Written for the October 2019 Short Story theme, “Spooky.”
Rules: A maximum of 10 screenshots with a maximum of 850 words.
Every time she’s on TV, I wish she’d wear her glasses. I hate feeling like she’s watching me.
I can’t stand seeing eyes on me, but I promised to watch Ava every time she had a segment.
Why did she have to look directly into the camera like that? Why couldn’t she just look somewhere el–
“Let’s go outside, Noah.”
Felix’s voice was calming.
“I hate going outside,” I shut the television off. “When did you get here?”
“I was here the whooole time,” he wiggles his fingers in front of me, “ooh.”
I get up from the couch and head to the kitchen. Seeing Felix after hearing Ava’s voice made me feel guilty…
Ava doesn’t like him very much, even though he’s the only person I don’t mind looking at me.
“Cranky-pants,” Felix grins, “maybe if we got fresh air, you wouldn’t be a stick in the mud.”
“No thanks,” I glance at the window, seeing the clouds beginning to cluster. “It looks like it’s going to rain.”
“You’re only saying that ’cause you don’t like people looking at you,” he gets off the couch and follows me as he always did. “It’s already late. There won’t be anyone outside, let alone see us.”
“C’mon, I’m your best friend for a reason, aren’t I?”
He is my best friend. We’ve been friends ever since I could remember. Felix is a perfect person to me.
I wish everyone else was like him.
Felix lists reasons why we should go outside: Fresh air, sun… And the swings.
He really loves the swings.
“Fine,” I concede. “We’ll go to your favorite park today.”
It was already past six when we got there, but I still felt anxious. No one comes to this park anymore, but being outside always made me feel like someone else was there.
Looking… Staring at me. I hate it when people look at me.
I felt my anxiety beginning to amplify as I watched Felix swing back and forth like a pendulum.
“Can we go back home now?” I ask wearily.
“Five minutes,” he answers as he moves. “Then we can go home. Relax a little, Noah!”
He was annoying, but his words put me at ease: Five more minutes longer and we’ll–
Ava’s voice made me realize how cold my skin was. My sweater was completely damp, and Felix was gone again.
“I didn’t think you’d be outside.”
She smiles, but I hated it. She was looking at me again.
“How did you find me?” I get up from the swings. “And where are your glasses?”
“They’re in the car…”
Ava quiets, choosing her words carefully.
“Were you talking with… Felix?”
“Yeah,” I look at the swing beside me, “he wanted to play today.”
“You should talk to him someday,” I smile, changing the topic. “He likes being outside like you.”
The ride to my apartment was in complete silence, but I knew Ava wanted to say something.
“Ava,” I hold the door to my apartment. “Why did you look for me?”
“I… Need to talk to you.”
“…I want you to stop talking to Felix,” she answers bluntly.
“But he’s my best friend.”
“He’s imaginary, Noah. It’s fine when you’re little, but you’re twenty-eight now! I can’t stand seeing you say things like Felix this, Felix that–”
I head inside my apartment and close it short in front of her, locking it immediately.
I don’t like it when she tells me to stop talking to Felix.
“I hate her,” he says.
Felix stood in front of me, his face angry.
“…Goodnight, Noah,” Ava’s voice mumbles behind the door. “I’ll call, and… You can tell Felix I said goodnight, too. I love you.”
Her footsteps recede, and I respond.
“I love you too.”
That was true, even though she hated my best friend in the whole entire world. Ava practically raised me when we were younger… I just wish the two people I care about would get along.
“I said I HATE her, Noah,” Felix repeats. “Don’t ignore me!”
“Don’t hate my sister, Felix,” I take my gloves from a drawer and put them on, “she’s just… Being Ava. You know that…”
“She doesn’t want us to be friends anymore!” Felix huffs.
I retrieve my paring knife and head to my bedroom, my newfound resolve solidifying my confidence.
“It’s not that she doesn’t want us to be friends… Ava just doesn’t understand us,” I close the door behind us. “But I can fix that.”
“She just has to meet you and talk.”
“She can’t see me, Noah.”
I gesture him to look at the floor of my bedroom, where an unconscious boy with faded flaxen hair laid. When Felix stood by him, it was like looking at twins.
The boy’s features almost mirror Felix.
“He looks like me,” he smiles.
“Not enough like you,” I reply, taking out my paring knife. “He should look exactly like you.”
Felix is the only one that makes me feel normal.
Once Ava sees that, she’ll finally understand me.