Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Walls
by Brian Hodge
She seemed not to have heard me even though I knew she had, and I started to feel bad for asking it at all. While at first I’d found her not very nice to look at, I began to wonder if I wasn’t wrong, because now it seemed I’d only been misled by a trick of light and her annoyance. I wondered, too, if she might jump from the window, or lean forward and let herself fall. In that other world three floors down, the neighbors’ house was ringed with square slabs of stone to walk on. Nobody could survive a fall like that.
“I draw,” I told her, volunteering a distraction to save her life. “Want to see?”
I’d sneaked up some old ones, at least, even if I couldn’t make new ones.
“Later, maybe,” she said, and pulled away. Like before, her hand went to the bottom of the window, lingering a few moments, but as she moved back into the room she again left it open.
That night after the lights were out I lay in my bed and imagined her doing the same. I fought to stay awake as long as I could in case there were other songs to hear, or a repeat performance of the first one. Barring that, it seemed possible that she might cry instead, because that’s what I’d done the first night they’d moved me up here, but just before I fell asleep I wondered if the reason I hadn’t heard anything from her was because she was lying in the dark listening for some sound out of me.
About the Author
Brian Hodge, called “a writer of spectacularly unflinching gifts” by Peter Straub, is the award-winning author of ten novels of horror and crime/noir. He’s also written well over 100 short stories, novelettes, and novellas, and four full-length collections. His first collection, The Convulsion Factory, was ranked by critic Stanley Wiater as among the 113 best books of modern horror.
He lives in Colorado, where he also dabbles in music and photography; loves everything about organic gardening except the thieving squirrels; and trains in Krav Maga, grappling, and kickboxing, which are of no use at all against the squirrels.