Another brief moment of fiction


The steps they took seemed to slow as they reached the front of Charles’ house. Their heads–almost imperceptibly–turned toward the second floor bedroom window. They knew he was up there. What’s more, they wanted him to know they were down there.

That’s what worried Charles.

Reverend Brown didn’t bother slowing or shifting his eyes toward the window. The man stopped dead in front of the white fence’s gate and raised his chubby fingers in the air.

He’s waving at me.

Charles shuddered in his pajamas and stepped away from the window. His foot brushed the empty prescription bottle on the floor. It rolled across the room and under the unmade bed.

There was no easy way to stand at the window and not be seen. For the last two weeks Charles had tried everything. Peeking out from the edge made the curtain move. An angled shaving mirror worked fine for a couple of days until the sun hit it wrong and nearly blinded the pretty pharmacist from Drake’s Drug.

This morning, Charles had resumed a bi-hourly five minute watch, standing in the window with the curtains pulled back. So far he’d spotted the Reverend and Tommy Grace from The Spigot. That was only two before noon, but it was still early. He was sure he’d see more before second shift started at the mill.

They’ve got to make sure I’m still here.

At first, before he stopped going outside, Charles thought he might be getting a little loose in the noodle. He’d heard of paranoia before, but had never really tried it out. It wasn’t until he refilled his prescription at the pharmacy–for the second time–that he realized he didn’t need paranoia.

Who needs paranoia when you have an entire town keeping track of every move you make?

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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