anyone doesn’t mean that there’s no one out there. For the past few days, no matter what she did, Petunia couldn’t shake the feeling that someone had been watching her wherever she went.

At that moment, a creaking floorboard on the second floor reminded her of the reason why she began to climb the stairs in the first place. How did he get inside? I made sure all the doors and windows are locked. She would have called 911 the moment she heard the initial rustling upstairs, but she couldn’t find her phone anywhere. And so there she was – investigating the source of the disturbance herself.

Once she made it to the top of the stairs, Petunia froze in fear – she realized that she had no weapon to fight the intruder with, and if there was anyone in the house that meant her harm, her only chance of survival was to lock herself in a room and pray that someone hears her screams.

Petunia had always been aware of the fact that a woman living alone was an easy target, but she had never imagined that someone could come after her. She was a nobody. Plus, things like that didn’t happen in the country.

The sound of approaching steps knocked Petunia out of fear paralysis, and she ran into the bathroom, locking the door behind her. She looked around desperately – a hand towel or a bar of soap didn’t stand out as prime examples of weaponry to Petunia. Even if I had something, I wouldn’t be able to overpower him anyway. Petunia laughed nervously.

The doorknob rattled, and Petunia pressed herself into the corner of the room.

“Let me in,” a male voice came from the other side of the door.

Petunia shook her head. He would have to come and take her. She wouldn’t make it easy on him. What was that? Petunia thought she heard a key turn.

To her terror, the doorknob turned, and a young man entered the bathroom. “What are you doing?” he asked.

Petunia wondered if she could kick the assailant in the crotch and run away, but her body didn’t seem to want to move. “What do you want from me?” she asked, ignoring his question. “Don’t come any closer, or I will scream.”

He was well-built and muscular. Petunia had no doubt that he could snap her in two like a twig if he wanted to. Maybe someone on a long walk with their dog will hear me… She screamed ‘Help!’ at the top of her lungs because she wasn’t the type of person to ever give up hope.

“Mom. It’s OK. Please, calm down. It’s Oliver – your son. Please stop.”

“No! Oliver lives in Nashville. And he would never harm me!”

“I’m not trying to harm you. I moved in with you last January to help you.” Oliver made a few more steps forward. He could touch Petunia now. “Come, let’s go downstairs. I’ll make you some chamomile tea. It usually calms you down.”

“If you really are Oliver, then you will know the answer to this question – What did you draw for me for Mother’s Day when you were ten?”

“I didn’t draw anything. I made you a macaroni necklace that you wore every year for Mother’s Day until I got my first paycheck and bought you a real one – the one you are wearing right now.”

Petunia hung her head and wept. “I’m so sorry, sweetheart. I didn’t recognize you.”

“I know, Mom… I know.” Oliver drew his mother close and held her tight for a minute before leading her back downstairs.

Stay golden,

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***

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39 thoughts on “SepSceneWriMo 2022 – Day 6 – Watched

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      1. I never see them that way.

        My husband’s grandmother had dementia when I first met her, and I only got to see her every year or two until she passed, so she never knew who I was; however, I think that afforded me the benefit of starting our relationship from scratch every time I saw her, while my husband and his family members tended to focus on how she USED to be, rather than how she IS.

        My conversations with her always wowed my husband and his family members because I simply had a conversation with a lovely lady I didn’t know, and my questions often unlocked memories and earlier life experiences/stories that none of her family members knew.

        What I learned, at least with her, is that she seemed to lose short term memories first, then her dementia eroded her longer term memories as time drug on. When I first met her, she was mentally in her 40s (while physically in her 70s). The last time I visited with her (a few months before she passed), she was mentally in her mid to late teens (and physically in her 80s).

        My own grandmother experienced severe dementia the last few years of her life, and while I had always been close to her, I didn’t focus on how she used to be, but instead on who she currently was. While it was sad when she no longer knew me, I still had similar conversations with her as I’d had with my husband’s grandmother. It seemed as though she appreciated talking with me because I never tried to make her feel bad/sad/guilty for not remembering me or other things/people, but instead got to know her on new and different levels. It’s a gift I’m grateful to have received.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s about memory loss/ Alzheimer, but the feeling of being watched can definitely be a part of schizophrenia.

      I never breath easy when I hear people say: “This happens only to people younger/older than you.” Yea. Until it doesn’t… The realist in me…

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    1. Oliver was working when he heard her running around and got concerned so he went to check up on her. Since it’s something that he has to do more and more often – and interrupts him a lot – sometimes he’s just short with her. Hence no pleading before he entered the bathroom.

      Like

  1. You’re in the groove now.

    ~~~

    I’ve hired an assassin who, if I don’t monthly cancel the fail-safe email to them, will receive notification to find me and kill me. I refuse to let my family suffer under the loss of my self-awareness.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Anonymole, I had a similar idea when I was younger, watching old people lose their minds. I decided that if I ever started to see my memory go, I would take up a sport like skydiving. If I was at the point where I didn’t remember to pull the cord, I would make my exit. I would have “died of dementia,” taking the shortcut.
      Of course, at that age I wasn’t anywhere near that point. The older I get, the more I trust the Lord to keep me here as long as He wants, and not a moment longer. I won’t argue with Him.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. It’s interesting how certain people do everything to stop others from suffering because of them while others don’t really care and purposefully add to the suffering.

      Quite an idea you’ve got there. Did you pay a lump sum in advance (they might get very rich for nothing in the meantime), or are they on a retainer (might bankrupt you)? Wait, I think it’s best if I don’t know any more detail.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is absolutely heartbreaking 😢, although it’s just a story and a brilliant one at that. It really had me caught up in it right to the end. What’s heartbreaking is that people with this awful disease are really going through these feelings and experiences. I feel for them so much, and equally for their families and friends (like Oliver). Wonderful writing, Sam. X 🦢😘

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Mhm, it’s a thing. Not that I really think about it in those terms when I write. Hmm… your comment made me think about the way I write – I put myself in the shoes of the reader (subconsciously) a lot of the time – I write what I would like to read. So, maybe it should be ‘the unreliable observant?’

        Like

  3. I’ve seen some movies using this method – where you find out at the end that the people you thought were crazy were the sane ones, and the viewpoint you’ve been seeing for the past two hours was illusion. Psychological thrillers are a unique genre, for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a heartbreaking read! It’s skillful the way you handled this horror tale, made all the more terrifying and tragic by its realities. I had an older relative on my mother’s side who went through a similar situation, and the very thought is so, so sad.

    Liked by 1 person

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Ellie Thompson

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