Flash Fiction: Hugger-Mugger Eyes

The current prompt is to write a scene: You (or your heroine) are in a house alone. The night is dark and someone is breaking in. Describe the scene/ sequence of events.

This week’s post is by Cathy MacKenzie. (No one is breaking in during her story, but the heroine thinks someone is! What follows is a true story, part of one of her works-in-progress.)


Hugger-Mugger Eyes

by Cathy MacKenzie


Behind the makeshift draperies rises the stone wall. The wall’s presence had never been intimidating before—once even served as a barrier to the outside world—but now it’s a solid fixture to be feared. Though Cathy can be unreasonably scared at times, the danger is very real. Every day, everywhere she goes, eyes confront her, the same ones she is certain spy into the master bedroom through the covered sliding doors from high atop the wall. Eyes watch and wait, biding their time until they strike again, for everyone says they’ll return. That’s what burglars do. Once they successfully burglarize a place, they’ll give the occupants a week or so to replace their stolen items. And then they’ll ransack again. Cathy is certain of that fact, and no one can convince her otherwise.  Foreigners—the perceived rich—are easy prey.

A friend chastised her the previous day. “Don’t say robbed. You weren’t robbed, you were burglarized. A burglar is a thief who enters a building with the intent to steal. A robber is a thief who steals by threatening violence. You weren’t there. You were burglarized, not robbed.” What are you? A walking dictionary? But when Cathy later checked a dictionary, she determined her friend was correct.

Cathy gulps and holds her breath. What’s that? Every minuscule noise puts her on edge. She hasn’t slept for four nights. She dozes for several minutes and then wakes up in a sweat. Whether awake or asleep, she’s alert to every sound, familiar or not, for who’s to say what’s normal at a particular moment.

She nestles against her husband’s backside. “You awake?”

He’s not awake, not at three in the morning. Brave Hubby fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. And no wonder, considering all the times his wife disturbed him the previous evenings.

“You awake?” she repeats.

“I am now.”

She wraps her arms around his waist and fingers chest hair. If fear grasped her too hard and she lost control, she’s certain she could rip strands from their roots.

“There’s someone outside,” she says.

“No one’s there.”

“I hear something. Don’t you hear it?”

“Go back to sleep. There’s nothing there.”

Hubby remains calm and sympathetic to his wife’s plight. He wouldn’t dare become upset, not after what they’d been through—what she’d been through, for she re-lives the horror over and over. The episode seems far from his mind, especially when he sleeps, but he’s bothered too. Macho men don’t reveal weakness.

“Sweetie, go back to sleep. There’s nothing there.” Hubby rolls over and holds her tight. Oh how she loves the feel of his warm, strong body against hers. Despite that, she doesn’t feel safe; no one can quash her fears.

“I can’t sleep. I just can’t.”

Hubby rubs her back. “It’s okay. Don’t cry.”

“I can’t help it.”

“Tomorrow’s another day. The sun will be shining. Things won’t seem so scary then.”

“I’m scared in the light too. I just want to go home.”

“We can go. Just say the word.” He kisses the top of her head.

“Yeah, but how do we change our flight? There’s penalties for changes. Our credit cards are gone. Our money is gone.” Even while Cathy spews reasons, they are excuses. A way can be found if they’re serious about leaving.

Cathy snuggles farther into her husband, wishing she can disappear, at least for two weeks until it’s time to fly home.




The Spot Writers – our members:


RC Bonitz



Val Muller



Catherine A. MacKenzie



Kathy Price






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