I’ve been a little reluctant sharing some of my formulating ideas here, partly because I was worried they would be stolen or WP could claim them as their own IP. I recently learned I retain ownership of my content according to WP’s T&Cs, so I won’t worry about that. I’m also making an adaption of a public domain tale, so it’s already “stolen.” I planned on sharing the excerpts I’ve written, but maybe another time.
Anyway, it’s based on “The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs,” “The Babysitter and the Stranger,” “The Babysitter and the Strange Phone Call,” “The Babysitter and the Clown Doll,” etc. You get the idea, there are several iterations of this story. Halloween is an adaption of it, so is When a Stranger Calls, and so are many other pop culture staples. Our heroine is older than the archetype in a lot of versions of her (occasionally him), probably between nineteen to twenty-three years old. Currently, her name is Atula, which is Sanskrit for “limitless,” but I may change it if others don’t feel it’s feminine enough (I believe it could be a feminization of Atul; I do want it to be a feminine name but not overtly, and a strong name). She is watching the Trusky children (for some reason I feel a Baltic/Slavic name suits this family, and my preference is the “-sky/-ski” suffix found especially in Polish names). They are Lorraine, 13, Zinnia, 10, Derek, 8, and Ava, 2.5. Their parents are Michelle, a nurse (unsure if she should require a specialization in the story), and Kevin, an audio engineer for recording artists and venues. They have been picking up overtime shifts and Atula has been working for them for a few months, maybe more. Half their children are preteens or teens, but because they both have had to work overnight a lot both these older children and the parents feel more comfortable having Atula watch them for these periods.
You may have guessed Atula is Indian-American, and she speaks Hindi proficiently, but doesn’t speak Hindi dialects. She first receives a call on the family’s landline, from a man with an accent who laughs maniacally and his intentions are ambiguous. She suspects he may be Indian and possibly a telescammer, so she warns him she also speaks Hindi and will understand him if he gossips about her to his suite-mates. She blocks the number on the landline, but then receives a call again on the landline from a different number but the same voice. She then blocks that number. The caller then eventually calls on her cell phone, then on the eldest daughter’s cell phone, then on one of the parents’ cell phones, then pages on the mother’s beeper (medical staff still use them), then intercepts the father’s walkie-talkie radio, then intercepts the radio signals in the youngest’s baby monitor, then the doorbell security camera. He learns about Atula and the family through his infiltration. Atula turns on a VPN to throw him off, but he still knows.
This will probably end the way a lot of “Babysitter” stories end, calling the police and arresting the guy. But they’ll probably call a few departments because Atula is probably from a different city than her clients, and the caller is likely from abroad. Even though Atula suspects the caller is from and based in India, I’d like to subvert expectations and for him to be based somewhere pretty far off (so not in the subcontinent either; not Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, etc.) It will build on an existing theme I have of Atula feeling disconnected from her roots. The story will be based in a semi-rural suburb of Boston, I’m thinking somewhere in Plymouth County like Hingham, Hanover, Norwell, etc. I’ll probably do a little more research about landlines, mobile phones, pagers, fax machines, communication radios, etc. and maybe read other versions of the “Babysitter” myth, but let me know what you think.