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The Sound of Dripping Water

by Albert J. Clark Jr 7 months ago in book reviews
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Chapter One

It's 5pm and it's already starting to get dark. I just finished recording a female artist who came in for a voice-over recording for an acting job she received from her agent. Speaking of voice. Now I'm talking to myself again. "Use your inside voice" the teacher would say. Yeah it's all cool and fun until you start to do it all the time. Like I'm doing now. We met before a couple of weeks ago and started the recording process. Today was for another character they're having her do. She's really talented. One character has a high voice and the other has a low voice and she does both with ease. She even gave me her profile name for instagram so I can stay up to date with how she's doing. Right now I'm doing some engineering work for her audio. Many people say it's tidious, but I actually enjoy my work. Especially while listening to Josh Garrels. phone rings. "Who could that be? Oh. It's Tif.

"Hey, babe".

"Hi, honey, how is everything going?"

"Everything is fine. How are you doing?"

"I'm good. on my way there right now"

"Already?"

"Yeah. 'sigh' Don't tell me you're not ready. This was your idea in the first place, James."

"Haha, I know. I'm almost done with this mixing. I can master it while you drive."

""you" drive? But I was gonna make you drive while I rest."

"When I'm done with the mastering part then I will take over, okay?"

"Okay. Well, I'm about 12 minutes away. So be ready"

"Alright, sounds good."

'click'

It's still hard to believe sometimes that she agreed to marry me. I'm not the ideal alpha male most of these women in town go for. I mostly stay to myself and listen more than I speak. I also like to produce things and travel. I workout on occasion. I don't like to be lazy, but I also like to rest. Because my parents taught me to work with diligence, but they also told me to not overwork myself just to get rich. For the studio, I bring in people who want to produce for their projects and occasion I go out to perform live music. Then take all the money to market and promote the company. Strive STudios. Haha, It's a lot of work, but I enjoy it. Most people complain having to do so much. Some people just invest while others do the work and others struggle between jobs. I just try to walk by faith and live right. Serving my gifts to the world and working diligently. Not the typical "man" these women would go for here. I don't serve money like most men do. I don't care for most of the things that they do like food, and alcohole, and drugs. I just focus on serving my purpose and produce what I can. There is one woman who saw that light in me. She looked deeper than the looks and work ethics. She looks at the heart. She said I reminded her of an owl in a story her mother use to read to her as a child. A story called "The Night Owl". She only told me so much, though. I mean, she really tells me a lot, but every time she mentions it I start to daydream about recording a song on stage. It's nicely set up and people are there watching me and clapping when I finish. "Beautiful" I would murmur. Then I would snap out of it from her saying "Are you even listening to me? You aways doze off every time I tell you. One of these days you're gonna beg me to finish that story." Yeah, I doubt it. It's pretty lame. I only enjoy the daydreams that comes with it. Of course I don't tell her that. I just laugh and she hits me. I'm almost finished with this mixing. Just one last section to edit. There. Now I need to go ahead and get my things together and clean up a bit before she gets here and beats me. Haha no I'm kidding. She doesn't do that. But she does know how to fight. She said something about her having a teacher training her when she was really young. I was surprised to hear it just as your are surprised to read it. Wait, I just heard a car honking outside. Is that her? 'phone message sounds' I look over at it. Yep That's her. Alright, let's do this. Got my bags, keys, and phones. I walk out the door and lock it behind me. She can see me from the car cause it's a lone building across from a school. There's also a park for playing sports and grilling behind my building and more parking on the side where they can sit their cars if they want or if there's more people who happens to show up. Some artists like to bring a group with them. But they know I don't allow smoking or drinking alcohol inside, but outside is fine. Now I'm at the car and I lift open the trunk that was alleys unlocked. I neatly put my things in, close it and hop in the front seat. We give each other a hug.

"Hi, honey."

"Hey, babe. Are you excited?"

"Not really. I honestly don't know what to expect. I haven't been there since I was 17, remember?"

"Yeah, I remember you've told me. You were raised there, then you and your mother drove out here to Dallas, told you that story and stayed ever since."

"What story?"

"Uhh, that story about that eagle and the...yeah, so anyways....

"Nope. What story?"

"I don't remember."

"Of course. So I'll tell you again."

"Ehhhhh, I'm kinda busy...

"Well you better double task. So when we first came to Dallas my mom told me this story when I was young called the Night Owl. Basically, how it went was, there was this mother owl who had an owlet and wasn't suppose to. She was too young according to her fellow owls, but she fell in love with a male owl and got married. The other owls wanted her to be the next leader but she chose love and so mommy and daddy owl took their owlet and flew away. They flew for hours until they finally found a new home that was beautiful and safe enough to raise their owlet. To be continued.

"That's it?"

"Yep."

"What about the rest?"

"You have a bad memory so I'm gonna let you marinate on that for now."

"Thanks."

"You're welcome."

"So, Is your mother gonna be there as well?"

"She's already there."

"Really? When did she leave?"

"A couple of hours ago. That's who I received the letter from. Then after that I got an email from my sister who still lives there."

"Right. And she's about to turn 17 in a couple of days, right?"

She gives me a look then looks back at the road.

"Boy, how did you know that? I never told you her birthday."

"You didn't have to. I saw it in your journal."

"My what?'

"Haha oh don't play clueless now. This..."

I reach in the back seat and pull out a journal and open it.

"This thing has all the goods. Your families birthdays, your home town, little stories, pretty interesting actually."

"I don't know what that is."

"Yeah, okay."

"No, really, James, I've never seen that before. Where did you find it?"

"Under your bed."

"Okay, first off, what were you doing under my bed? and second, you know what, just answer the first question."

"Well don't be mad, but I dropped my ring and it rolled under the bed."

I put the journal back in the bag and grabbed my laptop while continuing to talk.

"Why would you think I would be mad about that?"

"Well, I know how you girls get so sensitive about the ring and how you don't want us to take it off fro..."

"Wait...hold up you said "sensitive?" ahah

"Yeah, sensitive."

"Well, mister, I'm not sensitive. I don't care that much about it. It's just an object. Yeah there's a meaning behind it but if we were at gunpoint and the man asks for the ring in exchange for our lives then give it to him. This thing doesn't define my love for you and I hope your's doesn't define it for me either."

"Aww, That's so sweet. See, that's why I married you."

"Boy you made me wait AND said you would only marry me if I go rollerskating with you."

"Yeah, that was the final test. Anyways, how was that..."

"Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. "test? You've been testing me?"

"Just a lil bit. You know, every now and then. You test me too, right? To see if I'm the right one for you. That's what everyone does."

"Oh, no don't try to make this to where everyone just does that. That's just you, man."

"hahaha. 'sigh'. So anyways you passed. Congratulations! You got me. So how was that delivery?"

"Ohhh it was so cool. We helped deliver a Fennec Fox giving birth. It was so cute!"

"That's cool. I want one. Can we have one?"

"No."

"What?! Why not?! You love animals!"

"Yes, I do, but taking care of them everyday is a lot of work. I already have you to deal with."

"Woooow. Okay. I can take care of myself, you know. I have been for a long time."

"Yes, and weren't you homeless when I met you?"

"No, actually I was "houseless, not homeless, for your information. And I had multiple businesses that I was stewarding. I didn't care for the extra stuff, house car, food. God always provided."

"Yes of course."

"Yeah."

"You're so cute when you defend yourself."

"Awww. and you're not."

"What?"

"I'm kidding."

"Yeah, you better be."

"Haha."

"So are you almost done with that mastering so I can relax?"

"Yes, sweetie, I'm almost done. Just a couple more minutes. You can go ahead and stop at the next gas station. I see your tank is irresponsibly low and I would like something to drink. Would you like something to drink, honey?"

"Nuh unh, don't be trying do put a sneak diss in there. I am actually really responsible and yes, I would like something to drink as well so I will stop."

Minutes pass and we pull up to a gas station. It was pretty vacant, which was good since we needed to refill, but it was also spooky. not another car or person in sight. I tried paying with card but it showed that I had to see the register, which made it even more weird. So I walked inside and there was a woman at the register and a man arranging the products. I walk over to one of the fridges to grab two drinks and then I walk over to the woman at the register.

"Hello."

"Hi. How may I help you?"

"Yes, I would like to put 40 on 3, please."

"No, problem."

"You two must not be from here."

"How do you know?"

"You have a really nice car. And you look like you workout. Not many people have cars like that. Actually no-one does. And our men don't necessarily workout."

"Well, I'm sure they're physical in other ways. What does the word say "For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."

"Yes. But it also says that the body is a temple. So they should take better care of them, shouldn't they?"

She looks over to the man who looks up and shakes his head.

"Yes, ma'am, we should."

We both then look back at each other, her with a smile and me with a straight face.

"Speaking of strength, do you think you have time to help me with something?"

"What is it?"

"There is a fridge I need put back into place in the back and my assistant nor I can move it. The men who came to replace it didn't move it in all the way and left."

I pause.

"Sure."

I then walk out and tell my wife that it's good to go for the pump and she starts to pump it. I walk back in and the woman walks from around the counter and leads the way to the back room. She leads me to another room where the fridges are and there was one sticking out in front of the rest. So I go over and start to lift and push it back.

I know I'm in a dark freezer, but why do I have this strange feeling. It feels more than just cold. I don't like it.

"Alright, there you go."

I turn around and she's gone. I walk over to the door and it's locked. I knock and there's no answer. It's starting to feel more intense, but I don't panic. Instead I take out my phone and start to dial the number to my wife. Right before I finish the door opens.

"I'm so sorry about that. I usually put this bucket in front of the door because it closes and locked automatically. I'm so sorry. I know how cold it is in there. Here take this towel.

"No, it's okay. I put the fridge back. It's all good. I'll be heading out now. I hope you have a good day."

"Oh, uhh, you too. Thank you so much!"

"Bye man, I hope you have a good day."

The man doesn't even look up. If he didn't respond to her earlier I would have thought he was deaf. I leave out the building and walk to the car. She's already sitting in the passenger seat looking at me with a confused look. I hop in the car.

"What happened. That was longer than expected."

"It was. They needed help with moving a fridge in the back."

"A fridge? But this is a gas station. There shouldn't be a moving fridge in the back. Right?"

"Uhh, yeah. This must be a different kind of gas station that has those then. Here's your drink."

"Thank you, sir."

"You're welcome ma'am. Now go ahead and get some rest. I'll wake you when we get close, alright?"

"Alright."

That was pretty weird, now that she brought it up. But it must be a different kind of gas station with those. I wonder what they use them for. That guy was pretty interesting too. Actually, now that I remember, he didn't even look up to say hi or anything. And it seemed like he feared her if anything. But he fine. He looked fine to me anyways. Like he goes to college or owns a business. Fresh cut, well dressed, and even spoke properly. Interesting.

"Hey babe. Wake up."

"What? Oh, hey. Are we there yet?"

"Not yet. We're about 15 minutes away."

"Then why did you wake me up?"

"You said to wake you when we get close."

"Oh. Nevermind."

"You know. I haven't seen one car since Iv'e been driving. And it's been 5 hours."

"Was it like this when you left?"

"I don't remember."

"Really?"

"Yeah. I actually don't even remember what this place looks like. All I remember is that story my mom use to read to me and my younger sister."

"Younger sister? You had an older one? ou never told me that"

"I don't."

"Then why did you say tat like you did?"

"I don't know. Maybe cause I'm still tired."

"Yeah. Maybe."

That kinda threw me off. Speaking of. I should ask her. Wait, what is that? Is that a gate? and woods?

"A gate? Where?"

"Yeah there's a gate up there."

Wait, Hold on. It's like she read my mind. Cause I know I didn't say that out loud. Is every married couple like that? I know that when you get married you become one flesh, but that's a whole nother level."

I pull up to the gate and notice that it has some kind of symbol in the middle connecting the two. Kinda small.

"What is that?"

"I don't...know."

I grabbed my phone and took a picture.

"Why'd you do that?"

"To look it up later. It looks interesting."

"Okay, weirdo."

"Hey, you're the one who grew up here, weirdo."

"Hey it's not like I had a choice."

"yeah I feel the same about us."

"What?"

"Nothing. So, how do we get through? Should I honk the horn or walk up to it?"

"No, I'll just call my mom and ask her how we get in."

She calls her mom and a girl answers.

Hey sis! How are you?!"

"I'm doing well. Where is mom? Why didn't she answer?"

"Oh, mom is helping with the food."

"She's cooking?"

"Yeah!"

"What do you mean? Mom doesn't cook."

"Yes she does silly. I know it's been a while since I've seen her, but I remember mom use to cook fours when we were little."

"I don't remember that."

"Does she not cook for you out there?"

"No. She never did. We always ordered or I would cook for us."

"Awww. Well you missed out. I rememeber when she use to cook for us. It was the best! She's enjoying it now too!"

"Really?"

"Yes! Oh, I'm sorry, you must be at the gate. Is that why you're calling? I can let you in. Hold on!"

She looks at me and I give her one of my unsure looks. Then the gate opens.

"There you go!"

"Thank you, cherry."

"You can call me sis, you know! And you're very welcome! I'll see you soon. Be safe!"

The phone call ends and she sets it down on her lap and keeps a puzzled look of confusion.

"What's wrong?"

"Did you not hear that? My mom is cooking and having a good time and cherry is acting all joyous like nothing is wrong."

"Is something wrong?"

"I...I don't think so. It's just weird."

"maybe she's just happy to see her daughter again and the excitement got her cooking again."

"Yea, maybe."

"Come on. Let's go."

We drive on and after a couple of minutes driving through the woods, we start to see houses in the distance. Like really nice houses. Each one was different and unique. There was another gate that we pulled up to, but this time there was a man standing as security in a little podium. We stop and roll down the window.

"How are you two doing today? Welcome to the neighborhood."

"Hello. How are you doing today?"

"Oh, I'm doing mighty well sir. Enjoying the nice warm weather and texting my wife every so often."

Okay.

"That's nice. We're here for..."

"My name's Jeff. What's yours?"

Okay

"My name is James and this is my wife Tif. We're here to..."

"It's a pleasure to meet you. Ya'll must be here to stay-I mean for the reunion."

"The reunion, yes." Tif says. "My family is expecting us."

"Wella course. You can go right ahead. I'll open the gate for ya."

"Thank you, Jeff."

"You're very welcome, Tif and James."

We drive through and I notice Jeff staring at us drive on through the side mirror. Then he quickly runs inside the hut.

"Okay."

"What?"

"He just ran inside."

"Maybe he got a phone call."

"Yeah, probably from his wife, haha."

"Hey, you would run like that for me to right?"

"Yeeaaah, no."

"Wow. No love."

"I do love you. You're just not THAT important..."

"Ohhh...."

"...you know....to go running...."

"Yeeaaah."

"...for the...phooone." You know. I mean, unless you're dying or something."

"Oh really?"

"But then I would run TO you. But not to the phone."

"Gotcha."

"That's a...difference."

"I'll remember that next time you call me."

"Oh come on. That's not right. What if it's important?"

"Yeah. What if IT IS important? But how would I know? So I'll take my time and WHEN I answer it and you tell me IT IS then I would run TO you."

"Wow."

"Yeah. Wow."

"Hahaha. You're so funny."

"And you're not."

"You know what...."

I instantly stop as soon as I saw it. There was a man holding a stop sign wit his hand signaling focus to stop. I almost hit him. I didn't even see him walk in the street.

"What was that?"

"I didn't even see him walk out."

"Yeah, me neither. Well kinda."

"Kinda? Then why didn't you say anything?"

"Because I thought you saw him."

"Well, I didn't."

A group of little children walk across and at the end is an old man on a wheelchair. Why is he staring at me while he roll across?

"Why is he staring at you?"

"I don't know."

"Do you think he recognizes you?"

"No. We live like 5 hours from here."

"Yeah, but he might have seen you online."

"Yeah, maybe."

The man with the stop sign walks accross and stares at me also.

"These men out here are weird."

"I think they like you."

I don't reply. I just give her a look.

"What? You're pretty handsome for a guy."

"For a guy?"

"Yeah."

"I'm not gonna even ask."

"Good."

Some time passes and we turn into this neighborhood with another gate. I stop in front. Again there's no passcode to enter in order to open it.

"What's with all these gates?"

"..."

"Babe. Tif. Tif!"

"Hunh? What? I don't...know."

"What happened? You zoned out there for a bit."

"I just heard something. I was trying to listen to it. You didn't hear it?"

"No. What did it say?"

"Ummm. I'm not sure."

"Well, can you call your mom or sister to open this gate?"

"Yeah, yeah."

She grabs her phone and calls her sister. That was weird. She's never done that before.

"Hey sis! What's up?"

"Hey cherry, I mean, sis, we're here at another gate. With the name of the neighborhood that's on the letter, but there's not passcode to get in. Can you open this one too?"

"Why don't you just open it silly?"

She doesn't have that access yet sis.

"Oh yeah. Sorry! Here you go, sis. I got it! Come on in!"

"Sweet. Are there any more gates?"

"No haha, that's the last one. I promise. Welcome to the...well, I'll save that for the Welcome to the Neighborhood Committee, tomorrow. The house number is 6b5. Right In between 6b4 and 6b6."

We both look at each other.

"Alright, thank you sis."

"You're welcome! See you soon!"

The phone ends and we both share the same awkward look of expression. We drive and make a couple of turns and make it to the house. We parked in the driveway, which had no cars. Not even in the streets. So it was pretty weird to me. We step out of the car and walk up to the house. Tif rings the doorbell and we hear a voice from inside. Then the door opens and a woman opens the door. She looks at Tif and instantly hugs her.

"Hey sis!"

"Uhh, hey!"

"Hey, James!"

She hugs me and I stand there shocked with my arms open. Then she jumps back and smiles.

"Well, come on in you two. Everyone is in the back. We follow her to the back and there are many people standing around laughing, dancing, and socializing. As soon as we walked out they all started to clap. We stood there smiling awkwardly and waved at them. Then they stopped and went back to socializing. They all then occasionally would stop to look at us or continue to talk but give us an eye. But all were smiling at us.

"Why are there so many people here? Is someone getting married?"

"No, silly!", as she exclaims and slaps me on the arm.

"So where's mom?"

"Oh, I think she's in the kitchen. Would you like to see her?"

"Well, yeah. That's why we came."

"Of course! The kitchen is right this way."

Tif gives me a look and I shrug my shoulders. We follow her sister back into the house and walk to the kitchen. There she was. Singing and cooking.

"Hey...mom?"

She turns around and I see the brightest smile on her face.

"Hi sis!" She exclaims as she runs over and hugs tif. I've never seen her like this. She's never like this.

"Hi mom!"

"I'm so glad you made it! Hw was the drive?"

"It was nice. I took a nap on the way here."

"Oh yeah I had to pull over and nap myself. You look so pretty! I like the hair!"

"Thank you. I did it this morning."

"Oh, oh, hold on. Jen! Jen come over here and meet Tif!"

A woman who was talking to two other girls around the same age as her mom stops and looks over with a smile. Then she says like two more words to them and walks over to us.

"Hey, sis."

"Hey, sis." She gives her a hug and then looks at Tif. "Tif, I would like you to meet, Jen. She's the one who set all of this up for your arrival AND...she's the mayor of this community."

"Really? What brings you here?"

"Well you, of course. Your mother told me all about you. How you were born and raised here, but moved away when you were 17."

"Well, yes, but I don't remember much of anything before that."

"That's okay. Perhaps the memories will return to you. You are staying for the Inauguration, right?"

"The...what?"

"Oh, yes, the Inauguration for your sister. She'll be turning 17 and it will be celebrated for everyone to attend." Tif mother says.

"We do it for every girl here." Jen ads

"Sounds like a big deal. Congratulations." I said to Tif's sister

"It is." She replied.

Why did she sound like that and look at me like that? Was she just flirting with me? Nah. Couldn't have. Then an elder woman comes through a door, up to Jen and speaks in her ear.

"Well I hope you are all ready to eat, because the food will be ready in just a moment." She then walks away.

"Oh, yes!" Tif's sister exclaims.

"Yes!" Tif's mother says. "Are you hungry, sweetie?"

"Yes, I could eat." she replies

"But first, Sister Jen must share a toast."

"Sigh, Really?"

"Yes. So let's go." her sister says

Her mother and sister grab each arm and take her outside. I follow them and step out to see everyone is facing the house . I pause a bit and look over to see Tif, over at the side looking at me with a "help me" look so I walk over to her and stand there. Still, everyone is silent and staring at the door. Then shortly Jen walks out with 3 other women behind her. She stands at the end of the balcony floor and the other three stand on each side of her to where they're all four standing in aline, but the one on the right of Jen is half an inch behind her, the one on the left is 1 inch behind the one on the right and the one all the way to the right is an inch and a half behind the one on the left. I wouldn't have really noticed this if I was standing in front of them but since I was on the side I could see this. Like it was an organized and intentional formation.

"Hello everyone, and welcome. Today is a very special day. Not only will there be an inauguration for another one of our sisters, but today we have a special surprise. A sister, that was away for some time, has come back to us. Please give a warm welcome back for Tif."

Everyone claps and cheers. I look over to her and she looks nervous. Which she rarely ever gets nervous. With her mother and sister both next to her clapping as well. Then she looks over at Tif.

"We welcome you back sister." Then looks back to the crowd. "Tomorrow we begin the Inauguration, but today, please, enjoy the food and each other. Good day."

She turns around and leaves and the other three follow her one by one. Hours have passed and we just finished cleaning and showering. Well, actually we didn't really clean. The women that were all around the kitchen who cooked and set things up also cleaned everything as well. It was really interesting. Never seen that before. Usually we would have to clean up when others come over to visit. So it was nice to not have to worry about that for a change. Hours have passed and now we're in bed. At least I was...now I'm walking in some woods. There's nothing but trees, leaves, rocks, and branches. I look down and see something red. Like a red trail. I kneel down to touch it. Well thins't paint. I think It's blood. I look up and see a barn. Why is there a barn out here? Usually barns are for housing livestock, and even equipment. I don't want to, but something's telling me to go to it. Alright. I walk to the barn and the closer I get the more nervous I feel.

"whoo! Whoo!"

"What's that?" I look up and at the top of the barn I see something. "Is that an owl?"

"Whoo! Whoo!"

I open the barn door and see something hanging on a chain with a bag over it. I walk over to see what it is. I start to lift the bag up.

"Hey!"

That startled me so I turn around and see a woman standing at there door.

"What are you doing here?"

Right before I could say something I hear another voice.

"I'm sorry. I got lost in the woods and found this barn."

I look to my right and see a little girl there. How did she get here? When did she get here?

"It's okay, sis. Here. Come with me and let's get you back home, okay?" The little girl run to her.

"What is that, sis?"

"Oh, no need to worry. That's just an animal. To make clothing and other items with."

"Like a deer?"

"Something like that. No more questions, okay?"

"Okay."

They walk away and the door slowly start to close. I run over to catch it and when I pushed it back open, now all I see is the sky. I walk out and start to fall. I look back up and see a cliff and someone at the edge. I fall quickly right into some rock.

"Ahh!"

"What?! What is it?"

My heart is racing. I've never felt like this before from a nightmare. Maybe it was a vision. It felt so real.

"Ar you okay?"

"Yeah."

"Was it a nightmare?"

"Yeah I think so. But it's okay. I'm gonna go work on something."

"Are you sure?"

"Yea. I'm okay."

"Okay. I'm here if you need me."

"Alright. Thank you."

I didn't want to talk about it. I wanted to get over it. That was a horrible feeling. Maybe if I work on some music I'll get over it.

Chapter One: The Reggie

There. I look over at the clock. "Wow, it's 5:00am?" This album is gonna be beautiful. Wait, what's that noise? Probably just the wind. Haha, I bet Tiff is still asleep. That's good. I need some rest too. There's that noise again. Is there a storm? Sounding like something in the bushes. I walk over to the window and take a peek. I look out and sees a figure rustling about in the bushes closest to the fence between our and the house next door. I squints my eyes, and look around, but can barely see anything. Let me go downstairs and see through one of those. Yeah, this is closer but I can still barely see anything there. Maybe if I turn on the lights.

"Whoa! What was that?" What's that noise. Whoa! Ahhh!" The screeching noise gets louder. I yelled as I closed my eyes and covered my ears.

"Reggie!!"

What is that? Sounds like a loud whisper. Looking around I see a woman with her head poked out of the upstairs house window next door. Is she yelling out to the same bushed I heard the rustling? I look back and she turns to me.

"Oh, i'm sorry about that." the woman says to James. This is awkward. Does she know me? Wait I think I remember seeing her at the party yesterday.

"Who was that?"

"Who was what?" She replies

"There was someone out there."

"Oh, it's just my cat Reggie", she replies with a smile and her eyes closed while waving her hands to blow it off.

I look back over at the bushes. Then the woman starts to speak, but I just ignored her and went back in the house locking the door behind me. I also made sure the windows were locked and closed the curtains. I need some water. I walk in the kitchen and make me a glass. I walk back upstairs and try to sneak pass the bedroom back into the office room until I voice a sound that's like an alarm to my ears.

"Is everything alright?" Tiff asks

"Yes dear." I say with a sweet innocent voice

"No it's not. You only use that word and voice when something is not alright or you just don't want to be bothered. So which is it?"

Sigh. You suck. Well there was a noise outside so i went to go check it out right?" I said while looking towards the office

"Brave man, brave man, alright......" she adds.

"......then i turn on the light..." I continue, "and look out and it's the next door woman yelling out some name. Like towards the bushes/park/street."

Tiff is quite with the same facial expression, but has a slight smile with eyes fixated on me.

"Then what?" she asks

"Oh. uhh, she was being weird about it when i asked her who that was. She said it was her cat Reggie. But i haven't seen any kind of animal since we came out here actually. I thought it was a person. So i took another look and closed the window. I think she started talking more after that. Asking for my number or something..."

"Yeah, okay, anyways, so there's "something" or "someone" out there just wandering around?"

"Yep. Welcome to the neighborhood. And i don't think it was Spider-man. This place is too small and too friendly."

"Okay i'm going back to sleep." she says annoyed.

"Okay sweetie, goodnight." I said while I hurried and walk away.

"Wait." she adds.

"Yes sweetie pie pumpkin cake?"

There was a little silence and she rubs her head.

"Remember the Inuaguration is tomorrow, okay?"

"Yes, i remember. I have it written down. Thank you for the reminder though." I start to walk away.

"And also on Tuesday...." she continues and I come back with a fake smile. ".....we have the inspection for this place. So we have to make sure everything is clean on our part okay? That means every room clean and checked. So no locked doors"

"Okay, I'll write that down too, babe." I replied with a fake smile.

Then I begin to walk away again and was interrupted.

"And also......" she adds

"Yehhhhhssss?" I ask with a little force in my voice.

There was another silence.

"Okay now i know you just don't want to be bothered, so i'll let you get back to what you're doing."

"Thank you, babe." I replied

"Just don't be up too long. You need to rest and rejuvenate. Okay?" she says

"Okay i won't. Set an alarm for me."

"Okay you have 3 hours." she says.

"That's sweet babe, but just two is fine."

"Okay fine." she says. Then she lays back down and I walk back to the office. I sit down at my desk and open up the laptop and journal. Then I lean back and take one last look at the window.

Chapter Two: The Welcome to the Neighborhood Committee + The Inauguration

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Albert J. Clark Jr

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