Please see Eerie Sense of Being Watched – Part One for the beginning of this story.
Millie knew for sure she had not put the cart out on the terrace, yet there it was, and that eerie sense returned. Chills ran down her arms. She was not a forgetful person, but got up and retraced her footsteps when she and Sharon came in a little over an hour ago. Millie had unlocked the door then Sharon pushed the cart in and asked, “Where do you want this, Mrs. Jenkins?”
“Oh, right there is fine, Sharon. And, please call me Millie.” Sharon left the cart by the television. Then they went in the kitchen, Millie made tea, and they sat at the dining table and visited. After Sharon left, Millie sat on the sofa, turned on the music with the remote and lay down. The cart was still by the television when she fell asleep and the door to the terrace was closed and locked – now it stood open.
Millie stood with hands on hips and stared at the cart for several seconds. There was no way she could make any sense of this incident. Well, she was not going to dwell on it. It was a phenomena and that was it. She went into her bedroom to change into jeans, a sweatshirt, and sneakers.
Millie was always pleased that at the age of seventy she still had dark auburn hair and still wore the same size 10 clothes. Her hazel brown eyes seemed to change color with what she wore. The green sweatshirt brought out the green in her eyes. She undid the bun on top of her head and brushed her hair good. It always relaxed her to brush slowly and thoroughly. Pulling her long hair back and into a pony tail refreshed her, making her feel young.
It did not take too long to finish decorating the terrace. Every item had a specific place and hooks were where they had been installed fifty years ago by Charles. Millie always felt a very close connection to Charles whenever she decorated for whatever season it was.
Before she hung the orange lights, Millie went to the kitchen to make coffee – while it was brewing she put the old Halloween music on that she and Charles had always enjoyed listening to. The Monster Stomp by Boris Karloff perked her up and she sang along with it, doing her own version of the stomp around the kitchen. She could almost feel Charles grasp her hand as she turned and held out her arm. When the song ended she curtsied with her hand in his as he bowed, like they used to do.
She took her coffee out to the terrace and sat down as she untangled the string of lights. She plugged them in to make sure they all worked. Her doorbell rang, chirping like birds, so she set the lights down and went to answer the door.
Looking through the peek hole she saw Mr. Swanson. She hesitated to open the door then remembered the security cameras were always active. Then an eerie sense came over her again and she felt like someone was telling her all is well. She could almost hear a voice that gave her comfort. The trepidation she had felt earlier because of the wrong door incident was gone. Millie opened the door.
Mr. Swanson was standing a polite distance away. Pulling his right arm out from behind his back, he took a step forward and handed her a bouquet of roses. “Yellow roses, symbolic of friendship, Miss Jenkins. I do hope you accept my apology for what happened earlier and consider me your friend.” He bowed when Millie took the roses and smelled them.
“How lovely, and so very thoughtful of you, Mr. …”
“Monty. Please call me Monty. The Mr. is too formal. May I call you Mildred?”
She smiled up at him. “Millie. I prefer Millie. Thank you so much for the roses.”
“My pleasure, Millie. I am so glad you like them.” The bright colors on the terrace attracted his attention. “Ah! I see you have been quite busy decorating for Halloween. I must do the same, and soon.”
“Yes, and do it well, for we have a contest for the best one. I was just checking my lights before I hang them. And I just made coffee. Would you like to sit on the terrace and have coffee while I hang the lights … Monty?”
“How gracious of you, Millie. I would love to.”
Monty sat with his coffee and watched her check all the lights then unplug them. She opened the utility closet door and pulled out her step ladder to hang the lights.
“Oh! Allow me, please.” Monty sat his coffee down and stood up. He held out his hand. “May I? This will encourage me to decorate.”
Millie handed the lights to him and sat drinking her coffee, watching as he easily reached up to each hook and hung the lights across without using the step stool. Earlier his height had intimidated her, but at the time she was quite nervous. Now, she admired how he was tall enough to hang the lights so quickly.
Monty handed her the plug and sat down. “Now, we shall see the final touch to your lovely Halloween set up.”
Millie plugged the cord in and the lights were brilliant in the last moments of the soft late afternoon daylight. She always loved that moment when the lights were first turned on, for it was a completion to her creative project. She smiled and clapped her hands. “Perfect!”
“Perfect, indeed. Lovely job, Millie,” Monty sat back and finished his coffee.
She smiled again, feeling very pleased. Then she felt that eerie sense again just before Monty asked, “I say! Do you have a ghost? I could swear that witch doll was hanging on the opposite wall when I first came in.”
Millie stared at the witch for several seconds then put both hands over her mouth in surprise. A tear fell on her cheek, then she laughed quietly, with a sob. When Charles was alive, he always moved the witch to the other wall after he hung the lights. She turned to Monty. “I believe I do have a ghost and that would explain the eerie sense I have had lately of being watched.”
Millie sat down as a feeling of relief swept over her. “Your departed husband, I assume?” Monty said softly. Millie nodded. “I thought so. My dear departed wife visits me once in awhile for a week or so. The first time she did I, too, had an eerie sense of being watched, till I figured it out.”
Millie looked at the witch and toasted it with her coffee mug. “Thank you, Charles.”
© 2017 Phyllis Doyle Burns
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