04 Jul The Boy in the Window
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"The Boy in the Window"Written by H. Jilani
Estimated reading time — 4 minutes
She tried pulling herself back, but however hard she tried, however hard she pushed, she could not stop her feet dragging her towards the open window. She dug her heels into the wooden floor, feeling splinters coming off it as her feet dragged her onward.
Her hands caught the window-sill, and the wind blew in her face, causing her hair to whip around. Her eyes widened with helplessness and terror, taking in the navy blue sky with its sad, grey moon and uneven sprinkling of stars. She couldn’t move her head but she turned her pleading eyes to him as he stood beside her.
‘Please!’ the word caught in her throat, her voice choked with fear. He looked back intently into her eyes, that smile fixed on his lips as he tied the thick rope around the window ledge.
* * * * * *
It all started three weeks ago.
She had woken up to a sudden tapping at her window. Ignoring it, thinking it was the wind playing tricks, she went back to sleep. The light tapping at the window became deliberate knocking the next night. She sat shivering with fright in her bed, unable to move until the knocking ceased. However, the next morning, she was sure that she had been imagining things. Her room was on the third floor with no trees or drainpipes outside to provide access to any unwelcome intruders. It wasn’t knocking, anyway, she convinced herself. It must have been one of the many mysterious sounds the night weaves into its lullaby.
Two days passed. As she was sculpting downstairs in her studio, she heard the knock again. For a second she froze with fright. Then she turned.
Outside the window, hanging upside-down, was a little boy. Only his head was visible through the glass. His face extremely pale, his hair dark, long and dirty, he could have been a street urchin had it not been for his eyes. The eyes weren’t human; they were round and slanted with impossibly large irises. He gave her a mischievous smile and tapped at the window again, still upside down.
‘Please, lady’ he said, ‘Won’t you let me in?’ She gasped and stumbled backwards, knocking her incomplete sculpture to the ground, throwing flecks of clay everywhere, for the child spoke in the voice of a man; a husky, sadistic tone.
He started visiting her more and more, often knocking at the doors and windows. No, she thought, don’t let him in. Whatever you do, don’t let him in. She would see him peeking from her windows whenever she woke up, until she started keeping the curtains drawn at all times and the windows locked. She ignored the knocking that continued, followed by his voice. ‘Please, lady! Won’t you let me in?’
She started getting paranoid. It was with great inner turmoil that she left the house for work every day. For the most part, things appeared normal.
Until that particular day…
That day, she was already feeling slightly sick due to a lack of sleep. Her co-worker had suggested that she talk to someone; a therapist or a priest, maybe. Yes, she thought, I will today. Suddenly, someone knocked at her car window. She gasped, her pupils dilated in horror.
It was a cop. She had parked in front of a no parking sign. Swearing, she reared out, parked again, and rushed out to go to work.
The café she worked at was a small glass-walled haven for all kinds of people; readers, lovers, and businessmen who wanted a cup of tea or coffee before they bustled back to their offices.
It was an hour before she would get off. She was serving a table by the huge glass wall when a whisper reached her ears. ‘Hey lady,’ it said. Abruptly, she looked up out of the window, and there he stood. Right in the middle of the road, with his black, slanting eyes, and wicked smile.
Without thinking, she rushed out to the sidewalk and he was still there, right in the middle of the busy road with the traffic whizzing past him. ‘I said please, didn’t I?’ the boy whispered. ‘I am a good boy, lady,’ came the man’s voice from the little boy’s throat.
‘I said please.’ He stood twelve feet away, and still his voice sounded in her ears above the noise of the traffic as clearly as if he was inside her own head.
And then a bus sped over him, just like that; passed right over the spot where he was standing. She screamed and ran right into the traffic where he had been, but nothing was there. She went down on her knees on the hard, grey road. A few passers-by stopped to try and calm her as she sobbed. It took her a while to get back to her senses. She got into her car and sped off towards home as fast as she could.
She rushed straight upstairs, right into her bathroom and splashed herself with cold water. She looked at her face in the mirror, skull-like and gaunt now. ‘What have you done to yourself?’ she asked. You’re going insane, she thought, don’t let this happen, don’t lose your mind! She dried her face and turned into the bedroom.
She was just inside the room when she stopped in her tracks. There he was, sitting at the window ledge, his short, skinny legs dangling inside. ‘You left the window open,’ the husky voice purred.
And then he walked to her side, took her hand in his tiny cold one, and started pulling her towards the window with surprising strength; though she struggled, she couldn’t fight him off.
She watched him tying the rope to the ledge at one end, and the other into a noose. ‘Please!’ she managed to croak out.
‘I said please too,’ the sadistic voice crooned as he lovingly placed the noose around her neck. She felt her feet climb the window ledge and then she was standing on it.
‘I am a good boy,’ the voice whispered in her ear. She felt his cold breath and putrid smell, the smell of death.
They would find a note in her room in her own handwriting explaining how she was committing suicide because she was sick of life. She felt the hard ledge under feet, the moonlight on her face, and the wind in her hair; the last things she would ever feel. A shadow fell from the third-floor window of the house that night and a voice snickered, ‘I’m a good boy, lady.’
CREDIT: H. Jilani