On All Sides. Short Story.

The entire house was in darkness. That was good. It was better that way, it made it harder for the others to see in. The blinds were closed and the lights were off. He was able to see in the day, there were enough gaps for light to pass through. It wasn’t easy to see, but it was possible. He had to turn the light on at night however. Not because he wanted to, but because he needed to. The streetlights gave off their sickly orange light, but it wasn’t enough to light his home, it made everything distorted, weird. He didn’t trust that light.

When darkness fell he would turn on a few lights, one small one in each room and that was it. It gave enough light for him to see, but no one could see in. It needed to be dark. It was safe. Safe was good. He didn’t trust his neighbours. Not anymore. They had begun to act strangely. There were less people on the roads too, less visitors, he wasn’t the only one who noticed, but he was stuck here. He couldn’t afford to move house. Not yet anyway. He would have to move soon, it was no longer safe here. His neighbours were up to something, he didn’t know what it was, only that it was bad and he wanted no involvement. They had left him alone so far. They knew that he wasn’t a threat, there was no way they could view him as one either, but they would view him as an outsider, different. They didn’t like different. He didn’t either, but he would tolerate it. They wouldn’t. He knew that.

He didn’t have to go out too often, luckily enough, he worked from home, so he only needed to go out for some shopping every now and then, make sure he had enough food in the house. There had been no problems yet. No one had tried to confront him or attack him, but he knew it was only a matter of time.

He couldn’t live like this much longer, it had been going on for over a year at this point. They had forced him to become a prisoner in his own home. Sure there was no one standing outside the door, preventing him from leaving, but just what would happen if he started going outside? It would only be a matter of time before he would have some kind of accident. Of course they’d all back each other up, swear that’s all it was. Maybe they even had the police on their side. No one would question it too much. Not really. His family didn’t care too much about him. They never did. He knew it and so did they. That wasn’t to say they were mean or unkind. No, they were good parents, they just didn’t really like him. Not as much as they liked his brother and sister, they were always loved, he could see it. He wasn’t. He was merely tolerated. It wasn’t too bad though. It made leaving easy. There was nothing to hold him back, his parents couldn’t try to guilt him into anything. His siblings loved him, they even tried to stay in contact with him, but he didn’t bother. He couldn’t like them. It wasn’t their fault they were loved, but he could see how different it was for them when they were growing up, they didn’t see it. Not really. It was just normal to them. He let the distance grow, he hadn’t heard from them in years now. He didn’t even know if they knew where he lived. He thought he knew where his parents lived and that was only because they probably hadn’t moved in the last few years. Not like him. He liked moving, doing so when he could. But he couldn’t now.

There were some things over the past few months, unexpected costs that had put a large dent into his savings. He was stuck here. The mortgage needed to be paid off too, it wasn’t very big, and he intended to pay it off as soon as possible, but that just hadn’t happened. It was one thing after another, things that would mean little separately, but together added up to one giant conclusion. They were trying to keep him around. He didn’t know what they planned for him, but he didn’t really want to find out. He would just have to get out soon, that was all. There was the little matter of money and bills, but if he really tried he could get out in another four months. Though it could be too late by then. Maybe he shouldn’t wait that long. Maybe he should go on the offensive. Really, it was only a matter of time before they attacked him. If he took care of them first it would solve his problems. He wouldn’t have to do much. Just a few small things, warn them not to mess with him, scare them off. But that might not work. It might make them retaliate or move their plan up faster. No, it would have to be big. Scare them off, tell them he couldn’t be messed with. Maybe it would be better to take them out all together. Yes. That’s what should be done. They couldn’t mess with him if they were no longer around. He could do what they did, make it look like random accidents. Less people snooping around than going all out on them. Yes. Subtle would be best. That would be safest.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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