I tied the belt of my robe around my waist and contemplated the evening. I had never once regretted moving to take over my grandfather’s ranch in rural Montana–until tonight. I was channel surfing earlier and while I went right past the lovely volcano documentary and the nice family comedy, I stopped on the horror movie.
Not just any horror movie would suffice. No, of course not. I had to pick the one where the hapless female character, all alone in the middle of nowhere, was stalked and murdered by the crazy psycho. Now every light in the house–yes, even the one in the closet–was blazing brightly, the doors and windows had been checked at least twice and I was carrying around a baseball bat.
My adrenaline was cranked so high that I wouldn’t be sleeping for a week. I had picked up the phone no less than a dozen times, but I knew if I called my nearest neighbor I would never live it down. He would certainly come over even though it was past midnight because he was a gentleman and I was a lady in distress. His gallant demeanor would only last until he was certain there was no threat. Then the ribbing would begin. I shuddered to imagine it which is why the phone remained off.
I jumped, screamed, ducked, and generally flailed about as said device emitted a shrill shriek. My TV narrowly avoided a disastrous collision with my bat. I dove for the phone, wondering who was calling at such a late hour.
“Grace, is everything okay over there? Your place is lit up like Christmas,” my neighbor’s voice came through the line.
Speak of the devil. Though his house was a couple miles by road, it was really only a mile or so as the crow flies, across a shallow valley. With both houses being on high ground with nothing between them, he would be able to see the lights easily if he looked out his living room windows. I tried to see his house but instead saw my pale face reflected back at me in the light bouncing off the window.
“Grace?” he questioned again.
“Sorry, Rob, I’m a little out of it. Yeah, everything is fine. I’m just…err…cleaning?” It came out more as a question than a statement and I winced.
“You’re cleaning…after midnight…with all the lights on?” He sounded skeptical at best.
I picked up a stray soda can from the coffee table and walked into the kitchen to throw it away. There, now I wasn’t even lying.
“Yep, cleaning. Couldn’t sleep so I thought I’d be productive. What about you, why are you up so late? Spying on me?” I asked with a smirk.
Writing prompts: rural, volcano, belt