Mr.Sentry

'e's mad! inne mad, Ern?'

He knew she read romance novels, curled up at the end of a sofa too big for one. And he had seen her, once or twice, awake in the night, gazing from her own window, but what was she looking for? Did she know that just opposite, in her line of vision if she would tilt her head ever so slightly upwards, that another sat, looking, gazing, hoping; one who had found her?
Had he ever harmed her? No, he was no monster. He had watched her and loved her and thought nothing of fulfilment, because like a ladybird, shy, clutching at a long grass stem, to go crashing towards her, brash and uninvited, would be to alarm her. To lose her forever.
No, from his distance he protected her, and guarded her, blind and loyal. A sentry.
And had she not always kept her curtains open, inviting the watcher in?

He spent several days in the armchair by the window, agonising over ways in which to grab her attention. He had tried visiting her but it seemed to make her uncomfortable, it made her want to push him away. He must be more subtle, more intelligent.
She was testing him, testing his love!
He giggled as excitement and apprehension bubbled inside him.
He watched her endlessly. His eyes bored through the night and into the rooms where she moved and ate and slept. Through the great bay window, which criss-crossed her with panes of glass; delicate cross-hairs, her heart as the target.

He knew that she was unattainable, she herself had let him know that whatever happened, despite the strength of their feelings, it could not work. Not on this earth; their kindred spirits must wait, perhaps a thousand times over, to be together.
The more his thoughts of spirits and unity brewed in his mind, the more the notions of his death and her love become intertwined. Love must end in tragedy, everybody knew that.
But no flash of inspiration presented itself to him. He would have to wait for her signal. She would ask him to act, he knew that.

He remembered the last time they had spoken, when he had crept across the road and into her block, crawling the stairs in silence until he reached her door, the final barrier.
He had knocked three times.
And she had answered, wrapped in a flimsy cream bathrobe that fell low on her chest and rose high on her legs; he had been sure she was enticing him, flirting with him, finally succumbing to the feelings of utmost desire she harboured for him.
She had told him, she had sworn by Jesus, that if it happened again, if she found him here once more, she’d break his scrawny neck.


Winter descended, and he watched her enter the flat, throw down her bag and coat and weave the long scarf from around her throat. Then she did something she had never, ever done before.
She moved to the window, slowly, deliberately. She was too far away to be certain of her expression, but as she came to stand before the arched glass window, identical to his own, she stared straight at him.
Every fibre of his being seemed to freeze, and he strained his eyes to focus on her; what was she saying, what did she need?
And then, she snatched the curtains closed.
He shivered: oh Temptress!
He rose from his chair, because he knew this was it. He would go to her, just like she had always wanted. And yet, he seemed to be trembling. Was he scared?

As he made his way from the window through the dark flat, he paused at the kitchen drawer. It was waist-high, and he hesitated only a second before it whirred open. A gleam of silver blade winked into the room, before sliding into his pocket.


He carried on through the house.

Then he returned to the kitchen, and this time a sleek, three-pronged fork slithered alongside the knife. The metals jangled together, and, alarmed, he quickly put them each in a separate pocket.

He reached the front door.

He turned back.

In his bedroom he rifled quickly through a basket, just inside a squat wooden cupboard. From it, he withdrew a thin leather belt, tan or grey but washed black in the gloom. He coiled this around his palm, like he had seen in films.

He reached the front door.

When he returned, his pockets were empty, the belt gone. He walked quickly to the armchair but did not sit there, instead placing one hand upon its high back like a father to a son.

He could not bring himself to look to her window, so instead he went to his bedroom.

He removed his shoes, lay down on the mattress.

He buried his face in his pillow, with one hand reached down.

Pulled the heavy blankets up, up; over his head.

 

The End

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