Neighborhood Watch

In a little eerie town away from you, lives a timid adolescent girl named Angeline. She takes pleasure in helping her mother bake cakes and enjoys joining her on long hikes up the Sierra Mountains. The days that Angeline’s mother does not have free, she spends it working, having Angeline spend time with her aunt. She prefers her mother’s company more then her aunts. On a calm gloomy Wednesday afternoon, Angeline’s mother decides to drop her off to her aunt’s house just a mile away from where they live. Seeing the only red curb on that particular block, she always knew they’d arrived. Knowing that her aunt was not the friendliest woman, she always felt some sort of intimidation towards her. The neighborhood knew her presence since she was always on the lookout for mischievous behavior. Making sure no one ever budded into her business, Virginia was always hard to shake.

When Angeline steps out of her mother’s car after kissing her goodbye, she glances towards the second floor window over the entrance door, just to catch her aunt staring back at her. Feeling slightly hesitant, Angeline takes two steps forward and finds herself knocking on her aunt’s door. Virginia opens her door very slowly, poking her head through, she softly says, Angie? Sorry darling, I barely recognized you from up top. My sight hasn’t gotten better since your previous visit. Come in dear. With a more relaxed expression, Angeline passes the entrance and lands on her aunt’s dusty burgundy chair. She then gets greeted with a sloppy wet kiss. Cosmo is always so friendly and excited to see her. The wagging of his furry tail always gives it away.

Curiously, she finds herself feeling a bit unfamiliar with the setting—

Everything is dark. Having only her room lit and the chimney glowing with candles, Angeline assumes that it has something to do with Virginia becoming blind. She does not ask. Instead, with a candle she has taken from around the fireplace, Angeline cautiously walks to the kitchen to make herself a peanut butter and banana sandwich. While eating, Virginia informs her niece that she’ll be taking off for an hour, but she will be back soon. Okay, Angie responds with no questions that soon she’d regret not asking.

Ten, twenty, forty-five minutes pass. As she’s playing tug of war with Cosmo, Angeline realizes that it’s been past an hour. She ponders, Should I go check on auntie? Cosmo looks at her in wonder as she walks towards the entrance. She opens the door, Cosmo quickly runs out into the street. COSMO NOO! PLEASE COME BACK!! She chases after him only to notice he’s much quicker. She runs until her balloon filled lungs are deflated with exhaustion. Having ran three blocks away from the red curb and not finding Cosmo or her aunt, Angeline drops herself down onto a sidewalk and begins to sob hysterically.

Suddenly, she feels a slimy warm tongue caress the skin of her forearm. His fur and apologetic eyes comfort her. She hugs him with enjoyment and relief as her vision shifts towards a movement in the background—Virginia is standing right beside Cosmo and herself. What are you doing outside? And why is Cosmo here too? She asks, Auntie!! I’m so happy to see you! Her tears come to a stop; You took longer than an hour so I decided to try to find you to see if you were okay, she explains. With a long pause and stare, Virginia says nothing as she helps her niece up from the sidewalk. They begin to head towards the red curbed block once again, and Angie turns back to notice a small object near the hiking trail. WAIT auntie!! I found something! She shouts. Virginia stops ambiguously with Cosmo by her side. She walks up to where Angeline found that small object and notices what it really was. Ugh…auntie? Was this someone’s shoe? She nervously asks. Her aunt does not respond back, but instead grabs the shoe and proceeds to walk back to her home with her dog and niece.

Later on that night, Angie’s slumber is disturbed by odd sounds coming from her aunt’s backyard. She skeptically tiptoes her way up the bathroom, since there’s a window that captures the whole yard. As she makes her way on top of the toilet seat to take a better look, she realizes it’s her aunt Virginia who’s been making the noise. She has dug a deep hole that seems to belong to a small object with red stains. She pours lighter fluid and drops a lit match into the abyss. With glowing haunting eyes, Angeline watches until the fire disappears.

 

 

-Sandra Fernandez

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