More Than She Bargained For

Mark Starlin


Wally was infatuated with Rachel from the moment he saw her. But he was too timid to let her know. So Wally quietly watched her live her life.

He liked how she packed her lunch every day instead of eating out. Wally enjoyed watching her put her hair up in a bun in just a few seconds. He thrilled at the sound of her laugh and the sight of her smile. He could listen to her talk on the phone for hours. If only she would talk to him.

The weeks passed, and Wally learned Rachel’s daily routine. He felt closer and closer to her, although she barely knew he existed. Wally understood his job and knew he should remain professional around Rachel. But he couldn’t help it. He was falling in love.

So one day, Wally spoke up.

“Hi, Rachel. We need to talk.”

Rachel jumped off the couch and screamed. “Who’s there? Where are you?” She grabbed her phone and started to call 911.

“There is no need for that. I am in contact with the police at all times. It’s my job.”

Rachel spun around and ran to the bedroom. She opened the closet, then looked under the bed. Then Rachel ran to the kitchen and opened the pantry. She looks under the couch.

“Is this some kind of joke? It’s not funny!” Rachel shouted.

Wally sighed. “You didn’t read the manual, did you?”

“What manual?”

“The manual that I came with,” Wally replied. “It is my job to watch your apartment and report any suspicious activity. Like that jerk you brought home last week. If he hadn’t left when you told him to, I would have alerted the authorities.”

“I don’t understand. Where are you?”

“I’m your new wallpaper.”

“What? Wallpaper can’t talk.” Rachel stated.

“We can. Why do you think our company name is Sentient Wallpaper?”

Rachel thought about the last few weeks. Had he seen everything she had done? She quickly stuck her fingernail under the bottom edge of a sheet of wallpaper and pried it up. Then she ripped it off the wall, threw it on the floor, and stomped on it. She didn’t stop until the walls were bare.