|Image taken from usgennet.org|
This is the third time I'm feeling watched.
Yes, I'm aware that I'm alone. In fact, I'm 150% sure I'm alone. I moved to this sorry excuse of a house exactly two days ago, if only to escape from the mundane humdrum of my utterly unexciting hometown. Oh, also to get away from my parents, but obviously I told them nothing about it. What I did tell them is that it's been ages since Grandpa died, and this house is probably still worth a lot if someone actually takes care of it, and it's kind of near my college so I don't need to pay a whole lot of money for a room that comes with a crazy roommate.
After weeks of my skillful persuasion, which included approximately 1000 dishes washed by my hands to let my mom watch some pathetic soap opera that she doesn't even pay attention to, my parents finally let me, their one and only daughter, to live alone.
Actually no, not alone. My best friend Bombay (who is also a cat) is living with me.
So maybe I shouldn't say that I'm 150% sure that I'm alone since Bombay is probably somewhere around the living room taking the third nap of the day, but still. I'm used to her judgmental stares whenever I eat too much or sleep in, so I know this is definitely not one of those.
It feels creepily like I'm being watched... Protectively. Not by anyone, I don't think. There may be some weird and perverted dudes and dudettes around this area, but it's practically midday and everyone is either out there working and living their lives, or sleeping their lives away.
I look around me. Nothing's unusual in this kitchen. There's the old stove, the old fridge, the old table and chairs, and... The old picture frame on the wall.
Hmm. That's weird. I don't remember noticing this picture frame before. I step forward a few steps, and look at it closely. The weird feeling gets stronger. What is it about this picture? There's nothing extraordinarily extraordinary about it. It's just a photograph of some house.
Eh? Wait a minute. It's a picture of THIS house! But... It looks so... Proper. Like an actual house people would actually live and grow a happy family in, not this horror show with creepy creaks of the floor everytime you walk on it. Whoa. This must have been taken ages ago.
Whoa, okay. I definitely saw something moving on the picture. Fuck. Am I hallucinating? But I haven't even started smoking pot!
Oops, there it is again. Something's definitely wrong with this picture. The grass is swaying like it's windy. What? But it's a picture! Did I move to my dead grandparents' house, or Hogwarts?
I shiver. All of a sudden, I feel some chill. And then it starts: some kind of traditional music is playing. It's faint at first, but it gets louder and louder every second. Shit. Did I make the wrong kind of mushroom sandwich this morning?
Before I can even start to remember where I got the mushrooms from, something even weirder happens. The door opens. Yes, the door of the house in the picture. It opens. Holy fuck.
And something EVEN weirder happens: a woman walks out of the house. Yes a fucking woman fucking walks out of the fucking house in the fucking picture! And she's walking towards me! And she smiles when she sees me! And she waves her hands at me! Holy shit!
Why am I waving back???
"Hello, Mia," she says.
"Hello," I reply, because that's what you say if someone says hello to you, whether they're a real person or drug-induced hallucination.
"Say, do you take sugar with your tea?" she asks.
"Sure," I reply, because people who drink tea without sugar are insane.
She nods, and gives me a cup of tea. Out of nowhere. I don't even know how that works. What I know is, the tea is warm, and the amount of sugar is perfect, and this woman is beautiful, and I am probably a schizophrenic. Damn it, and I'm a Psychology student, too. How fucking ironic.
"Say, Mia, do you miss your Grandpa?" she asks, after calmly sipping her tea.
"Kind of," I say, sipping my tea. It's delicious. I'm delusional. "He was a good grandpa."
She smiles. "That's great to hear. He misses you, too. He's sorry that he can't come to see you now, but he will soon. He told me to give you this," she says, handing something to me.
I look at it. "A button?"
She smiles and nods. She's so beautiful when she smiles. What the hell. For a lady who lives in my imagination, she could be a model. Like, a Revlon model, because damn that face would have been perfect with a dash of red on the lips.
"You be good now, Mia," she says, turning around and returning to the house.
"Wait!" I said. "How did you know my name?"
"Because I gave it to you," she replies. "Nice to finally meet you, my granddaughter."
And then she vanishes into the house. The music stops playing. The grass stops swaying. The weird feeling is gone.
What's not gone is the empty cup of tea in my right hand. Oh, and the button in the left.
"Gah!" I shriek, startled at something tickling my foot. It's Bombay. "Dammit, Bombay. I think I really need to start looking for a pot dealer."
She jumps, and makes some great fuss about my sweater. "What the hell, Bay? What's wrong with you?" I ask her. I mean, I JUST saw my dead grandmother, would it be the end of the world if I heard her reply to me?
I put down the teacup, and look at her quizzically. It's weird, it's like she's pointing at my sweater.
"Oh," I say, looking at it. "It's missing a button."