We had some unexpected excitement last night in the form of a prowler. Oh, how I sound so 1950s when I use that word, but there isn’t another that fits so neatly – he prowled. To be specific, he prowled onto the porch of our rental home’s next door neighbor and stared at their little girl through the window. She later claimed that he was watching her for five minutes, which ordinarily I would discount as the whims of an overactive imagination, but when he was illuminated in the stepfather’s flashlight, he stared right back at him for nearly ten minutes before disappearing back into the woods as soon as the police showed up. He was a Starer. Because it’s not enough to be spied on; it only becomes legit creepy when he doesn’t run off when you catch him doing so, right?.
Out here, he’s lucky he wasn’t shot first. We’ve got all manner of crazy up here – meth junkies, Klan members, people coming to the county line for their drinks and drugs and a lapdance at Fantasia – and the locals will only put up with so much shit before they make a compelling argument with their shotgun. When we heard the screaming, we assumed it was our neighbors fighting – the stepfather is no hero, usually, and has threatened all sorts of murder on his father-in-law. The phone in our hand, we peered out the window to see if anything was happening in case the typical violence next door had escalated. When the stepfather came out with a flashlight and the police began blanketing our yard, well… then we knew this wasn’t typical.
The locks on our doors in this rental home don’t lock. It takes one precise kick to knock them down. It hasn’t been a problem until now. I helped Mom with barricading the doors with chairs and pointed out to her that “this was the point in the horror movie where the killer is already inside the house”, which she didn’t much appreciate (the Rules, Mom! You’ve got to know the horror movie Rules!). The police finally left at midnight, but were pulling over cars driving through the neighborhood all night, blue and red flashing against the blinds of my window.
I’m a little creeped out. We had our fair share of shades back in Orlando, sure, but they didn’t have the endless woods to hide in, and I had a top-security lock on my apartment. Give me haints and boogeymen every day over the skinny man in jean shorts who stares, stares, stares back, only to disappear at the time of reckoning. That’s the sort of spirit no one has time for.