The Watch Woman

November 25, 2008
By Eve Sampson, Gainesville, FL

A very long time ago, there lived a poor, ragged-looking woman who stood feebly on the corner of 34th and Main Street. Her dirty clothes were worn to shreds, and her mousy brown hair fell knotted and unkempt around her face. In her tired and rough face, traces of loveliness and beauty were still visible amongst her sun-made wrinkles and dirt coated cheeks. Once a proud and splendid woman, her family had fallen into a deep sea of debts that turned her world literally upside down and, in a tragic turn of events, she was left to care for her baby brother, who she called her own. Her strong and weathered arms, which dutifully held up the child, were an unnatural shade of brown, which was the result of her seemingly everlasting sun exposure.

She and her newborn appeared to be doomed to an early death, but one thing sustained her. You see, her family left her nothing but memories and a collection of watches made of the purest gold, and encrusted with the finest rubies, which sparkled and gleamed like stars. This being her only means to earn some money for her baby and her, she peddled them each day on her corner, asking but a meager and measly price for them. Most citizens took absolutely no notice of her, while other acknowledged her presence with nothing more than a curt nod or a look of annoyance, perhaps muttering under their breath, “Darn beggars, good for nothin’ more than takin’ up space on our sidewalks!” She barely made enough to keep her small “family” alive. And, as time passed, she became infamously know as “The Watch Woman” by members of the community.

Grown men took pleasure in calling her degrading and rude names, and women stuck their noses in the air at the very sight of her, ushering their children to the opposite side of the street. But teenaged boys were the worst. They tried to steal her precious watches, and attempted to cause her suffering however they could. She tried in vain to shoo them away but had no success whatsoever.

One night, however, she was disturbed by a particularly rowdy and rough gang of boys. They grabbed her baby and ran with the scared newborn crying in their arms. She chased after them, running as fast as her tired legs could carry her. Panting and out of breath, with the boys still just a little ahead, she ran to the nearest house and banged on the door, hysterically begging and pleading for the owners to let her in to call the police. She stood, tears running like little rivers down her sweaty face, for a while until the door was finally opened by a man who, cursing and swearing, slammed the door right back in her face. She, by some miracle, beat the door down, and dashed to the man’s telephone, and as she dialed the numbers, the owner of the house burst out of his bedroom door, shotgun cocked and ready. And, with nothing more than a brief, raging muttering about “trespassing criminals,” he glared at her scared eyes, and pulled the trigger.

With nothing more than a gasp, she fell to the floor, bleeding out of her heaving chest.

It has been many years since that incident, and nothing has ever been heard about her baby. Some say it was found by a family who took care of it, but some think that the boys, out of ignorance and fear for getting caught, killed the it. The man who murdered the woman has long since gone, but the house has never hosted a family for too long since, for in it, many of the natives say, lives the grey ghost of “The Watch Woman.” You see, every owner since has died a very “mysterious” death soon after moving in. In every autopsy, chain-like marks have been found around the victim’s neck, and every cause of death has been listed as suicide by strangling with a chain. But those who have lived around the area long enough aren’t convinced, they say the “Watch Women” will never rest until her she and her baby are reunited and anyone associated with her killer is avenged.

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