Today I made a decision to share something special. It is longer than most blog posts. It is a short story but a short story that will live on in the reader’s mind long after they reach the end. When it is says the end, I guess it was only the beginning for the story. Every single person I have ever shared this with has asked and some even begged me to write and turn it into a novel.
That was the beginning for this story. I have the novel Life Goes On out and available now. I believe with the problems we are facing all around it is a story that needs to be shared. So many people are suffering from loss of jobs, homes, stress, strain, everyday difficulties and so many more things. This is a story you will not want to miss.
The second novel is called Journey Home. It is vastly different from my first published novel, but one that I absolutely love. Reader after reader announces with delight that they did not see the ending coming. I wanted it to be a book that you could not wait to read and you could not put down as it held your interest to the very end.
The third published book with be the children’s book that I have been discussing here and there. I am so excited about it and will keep everyone updated. I believe it will be special and in its own way one of a kind.
The next novel I think I will release will be sometime away but I want to take the time to explain and share this. I said there were so many things that I want to share. I plan to one day publish a collection of short stories but could not wait. Here is the short story that turned into a novel.
I Watch You All The Time
Kara had never stayed home alone and she would have the house to herself for the weekend. Her parents went to help her great aunt Mary who was just being released from the hospital after a fall had broken her hip. They had discussions about her staying by herself and explained they had no reservations trusting her judgment or deportment, but worried as parents do, about their little girl being alone. She explained she was not a little girl and could handle anything while they were gone. Kara mentioned that maybe a friend could stay with her.
At lunch the next day Kara mentioned to her best friend Theresa the idea of a weekend of movies at the house, but Theresa was leaving town with her family. Amanda was sitting near by and exclaimed she would love to do something like that.
Both girls were sure they would have a great time. Amanda had wanted to invite some boys they knew from school and have a real party. Kara was firm as she explained what she had planned for the weekend. Amanda relented and promised Kara she would tell no one they were alone, or invite them to visit.
Kara and Amanda got off the school bus at the end of Kara’s driveway. Kara had lived in the country all of her fifteen years and loved the woods and wildlife. Her driveway curved nearly a quarter of a mile with trees and wooded area on both sides.
Amanda thought it was a long walk to the house. She had her back pack stuffed with her cloths she could never wear at school, school books, and several movies. Amanda had packed several changes of cloths including a black silky blouse with a shockingly low neckline and tight fitting hip hugger pants to match.
“How far is it? We’ve been walking forever.” Amanda said.
Kara laughed. “We’re almost there.” They rounded the curve in the driveway and saw the two story old farm house she had known as home all her life, surrounded by trees of crimson red, brilliant yellows, russet and various muted shades of green, lit in the setting sun.
Amanda stopped. “Check out all the flowers your mom grows.”
Kara laughed and agreed with her as they hopped up the steps of the wide, wrap around porch. “I like them except when I have to help weed, separate, and plant them.”
Kara unlocked the door and they sat their things down on the living room couch. The big house had lots of windows letting in bright sunshine. “I guess the first thing I can do, is give you a tour of the house, so you feel at home, then we can do what ever we want.”
“I brought all kinds of movies. I have scary movies. I got the ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ and ‘Psycho‘, some funny movies and the new Jim Carry one everyone is talking about, love stories and some I don’t know what they call them, but they sounded good. I have a feeling, we‘ll have more fun than you ever dreamed” If Kara had glanced at her friend, she might have wondered about the sly smile on her face.
The girls left large living-room they had entered by the front door, to a small hall leading from the living room to a bedroom and bathroom. They went back through the living room to a dining room complete with fireplace and French doors leading out onto the side porch. Behind the dining room they went to the large, friendly kitchen. It was in the kitchen most meals were eaten and many happy hours of visiting took place. At the back of the kitchen was a door leading outside and the door to the basement.
The upstairs of the house had two large bedrooms and a connecting bathroom. Kara‘s room had a cheerful look with light rose colors and matching bedspread and curtains. Amanda admired the heavy old antique desk and dresser in the room. Kara explained she loved those pieces not only for how they looked, but because they had belonged to her grandmother. They glanced in the parent’s room.
“That’s a lot of guns in there. Your father hunt or what? Amanda said.
“Dad loves to hunt and some of them belonged to his father. Grandpa passed away last year and they are keepsakes for Dad. He keeps them in the gun cabinet that was Grandpa‘s too.” Kara led the way down the stairs.
At the base of the stairs sat a large mixed breed, fluffy, yellow cat cleaning one paw. He stood and walked to Kara rubbing against her leg at the base of the stairs.
“This is Tom. He thinks he’s king around here, and we let him. Hope you like cats?”
Amanda stooped and gently petted the big, old yellow cat as he arched his back appreciating the attention. “I like cats just fine.”
Darkness came quickly in the autumn of the year. Kara noticed the yard was already in shadows, and began to check and make sure all of the doors and windows were locked.
Amanda saw her checking the back door, and grabbed her arm. “What are you
doing? You live so far back in the country, no one could find you, let alone try to break in. If you lock all the doors and we have some surprise company, they might feel unwelcome,” She said with a giggle.
Kara did not miss the look. “What do you mean, company? Company, like who? How would they know where to find my house?”
Amanda had a sly smile as she answered. “Who knows? Maybe Steven and Michael might miss us so much, they found a way to hunt us out, and surprise us.” She had a big toothy grin as she spoke.
Kara did not look happy or excited as her friend did. She had made promises to her parents, and intended to keep them. Her parents would not trust her to stay alone again her if she betrayed that trust.
They bought frozen pizza, and a whole sack of snacks so Kara would have a good time.
“Amanda, what have you done? Don’t you tell me you went and invited Steve and Mike to come here. You did not tell people my parents are gone, and we’re here alone, did you?”
Amanda tried to look contrite. “You know I’d never go telling people we’d be here alone while your parents are away. I brought a whole sack of movies, didn’t I? I might have accidentally mentioned to Steve at lunch, about us watching all these great movies and eating pizza. I can’t remember.”
“My parents told me I could do what ever I wanted, as long as it was just you and me, we had a good time, but were safe. They’d have a fit, if they thought we had guys over here, and you know it. Tell me now what you’ve got planned. I’m not going to screw things up for the future.”
Amanda threw her head back and laughed. Kara, Kara, just relax a little. What ‘Goodie two shoes’ truck did you fall off of? Girl, you’ve got to relax. If you invited boys, or threw a party you could feel guilty. You didn’t do any such thing. You were a good girl and did just like Mommy and Daddy expect you to. Here’s the deal. You can’t help it, if someone comes to see you, can you? Is it your fault if some guy drives all the way out here to no-where’s land just to visit and talk?”
Kara was angry. “What time are they supposed to come out and visit?”
“How would I know? I didn’t tell them to come here.” Amanda appeared to be pouting.
“First of all, you’re the one that brought it up, and I really do live back in the country, in as you call it no-where’s land. If you didn’t have directions, you’d never find my house in a million years, and you know it.” Kara looked sternly at her friend.
“Don‘t get so bent out of shape. You got the whole house alone, a guarantee of no one around for the whole weekend, and you want to sit and sniff flowers and watch movies? I know you got more life in you than that.”
“Amanda, I told you what I had planned and you said it sounded great. If I want to sit and sniff every flower on the place, and watch every movie I can find, at least what I don’t have to lie about it later.
You complain that your mom never trusts you. Can you think of any reasons why?”
“Don’t get mad at me. I didn’t mean it that way. You’re my best friend. It just slipped out at lunch. Steve is everything I’ve ever wanted, and Mike, thinks you’re cute. Can’t you see this isn’t bad?”
Kara began to have a dim view of the week-end to come. She had no fear of staying alone, but then again, there had been all of those phone calls where no one said a thing. That’s no big deal, she thought. There were also the times she walked alone in the woods that she could have sworn she was being watched. Her parents thought the phone calls were from some prank, and said not to become paranoid. Amanda’s idea was another issue entirely.
“Amanda, you have to understand. My parents don’t lie to me, and I don’t lie to them. Can’t you enjoy the weekend like we talked about?” Kara didn’t really want to be alone and Amanda might decide to leave.
Amanda smiled. “It’s cool. Maybe this is part of why I like you. I don’t know anyone at the whole school that would think twice about not telling their parents the whole truth. I can see it’s a real issue with you. If the guys show up we can visit for awhile then tell them to go.”
“I have a better idea. Why don’t you call, and don’t tell me you don’t have their number, and let them know the party’s off for now.” Kara was firm and Amanda could see it was no use to arguing.
Before Amanda could answer, the telephone rang. Kara answered it but no one spoke, as with the other calls they had recently had. Amanda took out her cell phone. With no answer after two tries, she said she would have to try again later. It was totally dark outside. Both girls deliberately tried to relax and ease the tension. Kara started to cook the pizzas.
Kara turned the porch light on. Amanda laughed, “I thought you didn’t want the boys to find us? Now you turn a light on for them.”
Before Kara could answer, the phone rang again. “Hello,…Hello,….Why do you keep calling?” The phone was silent. Kara became angry each time it occurred, but it also made afraid as she wondered who it was, and why they would keep calling.
“How often do you get those calls?” Amanda looked concerned.
“We get them all the time, and they never say anything. Dad called and reported them, but we were told prank calls are common and to ignore them. Everyone thinks it’s no big deal.”
The phone rang again. A deep raspy voice whispered, “Kara, I know you. I really know you, so very, very well. I watch you all the time … but you never see me. I’m right here. Kara, do you hear me? I watch you all the time.”
Kara felt both anger and fear. “I hear you just fine. Who the Hell is this?” The silence on the phone seemed thick in the air. She tried again. “You call all the time and never have anything to say. Don’t you have a life of your own, or do you just get your kicks this way?”
“I get my kicks all right. I just never had this kind of opportunity before. Mommy and Daddy are gone. I have my beautiful Kara and she brought me a bonus, of another girl that’s just as sweet and tasty.”
Kara felt fear that caused her to tremble, but would not let him know it. “Forget you. Why don’t you go and get a life, and leave me alone?”
“Oh, sweet Kara, you are alone. Your little friend is just a bonus. You’re all alone…. and you’re all mine….. I’m right here………. I watch you all the time.”
Kara slammed the phone down. Her face had turned an ashen shad of gray, and her hand trembled. “It’s that damned prank phone caller again. Screw him. We’ll watch our movies and still have fun.” As she spoke, she closed the curtains and in the room.
Kara needed to settle her nerves. She went to the kitchen to check the pizza. She had forgotten to turn on the oven. She turned the knob to 425 degrees, and went back to her friend in the living room.
“Before we get started with this movie, maybe you need to tell me what’s really going on.” Amanda stared at the telephone in the living room. When you were on the phone you actually went pale and I saw the way your hand shook. She seemed to have forgotten all about the boys.
Kara told her friend all she knew of the phone calls. Never before had the caller spoken.
Kara‘s stomach felt like it had a knot in it, and her hands were clammy. She thought it best to be honest with Amanda. Maybe the phone calls were nothing and they would have fun like they planned. Kara did not feel fun at all. She felt cold. The sound of his voice, and what he had said, left a fear like none she had ever known.
“What the hell are we supposed to do now? Your parents want you safe and sound, but this ain’t it. Even they’d want us to have help, if we needed it. This is no party situation, it’s down right weird. Damn, I hope the boys get here soon. I hate to say it, but if I do get them on the phone, I’m not telling them not to come, I’m asking why they aren’t here now?” How do you live like this? This is supposed to be a fun weekend, and now its scare the shit out of us time?” Amanda finally paused for breath.
Kara felt like stone. She had never felt like this. She wanted to be all grown up, but what was all grown up?
Before she could answer, the phone rang again. “Thought you had help coming, huh?…. Maybe they were a surprise?…. They were surprised all right. One came up to the house. He’s still by the house, in the pretty, pretty flowers. The other is back in his car with all his favorite tunes still playing. I watch you all the time…I watch you all the time…….You’re mine….Only mine and I’m right here….. I watch you all the time…
Kara hung up the phone with a trembling hand and a heart that pounded. She tried to be brave but fear pulsed through her veins until she throbbed with it. She had been determined not to let any prank phone caller dictate her life or stop her from being grown up, but her stubborn determination had begun to crack. “This is different than any calls we’ve ever had. He said, …He said,…In the flowers. I’m calling the Sheriff.” She picked up the phone and listened, but there was nothing there, not even a dial tone.
Amanda could barely speak. “What do you mean, in the flowers?”
“That’s what he said. He said, if we thought we had help coming, one came up and was in the pretty flowers and the other was listening to his favorite tunes. Most of the flowers are out by the front porch. We have to go and look.”
“What the hell are you talking about? Are you crazy?” Amanda was on her feet staring at the front door. “I’m not going out there for anything, or anybody.”
Kara looked out the windows as best she could. Not knowing what or who was out there, Kara decided she would not go out. Her breath came in raspy, heaving sighs. “We have to go now. This is real.” There was a crash of glass in the kitchen. Kara grabbed her paralyzed friend and pulled her toward the stairs. “That sound came from the kitchen. He may be in the house with us even now. Let’s go.”
The two girls ran up the stairs in a blind panic. Kara had always felt safe and protected in her bedroom, and that is where they ran. She slammed the door and leaned against it. Kara was gripped by fear remembering the sound of breaking glass in the kitchen, but motivated to stay away from who ever might be coming for them. “Help me,…Help me move this dresser. Don’t just stand there.”
The girls moved the dresser to block the door. Kara looked around the room, and saw nothing she could use for self-defense as she realized that the bathroom connected to her parents room and was another route of access.
Amanda stood in the center of the room with tears streaming down her face. “This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.” She would be no help to Kara. The thought of her parents room brought to mind the beautiful glass gun cabinet in the corner. She dashed through the bath room, and into the adjoining room of her parents. She opened the cabinet and withdrew an old shot gun of her father’s, and a box of shells from the bottom of the case. Not waiting to load the weapon, she ran back through the bathroom, to her bedroom. Once in the bedroom she feared the intruder could follow the same route. She lay the gun and shells on the bed, and pushed at the antique desk with all her might. It would move only inches at a time.
She ran to Amanda and shook her briskly. “Help me move this desk or he’s going to come right in through that door. Help me, now!”
Together the girls moved the desk, and stood back listening and waiting. They waited, and they listened. They heard nothing. Every heart beat felt like a hammer striking the ribs of their chests. Every minute seemed like an hour as the seconds slowly ticked by. Kara quietly loaded the old gun and lay it back on the bed.
Amanda stopped crying and began pacing back and forth in the room. “It’s going to be all right. I brought my cell phone. I was so scared I just forgot it. All we have to do is call the police.”
Kara did not look impressed. “Where is your cell phone?”
“In my backpack, on the couch in the living room.” As she said the words, it seemed all hope drained out of her.
Amanda had never known true fear or faced situations that could be life or death. Kara had not known anything like what she now went through, but was not ready to give up. Neither of the girls knew what to do. They waited…and waited some more. They heard nothing.
In the silence a squealing sound blared from below. At first, neither of the girls knew what was happening. Kara’s mouth fell open in shock and then panic as she realized what was making the sound. “We left the pizza in the oven. That’s the smoke alarm. If it’s not on fire now, it will be shortly. We have to do something. We can’t sit here and burn up.”
Amanda was beyond any ability to speak. She nodded her head in agreement.
Kara began to shove on the heavy dresser that blocked the door. “Help me move this.”
Kara left the bedroom, with the now loaded gun in her hand , and inched down the hall. Every step she listened, until her ears felt like they would turn inside out. She came to the stairs and looked as well as she could, as she crept down one step at a time. At the bottom she peered intently around the living room but saw nothing out of the ordinary. She ran into the kitchen and turned off the oven, not taking time to take the pizza out. She ran back to the living room to get the cell phone.
She heard a noise above her on the stairs and quickly turned with gun in hand. She saw the stricken, white face of Amanda. “You think you’ll be able to actually shoot?”
Kara did not feel overly brave. “I don’t know what I’ll do. We have to get help and call the sheriff.”
Kara quickly dialed the number for the sheriff but hope turned to dread at the unenthusiastic response from the dispatcher. “An officer will be out as soon as possible. You say you two are alone? Could you have imagined it, or are you sure there’s someone there? We don’t come out for prank calls.”
Before Kara could answer she heard a slight noise behind her from the kitchen and saw a glimpse of movement coming straight for her. She turned quickly. A deafening roar sounded and Kara was rocked backward almost falling to the floor. She did not realize she had even fired the gun, but there lay a body of a man in the doorway. Amanda was halfway down the steps screaming hysterically. Kara heard nothing and felt numb as she blankly stared at the body before her.
Amanda had found the courage to join her friend, and they stared at the figure sprawled motionless in the floor in the house. Both girls gazed in mute horror as they really saw the intruder Kara had shot. He lay in a pool of glistening red blood with his head slightly turned. He was so young.
Amanda ran to kneel beside the young man and in a screaming, sobbing cry repeated the same words over and over. “No…. No….No…”
Kara had tears streaming down her stricken white face. “I didn’t know…I thought he…I didn‘t know….” Her body slumped to the floor. Her head made a hollow sound as it smashed the floor and she lay motionless.
The other young man stood in the doorway sobbing and shaking. “Why the hell did you shoot him?… We were just playing a joke… we found the back door unlocked… You didn‘t have to shoot him… You really shot him…….How could you….”
A mist rolled in with the cool night air. The lights from the patrol car flashed, lighting the gruesome scene. I need to know what all happened here tonight.” The officer was talking to Kara. When he arrive he found her in the floor of the living room struggling to get up.
Amanda had hysterically cradled her boyfriend in her arms and was talking to him. “It’s gonna be O.K…… Every thing will be fine…... We’ll get help…… It was a mistake…… I’ve got you …… it’s going to be all right…..You’ll be just fine….I‘ve got you now…..”
Kara did not move or speak, then slowly as she blinked her eyes, and seemed to come back from what ever far place the shock and terror had sent her.
His radio began in that squawked. He held a brief conversation, then return to the
girls. “Where are your parents? We need to get them here, now...“
Amanda seemed to not hear him. She continued her repeated phrases to the young man she held in her arms as she sat in the floor beside him.
Kara spoke slowly and softly. “My uncle lives a couple of miles down the road, and my parents are out of town.“ She gave him the phone number of the uncle and waited as he called from his cell phone.
The officer gently led Kara out to the other officers that had arrived. He urgently convinced Amanda to come with him and led her outside. He promised they would take good care of her friend. With every step she took, the reality of the situation seemed to become more and more real. The sobs and gasping breaths Amanda took shook her violently.
Kara’s parents were called, as well as Amanda’s. Kara’s Uncle John slid to a stop in the drive,
jumped out and circled Kara in his arms. She began again to cry clutching to the front of his shirt. “I didn’t know. I thought….Help him….Help me….”Her knees buckled and she sank sobbing to the soft and dewy grass at his feet.
It seemed like forever before the police had completed their questions and investigation, and removed the body of the young man named Steven. Statements were taken from Kara, Amanda, and Michael as best they could, in the condition the young people were in. When the house was being checked the officer saw the shards of broken glass from an iced tea pitcher in the floor of the kitchen. A big yellow cat sat peacefully beside it lazily cleaning one paw.
Michael adamantly maintained that neither he, nor his friend Steven had made any phone calls to scare the girls. The sheriff found no cell phone they could have used on them, or in the pickup truck they had driven. The back door had signs of having been forced open, but Michael swore they had found it that way. A lot of questions had no answers.
Kara went to stay with her Uncle until her parents could return that night. Amanda left with her parents still sobbing. After everyone had left, the house stood empty.
The only sound was the ringing of the phone.
The final determination of the shooting was that it was accidental. Legal problems may have been concluded, but the effects of that one day were just to begin for each of those involved.
“I watch you all the time………….. but you never see me.”
Linda J. Nance