The Watchmen Part XII – A Thriller Novella

If you missed the previous chapter you can find it here:

I pick up and unfold a box to tape it back together. I’m glad that I haven’t thrown any of them away. For the most part my hands have stopped shaking but the chill hasn’t left me. I had woken up a little over an hour ago. At least They let me wake instead of torturing me for hours on end. I have been so scared that the Demons probably figured out what I am attempting to do and that I would be held there in Their domain, doomed to watch the end again and again. It wouldn’t have been the first time that I experienced that horror─ but at least back then I knew that eventually the visions would stop. This time I hadn’t been sure. The sun has gotten much lower in the sky and I had hoped to be completely packed and ready by now. If I’m being completely honest with myself part of me is putting it off.

I remove the plates, cups, and bowls from the cabinets. I search around the kitchen and finally locate some packing tissue and bubble wrap. I’m not a religious person, but my parents did take me to bible school during summers to ‘keep me more accepting as a person and broaden my horizons.’ If that were the case, church was the wrong place to be. One phrase did stick with me after all these years and especially after these last couple of weeks. I’ve grown to hate those words. The truth hasn’t done me any favors and frankly, it’s ruined my life. Yes, I can at least know I tried but what does it matter if it changes nothing? I gently wrap each item as I lay them into the box. There’s another saying that rings true as of late: ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’ Everything that I have done up until this moment has moved no one. It will change nothing.

In less than twenty minutes the contents of my kitchen are neatly packed away. I’m going to leave my small end table and desk assembled. They are cheap and easy to break down. I grab a few medium sized boxes and walk back to my closet. Thank goodness I don’t own a lot of clothes and shoes. I thought that I would be more anxious than I am but my hands are calm and my breath flows naturally. Honestly, this is the calmest I’ve felt in a long time. I know that I don’t have to do any of this, it’s not like I own a lot, but I think it’s a way for me to fade away without the anxiety of making things difficult for the clean-up crew. I shake my head as the second box is filled with the last of my clothes, I’m so weird─ only I would be thinking about others on my death bed. After a handful of minutes I tape up the last box and then stack it in the living room with the others. The only things I’m keeping together are my desk, computer chair, and my computer. And of course my bed─ I plan to at least feel comfortable as I drift off. I sit on the floor and stare at the computer. My limbs feel weak, but I manage to stand and then pad over to my desk. Something occurs to me that I havn’t thought of before, if there actually aren’t any bombs I should at least leave a note of some sort─ and a way for everyone to unlock my phone, social media, etc. I open up a notepad and type in all my passwords, also making sure that I leave a code for my lock screen on the computer written on a sticky note. I open up a new google document and then start on my letter. Thankfully it will just be my parents that will need one, I haven’t had any close friends in ages. I’m not much of a writer but I try to at least leave something for them to read.

Mom and Dad,

I’m sorry that things had to end the way they did between us. If you’re reading this then obviously I am insane and took my life for a stupid reason. But I want you both to know, that with all my heart, these last few weeks have been a living hell for me mentally. These ‘visions’ or whatever they are were so painful that it left me wishing for death. While I know that’s probably not something you want to read from your daughter, I want you to understand that the two of you had nothing to do with this. I’m not doing this out of spite or hurt and I never wanted to hurt you in this way. I just can’t deal with this pain anymore, or the fact that if all of this is real my message fell on deaf ears and there are millions of people dead. I love you both, thank you for the love and support that you gave me. I hope that you both can find it in your hearts to forgive me and live your life happily together.

I love you Mom and Dad forever and always,


I save it on the computer and upload it on a USB drive just in case it didn’t save for some reason. I should be upset or crying, at least some sense of sadness─ but the only things I feel right now is exhaustion and relief. I turn my phone back on as I walk into the bathroom. I quickly turn my ringtone to silent and turn off notifications from popping up on my screen. I swipe away the text messages without looking at them and set up all calls to go straight to voicemail. I don’t want to feel guilt in my final moments or see what anyone may have sent in anger or hurt. I uninstall all of my social media just for good measure and then sit and play games. I had a game that I had installed ages ago but never played it. After playing for over an hour, I’m actually surprised at how decent the storyline is and the graphics aren’t half bad either. My legs tingle and I realize I have barely any blood flowing to them. It’s bordering unbearable so I finish up, set my phone on the bathroom counter, and stand. Painful tingles shoot down my legs and I wince as I wiggle them. I doubt wiggling really helps, but after a bit the pain subsides and I can feel my feet again. My stomach rumbles angrily at me and I sigh as I slowly start giving in to the idea of waiting until bed tonight. I glance at the time on the top of my screen and it pretty much solidifies that idea. In my visions the bomb always went off during the morning. The sunlight came from the East side of our building toward Downtown. If it was going to be today, it would have happened already. Did I even manage to look at the number on the page? To my annoyance I can’t remember if I did or not. If I had, I definitely don’t remember if there was a countdown or not. Wasn’t that one of the reasons I even looked at it? I shake my head, everything from earlier today feels fuzzy and it hurts thinking about it. I had left the paper on the counter earlier after I came to. I spot it laying on the counter, looking deceivingly harmless. Am I really stupid enough to do this again? You already know it’s supposed to go down tomorrow. I frown thinking about when I had checked the paper last time. Hadn’t I have been sure that it would be today? Shit. Shit, shit, shit on a shitty-shit sandwich. I’m really going to be this stupid again. This is on you if everything goes south. Why the hell didn’t I look for the number earlier, and if I did─ why wasn’t it freaking ingrained in my head? Come on, Kate─ it’s like you want to be tortured. I close the small gap between me and the counter and then before I can freeze or have too much time to think about it, I snatch the paper up and flip it around. Dallas skyline greets me and I spot the creatures standing on a hill, staring at the city from a distance. For once I stare at the page and simply have an empty feeling. There’s no sign of anything I had seen earlier, just the city and Them. I scan the page, first checking the top where it was last time. I frown as I spot nothing. Maybe it moved, it had done that before. I go from top to bottom, left to right, even try flipping it upside down─ all with the same results, nothing. I place it back into my bag thoroughly confused. Maybe it isn’t displaying a number and today counts as zero day. Surely that must mean something, there’s always been a number. In any case, it could have been much worse, I reason, so now I’m alive and that’s that. It is nearing five o’clock and an early dinner sounds amazing. I’m absolutely ravenous and I know exactly what I’m having tonight.

I tug nervously on my skirt as I get out of the Uber, making sure that I’m not giving anyone a show on my way into the restaurant. I smile warmly at the driver and thank him for the ride. He smiles back and then I catch him running his gaze down my body to my bare legs. At first I am confused as I walk away but for good measure I check the reflection on the restaurant windows and notice that he’s still staring at my lower half. I blush but I’m surprised to find a smile spreading across my face. Maybe this experience has opened my mind to the possibility that others can find me, dare I say─ attractive. I wince as I think back to Devon. It figures that I managed to fall for someone during the end of the damn world and as it turns out, now absolutely hates my guts and is thoroughly convinced that I’m a deceitful, evil temptress. I approach the host and flash a shy smile, “uh, hi. I have a reservation under Kate.” He nods and smiles, “of course, let me check on it for you.” The man disappears behind the curtain leading to the backroom and in a handful of moments returns with a few different menus. His eyes have softened as he approaches me. I never realized it before but there is something about him that really draws my attention. He’s beautiful, not in a conventional way, but has an air of confidence with how he holds his body. His hands are soft and delicate which match perfectly with his slight frame. You would think having these sort of features would make him appear effeminate, which in my opinion is extremely attractive, but they all come together as a masculine grace like none I’ve seen. He reminds me of a panther, even his features are mesmerizing with deep brown eyes, fair skin, and shoulder-length hair that he has tied neatly behind his head. Almost like a modern day samurai cut with the underside shaved and groomed perfectly. I’m trying not to stare as I thank him and follow his lead back toward the booth.

The world feels so vivid. It probably has everything to do with me knowing my time is up but all of my worries up until now feel so trivial. I smile at others, secretly spying on everyone wrapped up in their own world. They all look so beautiful, smiling, and happy. I’m aware that it must appear odd that a woman is sitting by herself in a Japanese barbeque restaurant but it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m surprised when the host returns with my drinks and introduces himself as my waiter for the evening. His name is Alex and I’m either imagining it or he seems like he’s into me. I’m knocked for a loop by my sudden ability to find someone else attractive. I really thought I’d be more bummed than I am about Devon. Then again seeing how he had behaved toward me is a major red flag. I had definitely misjudged him which means he is practiced at seducing women. I suddenly feel sick to my stomach and kind of dirty, how could I have fallen for someone like that? I shake the negative thoughts and pull out the main course menu. The smallest full meal option they have is for two so I order that and tea. There is a brief moment of awkwardness when he asks if anyone will be joining me but aside from that it’s smooth sailing. I find myself wondering if it isn’t going a little too well. I glance around nervously but relax when the only thing near me are the people. It’s as if the entities have had their fill and left me until They’re ready to feast. Still, the chill They left before lurks in the background. It was different this time, forceful. While all of Their torture has had this effect on me, They literally held my head. I’m not even sure forceful is the right way to word it, almost insistent. There was something else there.

“Miss?” I jump and let out a small gasp. “Yes?” Alex smiles warmly at me, “so sorry to bother you but your first course is here, I needed to make a bit of space.” I shuffle my plates and menus out of the way. He places miso soup and a small salad in front of me. “Thank you,” I say. He nods and says, “my pleasure.” We make eye contact as he pauses momentarily. He hesitates but seems to decide against saying what he is thinking about. Alex leaves and I tuck in to my soup. The heat warms my bones and the salad is refreshing it’s a perfect light course before the meat comes. It is one of those places that encourage you to stay and enjoy your experience. It isn’t cheap but I would have been able to easily afford it had I have kept my job. Not that any of that matters at this point but it has still left me angry and hurt. It isn’t as if I don’t understand why I was fired, it’s that I am having to go through all of this alone. If I hadn’t already been hyper aware of how crazy I had looked, Devon made sure that I knew and ripped me a new one with it. Worst of all he treated me like some sort of drama queen and acted like I tried to torture him over his dead friend. I barely knew Zedd, I barely know Devon. Why would I have had any reason to do that? He thinks I’m crazy, fine, I would have too before today and avoided me like the plague. I probably would have fired me too. But come on, what he said and the way he behaved was totally uncalled for. A professional and someone that had considered me as a potential friend or partner, would have just let me go quietly no matter what they suspected and broke off all contact. At the end of the day what’s done is done and there is no sense harboring on it.

Alex is very tentative throughout the night. We chat over things in-between courses and I find out that he is learning to take over his father’s business. We are actually only a few years apart and he graduated from college with a business degree. I share about getting my degree and then moving after landing a job here. His eyes light up as we talk about our favorite games and game music. We have a ton in common and both total nerds. The food is absolutely delicious and I actually giggle as he shows me how to cook the meat perfectly. I needed this so bad, something simple and normal. As the dessert course comes out, I’m shocked to find out that it’s nearly eight o’clock. As he places the cake on the table he motions to another staff member and they come over with a cart to clear everything off of the table. I finish off the dessert with a happy sigh and pat my belly. “I seriously have never eaten so much food in my life.” Alex laughs and nods his head toward me, “you look like you could stand to gain a few pounds so I wouldn’t worry.” My eyebrows go up and then I giggle, “I would love it if I could gain weight, I’ve tried for years.” He shrugs and sighs, “yeah, me too. I sort of figured I’ve just been lucky and one day it will catch up to me.” I laugh, “That’s exactly how I thought it would go for me, but both of my parents are bean stalks. I think I’m doomed” I say. We both laugh and I feel so amazing right now, like the past few weeks have never happened. I glance at my phone and frown, it’s almost time for the restaurant to close. Alex quiets as he notices my reaction. “Everything alright?” I smile warmly but I know that it won’t reach my eyes. Curse my inability to have a poker face. “It is and it isn’t” I say. He purses his lips, “hmm cryptic.” That gets a chuckle out of me. “That’s me, for sure.” He raises an eyebrow “really?” “Oh god no, I can’t lie to save my life─ let alone be mysterious.” Alex grins widely, “I prefer that. Having to guess what people are about is exhausting.” I nod, “exactly.” One of the staff members hand me the check and I pull out my wallet. He places his hand over mine and waves the waiter away. My eyes widen, “what? No way, I am going to pay for this. This is an expensive meal and your company needs to make money.” Alex smiles as he hands the check back to them. “Think of it as payment for spending time with me.” I burst out laughing. He furrows his eyes in confusion until it dawns on him what he just said. “Oooh. No, no, no. That is not what I meant at all.” He turns scarlet which causes me to laugh again. “Hey, I’m just trying to be nice and you’re laughing at me? How rude.” His face is unreadable and I start to panic. Did I offend him? His face breaks into a smile and he laughs, “oh man, you should see your face.” I cross my arms in mock outrage and stick out my tongue. “Alright,” I offer, “guess I deserved that.”

The staff is throwing a lot of sideways glances our way and I look at the time. “Oh shit, Alex it’s like thirty minutes after you’ve closed. I need to get out of here.” “You’re probably right, I’m sure they would like to go home and I’ve been a total ass to them with helping out.” “No you haven’t, you deserve it Alex.” The woman says warmly, “she leans toward me and loudly whispers, “seriously he hasn’t had a vacation in like five years.” Her brown eyes sparkle conspiratorially and I realize she has a striking resemblance to him. He chuckles, “Kate, this is my sister Michelle.” “Micki” she corrects Alex. I grin, “nice to meet you Micki.” She smiles, “nice to meet you too. But, seriously Alex the staff is waiting.” He stands with me and then walks me to the door. Alex opens the door but then steps out with me. “Hey, uh this might seem a bit forward but would you like to hang out a bit more tonight?” I’m shocked into silence for a second. “Or, maybe some other time?” He adds hastily. He must have misunderstood my silence for hesitation. “Oh! I’d love to. Sorry, it’s just I don’t have a car.” What the hell am I doing? Alex grins, “what a coincidence, I happen to have one of those. That is, if you’re comfortable riding with me. We can just meet up somewhere too.”


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