The Watcher

By: Akil Victor

The steam swirled around her in the shower as the water softly thrummed down her head and the delicate features of her face. The heat within the glass enclosure was soothing, relaxing even as she attempted to let her worries wash down the drain along with the water.

In the distance, her home phone rang. The buzzing interrupting her relaxation. She frowned, placing her hand on the fogged glass and slowly rubbed a clear streak in the condensation.

“Uh!” She gasped, startled by the image in clear view. Her heart kicked up a notch as her avocado-green eyes focused on the crystal vase full of blood-red roses.

She was frozen in place, her breath quickening and heart rate rising with each second. Her ample breast heaving up and down with each inhalation/exhalation.

The flowers frightened her. Frightened her because they weren’t there before she stepped in the shower. Scared her because she lived alone and always locked the doors. The phone blared again, cutting through her terror. Reminding her that she was still in the shower with water cascading down her svelte, but for breast, body. The steam quickly fogging over the streak left by her hand and visual of the roses that weren’t there before she entered the bathroom.

Her hand trembled on the knob, turning off the waterfall effect. “H-h-hello?” Her voice croaked out softly before she cleared her throat to repeat with a bit more strength.

She was answered with the phone’s fifth ring. One more and the answering machine would pick-up.

She slid the glass door open. Eyeing the ajar bathroom door suspiciously, before gingerly stepping foot down on the towel atop her, checkered flag, tiled floor. All the while, her eyes stayed glued to the black marble of the sink on which the vase sat.

The answering machine picked up as she wrapped herself in a towel and grabbed the card attached to the stem of a rose. She walked slowly, peering around the bathroom door at her well furnished, earth tone, living room filled with vases full of various color roses, teddy bears, and boxes full of chocolate.

“Hello,” she repeated, cautiously exiting the bathroom, trying to conquer her fear.

The caller hung up before leaving a message after the beep.

Maryann's eyes scanned the entire living room: Clear. Her bathroom door was halfway open, just as she'd left it. Although, the opening was wide enough for a large body to fit through without moving it.

Holding the top half of her towel, she crept to the door. All the while thinking about how easy she was making it for a potential rapist by being bare-ass under a towel.

She peeked through the small crack at the rear base of the door.

Vmmm- her cell phone vibrated and rung out loud. Which startled her as it sprang to life on the nightstand next to the bedroom door. Although, seeing the name Brett on the caller ID put her at ease as she answered the call from her best friend. Figuring that the flowers, candy, and bears had been harmless up until this point, so what did she have to fear.

* * *

The butane torch flared to life with a 'whoosh,' illuminating a five foot circular radius in the darkened room. Terrance lowered the torch to the opening edge of the floor safe. The blue flame spewing forth from its tip morphed into gold when it made contact with the steel, causing dangerous looking sparks to fly. This was his third crack at burning down into the thin slot of the opening latch of the safe in the past thirty minutes. Pausing only when his focus wavered after perspiration would build up around his eyes on the safety goggles. He was almost to the promise land, he reflected inwardly. Trying not to think of the heavy runner gloves' discomfort, and the edges of the goggles cutting into the soft flesh around his eyes.

* * *

Maryann looked herself over in the full-length mirror that stood next to the sliding closet door in her bedroom. She had on a form fitting, green, turtleneck that brought out the color in her eyes, along with crème tone slacks over black suede Steve Madden heels. She looked great but only half acknowledged the fact due to the thoughts swirling around in her head. 'I can’t wait until the day we shower together.' Is what the notecard attached to the rose said. It gave her chills knowing that someone had illegally entered her home and stood that close t her without her being aware. She went from peering at her reflection to scanning her background in the mirror as an uneasy feeling crept over her.

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