author’s note: my chapter breaks are kinda wonka. I guess cause I’m concentrating on word count and not page turning. Most likely it’ll change when the book is printed out.
Getting in about seven that night, Regina unloaded her car in a hurry and went inside. Living alone had its advantages, but sometimes she felt she didn’t feel safe all by herself, especially, since her creepy neighbor moved in about a year ago. She had been in this house for about two years. The brick home was a two bedroom with an unfinished attic.
So busy trying to get the many bags her mother had purchased for her in the house, she forgot her portfolio, which had some recent sketches she wanted to work on tonight to prepare for her meeting in the morning.
Going back outside, Regina quickly got the portfolio out the car and started to go inside, but her talkative neighbor and landlord, Mrs. Marge Barker called her from the neighboring porch.
“How’s it going, Sweetie?” Marge asked.
Regina was forced to stand there and speak to her because she didn’t want to be rude to this very nosey and garrulous woman. “I’m fine, ma’am.”
“And how’s your Mom?” Mrs. Barker asked.
“She’s okay, thank you for asking,” Regina said politely.
“I was just telling my husband the other day about how your mother must have instilled in you some good values, because you are such a good girl.” Mrs. Barker had a tendency to go on. This was an old subject. “You know how we wanted someone who wouldn’t be holding loud parties and making all kinds of noises in the early morning hours. I told you…”
Regina knew she wouldn’t be going in too soon, and sighed to herself. Mr. Barker needed to keep his ass home more often to entertain his talkative wife. Mrs. Barker mentioned her husband was one month away from retiring from the police force. He worked at a desk job inside the precinct because of an on the job injury. If Regina ever needed anything, she would have to catch up with him on his way to work and he wouldn’t come back to early morning hours. He had to be about over sixty and Regina wondered did he really work those long hours or did he just want to be away from his wife.
To save the day, Lola pulled in Regina’s driveway. Mrs. Barker looked disappointed that Regina would be having company, but she was courteous to let them go.
“Thank you so much,” Regina said to Lola, when they were ensconced inside of her place.
Lola laughed looking into the refrigerator. “I figured that old bat was running her mouth at you when you didn’t answer your phone, plus I was in the neighborhood. What’s for dinner?” she asked, before plopping two grapes in her mouth and taking a whole handful more out the refrigerator.
Regina chuckled glad to cook for someone. While in high school, to keep her busy, her mother had enrolled her in extra cooking course. Juanita always felt terrible that she couldn’t teach her daughter things like other mothers had done for their daughters, so she made sure Regina had many extra-curriculum activities in order to keep her busy.
“That woman is so strange,” Lola said, going to the window that looked at the Barker’s home.
“Not as strange as weirdo number one,” Regina said, nodding to the opposite window where the curtains were tightly drawn. “Yesterday, while I was at the corner store, he came in and just stared at me like I was a piece of meat. Not only did it give me the creeps, but the lady at the cash register asked if I wanted to call the police on him.” She rubbed the Goosebumps off her arms.
“Did you get them?” Lola asked.
Regina shook her head. “No, I just hurried out and came home. I don’t want to start any trouble.”
“You tell your mother about him?”
“Yes, and she said not to worry and if I have a problem to tell Mr. Barker.”
Lola gasped. “What’s she doing?”
Regina came over and peeked out the curtain. “I think she has some kind of garden growing in her garage. I think she was talking about her herb garden once. She asked me one time when I first moved in to go look at it, but I told her I was too busy and she let it rest.”
“She doesn’t give you the creeps?” Lola asked.
“No, she just talks too much.” Regina went into the kitchen to start cooking dinner.
The storm awakened her brutally from her sleep. She peeled the pieces of sticky notes off the side of her face that had adhered to her cheek from laying her face on the desk. Regina had stayed up late in her attic office to put the finishing touches on the designs, while Lola had stayed up with her to keep her company.
Her friend had most likely adjourned downstairs, leaving Regina to work until she fell asleep.
Getting up from her desk in the unfinished attic, Regina stretched out her back and packed everything for the morning. The storm was getting closer by the sound of the thunder rolling to the lightning strikes. Suddenly, she smelled a horrible stench along with a cigar. It was a silvery kind of stench as if there were mercury in the air or old blood.
Goosebumps appeared on her arm and Regina looked out the window to the opposite side of the Baker’s to see all the lights on in the creepy neighbor’s house.
Checking her watch to see it was four in the morning, she thought it was rather odd for someone to be up with all the lights on in their house.
She moved to the front of the house to look out the window. Just as the lightening flashed above her head, she saw a tall dark figure standing in the middle of the street, seeming to stare up at her window. Quickly, she backed away from the window and ran down the stairs to get a closer look.
Lola had bunked out on the couch and wasn’t disturbed by all the noise Regina was making.
Regina looked out the front windows of her living room, but saw nothing. She searched diligently for something, but didn’t see a thing.
The Goosebumps couldn’t get any bigger and she made extra sure the bolt on her door was locked. After checking the back door and all the windows to make sure they were secure, she used an extra blanket to cover Lola and went to her room in the back of the house.
Crawling in bed, Regina said a little pray for good dreams and safe keeping throughout the night.