Still . . . very still . . . silent and motionless . . . barely breathing . . . watching and listening, always watching and listening . . . learning . . . evaluating . . . waiting . . . planning . . . using all the skills I have learned as a bounty hunter.
My fellow accident victims – flesh-and-blood, sentient creatures who, like myself, supposedly fell out of the pages of a manuscript into an alien world – they have developed an unnatural attachment to and affection for the witch who is responsible for this accident, the one known as The Writer.
At this moment, my fellow expatriates and I are on an illusory trip. It was at the suggestion of Dragon, who felt the witch . . . excuse me, Mistress Writer as the others insist on addressing her . . . who felt Mistress Writer and her spouse needed some time away from our company.
For more than a fortnight, we have been in the large room Mistress Writer calls the conference room. Of course, with her limited powers and minimal intellect, the witch is unaware of our presence. Dragon has cast a spell of concealment upon us.
While the others of my company are enjoying the diversion and amusement afforded by our illusory travels, I am barely aware of our unreal surroundings. I watch my companions and I listen to their conversations. I observe each one of them, trying to determine their allegiance and the motivation behind it.
Why would Dragon care if the witch . . . Mistress Writer . . . and her spouse need some time away from us? Why would Cleric worry that we have been an imposition? Why would the Old Dwarf care that the witch and her man are alone and vulnerable?
This witch is the creature who caused us to be ripped from our world, our lives, our purpose. This witch is the creature who caused us to be exiled in an alien world, never to return to the familiar. Why do my companions care about her and her spouse?
I watch and listen, too, to the witch. Many times now since our departure for this illusory trip, the witch has entered the conference room, looking for us. She appears worried. She has lamented our departure to her spouse, expressing concern over our extended absence and reflecting on the possibility of us not returning at all.
Why would she care? If we really hold any meaning for her, if we really hold a place in her heart, why did she not leave us where we were, in our own world, pursuing our own aspirations and goals? Why did she bring us here? For what purpose does she need us?
I will find out. I will uncover her motives and lay them bare for my fellow expatriates to see. And I will determine who among my companions share my feelings, upon whom among them I can depend to aid in my quest to return home.
Still . . . very still . . . silent and motionless . . . barely breathing . . . watching and listening, always watching and listening . . . learning . . . evaluating . . . waiting . . . planning.
* * *
I hesitated at the top of the stairs, fear holding me tightly in its grip. I had not been to my office since seeing a giant pair of eyes staring at me from my computer monitor. https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2020/01/12/the-eyes-of-the-something-are-upon-me/
Miles walked up behind me and put his arm around my shoulder. “Honey, you need to do some writing. You wanted to complete that article you’ve been researching and send it to the magazine while it’s still timely.”
I nodded and swallowed hard. “I know.”
“I’ll go with you and sit in your office while you work, if you think that will help.” He gave my shoulder a reassuring squeeze.
I shrugged. “Thanks. I really appreciate the offer, but I don’t know if it’ll help. It hasn’t helped at night. Even with you right there next to me, I haven’t slept well in the past two weeks, ever since I saw those eyes watching me from the bedroom ceiling.” https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/7507/
Miles sighed. “I never thought I would say this, but I wish your characters were here. I think you’d feel better with Dragon and your Old Dwarf and the others here to protect you and to investigate whatever is behind these incidents.”
I raked my hand through my hair. “Unless they’re the ones behind the incidents.”
Miles furrowed his brow. “What do you mean?”
I sighed. “Well, what if they’re the ones watching me? It started after they left for their illusory trip. First, it was just the feeling of someone watching me. Then I would catch movement out of the corner of my eye, but when I turned to look, nothing was there. Then the eyes started appearing, first on the bedroom ceiling, then on my computer monitor.”
Miles scoffed. “Why would they be watching you? They’re probably having so much fun on their illusory trip, they haven’t even thought about either one of us since they left.”
I chewed on my lower lip, realizing the truth of what Miles said. Suddenly, another thought occurred to me. I grabbed my husband’s hands. “You don’t think they’re in trouble, do you? They might be trying to reach me for help!”
Miles tilted his head and rubbed his jaw. “I suppose that might be the case, but I don’t know what you could do for them if they did need help. If a fire-breathing dragon and a bunch of magic users can’t keep the group safe, how could you help?”
I sighed again. “I suppose you’re right.”
Miles stroked his chin and furrowed his brow. “You know, both times you’ve seen the eyes watching you, you’ve pretty much freaked out. If you see them again, maybe you could try to stay calm and ask whoever or whatever it is what they want.”
I smiled. “My calm, rational husband.” I gave him a quick peck on his cheek. “I’ll try, but you have no idea how frightening a huge pair of eyes can appear!”
Miles chuckled. “Well, that’s true, I don’t. Still, if I had seen the eyes, I don’t think I would have been as terrified as you were.”
“Now would be a good time to test your courage.”
Miles frowned. “What do you mean?”
I pointed at something behind him, and he turned around. There, on the opposite side of the living room, a disembodied pair of eyes was peering through the French doors at us.
What is going on? Who is watching us and why? Be sure to join us again next week as we try to deal with this disconcerting situation. We’ll leave the porch light on for you.