(Late) Flash Fiction: Hugger-Mugger Eyes by Cathy MacKenzie

Welcome to The Spot Writers. August’s prompt is: Where have you always wanted to vacation? Pick a country and set your story there—only in this story, the dream location, sadly, is a setting for disaster. Please excuse the lateness of this post. I was away on vacation and had terrible Internet connectivity!

Today’s post comes from Cathy MacKenzie. Her one-woman publishing company, MacKenzie Publishing, has just published its second anthology, TWO EYES OPEN, a collection of sixteen stories by sixteen authors, to read during the day . . . or even at night, as long as two eyes are open. Available on Amazon.


Hugger-Mugger Eyes by Cathy MacKenzie

Behind the makeshift draperies of the master bedroom rises the sixteen-foot stone wall. The wall’s presence has never been intimidating before—once even served as a comforting barrier to the outside world—but now it’s a solid fixture to be feared. Though Wilma can be unreasonably scared at times, her fear and the danger are real. Every day, everywhere she goes, eyes confront her—the same ones she is certain spy into the bedroom through the sliding doors from high atop the wall. Those eyes watch and wait, biding their time until they strike again, for everyone says they’ll return. That’s what burglars do—once they’ve successfully burglarized a place, they’ll allow the occupants a week to replace stolen items and will ransack again. Wilma is certain of that fact, and no one can convince her otherwise. Foreigners—the perceived rich in Mexico, or anywhere—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, so you were burglarized, not robbed.”

What are you? A walking dictionary? But when Wilma later checked a dictionary, she found her friend was correct, which didn’t help her mood.

She gulps and holds her breath, gripping the sheet tightly to her chin. What’s that? Every minuscule noise puts her on edge. The room is as dark as coal with the heavy blankets draped over the rods, which is better than the wispy, see-through drapery. She was happy with the drapery as it was—until the break-in happened. Though the sliding doors open to the outdoors, she and her husband enjoyed complete privacy on the small patio because of the high wall—or so she’d thought.

She hasn’t slept for four nights. She dozes for several minutes and then awakens in a cold sweat. Whether awake or asleep, she’s alert to every sound, familiar or not, for who’s to say what’s normal and what isn’t at a particular moment.

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

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

“You awake?” she repeats.

“I am now.”

She wraps her arms around his waist and fingers his chest hair. If fear grasped her too hard and she lost control, she’s certain she could rip those 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’ve been through—what she’s been through, for she re-lives the horror over and over. The episode is usually far from his mind, especially when he sleeps. He is bothered if he dwells on it except macho men don’t reveal weakness.

“Sweetie, go back to sleep. There’s nothing there.”

He 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 uneasiness.

“I can’t sleep. I just can’t.”

He 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 leave. Just say the word.” He kisses the side of her head.

“Yeah, but how do we change our flight? It’s non-refundable. Our credit cards are gone. Our money is gone.”

She snuggles farther into her husband, wishing she can disappear for a week until it’s time to fly home.

~~Based on actual events when the author and her husband wintered in Mexico one winter and robbers (or is it “burglars”???) entered their rental while they were out for an evening. When they returned, their computers, tablets, and cash were missing. Hubby later found his wallet (with credit cards intact but money gone), which had been tossed under the bed in the spare bedroom.  ~~


The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Dorothy Colinco. www.dorothycolinco.com

CaraMarie Christy: https://calamariwriting.wordpress.com/


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