Midweek Tales: An Original Story - 'Watching Someone Sleeping'

Having said last week that I’m planning on working on my writing, I ended up spending more time on a craft project than actual writing! I'll post the craft on Friday. I was still wondering what to write Monday night; thank heavens for ‘A Writer’s Book of Days’, my trusty book of writing prompts, one for every day of the year.

This is the prompt for January 30th – ‘You’re watching someone sleeping’.

Shifting slightly, purposefully making himself uncomfortable, he continued watching her. He didn’t want to fall asleep… wasn’t supposed to fall asleep, not when it was his turn to stay awake. If he’d been given a choice, he’d have chosen to remain awake first, instead of being woken from a deep sleep to sit up in the dead hours past midnight. But, he had to admit, watching her sleeping did make the staying-awake easier.

Despite the closed-in darkness of night, the lamp gave off enough light that he could see her face. Edging forward carefully – he didn’t want to wake her – he could just about make out the steady rise and fall of her chest. The shadow that her lashes cast gave the impression that they were much longer, long enough to sweep her cheeks.

A hint of a smile tugged at his mouth; he’d never known anyone with skin as pale as hers. Against the blue-white light of the lamp, she seemed almost transparent. His smile blinked out of existence as a frown puckered the skin between his eyebrows. Her smooth paleness only made the scar more livid; the scar that started from just under her right eye to snake across her nose before disappearing below her left ear. He still remembered her anguished howl when the blade had sliced her.

Her lips were parted slightly, testament to how deeply she slept. He always marvelled that she could sleep so soundly out in the open. Her lips weren’t the sort that made him instantly think of kissing. But there was something mesmerising about them; he fought the urge to place his hand over her mouth, to feel her warm breath…

Just as he wondered if she was warm enough where she was, curled up on the ground, he felt a hand on his shoulder; he started. A soft chuckle sounded by his ear.

“Sleeping with your eyes open again, Riley? We move out in twenty. Get the hound up.”

Curbing the urge to roll his eyes, he replied, “Yes, sir.” Reaching over to the lamp, he turned it up to the sound of his comrades coming awake. A choppy wave of brightening light edged towards him as other lamps were activated. Taking hold of the chain that was attached to the peg in the ground, he gave it a shake and slight tug. “Come on. Get up.”

Instantly, she opened her eyes and looked at him, as if nothing else existed in her world. As she sat up, her movements slow, deliberate, she twisted her delicate neck against the collar. Not once did her gaze leave him.

It never failed to unnerve him, the way she stared at him with her gleaming, yellow eyes; the way she never said a word. Sometimes he wished someone else would take over but he was her handler. And he did care about her… the way someone cared about a well-trained dog. Lately, he found himself wondering about that look of hers that seemed to be only for him. Was it because she was happy he was her handler? Or was she waiting for the chance to rip his throat out, as her breed of human had been trained to do…