The door opened across the street and She stepped outside. Charlie picked up his binoculars and watched her turn and lock the door. He looked at his clock, the numbers glowing softly in the dark room, 7:56. Setting down the binoculars, he opened his journal and picked up his pen. He checked the clock again and wrote down the time. Let's see, today is Friday the 14th, and sunset is at... he checked the almanac next to him, 5:14. If she keeps up her usual habits she'll be home around... he paused, doing a quick estimation in his head, 4:00. He picked up his clock and began to set the alarm.

Now I just have to...

"Charlie?" the overhead light flicked on. He blinked and turned to face his sister, Denise. She was dressed in her work uniform and holding her backpack in one hand. "What are you doing?" she asked. Her tone was light, but concerned.

He laid the almanac face down over the binoculars. "Nothing." he said.

She looked past him at the journal lying open on the desk. "Are you keeping a diary?"

"No." he replied, wishing she would hurry up and leave. "It's a journal! Anyway, I was just checking the almanac."


"The moon's full tonight. I wanted to see it."

"Oh. Well, good." She checked her watch. "Did you take your medication?"

"Yes." he said peevishly. Would you just go already? he thought. I'm going to miss Her.

"Good. Did you call the agency? Do they have any work?"

"They said it's slow."

"All right, call them tomorrow." She checked her watch again. "Damn, I gotta go. Cam's going to complain." she shouldered her pack, stepped forward and kissed him on the cheek. "Love you, see you tonight."

"See you." he replied, as she ran out of his room.

He waited until the front door closed before picking up his binoculars again. She was gone, of course. He sighed, Denise always wanted to talk at the worst times! He leaned forward to look down the street, hoping to catch a glimpse of Her. Nothing. He looked back across the street again, a light came on in the main house. Mr. Gil must be home. Denise always liked to talk to him, even when she wasn't giving him the rent. A few seconds later he saw the blue light of a TV come on. Setting the binoculars down with a sigh, he picked up his clock and set the alarm for 3:50. That was a good time to watch. He could catch her walking home then.

He picked up his journal and flipped through the pages, re-reading the columns of numbers. It had to be, he reflected. No regular job would have such strange hours. Even Denise, who worked at the bar, was usually home by five at the latest, and even that was only on holidays. There's no other explanation. I know what she is. I just have to convince her to make me like her.