The Watcher

The little girl had discovered her, a small figure carved on a wooden plank hanging on the kitchen wall. The girl stood there awestruck, studying the image. Etched on the wood in lines and knots was a lady in a gown, standing with grey hair flowing down to her shoulders and watching something open mouthed and eyes rounded, as if surprised and upset by what she is watching. The child had run to a nearby room and dragged him to the kitchen to show him her discovery. As a young man, he was not as surprised as the child, but he took note of the unusual design, nevertheless. This was the child’s home, had she never seen this piece of art before? Indeed, it looked liked a creepy lady watching.

He was a friend of this family. Her parents had gone on an errand leaving their little daughter under his watch. Minutes after being shown the discovery, he murdered the girl in the kitchen as the carved lady on the wall stood watching, terrified and dumbstruck.

A year later, the wall and the house were no more. First mortgaged and then sold, everything that could be salvaged was sold as scrap, including the wooden plank with the lady carved on it.

Five years later he bought a house in another place hundreds of miles away from where he ended that child. He married a lovely woman who deeply adored him. The second night in their new home, she discovered a plank, discarded in a dusty corner of the attic. She brought it down into the house and set it in their bedroom, so she wouldn’t forget to show her husband after work that day. Absently, she hung it on an old hook near the bed, so as not to get dust on the bedclothes. She mentions it to him that night and made him take note of the design.

Viewing the image rang a faint bell. “I think I’ve seen something like that before,” he said, but shortly went on loving his wife, not wanting to focus his brain on anything less important.

Later that night he woke up from sleep, restless. In the faint light with his wife sleeping beside him, his eyes fell on the artwork. The lady was watching. Even in the semi-darkness of the room he could see her clearly; she seemed to be watching him with more and more intensity. He remembered.

She woke up in the morning when a drop of liquid fell on her face. A drop of red. She didn’t find him beside her. Another drop fell. She looked up. It was dripping from above. Blood. She froze in panic and called out to him as she ran up to the attic. The quiet neighborhood street was disturbed by her blood curdling scream.

Later, neighbors consoled her as police carried a body bag out of the house.

Rick E. from Roseburg, OR