I belong to the Writers Guild in the town I live in. Last week they had a contest for a scary or fall story for October. When I lived in Colorado I started writing a book but never came close to finishing it. I searched for the file and spent over a week going over it and fixing things to turn in for the contest.
I managed to get 2nd place. I cannot describe what a great feeling it is when many in my group are published writers. I have come a long ways. So, I thought I would share the 1st chapter that I turned in for the contest with you all. I would love your feedback. Is this something you think you might want to read? Shall I continue with the story? I feel like there is something here as I have not let this story go in many years, but I cannot look at it like a normal reader. That is where you come in…feel free to let me have it!
“Between The Cracks”
Someone is watching me. My friends and family all tell me I am being paranoid. They say that living alone for the first time causes jitters for a while until you get accustomed to the new house. But that isn’t it; it isn’t the new house sounds that scare me. I can feel someone watching every move I make. I can feel eyes crawling all over my skin while I am outside watering the lawn, when I am in the kitchen cooking dinner, and as I haul my trash out to the curb every Monday morning. Maybe I am a being a little paranoid; this neighborhood does seems safe.
My house is in a normal suburban neighborhood called Queensland Estates. Someone must have had a thing for Australia because my house sits on the corner of Brisbane and Melbourne Drives. The houses in this area are typical for Colorado, consisting mostly of bi-level homes with two-car garages and sprinkler systems. But the real reason I bought this house was for the backyard. Plush green grass, the largest concrete patio I have ever seen, beautiful landscaping and on the other side of my privacy fence- a public walking trail. The area of fencing furthest away from the back door of the house has a door cut into it so I can easily get out to the trail for my morning exercise.
It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I couldn’t wait to get outside to soak up some sun while tending to the yard work. It was strange not having a man around the house anymore to take care of these things. Our divorce finalized a month earlier and had left me feeling empty. The person I had promised my heart to walked out on me to go shack up with a twenty-six-year-old stripper. When I had envisioned my life, I saw us growing old and raising children together. In my dreams, “Bambi” had not disrupted our life. I suppose it is a good thing we had not had kids, but I really would like to have a family one day.
The thought of starting over scares me to death. Thoughts of dating were filling my head as I push the lawnmower around the yard. My sister wants to fix me up with a guy she knows through work. She says he is sweet, nice looking, and dresses really well. The guy sounds perfect so that must mean he has a hidden flaw like falls for strippers.
I needed to take a break from mowing, so I went over to the lounge chair to lie down for a minute. Well, it seemed like a minute but when I awoke, I realized it had been much longer. I sat up and looked through the cracks in the fence to the field behind my house. It seemed like there were many people in my neighborhood that were taking advantage of the walking trail today. Hopefully when I get everything settled here, I will be able to go for early morning runs. I was so deep in thought; I had not noticed the man looking at me through the privacy fence.
“Good afternoon,” said the stranger.
Immediately, I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.
“Is there something I can help you with?” I asked.
“I am your neighbor. I live three doors down; my name is Gavin Bonner. I’m sorry if I startled you, I was just out walking and noticed the improvements you made to the back yard and wanted to introduce myself,” he replied.
Gavin looks like a normal suburbanite, but it was really weird how he was standing at the fence watching me. He’s wearing wrinkled khaki shorts, a heavily worn Dave Matthews Band t-shirt and Adidas running shoes. His attire fits his story, but why not just ring the doorbell like a non-creepy neighbor?
“It’s nice to meet you, Gavin. If you will excuse me, I have an appointment I need to get ready for,” I said.
“No problem. I will make sure my wife, Dana and I, come down soon and properly introduce ourselves and welcome you to the neighborhood. You are going to love it here,” he says as he makes his way back to the walking trail.
Cold chills raced all over my body as he walked away. I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something really strange about this guy.
Looking back, I should have seen all the clues right in front of my face. I should have known he was going to murder me.