Short Fiction – The Girl In The Window (By Melissa R. Mendelson)
The Girl In The Window
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
I first noticed her one night before dark. She hovered in front of the window, staring outward. At first, I thought that she was staring at me, but she wasn’t. It was as if she were looking at something else, but what? We were surrounded by woods. Was it something in the trees, and that thought made me shudder. And when I looked back at the window, she was gone.
I never put much notice on the house in front of mine. I was comfortable with my solitude. The metal fence that wrapped around my land warned my neighbors to stay away. I even had a “Beware of Dog” sign when I didn’t even have a dog, but they stayed away. On Halloween night, even the trick or treaters stayed away, which was fine by me. Like I said, I value my privacy, and when I’m indoors, my shades are drawn. Nobody needs to know my business, and when I’m on the porch, smoking my pipes, nobody better be watching me. But I thought she was.
It was a small house, one of the originals built on this land. It once housed a family, who grew up and then left. The house was empty for awhile aftward, and then I believe another couple bought it. But it didn’t seem as lively as it once was with the mother constantly shouting her boys’ names from the kitchen window, the same window now that she appeared in. I thought that the house was empty, and she wasn’t always there. Was she renting it? That could be a problem for me, especially with the wrong kind of renters with maybe loud music blaring from their speakers or setting off fireworks like the yahoos further down the road. I hope that the house is not being rented out, but tonight, it was dark, empty. And I think I prefer it that way.
The sun was just setting behind the trees. White smoke from my pipe curled upward as if chasing an unfelt breeze. My thoughts drifted. The countryside was quiet, but then I felt eyes on me. And there she was in that same window, staring past me at something, and every bone in my body told me not to follow her gaze. But I did. All I saw were trees turning dark, and the hair on my arms and neck rose upward. It was as if something were there, staring back at me, and when I looked at her to acknowledge this, she was gone.
Some days passed, and then we played this game again. What the hell was she staring at? It was driving me crazy, and I didn’t need this crap. I just wanted to be left alone to my thoughts and not play anyone’s game, but she was ensnared in my mind now. There was only one way to end this game. I knew what I had to do, so I waited until she appeared in that window again. It was always the same window with a faint light behind her, the only light that I would see on inside that house. As soon as she appeared, I moved fast, and in no time, I was at her front door, pounding hard against it.
I must have been knocking for a long time. No answer. Come on, lady. I know you’re in there, and again, I knocked. I knocked several times, but still no answer. I was ready to break the door down now, not caring if the neighbors saw me or not, but then I reached for the doorknob. And I realized that it was unlocked.
“Hello,” I yelled as I opened the door. “Lady, you here?” No answer. “I don’t mean you any harm.” Who was I kidding as I gingerly stepped inside the house. “I just want to ask you something. One thing, and then I’ll leave. And if you want, you can call the cops afterward,” but I hoped that she wouldn’t.
The house was dark, empty. There were no pictures on the walls, no furniture in the rooms downstairs. It looked like it was just abandoned, left to the wilderness, but she was there. I saw her. The light was on, but as I flicked the light switches up and down, nothing happened. No electricity, but I saw a light. And whoever she was, she was gone, and I realized that every inch of me had grown cold as if I had wandered into the vastness of space. And I quickly exited the house, trying to shake off the chill.
It was a few weeks later when she appeared again. I stood up from the porch, wondering what she was. Maybe, curiosity got the better of me or stupidity, but I moved into her line of sight. Her eyes met mine, and again, I grew cold as if Death kissed me. And she smiled. She smiled a haunting smile, and a tear slipped from her eye. I could almost hear a whisper, something saying, “Thank you,” but for what? What was I being thanked for, and then she was gone. And something deep inside told me that would be the last time I would see her in that window.
That night, I could not fall asleep. I was so cold, and it wasn’t even that cold outside. I didn’t want to bother putting up a fire, so I made a hot cup of tea instead. The whistle blew, and as I was pouring myself a cup of hot water, I felt eyes on me. I froze, glancing about, noting that all the shades were drawn down, so nobody was looking in. But somebody, something was staring at me.
It was as if the darkness itself could move. Every inch of light was dimming, and one bulb even went out. The trees seemed to have grown closer, casting ugly shadows across the shades, and the hot tea… It was ice cold, and I nearly dropped the cup onto the floor. Something was inching close. I could feel its tendrils on my skin, but I could not see it. But I knew. I knew that it was whatever she saw, and then I wondered. Did this thing get her, and when I broke her line of sight, did its attention fall on me?
I spun around. I used to be a fighter, but that was years ago. Still, I would not go down without a fight, and it was there. I could feel it, but still I could not see it. It was as if it were standing right in front of me, toying with me, and a chill slipped down my spine. I suddenly knew that in the end, it would get me too. There was no point in fighting it, and I couldn’t believe that I was ready to surrender. What was wrong with me, but then a shade flew upward. And there was she in my window, staring at me, screaming at me, but I knew it was there. I knew it wanted me, but when it saw her, it was like a cold wind that ripped right through me. I fell to the floor, and the window shattered into a million pieces.
My neighbors never asked me what happened to the window. Even if they did, I would never have told them. It was none of their business, and as I now sit on the porch, smoking my pipe, I wait. I know that one day, I will see her again, and on that day, whatever that thing was would return for me. All because I saw the girl in the window.
Melissa R. Mendelson graduated college with both an AA in Liberal Arts and BA in Mass Communication: Critical Analysis. She was a Long Island news reporter from 2002 to 2004 and later went to work for the State of New York. She has written a variety of writing that continuously is published by the Antarctica Journal News, and she recently finished writing her first Horror/Sci-Fi novel, Lizardian, which can temporarily be found as an E-book on Amazon Kindle.