December 15, 2008 Hallsdale, Texas
“Danny.” Marradith said. She sat up. They were in her bedroom, and Danny was sitting on the floor, playing video games. He turned to look at her. There was a loud pop and crash as the alien plane on the screen smashed into the ground.
“See what you made me do?”
“I’m sorry Dan. Was I asleep for long?”
He shrugged, his attention back on the video screen. “Don’t know. Maybe an hour.”
“An hour?” Marradith said. She was groggy, her mouth was dry. Her parents had put the game box in her room, in hopes that she could help monitor how long Danny went at it. If she could be dead asleep for an hour while the television boomed, it wasn’t working. It was past nine. Their parents were out for dinner with friends, and were due back anytime.
“Dude you’re so gonna get us both in trouble.”
“Uh uh. You’re not gonna snitch.” Danny grinned.
Marradith lifted a finger and the picture went into a flat line, and dissapeared.
“Hey, no fair,” Danny dived at the television, pressing the buttons on the console. The screen didn’t come back on.
“Did you break it?” he asked.
“It will come on when I want it to. Up.” she pointed at her door. “Go brush your teeth. Now.”
He muttered something under his breath and padded down the hall to the bathroom. Marradith yawned and stretched, and went down to the kitchen. As thirsty as she was, she knew she should have water. But she opened the fridge and saw a cola sitting there, so she took it instead.
Turning, she reached up into the cabinet for a glass. And saw a reflection. She dropped the glass on the floor. Pausing, just a moment, her heart beat hard in her chest. She felt a tingling moving slowly up her spine. Looking out the window, she froze.
The darkness stared back at her.
There is no one out there, she told herself. The tingle in her spine remained. She stood, taking slow breaths.
She closed her eyes.
A surge of warm air came up, stiring the trees. The chimes rang. The steel cowboy on the roof turned in circles.
Marradith’s heart slowed to a painful thud. She opened her eyes.
I feel you, she whispered. How long now until you show yourself?
Silence was the only reply. But she knew what she felt. Slowly, the sensation in her spine began to recede. He was leaving.
Marradith had almost convinced herself that she was imagining the whole thing. Only, she knew that she wasn’t. Someone was watching her, and she didn’t understand why.
She went upstairs to check on Danny, and found him in bed. She knew he would be fine. Back in the kitchen, she swept the broken shards of glass into a dustpan, stepping carefully over the floor.
Later that night, she lay awake in bed. Maybe, if she could remember her dreams , she’d know who was watching her. Marradith had a physical sense of his presence. Scent and skin. But nothing as definitive as a face or a voice. Her dreams were usually very clear; it was odd that this one was so murky.
A little after one in the morning she drifted into sleep. When she dreamed it was peaceful. She was being held in his arms. She didn’t understand exactly how, but she knew it was him. Her face rested against his chest.
Outside, the desert winds grew cold.
Justin stood in the darkness, with his hands in his pockets. His eyes glowed green.
©2010 Lori Titus