Frankie shifts the phone to her other hand. “Hey, can you actually hold on a second?” She rolls her neck and hears a satisfying crack. Her shoulder muscles feel significantly more relaxed as she turns the corner to her stairs. “I’m back, but hey? Can I actually tell you something a bit weird?”
She turns around and looks back at her front door, just past the foot of the stairs. The fogged glass always makes her a bit uncomfortable, distorting the view to the porch, but she lets it slip past her mind and starts up the stairs.
Candice responds on the other side of the call. “Obvi, you can tell me anything. You should know that. I mean, as long as it’s not, like, anything gross.”
“It’s not gross.”
“Well, okay, you can tell me gross stuff too, but like, just…give me a warning?”
“No, oh my god, shut up. It’s nothing gross. It’s way more serious than that. Just listen.”
Frankie gets to the top of the stairs, rounds the banister and leans against it. She looks at the door to her bedroom, just above the front door and looking over the street. She looks away and continues. “Okay, so you know my parents are still out of town right? And they have me looking over the place while they are gone, just me and the cat. Well, when I’m about to go to bed I always close the curtains, but, before I do I look out. It just feels nostalgic I guess, but the place across the street, I think the Madisons? On their roof, every night, there’s like a shape, I think. Its honestly too dark to tell for sure, but it looks like a person is sitting on their roof, like right at the edge, legs dangling and everything. And it just freaks me out.”
Candice pauses, waiting to see if Frankie continues. “You sure?”
“Like, you are sure someone is there?”
“Well, no I’m not sure, it’s too dark, but I’m not going to wave to it or something to get its attention. But it’s just there.”
“Have you told the Madisons?”
Nugget, runs up the stairs, making Frankie jump. “Fuck! Sorry, it was nothing, just the damn cat startling me. What was that again?”
“Did you talk to your neighbors?”
“No, I mean, I don’t have their number. Would have to get it from my parents.”
“You can probably look it up online.”
Frankie began to pet the cat with her foot. “I mean, the thing isn’t there in the morning.”
“It’s probably just their kid who gets up on the roof or whatever. Don’t worry about it so much.”
“Idk, like lets say its just some dumb boy or whatever, it could still see into my bedroom as much as I can look out, right?”
Candice sighs. “So close the curtains.”
“I do, okay. I already said that. Ow! Nugs, don’t bite my toe.”
“Such a weird name for a cat.”
“Look, I was like 10, okay?”
“Oh my god.” Candice laughs a little. “I didn’t know you named him. I thought it was like your brother or something.”
“Shit, how did I not know that?”
“Look, not the topic. Thing on the roof.”
“Sorry, was trying to distract you.”
Frankie sighs, lowering herself against the banister before standing up straight. “Grateful for the effort, but that’s not what I need right now? The stupid thing freaks me out. Like, every morning, I get up and open the window so the sun can reach Aloeysius. A growing Aloe needs its sunlight.”
“Then you’re probably fine, just close the curtains when he’s on the roof. Is he there now?”
Frankie turns towards her door and opens it slowly. Nugget runs between her legs and almost knocks her over as he goes into her room. She places a hand on her chest and then exhales. “It’s there.” She walks closer to the window, seeing the mass of shadow curled against the corner of the rough, just faintly the shape of a person, legs dangling over the side of the peak of the roof. Its exact proportions were hard to gauge, but as Frankie looks closer, it kind of eases her mind, the thing was way too…long to be a person, probably a trick of the light. “You know, honestly, talking with you on the phone and looking at it again, puts me at ea…”
She drops the phone.
She closes her curtains so hard she hears a little rip in one.
She drops to the floor and presses her back against the wall below the window.
She takes a deep breath and then picks up the phone.
Candice shouts, “What the hell?”
“I…I just looked. It turned to look at me. It looked at me. I saw its eyes, Candice. I saw its eyes.”
“Do you want me to come over?”
“You still there?”
“Yeah, yeah, sorry. Could you? I’d really appreciate it.”
“It should be fine, just let me get dressed and I’ll be over in 20, okay?”
“Yeah…yeah…should I call the cops?”
“You can if you want, but I think you’ll be alright, okay Frankie? I’ll be there soon.”
Frankie sits under the window sill petting Nugget until he darts off into the hallway. She looks at the time on her phone, it’s been roughly 25 minutes. She stands up and turns around, opens the curtains, and exhales. The thing is not on the roof. “Probably never wa…”
There’s a knock at the front door.
She texts Candice “Is that you?”
The doorbell rings, and then again.
Frankie goes to the top of the stairs and hears Candice through the door, “Hey, can you open the door. I dropped my phone in your yard. Need help looking.”
Frankie starts down the stairs when she gets a text from Candice, “Almost there, sorry, traffic.”
A shadow shifts across the window and the handle starts to turn.
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