by Fiona Cooke    

Tommy was always the paranoid type; he bought 1,000 dollars’ worth of security cameras and security locks, so if anyone were to show up, he’d see them. The only thing is sometimes the people that arrive aren’t there. Tommy had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when he was 8, his childhood was difficult. Kids always thought he was a freak, but it wasn’t his fault; after his mom passed his dad had a mental break down, Tommy was tough to be cautious… Maybe too cautious.


Now that Tommy was 30, going to therapy and taking medication he didn’t worry so much. It helped that he moved to a safe neighborhood, suburban houses, white picket fences, happy smiling faces, but recently things have been off. A new neighbor named Vic had moved into the house next to him; at first everything was fine. Vic would have weekly cookouts and invite the neighborhood; they would celebrate for hours before going home. Vic was extremely outgoing and would always be out at parties which Tommy had no problem with.

One night however Vic decided to have the party at his place; Tommy was fine with it till he noticed Vic and his friends were lurking around his house.

“What the hell are they doing” Tommy burst in confusion.

He then quickly went through the house locking doors and windows. He hid in the bathroom for the rest of that night. The next morning Tommy mentioned the event to his therapist, who did not believe that the event happened. His therapist tried to tell Tommy it was one of his “episodes” and that she’d be upping his doses. For the next 3 weeks he would see his neighbor sneaking around his house.


Tommy had finally had enough and decided tomorrow was the day he would confront his neighbor. He thought about what his neighbor would say after being caught. “damn you caught me.” or maybe even “My plan has been foiled!!” Tommy chuckled at that one and thought back on childhood. When he sat down in the chair across from his therapist he sighed.

“I have decided to confront Vic about stalking me” he said weakly worried of her response.

“No Tommy, this is just an episode, your neighbor is not stalking you” she sounded annoyed as if she was telling a toddler that they can’t have a snack after the 100th time they asked.

“He is watching me I know it” Tommy exclaimed.

“How can you be so sure do you have prof” she asked.

“Well no but- “she cut him off “Then he isn’t stalking you and until you have prof, I suggest not bringing it up again.” Tommy was shock, upset, and embarrassed; so, he made the decision to walk out.

When Tommy got home, he thought about what his therapist said. “Maybe she right maybe it is just my episodes”, he thought to himself “but it wouldn’t hurt to ask”; and on that note Tommy leaped off the couch and headed to is neighbor’s house.


Tommy stood at Vic’s door fidgeting with his hands and trying to bring up the courage to
knock. He stood there for five whole minutes debating on if this was a good idea. Then he knocked, and his stomach tightened. His thoughts were racing and screaming on if he should chicken out, but the door opened. Tommy stood confused when no one stepped out.

“Hello?” He stepped into the house and looked around. The house was beautifully decorated with exotic decor; Tommy could tell just by first glance that Vic traveled. “Hello” he said a little louder in hopes that his neighbor would respond, but he didn’t get one. The house smelled of blackberries and vanilla, the combination made Tommy feel hungry. Soft classical music played throughout the house, which relaxed Tommy.

“Anyone home?!” Tommy yelled.

“Yes, yes, we’re downstairs” Vic finally responded back.

Tommy walked over to the basement door, when he opened it his stomach filled back up with dread. “Maybe he’ll understand” Tommy thought to himself. Each step down made him feel more and more panicked, something was off, something was not right, Tommy could feel the blood running through his veins. When Tommy got downstairs, he looked around. He was meet with 6 men dressed in black, a large pentagram made from what looks to be blood, skulls hanging from the ceiling. Tommy’s heart dropped to his stomach and everything made sense, the creeping around his house, the people that would come over but never leave, the other neighbors that went missing. “Is this a bad time?”

Tommy mumbled out “No, not at all” Vic smiled and walked closer to Tommy, “as a matter a fact your right on time.”