The Whatcher

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young girl fantasises about love, and a boy begins visiting her in her dreams. Soon, real life and fantasy become blurred.

Submitted: June 28, 2016

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Submitted: June 28, 2016

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He called himself the Whacher because he said he watched everything. His soft voice would caress my earlobes, in my dreams I felt the gentle warm puff of his breath against my skin. When he’d say “watcher”, the unusual lilt of his voice prevented me from ever hearing the “t”. So I called him the Whacher, and let him watch over me.

*

We moved into the Yellow House a few weeks before my fourteenth birthday. It was very hot that summer and the air around me constantly shimmered. I was mesmerised by the boys on the block, stealing glances from my bedroom window as they circled the dusky streets on pushbikes, sweaty hands grasping handlebars and the others waving around peeling stubbies. They were loud and uncouth, cackling with guttural laughter as they shouted profanities at each other. My father detested them; often engaging in heated arguments with the boys if they were still loitering around when he would arrive home.

As a naïve adolescent, this loud bickering in the street only fuelled the belief that these boys were outwardly rebels, but with hearts of gold imbedded within these hard exteriors. I envisioned them one day seeing the womanly curve of my silhouette in the window and calling out to me. I would throw my window open eagerly and listen as they enticed me down – words heavy with beauty and magic, drooling seductively from their lips. Romanced by fairy tales and love stories such as Rapunzel and Romeo and Juliet, this fantasy would dance throughout my consciousness adamantly. I daydreamed with my mouth open and my little sister would stick her finger in it and make a sucking sound, like a plug.

I met the Whacher in my dreams on the night of my fourteenth birthday. Nursing a warm belly filled with cake, I fell asleep with chocolate staining my lips and a boy appeared and grazed his soft fingers across my mouth. My room had been pitch black when I’d closed my eyes but in this bizarre dream filter it was illuminated with white moonlight, the boy standing in the centre of it and peering at me through piercing blue eyes.

Tiny flowers adorned the walls, adorned my hair; there were candles scattered in every corner. I looked around, bewildered, and the boy lifted me effortlessly out of bed, pulling me to my feet and stroking his hand across the long, elegant gown that now swathed my body.

“You look beautiful,” he said seriously, staring deeply into my eyes. I giggled bashfully, looking away. He was gorgeous, tousled yellow hair flopping over his face and hard muscles rippling in his arms as he held me. All of his features were incandescent; lit from within. He tilted his face towards mine and our lips touched, his tongue delicately licking away the remaining chocolate. I froze as a strange feeling overcame me; it was warm and heavy, like a thick fur blanket being tossed over me, and amidst the warmth was a feeling of utter contentment. I felt love, so strong that I pulled away from the boy and just gawked up at him open-mouthed. It was as though all of a sudden I had no worries in the world; I was entirely peaceful in the arms of someone who was in love with me. We glided across the dripping candlewax, him leading me in a dance. I was sure that I didn’t know how to dance, yet all of a sudden, I did.

“Who are you?”

He told me he was the Whacher, that he whached God and humans and moor wind and open night. He whached eyes, stars, inside, outside, actual weather. I was spellbound, floating above pools of moonlight with a velvet voice in my ear. He whispered all of the beautiful, magical secrets I’d gathered in my fantasies, the ones I’d imagined the boys in the street saying to me.

“Why are you here?”

He told me he was going to look after me, take care of me, love me. That I had nothing to worry about anymore. I was his now. He spun me around and around, my dark hair flying out behind me in an inky blur. As forks of colour slowly poked their fingers into the dawn sky, the Whacher and I dissolved into one another.

When I awoke, the chocolate on my face was gone. I felt giddy with the intensity of the dream, and the feelings it had evoked within me.

The Whacher began infiltrating my dreams every couple of nights. He always looked the same, dressed in an old fashioned suit, always without the suit jacket but always wearing a cornflower coloured waistcoat. We would dance languidly, sometimes there would be music playing, sometimes only the still silence of night. He would hold me close as though he needed the warmth of my body to survive, and I would always feel gusts of warmth and joy slide under my skin and curl around my bones.

“You are the only girl for me. I want to keep you forever. Stay with me.”

His embrace, the flowing gowns, the whispered language of love in my ears. I would drift throughout the days with a dopey smile permeating my face, praying I’d see the Whacher that night. I would put myself to bed early, eating chocolate under the sheets and leaving some on my lips, anything to summon him into my night-time consciousness.

Until one day.

My parents threw a party for no reason. They invited all of their friends, including a family I had known my whole life. There was a boy in the family called George, he was sixteen. We had somewhat grown up together, but lately every time we had seen each other he had appeared particular interested in me. It hadn’t occurred to me that puberty had probably made him see me differently, I just enjoyed the attention. He invited himself up to my room, and we sat awkwardly on my bed and I allowed him to flop his slippery tongue in and out of my mouth like a dying fish. I was focusing mainly on the rambunctious laughter and distant roar of animated conversation downstairs, until I heard something else.

My room was situated on the second floor at the end of a long hallway. My parents and sister’s bedrooms were downstairs so I had the floor all to myself, and even had my own little bathroom directly across from my bedroom door. As the party picked up downstairs, and George’s loose, wet lips slapped against mine, I heard the sound of a man crying coming from my bathroom.

The stairs to the second floor had been barricaded off for the party. I thought the crying may have been my dad, so I told George that I would be back in a minute.

As I approached the unlocked bathroom door, the crying abruptly stopped. Having been able to hear it clearly in the hallway had made me realise that it didn’t sound anything like my dad. I knocked a few times and asked whoever it was if they were okay. After about a minute of silence I tentatively opened the door only to find the room empty, window still locked, everything else intact. I stood in the middle of the floor, puzzled, and then heard a man’s voice in my ear say, “How could you”.

I spun around with a fright, but there was no one behind me. The door was closed and locked, two things I knew for certain that I hadn’t done upon entering the bathroom. I had felt the warm puff of breath on my neck, heard the words vibrate in my eardrum. Instantly recognised the ice cold intensity of the voice, and who it belonged to. Instead of thinking too hard about it, I unlocked the door and threw it open, dashing into my room.

George insisted that he had heard the crying too. I begged my parents to let me sleep in their bed that night, but they were sloppily ignorant from a lazy evening of cheap white wine and canapes. They drunkenly attempted to explain recurring dreams to me, and the recurring characters often within these dreams. They told me I was too old to still be sleeping in their bed. They laughed and danced clumsily around the kitchen like performing monkeys, and I retreated to my bedroom.

As we danced in my dream that night, the Whacher held me so tightly against his body that I felt like my bones would break. The voice that would drip nothing but sweetness into my ears had suddenly become cold and hard, and it scared me. He told me that to be a Whacher is not a choice, and that there is nowhere for me to get away from it. He told me that I was his and no one else’s, but that I had betrayed him and was a slut. He whispered the word slut in my ear over and over again, as the night trickled painfully into day and he finally released me from his agonizing embrace. I woke up to my own voice repeating the words, “I don’t want to be yours anymore.”

For the next few nights I couldn’t sleep at all, even though I tried. I knew he wasn’t letting me. When camomile tea and sleeping pills didn’t work, I insisted my parents let me swap rooms with my younger sister. She was thrilled and immediately began packing up her things the minute I suggested it. She moved in that night and I never slept in that room again. I slept soundly in my new downstairs bedroom and the Whacher never visited my dreams again.

For a few years my sister never said anything about strange dreams or yellow-haired boys in waistcoats. Until one day, when she was about fourteen, I asked her why she was going to her first school dance alone.

She looked at me worriedly and simply said, “The Whacher won’t let me.”


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