I run this way everyday. I’m a fitness enthusiast, I work hard to keep myself fit and healthy. I even bought a smartwatch and downloaded a fitness tracker on my smartphone, it’s all working fine and dandy.

You see, nothing ever happens this way. Not in this side of town, where silence hangs in the air and the rare car engine that revs up to get to work. No one. There is no sign of life here, not even dog walkers. No, it’s just me and my shadow.

The last house near the end, where there is willow tree and a lake, that is my favorite part. It’s also where I sit down to stabilize my racing pulses and meditate for awhile. I know that the house is empty, no one lives there. No car in the driveway, and I’ve tried knocking, unofficial house call you say, but no human inside. The windows are curtained though, it’s hard to see from the inside. The house lacks the coziness and warmth of a lived-in home. One thing lives there, and that’s not ghosts - spiders.

And what surprised me when I jogged the same path on this very day, a Thursday, a few days away from kids treat or treatin’, I saw a figure move behind the curtain. The figure was moving behind the curtain. It was getting closer, and I realized, it was going to look through the curtain. In the window. Overlooking the lake. And the willow tree where I sat under the lousy shade. 

I looked away, hand covering my face, the I met its gaze. From my vantage point, I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. That man or woman is now smiling. And it was kind of an evil but also kind smile. The same smile womanizing bastards have on their faces when they’re about to break somebody’s heart. The same smile just before a murderer cuts his victim’s neck, on the carotid artery, before it spills out blood, in dark sanguine color.

The figure vanishes. That’s when I realized that she saw me, from here, under the tree. Hell, it was my face behind a hand, but she saw the rest of me. I mostly had a feeling it was a she.

The next day, I ran along the same path. But I wasn’t in my tracker suit. I brought tuna sandwiches with me, orange juice and styrofoam cups. I decided to give my neighbor a visit. You know, welcome her. Be hospitable. Be the kind neighbor I always was.

I rang the bell on her doorstep. Nothing. I rang a second time, then a third. On the third, I heard shuffling inside, as if it was turning on the lights and putting on a bathrobe over nighties. Something like that. I had a big smile on my face, I swore it bordered onto goofy and ridiculous.

That smile faded, as well as all the color on my face. 

It was my dead grandmother.

 

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Published by Joanne Giselle Degamo