Sunday, July 5, 2009

Writing at night

She’s tapping away at the keyboard in the light of a small desk lamp. An Arthur Conan Doyle book is on her right, something about a devil’s foot. She is typing, copying word-for-word. She does this when she cannot sleep. Somewhere, sometime, somebody told her to transcribe the works of great authors to help improve her work.

Her office is the sunroom. The wall beside her is all glass, with glass French doors opening on to the patio. It is dark, cold and wet outside. The moon is full.

We are outside, in the dark, and we are watching her. Our eyes crawl over her body, from the worn, grey slippers on her feet to her breasts hanging loosely beneath the oversized ‘Bada Bing!’ t-shirt she wears, a souvenir that came with her boxed set of The Sopranos.

Her typing slows down. She feels us. She looks out into the night.

She sees the shape of the huge potted palm on the patio. She sees her own reflection in the glass. Then she sees the person outside. He stands still, just staring in at her, his hands tucked casually into his jacket pockets. Their eyes meet.

Her fright is so great she stops breathing. No sounds come from her. Her hands grip the keyboard and a string of letters spew along the computer screen. He moves a little closer to the window, peers in and grins. “Boo!” he says in a low voice. Then he turns and walks towards the gate, just steps away. She is looking at him but glancing to the right as well. The French door is the least secure in the house. A child could force it in. Where is the phone?

She moves her chair back slightly, slowly. He places a hand on the gate, opens it and walks out. He leaves it swinging open behind him.

To exit the house that way one must walk down the drive way. To do this one must pass the rear window of the sunroom, the one crowded with a wild rose bush. She hears his steps at that window now and turns. He’s looking in again. “Boo!” he says and laughs. He raps hard on the window and she jumps and screams. She is up and running through the house, searching for the phone.

Triple 0, she dials as she moves back to the dining room, beside the sunroom. She wants to know where he is now. Has he gone back into the yard, back to the patio and that flimsy French door?

He is moving past the dining room windows, his steps pass on to the lounge room and then stop. She stands in the hallway where she can see the front door and the lounge room windows. On the other end of the phone the emergency operator answers. “He’s here, he’s here,” she cries into the phone. “Send someone now. There is someone here.”

The man leans in again, to the lounge room window this time, and raps once more. And then he is running away.

(Not for publication beyond this blog site)