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Neighbors

By: The Earthotic Way

He never wanted to move again. Ever. It was too hard. There were still so many boxes to go through. Pushing his glasses up along his nose, his dark hair wet across his forehead, Mike Cosgrove took in the view.

“Lindsey?” She was unpacking in the kitchen.

“What is it now?” Lindsey sounded irritated.

He smiled. “Watch the tone young lady.”

Smacking his arm playfully, she leaned against him taking in the view.

***

Getting ready for bed, he noticed an upstairs light on in the house three doors down across the street. A woman was staring back at him, silhouette clear as day, her hand against the glass. A wiry halo of hair caught a bit of the light.

“Hey, we have a creepy neighbor lady watching us.”

Lindsey scoffed. “Really?”

“Upstairs, in the house a few doors down.”

“Wow. Weird.” Lindsey said, biting her lower lip. “Looks like an old lady.”

“Thanks, Sherlock.”

They both laughed getting into bed, turning off the lights.

***

The figure was back the next three nights. On the fourth night he and Lindsey stood together looking at the figure.

“Maybe she’s just saying hello.” Lindsey kissed him on the cheek and got in bed.

Something tickled his heart with ice, his anxiety rising, his head thudding unease.

“Maybe we should go over and introduce ourselves,” Lindsey said.

***

Why was this a good idea?

Standing side by side, Lindsey knocked on the door. A scowling, overweight woman with a severe looking haircut answered.

“Morning. We’re Lindsey and Mike. We just moved in down the street.”

“Morning. I’m Cora.” She eyed them suspiciously.

“This is probably going to sound odd but we noticed someone staring at us from the upstairs window.”

Hearing those words, the woman’s demeanor changed immediately, her arms dropping at her side.

“What?”

“A woman, long hair. Slender.” Mike gestured with his hands, clearing his throat.

Tears welled in the woman’s eyes. “There’s no one else here but me.”

“But we saw her.” Lindsey was insistent.

Nodding, the woman wiped her eyes, voice filled with emotion. “I live alone.”

She was quiet a moment before saying, “Some of the neighbors have said the same thing. Margie, my sister, used to live upstairs. She was mentally unstable. She used to wander the neighborhood hurting pets, children, even herself before I locked her up there. I didn’t know what else to do. Sometimes she would still get out and do terrible things.”

The woman began crying, raising her hand before stepping back inside, closing the door.

Mike felt sick to his stomach.

***

Confronting Cora had been a mistake, the guilt pinned to his heart as he got ready for bed. The sun fell to the horizon as darkness descended.

“What did you think about Cora?” Lindsey asked from the bathroom, scrubbing her face at the sink.

“Feel awful.”

As he watched, the light turned on, Margie’s figure coming to the window.

“She’s back.” He looked down the hall, Lindsey coming out of the bathroom.

“What did you say?”

He never got the chance to answer, Lindsey heading toward the door. Mike tried to stop her, stumbling over some moving boxes and falling to the floor.

Lindsey opened the door, her gasp cut short by quick, wet sounds, the violence painting the hallway red.

From his position Mike realized the silhouette was gone from the window. As the rattling breath accompanied the horrid stench, footfalls uneven in the hallway, his mind faltered, scream caught in his throat.

She wasn’t gone.

She was here.

Margie had come to visit.

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