Flash Fiction #3 The Window

Sometime during the long hours of the day I must have lost track of time. I leaned back from my writers desk and stretched towards the sky. I could feel the crunch of my back as my spine popped. My shoulders twisted in their sockets as I laced my fingers together high above my head and bent them down. I let out a satisfied sigh as I felt my muscles stretch and my fingers crack.

What time is it? I thought, standing up from my desk. The tightness in my hips released as I stood up tall and straight. I leaned over my computer one last time and click the save icon before shutting my laptop.

I grabbed my half finished coffee mug and collected up my granola bar wrappers as I made my way to the kitchen.

“When did it start raining?” I said, to no one in particular. Outside small droplets gathered on the window pane. They streaked down the glass in small rivets that twisted the street lights outside.

Normally I’d close my blinds at night, blame an early childhood exposure to the Mothman Prophecies, or a human fear of the unknown. Either way I wasn’t content to stare outside my nighttime windows long without discomfort. So after washing my cup I began to make my way around the house closing the blinds one by one.

There was always something unsettling to me about approaching a window at night. The inability to see just pass the glass, the unsettling idea that someone could be just outside watching me, and the knowledge that I wouldn’t even know it. But nevertheless I wasn’t going to leave them open. God forbid I awoke to use the restroom in the middle of the night and had to creep past an open one.

I liked to flip the blinds right side up, that way the morning light wouldn’t filter through. This was all in the attempt to keep my house cool in the early morning hours. After all, if you’re going to insist on closing the blinds, you should at least do so in a more practical manner. It was just one way I rationalized my irrational fear of what was beyond the window pane.

Usually I’d walk up as quickly as I could and give the string a good pull. Idling too long before the window would run my imagination wild. And this practice carried me through most of the house. In a matter of minutes each window on the first floor was closed, but I still had one more floor to arrange.

There were few windows upstairs, and I managed to close most of them without incident. Except for one, it was always the last window I closed, and it almost always managed to get my mind racing.

It was at the far end of my walk-in closest. Something about the long narrow space between two aisle of dark body shaped masses always unsettled me. I made the painstaking effort to move towards the blacked out window step by step. All the while my mind raced.

It’s just a window. It’s just a window. It’s just a window

I repeated my manta to myself with each step, the voice of reason growing louder with every inch closer I came. The unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach grew and grew as I finally came within arms length of the string. I reached out, trying to contain my shaking hand as I pulled on the drawstring.

I could feel the weight lift off my shoulders as the tense feeling left my stomach with a deep sigh. I had to smile to myself, feeling silly over something so irrational.

Oh, I pulled the wrong drawstring, I realized suddenly, This won’t do. OCD wins over irrational fear every time!

This time I reach for the right line. No concern weighing me down as before. I pulled the cord swiftly down in one fluid motion. The movement of the blinds flipping one hundred and eighty degrees caught my eye as I did so. I glanced out the dark window displayed in full for just the flash of a second as they turned, catching the view of a solid white face staring back at me.

I collapsed back as the blinds snapped closed, falling onto my hands. My heart hammered in my chest as I began to drip sweat down my brow. Every muscle tensed as my core tightened. I tried to stand, tried to move, but found my legs unable to respond. I settled on crawling instead, slowly dragging myself back from the window, refusing to look away as I dragged myself into bed.

That night I hardly slept, my eyes remaining fixed on the window.

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