Watching people through the window is his job. Well, not exactly his job, but a prelude to it.
Staring out the window at the lush landscape, tickling streams—not his scene. Why sit on the other side of the wall when you could directly bask in the sun, play with the waters, and climb the mountains? Maybe when it’s raining. But then he would rather go out in the rain than watch through a hole in the wall. He loves dancing in the rain as much as he loves making people dance to his tunes.
His window seat doesn’t face nature, but the concrete street—a crowded road with heavy footfall—not the highway packed with moving vehicles. He isn’t interested in watching the different models of automobiles passing, though he does love cars and bikes. Watching people isn’t a hobby, but a necessity. Else, how would he find someone suitable? He doesn’t like to use someone he knows. That would be risky. His feelings would interfere with what he has to do. Watching a crowd is safe. There he finds strangers, whose pain and sufferings he can bear with a detached mind.
There’s a CCD in the building opposite with few chairs placed outside the shop. He has no clear view of the customers there. A fast food lies joint next to it. Unlike the CCD, no plants or poles obstruct his view of those people sitting on the outer chairs—people busy eating, chatting with their friends, oblivious of his surveillance. But both these places seem deserted today. At least the outside area. The afternoon rains are probably to blame.
He surveys the crowd—their mannerisms and dynamics, then zeroes in on specific people. A well dressed man crossing the pavement. Nah, not him. His briefcase, clothes, walking style, even his watch visible at the edge of his right cuff says someone heading home after a day’s work. Probably, a banker, or an IT guy.
He needs someone else.
A plump middle-aged woman carrying a bag of vegetables—a common sight—might not have intrigued him in the normal course of events. But, her bag has an unnatural bulge in the middle. What is she concealing under the vegetables? A gun, very unlikely. A wad of cash—probably. Or maybe just a small box that would look like a bundle of notes poking at the malleable bag. He sticks to the idea of cash. She could easily have withdrawn it from the bank, and might be heading home. But her eyes have a determined look. Her steps are firm as if she is marching towards something she must do, not a weary walk of a woman going home. Oh yes, he is interested. She has no idea that he is going to map out her future soon.
Then he sees her. The girl, who has been haunting his thoughts for the past few weeks.
She’s in her late twenties. She has the kind of brown hair that appear auburn when the sun shines on them. A stray curl hangs on her forehead. He can’t see the colour of her eyes, but they have to be hazel. After all, he’s been thinking about her so long. He wouldn’t get her eye colour wrong. The way she looks at the ground instead of the surroundings, her fingers clenching and unclenching around the strap of her purse, her timid steps—he assimilates her every action. There’s a guy walking some steps behind her. Either they are walking the same speed or he must be following her. Otherwise, considering her slow speed he could have easily overtaken her.
She turns towards his building, and looks up. She is trying to read the name of the shop. Jwellery store, Lenovo service centre, and an ice-cream parlour are the only shops in that building. Since, she is reading the sign-board, he guesses it’s the service centre. Well, so she has a laptop problem. Or is it the phone?
Before going in, she looks around furtively. But he is no longer looking for the supposed stalker. He has seen her face, the worried look, her slightly offset nose, oval eyes (hazel or light brown?) and bow-shaped lips. The face he’s been looking for. That face would soon be a minefield of expressions, from confusion, bewilderment, fear to sheer terror. Terror was his specialty.
He laughs aloud. Yes, that is the face of a victim—a transparent face—innocence personified. Who has that kind of face in today’s world? Would she buckle under the pain and terror he would inflict upon her? She looks a weakling. Yet, sometimes, weak people find strength in situations which would break a powerful person. He hopes she would fight back.
A part of him feels bad about the girl’s sad fate—the torture she would have to go through, and the decisions he would thrust upon her.
But he has a job to do.
A stalker, a worried girl, a laptop service centre. He might throw in a hacker too. He decides to write down all her traits lest he forget.
He sheds off any traces of emotions as he pulls out his laptop. A writer can’t afford to get attached to his characters. It’s not his fault that people love a good thriller. All he does is write them.
P.S. Blogadda’s prompt: Life by the window is accompanied by a beautiful picture of a window scene during a journey. I wanted to write about the things I see during my travels. But unlike my brother, I have a tendency to sleep during most of the journeys. So, I decided to cover my ignorance in non-fiction with a veneer of fiction.
Let me know whether you like it or not. Your encouragement makes my day, and criticism makes my writing 🙂
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