Eye May Have to Reconsider

Eye May Have to Reconsider

Dragon, Talia, Chris

“No, it can not be good!” Dragon repeated her words, this time more forcefully, as she – in her customary guise of an elf maiden – continued glaring at Christine and Talia. “Not good at all!”Glaring

Talia returned Dragon’s glare through narrowed eyes, but Christine seemed relieved at Dragon’s presence.

I smiled broadly and addressed Dragon by the name she used in public. “Dray! When did you . . .?”

But Dragon held up a hand to silence me. “My apologies for my prolonged absence, Mistress. When I returned this day, Master Miles apprised me of the recent events, and of your current whereabouts. I came immediately.” She glared at Christine and Talia again. “It would seem I arrived not a moment too soon.”

“Indeed?” Talia scowled, and pushed her hair off her face. “Perhaps if you had been here earlier, we wouldn’t have had this problem.”Dragon, Talia, Chris

Dragon ignored Talia’s complaint, and glowered at the co-owners of the Chris-Tal Clear Metaphysical Store, the establishment in whose back room we currently stood. “Have you had such an incident previous to this day’s appearance?”

Christine shook her head. “No. No one has ever been able to penetrate our wards before.”

Dragon furrowed her brow. “Are your certain your wards are in place and activated at this time?”

“Of course!” Christine scoffed.

“No.” Talia’s voice was so soft, we almost missed what she said.

“No?” Christine rounded on Talia, her eyes hard, her mouth set in a grim line. “And why not?”

Talia hung her head and mumbled. “The wards are still active for the store itself, to protect our inventory, but I released them back here. I thought it best, since we were expecting people for afternoon tea.”

“Really, Talia, what were you thinking?” Christine rolled her eyes and her mouth formed a moue. “It never occurred to you to just modify the wards to allow our guests to enter, but still keep others from intruding? Who knows what was behind this invasion or what mischief might have been done?”Talia with flaming cheeks

Talia continued to hang her head, and her cheeks flamed, but she gave no reply.

“Well, it is water under the bridge now.” Dragon sighed. “I doubt any harm has been done, though. Since this is the first time such a thing has occurred here, I doubt you were the target.”

Crawford furrowed his brow. “I would agree, Dray.”

Griff nodded in agreement. “Me, too. Marge has detailed for us what has been happening at her house. I would imagine she is the intended target.”

Eyes have been watching me

“But the fact that whoever – or whatever – is spying on Marge did so here at our store may indicate there is a connection to us as well.” Christine frowned.

Dragon stroked her chin as she considered this. She paced the length of the big room, then stopped and faced me. “Mistress, correct me if I am wrong, but I can think of only two connections you have to Christine and Talia.”

Crawford and GriffI furrowed my brow and chewed on my lower lip for several moments before nodding. “Well, I suppose it is obvious the first connection would be Crawford and Griff.” I gestured toward them as I spoke. “Crawford was the one who suggested Christine and Talia might be able to help with Marisol. https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2019/09/08/still-looking-for-answers/

Dragon nodded. “Therefore, the second connection, logically, would be Marisol herself.”Marisol

I agreed. “But since Crawford and Griff were present here with me today when the eyes appeared, I doubt they are behind the apparitions at home.”

“That leaves Marisol.” Dragon frowned.

“Yes. This was supposed to be a celebration of sorts for her today, if I understood Talia earlier.” I raised a questioning eyebrow at Talia.

at the herb farmThe woman nodded and cleared her throat. “We recently met the child when we visited the herb shop her mother manages. We realized almost at once she was the one of whom you had spoken. Since that meeting, I have been working with Marisol, teaching her control. I was hesitant to take her as a pupil at her tender age, but she’s proven very insightful, and a quick study. Today was to be a congratulatory fete for her, as well as a thank-you to you for alerting us to her problem. Crawford and Griff were invited as a thank-you to them for sending you to us.”

I rubbed my jaw. “So, the child knew I was going to be here?”

Talia nodded.

I raked my hand through my hair. “It looks pretty clear to me that the child is behind this.”

Dragon narrowed her eyes and turned again to Talia and Christine. “You two need to see if you can determine the identity of the intruder here. I will do the same at the house. If we determine it is Marisol, I suggest you work a little harder with her, Talia. Perhaps teach the child what is and what is not acceptable behavior for one who wields powers such as hers.”

Talia nodded, her cheeks burning at Dragon’s implied reprimand.

Dragon turned back to me. “We need to go home, Mistress. There, I will attempt to determine the identity of your intruder, and how they got past the new spells of protection I and my fellow magic users recently cast. As I explained to you at the time we cast it, it is one of those spells whose failure is only revealed if someone succeeds in defeating it.”

I nodded. “Do you agree that it is most likely Marisol?”

Dragon shrugged. “She is extremely powerful.”

CrawfordCrawford furrowed his brow. “I hope you don’t mind if I point something out, but I believe you may be barking up the wrong tree. When you first told me about the child, you described her as one who has magic, but is not a magician. You said she’s not a witch or a sorceress; she cannot create illusions, she cannot conjure, she cannot enchant, she cannot cast any sort of spell.” The man paused to make sure Dragon and I were following. When we both nodded, he continued. “Whoever is spying on you is capable of casting spells. They are capable of defeating Dray’s wards and spells of protection.” He paused again, looking from me to Dragon and back again. “Ladies, I believe you are looking for a powerful spell caster.”

Powerful magician

I blinked and my jaw dropped.

What powerful spell caster would be spying on me and why? Can Dragon and the others get to the bottom of this? Be sure to come back next week and see what happens. We’ll leave the porch light on for you.

Eye Don’t Know What’s Going On

Eye Don’t Know What’s Going On

Dragon and Miles“Oh! You’re back! Marge and I have been so worried.”

Miles had been going down the stairs and had practically run into Dragon, who had been on the way up.

“Why should you be worried, Master Miles?” Dragon arched an eyebrow and gave Miles a bemused look.

“Well, let’s see. Maybe because you’ve been gone for more than five weeks?” Miles frowned. “Or maybe because of the things that have been going on here. Marge had no way of knowing if any of you were behind the strange events.”

Instantly, Dragon snapped to attention. “Strange events? What strange events?” She paused, frowned, and held up her hand in a stop gesture before Miles could answer. “Wait! Five weeks? We have only been gone a few days!”

Miles shook his head emphatically. “No, it has been five weeks. You left for your illusory trip on January 4, and it is now February 9.”Angry Dragon

Dragon scowled, and dark smoke drifted from her nostrils. “I must have lost track of time. It certainly did not seem that long. My sincere apologies. Now what is this about strange events?”

Miles detailed to Dragon the events that had started shortly after Dragon and her fellow characters had departed for their illusory trip. “Marge felt as if someone or something was watching her. She said she kept catching movement out of the corner of her eye, but when she turned to look, no one was there.”

Dragon scoffed. “That is curious, but hardly worrisome.”

“That was just the beginning.” Miles’ voice was grim.

Dragon’s eyes narrowed. “Go on, Master Miles.”

Eyes have been watching meMiles then described the three times his wife had seen giant eyes, first on the bedroom ceiling, then on the computer monitor, and finally on the French doors from the living room to the deck. “I saw the last pair of eyes myself. They were staring right at us, then they quickly disappeared. Marge and I thought maybe one of you was trying to contact her, that maybe you were in trouble. We also considered the possibility that her Arrogant One was up to some mischief. Either way, the longer you were gone on your trip, the more worried she became.”

“It was not the Arrogant One.”Bounty Hunter, Dragon, Miles

Dragon and Miles both jumped at the sound of a new voice. The Bounty Hunter was leaning against the railing, just a few steps behind Dragon, studying his fingernails. “The elf was enjoying the trip too much to engage in such antics. And, to the best of my knowledge, none of us were trying to contact Mistress Writer. We had no reason.”

Dragon locked eyes with the other character for a few moments, but the Bounty Hunter seemed unperturbed. Finally, the big beast turned away from the man and looked around. “Where is Mistress Writer?”

Miles shrugged. “She’s not here today. She received an invitation to an afternoon tea at that New Age store.”

Dragon’s eyes narrowed. “Chris-Tal Clear Metaphysical Store?”

Chris-Tal Clear

Miles nodded.

The giant reptile growled. “I am so disappointed I did not receive an invitation from Christine and Talia as well. I guess I am just going to have to . . . what is the phrase you use? Crash the party?”

And she was gone.

* * *

I screamed and pointed.

As my legs turned to rubber, Crawford and Griff grabbed a nearby chair and positioned it for me to collapse onto it.

Christine and Talia whirled around to see what was causing my hysteria. An ornate pair of eyes hovered in midair.More eyes

Talia seemed rooted in place. Her mouth moved, but no sound emerged. She seemed unable to do anything but stare into the huge eyes.

Christine was close to hyperventilating. She clutched her throat, and her eyes grew almost as large as the disembodied ones that were slowly disappearing. “That can’t be good!”

“No, it cannot!” Dragon, in her customary guise of an elf maiden, strode in, glaring at Christine and Talia.Dragon, Talia, Chris

* * *

Bounty Hunter full body 2Still . . . very still . . . silent and motionless . . . barely breathing . . . watching and listening, always watching and listening.

My skills, so necessary for my profession as bounty hunter, grow ever sharper. I knew the dull-witted human inhabitant of this world would never notice me as I crept up on him while he conversed, as I listened to every word of the exchange. I knew I would remain unnoticed, as if invisible, to that one. But imagine my surprise and my elation when the scaly beast also startled at the sound of my voice. It took every ounce of self-discipline and control to not grin like a fool, to remain nonchalant, as if I had no idea I had just snuck up on them unnoticed.

* * *

Eyes blinkedThe eyes blinked. Watching . . . watching . . . always watching. Yes! I must be watching! But I must be more careful. I have, more than once now, come too close to being exposed. But I will remain vigilant. I will discover their secrets . . . eventually.

 

Who is watching, and why? What does my Bounty Hunter know about it? And what is Christine and Talia’s involvement? Will Dragon be able to figure it all out? Be sure to come back next week. We’ll leave the porch light on for you.

Eye, Eye, Eye!

Eye, Eye, Eye!

“What’s going on?” Crawford’s eyes were almost as wide as mine, his breathing almost as rapid.

“I wish I knew.”

My two companions, Crawford and Griff, gaped at me, and I realized I was shaking like a leaf. My mouth was dry, and my hands were sweaty as the three of us huddled in the center of a large backroom in the Chris-Tal Clear Metaphysical Store. The afternoon tea to which we had been invited was set out and waiting for us on a nearby table; but as we had been looking around, wondering where our hostesses were, the repast was not all we had seen. On three sides of us, the walls were watching us.

The walls were watching

Well, not precisely. Something appeared to be watching us. The walls were covered with staring eyes.

Eyes have been watching meAs we continued to crowd together, shrinking from the gawking eyes, I quickly brought my companions up to speed. I explained how several times in the past few weeks I had felt as if someone or something had been watching me at my house. I described the appearance of pairs of eyes watching me from my bedroom ceiling, from my computer monitor, and from the French doors opening from my living room to the deck.

Griff protects usAs I detailed the terrifying incidents, I could see Griff starting to change. In short order, a griffin stood with Crawford and me, his wings extended protectively around us. His wicked beak snapped, his lionish tail whipped back and forth, and one taloned foreleg rose, claws extended threateningly.

Crawford slumped against the creature’s feathery shoulder. “It’s times like this when I really appreciate Griff’s abilities.” The man turned toward me as he spoke. “So, now what do we do?”

I shrugged. “I’m not sure. Each time I saw the eyes watching me at my house, they disappeared almost immediately after I had noticed them. These eyes don’t seem to be going anywhere.”

Crawford furrowed his brow and stroked his chin. “Do you think Christine and Talia are behind it?”Talia enters room

“Do you think Christine and Talia are behind what?”

Startled, I looked in the direction of the voice, which sounded simultaneously annoyed and amused. Talia, one of the co-managers of the store, was standing causally by an open door I had not previously noticed.

In response, I pointed at one of the walls. Then I blinked. The wall was devoid of any eyes. I looked at the other two walls, but they, too, looked completely normal.

afternoon tea

Talia gave me an arch look. “I repeat – do you think Christine and Talia are behind what?”

Griff2Griff took a few steps forward. I was startled. Just a moment ago, he had been in his true form, that of a griffon. Now, in the blink of an eye, he was back to his assumed identity of a very human-looking being.

“We were just wondering if you and Christine were behind this fantastic tea, or if you had it catered.”

Talia laughed a deep, throaty laugh. “What? Are you casting aspersions on our cooking? Didn’t we impress you with our culinary skills the last time we invited you and Crawford to a meal?”

Griff and Crawford grabbed their stomachs and pretended to gag.

”Oh, no, we were quite impressed by your cooking . . . as were the staff of the emergency room when we both showed up there the next day with food poisoning!” Crawford winked.

afternoon teaTalia laughed again. “Don’t listen to them, Marge. They’re just teasing. Christine made the food for the last meal we shared, a festive Yule nosh, and no one got sick.” She gestured toward the table with the offerings for today’s tea. “I prepared today’s spread, and I can assure you it’s perfectly fit for human consumption.”

I forced a smile, then glanced around at the walls again, looking for signs that we were still under observation.

“So, where is Christine?” Crawford looked around, too. “It’s not like her to be late to eat.”

“She was just finishing up in the office. We were doing inventory today.”

I turned back toward Talia. “Oh, that reminds me. When I got here, I tried the front door. When I found it locked, I looked in the window. What happened to your store? It looked totally trashed.”

Another deep, throaty laugh. “Oh, that’s just our security system. If it looks like the business is derelict, no one will bother trying to break in.”

“I see. And are disembodied eyes part of your security system?” I arched an eyebrow at the other woman.

“Disembodied eyes?”

Chris enters roomWe all turned toward the new voice, a thin, reedy voice that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Christine glided into the room, looking as dreamy and diaphanous as the first time I had met her. “What is this about disembodied eyes?”

My companions and I explained to Christine and Talia what we had seen here in the backroom of their store. I also detailed the recent incidents at my house. As I spoke, their eyes got wider and wider.

 

 

“Are you positive of what you saw?” Talia’s voice was strained.

“I’m sure.” I nodded.

“Well, that certainly can’t be good.” Christine chewed on her lower lip for a moment, then brightened and gestured toward the table. “Well, we can’t do anything about it now. Why don’t we enjoy our tea?”

Taking Marisol by the handBefore any of us could respond, Talia spoke. “Yes, I’m afraid our other guests cancelled at the last minute. We had invited Marisol and her mother here, too. This was going to be a sort of celebration for the child.”

“Wait! You know Bastina and Marisol?” I gaped at Talia. “When we came to you for help with the child, I suspected you knew of whom we spoke, but you never actually confirmed you already knew them.” https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/do-we-get-any-answers/

Talia shrugged. “Well, because we didn’t. We only met recently. Christine and I needed a new supplier for our herbs, so we checked out a few local places. When they were unable to supply what we needed, someone suggested the herb shop that Bastina and her sister, Danica, manage.”

Christine nodded. “While we were there, we met the child, Marisol. We immediately realized she was the one of whom you and Dray spoke when you asked for our help.”

Talia smiled at me warmly. “I have been working with Marisol, teaching her control. I was hesitant to take her as a pupil at her tender age, but she’s proven very insightful, and a quick study. Today was to be a congratulatory fete for her, as well as a thank-you to you for alerting us to her problem. Crawford and Griff were invited as a thank-you to them for sending you to us.”

I wrinkled my brow. “I’m sorry Marisol and her mom weren’t able to come, then. But what of Dray? I don’t believe she received an invitation.”

“Oh, didn’t Dray get her invitation?” Christine frowned. “It must have gotten lost in the mail. But you should have brought her with you. You must have realized we would have invited her.”More eyes

I narrowed my eyes and tried to gauge the woman’s sincerity. Gradually, I realized something else was studying Christine as well. A huge, ornate pair of eyes was slowly materializing in mid-air behind her and Talia.

I screamed.

 

 

What is going on? Will I ever find out? Be sure to come back again next week and see if any answers are forthcoming. We’ll leave the porch lights on for you.

The Eyes Have It

The Eyes Have It

Backyard 050“I’m starting to think you’re right.”miles for blog 2 003

Miles gave me a surprised look. “Historic moment! My wife admits I’m right about something. Now . . . about what, exactly, am I right?” He cocked an eyebrow at me questioningly.

Falling out of manuscriptI stuck out my tongue at him. “Very funny. I often admit you’re right, wise guy!” I frowned and chewed on my lower lip. “I’m starting to think you’re right about my characters. They’ve been gone on their illusory trip for more than three weeks. Maybe they did find their way back into the manuscript. Or maybe they do like wherever they went on their trip better than they liked living here with us. Maybe they don’t even remember us.” I sighed gloomily. “I just wish we knew for certain.”

Grocery billsMiles took my hand in his. “I know you miss them terribly. And, as much as I complain about them, I must admit I miss them, too.” But then he smirked. “Of course, I don’t miss the grocery bills!”

“There is that. May I presume we don’t need to go shopping again this week?”

Miles lifted his eyebrows and shook his head. “If they don’t come back, I don’t think we’ll need to go grocery shopping for the foreseeable future, except for milk and other perishables.”

I sighed again. “Well, at least you and I have more time together.”

“Don’t sound so thrilled.” Miles winked and chuckled. “I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it.”

“So have I, honey!” I gave him a quick peck on the cheek. “But I’m afraid I won’t be spending this afternoon with you.”

Miles frowned. “Oh? Why not?”

“I received an invitation from Christine and Talia, from the Chris-Tal Clear Metaphysical Store. They would like me to join them for afternoon tea today.”

Chris and Talia

“Afternoon tea? And I’m not invited?” Miles pretended to pout for a moment before grinning.

I grinned back at him. “Nope, sorry, the invitation was just for me.”

Miles furrowed his brow. “Just you? Not you and Dragon?”

I shook my head. “Just me.”

Dragon studying scrollMiles started pacing. “Isn’t that a bit odd? Why would they invite just you, and not Dragon? Wasn’t Dragon with you when you first met Christine and Talia? And wasn’t it Dragon to whom they provided two much-needed spells?”
https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/do-we-get-any-answers/
https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2019/09/22/an-unfulfilling-resolution/

I cocked my head and rubbed my chin. “I never thought about that, but you’re right. It is odd that they didn’t include Dragon . . . not that she’s here to accompany me.”

“Maybe they know she’s not here?” The furrow in Miles’ brow deepened. “Maybe they’re the ones who have been watching you?”
https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/7507/
https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2020/01/12/the-eyes-of-the-something-are-upon-me/
https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2020/01/19/eyell-be-seeing-you/

My eyes widened at that thought, but before I could say anything, Miles continued. “Marge, something doesn’t feel right. Maybe you shouldn’t go there alone.”

I shrugged uneasily. “I’ve already accepted the invitation. Besides, what’s going to happen? I don’t think Christine and Talia are dangerous.”

“But you don’t really know much about them. And who else is going to be at this afternoon tea?” Miles was really frowning now, and I could see the worry in his eyes.

“I wasn’t apprised of the guest list. But really, Miles!” I gave my husband a reassuring hug. “I’m sure I’ll be just fine.”

I hoped I sounded more confident than I felt.

Later that day, I drove to the small town where Chris-Tal Clear Metaphysical Store was located. As I approached the area of the hamlet where the store was located, the streets seemed dirtier, the buildings looked more dilapidated, and more of the businesses appeared derelict than they had the last time I was there.

 

Looking in windowWhen I reached the store, I parked my car and walked up to the storefront. There were no lights on inside, and the front door was locked. I took my hand and tried to wipe away some of the grime from the window. When I peered inside, all I saw were empty shelves and overturned display cases. I gasped.

Wondering what was going on, I decided to go around to the back door. As I rounded the corner, I almost ran into two figures walking along the alleyway.

“Well, hello!”Met Crawford and Griff

I was startled to see Crawford and Griff. Crawford was an acquaintance whom I first knew as a repair technician. https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/not-exactly-deja-vu-all-over-again/

Later, I had discovered Crawford was also a writer and member of the writers’ group Lost in the Words. He was the one who had directed me to Christine and Talia when one of my young neighbors caused a baffling problem. https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2019/09/08/still-looking-for-answers/

“Hello!” I returned Crawford’s greeting with a smile.

Invitation 2“Are you here for the afternoon tea?” Crawford held up his invitation, a gilt-edged square embossed with black lettering.

“Yup.” I produced my own invitation, identical to his.

“Isn’t Dray with you?” Griff looked disappointed. Like my own characters, Griff had arrived in this world from the pages of a manuscript. He and Dragon were very taken with each other.

“No, she’s not.” I chewed on my lower lip while trying to decide how much to divulge. “She and my other friends are on a trip at the moment.”

“Oh.” Griff’s shoulders slumped.

Crawford reached out and patted Griff’s arm. “Well, we better go in. We don’t want to be late.” He reached out and opened the door.

afternoon teaInside, the room was bright and airy, with sunshine pouring in the windows. A nice afternoon tea had been set, but the room was otherwise empty. There was no sign of Christine or Talia.

Crawford looked at me and shrugged. “I guess it would be rude to start without our hostesses.”

I looked longingly at the delicious treats but nodded my agreement to Crawford. Suddenly I gasped.being watched at afternoon tea

“What is it?” Crawford turned to me.

I pointed. There on the wall, over one of the windows, a pair of eyes watched us.

Before Crawford could say anything, Griff grabbed both of us and turned us toward the opposite wall. Another pair of eyes peered from a wall motif.

second wall

When I turned toward one of the remaining walls, I almost screamed. It was covered with eyeballs.third wall

“What’s going on?” Crawford’s eyes were almost as wide as mine, his breathing almost as rapid.

“I wish I knew.”

What is going on? Why are there eyes, everywhere, watching us? Where are Christine and Talia? Hopefully, some answers will be forthcoming next week. Be sure to come back. We’ll leave the porch light on for you.

Eye’ll be Seeing You . . .

Eye’ll be Seeing You . . .

Bounty Hunter full body 2Still . . . 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.Falling out of manuscript

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.

Me

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.

Empty conference roomFor 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?

Shadow, not featherI 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.Bounty Hunter head shot

Still . . . very still . . . silent and motionless . . . barely breathing . . . watching and listening, always watching and listening . . . learning . . . evaluating . . . waiting . . . planning.

* * *

HesitatingI 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/

Eyes

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/

Being watched

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.”

“Honey?”

“What?”

“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.

Eyes watching from the door

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.

The Eyes of the . . . SOMETHING . . . Are Upon Me?

The Eyes of the . . . SOMETHING . . . Are Upon Me?

Miles looked shocked. “I don’t think we need to do grocery shopping this week!”Gaping at full freezer

My husband and I were gaping at a giant chest freezer so full I doubted we could fit one more frozen hamburger in it. We had just finished checking out the refrigerator and the pantry, also bulging with foodstuff, fuller than I could remember seeing them in recent years.

Falling out of manuscriptDollar signs waving goodbye 3Ever since my characters had begun falling out of my manuscript to live in the real world with Miles and me, food had become a very large part of our budget – Miles often complained that we were headed for the poor house – and shopping for meals had become a very large part of our weekly schedules.

Grocery shopping

A Full FreezerI continued gaping at the freezer. “I guess not.” I raked my hand through my hair and frowned. “My characters are still on their illusory trip, so they evidently haven’t been eating here this week.”

MilesMiles turned to me, the emotions flickering across his face clearly showing concern warring with hope. “They’ve been gone a long time now. Are you sure they’re coming back? Maybe they found their way back into the manuscript. Or maybe they like wherever they went on their trip better than they liked living here with us.”

MeI sighed and chewed on my lower lip. I knew Miles would be happy if my characters disappeared and left us to enjoy a normal life, but they had given me no reason to believe they were leaving forever.

My characters had told my husband and me they were giving us a gift. They were going on an illusory trip to give my husband and me some time alone. But I had no idea where they were or when they would be back . . . or if they would be back. They had been gone the better part of a week now, and I was starting to worry.

“Honey?” Miles put his hand on my arm.

I sighed again. “Well, I don’t have any answers. I guess we just skip the grocery shopping until next week. We’ll see if they’re back by then.”

Need to clean the garageMiles nodded. “Well, if we don’t have to go grocery shopping today, maybe I can get the garage cleaned out. I’ve been trying to get that done for a while now, but there always seems to be other things that interrupt our schedule.”

Computer_keyboard“Yeah, there always seems to be something going on. With my characters gone, maybe I’ll be able get some writing done today.”

Feather in conference roomOn my way to my office I glanced into the conference room and stopped dead in my tracks. It stood empty now, as it had when I had looked there for my characters just a few days ago, but I noticed something new. On the floor under the window was a large, black feather.

Morcant's familiarMy mouth went dry, and my mind conjured the image of a large, milky-eyed grackle, the familiar of the most dangerous wizard any world had ever known. https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/the-keys-part-4-the-mystery-resolved/

Shadow, not featherBut that’s impossible! I told myself. We eliminated the threat of Morcant years ago. I shook my head and crept cautiously over to examine the feather. I laughed. It wasn’t a feather at all, just a shadow on the floor.

Being watchedEver since my characters had departed for their illusory trip, I had been jumping at all sorts of shadows. I felt as if I was being watched, even thinking I caught movement out of the corner of my eye several times. Then, a few nights ago, I thought I had seen a huge pair of eyes watching me from the ceiling of my bedroom. https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/7507/

It had taken Miles more than an hour to calm me down and convince me it had been just a dream. Still, I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling of being watched.

146-computer-free-vector-clip-art-lI told myself to snap out of it, that it was all my imagination. I went to my office and sat down at my desk. I turned on the computer, and waited for the old machine to boot up, a process that seemed to take longer every day. I started daydreaming.

Where did they goI tried to picture my characters on their illusory trip. Where would they have gone? The mountains? The beach? Some fantasy world of their own design? Or perhaps Miles was right, and they were not on an illusory trip at all. Perhaps they had found their way back into the manuscript.

Did they go homeThey would be so happy back home. My Foreman and the lads would be back on the horse farm belonging to my Young Hero’s father, with its miles of white-washed fencing enclosing emerald green pastures. Sorceress would be back on the lush tropical island where her people lived in relative isolation. Dragon would be back in her beloved desert, basking in the vast, scorching sea of sand dunes with the jackals and scorpions, never needing to warm herself by her illusory fireplace. And the others? Where would the others be? And would any of them miss Miles and me? Would they even remember us?

I wiped a tear from my eye and dragged myself from my bitter-sweet musings and glanced over to see if the computer had finished booting up yet. I screamed. A pair of eyes filled the computer screen.

Eyes

Miles came running down the stairs and into the room. “Honey, what’s wrong?”

I pointed. Miles looked at the computer, then looked at me questioningly. The monitor displayed only my usual desktop, a picture of a Bald Eagle I had taken a few years ago, surrounded by various icons.

My computer monitor

I stammered. “B . . . b . . . but there was someone watching me! There was a pair of eyes on the monitor.” I was almost hysterical.

Am I imagining things, or is someone watching me? Will my characters return from their trip and help me investigate, or are they gone forever, back into the manuscript from which they fell, or in some illusory world they like better than this world? Be sure to come back and watch as this mystery unfolds. We’ll leave the porch light on for you.

Not a Good Way to Start the Year

Not a Good Way to Start the Year

Bounty Hunter full body 2It makes me most anxious to see what the coming year will bring. https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2019/12/29/the-year-in-review/

Bah! What caused me to utter those words? Why should I care what the coming year brings? I daresay it will not bring me any closer to home.

*Sigh*

manuscriptI have been in this horrible place for nigh on four years now, reckoning by the measure of time used in this place. I first arrived in their month of March in their year 2016. Upon my arrival, I met others from my world. They explained to me that we were here through a mysterious accident. It seems we fell out of the pages of a manuscript. Yes, you heard me correctly. We – flesh-and-blood, sentient creatures – fell out of a manuscript. We slid off some parchment that had been inked with words and symbols, and landed here. Preposterous, I say!

The sorceress who created this manuscript makes wild, unbelievable assertions. She claims we – myself and my fellow victims of this accident – are living in two places at the same time. We are here, bumbling around in this foreign world, while at the same time – she claims – we are in our own world, continuing with the lives we were living when we were ripped from that world and trapped here. Again, I say preposterous!

original bounty hunterI have been here for nigh on four years. When I arrived, I was a pint-sized man of indeterminate age. I was leathery-skinned and bald as a billiard ball. https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/how-did-i-get-here/
characters have changed

Bounty Hunter full body 2Do I look small or bald to you? No, I thought not. I – like my fellow accident victims – have changed since arriving in this land. Dragon has changed color. Sorceress has changed species. The Old Dwarf is now a loyal, noble, principled being, hardly recognizable as the amoral, ego-centric, cunning creature he was in our world. I could continue, detailing the changes in each of my fellow expatriates, but I think I have made my point.

We are no longer what we were, what we should be, what – according to the sorceress who calls herself The Writer – we still are in our own world.

Me

TechnologyI do not know if having to live in, and adapt ourselves to, this world with its strange magic system known as technology has caused us to change, or if the changes have been the whim of The Writer, who continues to chronicle our lives, both in this world and in our own.

Bounty Hunter full bodyWhat I do know is I am the Bounty Hunter. My last memories of my life in my own world are of pursuing my prey. When I arrived here, I thought perhaps I had come of my own will, following my quarry, even though I had no memory of doing so. Alas, no. I am, like the others, here by accident. And The Writer has informed me in no uncertain words that in this world, I am not to pursue my objective.

So, what is a bounty hunter to do when he is no longer allowed to hunt his bounty? I have continued honing the skills needed for my profession in the hopes I will someday be able to return to it, either in this world or back in my own.

eavesdropping 2I practice my stealth. Many are the conversations I have overheard, completely unnoticed by The Writer or any of my companions. Many are the times I have followed one of my associates throughout an entire day without once being seen, either by my subject or by anyone else.practice weapon skill

I practice my weapons skills. I regularly parry with my comrades who are proficient in swordplay, and I continually sharpen my aim with my knife, often in the guise of a game.

busom buddiesI practice my subterfuge on many levels. Frequently, when in conversation, my companions know not that I am lying. Often, when challenging an opponent to a knife-throwing game, I intentionally lose, thus concealing my true weapons proficiency from them. I strive – with great difficulty and frequent failure – to comport myself in a mild manner, speaking softly and assuming a non-threatening stance. And no one suspects my true feelings toward my bosom buddy, the pretentious elf – not even the loathsome creature himself.

I practice my negotiation skills. I have lost count of the times I have gone to the defense of that pompous elf, justifying his actions to the other exiles, and even to The Writer, saving him from their wrath.

PatientI practice my patience. I continue to do my best to fit into this world. I listen without rancor to the prattling of my companions. I carry out the orders of The Writer and her spouse. I remain close to the elf and do his bidding. I do all this while biding my time.

Someday, somehow, I will once again be the Bounty Hunter in truth and not merely in name.

* * *

in officeAll morning long, I had had the feeling of being watched. It was unnerving. I kept looking up from my computer, expecting to see one of my characters at the door, ready to barge in and disturb me at my work. Each time I looked, there was no one at the door, although several times I swore I saw a quickly retreating shadow.

At lunch, Miles noticed how distracted I was. “Honey? Marge? Marge!spilled tea

“Huh?” Startled from my thoughts, I dropped my cup of tea, breaking the delicate porcelain vessel and splashing hot tea over the table.

As my husband rushed to grab a towel and help me clean up my mess, he gave me a look of concern. “Sweetheart, I’ve been talking to you, trying to get your attention, for the past five minutes. You’ve been a million miles away. What’s up?”

I took the towel from him and started sopping up the spilled tea, and he began sweeping up the shards of the broken cup. As we worked, I explained. “I’ve just had the feeling all morning that I’m being watched. Whenever I look up, there’s no one there. I don’t know if I’m being paranoid or if someone really is watching me, either physically or by some magic means.”

6-19-13 - Miles 001Miles frowned. “I don’t like the sounds of that. Do you think it could be someone from another world who has a grudge against you, like that evil wizard, what’s-his-name?”Morcant

“Morcant.” I shuddered, my eyes widened, and I could feel my mouth go dry. When I found my voice, I tried to reassure Miles. “No, no, no, no. It can’t be Morcant. We forever ended any threat from that depraved being more than three years ago.”

Miles sighed. “But was he the only one who held a grudge against you?”

I frowned and raked my hand through my hair. “I honestly don’t know.”

Miles took my hand and gave it a squeeze. “Maybe you should talk to you characters. Maybe one of them knows something. Maybe it’s your Arrogant One, playing a prank again. Or maybe Sorceress is giving your Gypsy more lessons in scrying. There’s any number of possibilities.”

I nodded. “You’re right. I’ll talk to my characters.” I looked around, suddenly bewildered. “Wait. My characters! Why aren’t any of them here? They never miss a meal!”

Miles sighed and gave me a look of pity. “You really are stressed out over this. They told you yesterday they wouldn’t be around for a while. They’re giving us a treat – a few days to ourselves. Remember?”

I frowned, then sighed. “Oh, that’s right. They did tell me that. But do you know exactly where are they?”

Miles shrugged. “Dragon said something about taking an illusory trip. Maybe they’re in the conference room?”

I nodded. “I’ll look for them there after lunch.”

But when I opened the door to the conference room, no one was there.

Empty conference room

in officeI spent the rest of the afternoon in my office, trying to work, researching some facts for an article I was planning to write. I ended up jumping at shadows so often, I finally gave up and went back upstairs.

Miles took one look at me and shook his head. “Still feel like someone is watching you?”

I nodded.

Miles sighed. “You know, sweetheart, your characters gave us this gift of time alone. I think we should try to enjoy it. Why don’t we go out to dinner tonight, and then catch a movie?”

“Sounds like a great idea. Let’s go.” I gave my husband a warm smile and a big hug.

Woken by noiseBy the time we returned later that evening, I had forgotten all about my earlier discomfort. Then, in the middle of the night, a noise awakened me. I opened my eyes and thought I saw a shadow rushing out the door, which closed slowly behind the unsubstantial image. I jumped up, scrambled into my robe, and bolted into the hallway, but the corridor was completely empty. I made a quick search of the rest of the house but found nothing.

When I returned to bed, I couldn’t sleep. I lay there, tossing and turning for what seemed like hours. The only sound in the room was the steady rhythm of my husband’s breathing accompanied by the faint whoosh of his CPAP machine.

I looked at the clock. Morning was quickly approaching. As I rolled over once more, I glanced up toward the ceiling. There, a huge pair of eyes looked down at me.

Being watched

My scream echoed on and on.

 

Who or what is watching me? And why? When my characters return from their illusory trip, I shall have to enlist their help in uncovering whoever or whatever is behind this matter. Be sure to come back next week and see what we find. We’ll leave the porch light on for you.