We’ve gone to The Mills for the weekend. There’s chicken pie in the oven. See you Sunday xxx
She removed the note from the door and folded it, before putting it into one of the exercise books under her arm. It was from her parents; they would always leave notes for her with a small corner poking out of the letterbox, just to make sure she didn’t miss them.
Whenever she read one of their notes, she thought about how much easier a mobile phone would make their life and hers.
She resented the concept of homework, but she knew that she was more likely to pass school if she put in more hours.
The television was turned off and the music was at a minimal volume. The front-room’s primary light was off; the corner-lamp illuminated her surroundings.
Her solace was shattered by a piercing double-thud from the front door.
She wasn’t told to expect anybody.
She put down her pen and stood. As she peered around the living-room door, her cautious side told her that the chain’s on and to leave it and they’ll go away.
At twenty-five minutes to midnight, there wasn’t a lot that could convince her to open it.
She sat down on her sofa with her legs pulled to her chest and wondered who’d want to bother her on a Friday night.
The corner of her eye convinced her that someone peered at her from behind the curtain. Her head shot to its direction and she could see nothing unusual.
Seeking confirmation that her imagination was getting the better of her, she approached the curtains. She pulled them back to nothing but the front window, and the taxidermied hawk perched on the stone sill.
She re-closed the curtains and sat on the sofa; she felt that continuing with her homework would be the best thing to occupy her mind.
Something stood from behind her and loomed over her as she wrote.
She thought she felt a brush against the top of her head; she rose and looked behind the sofa.
She found nothing, but the absence didn’t alleviate her unease. Perhaps, she thought, tea would help.
As the kettle boiled, she texted her boyfriend.
Hope you’re having a nice time. I keep hearing some strange noises around the house, reckon you can stop by for a bit on your way home? X
Mum and Dad were tidy, and they had left the house in spotless condition. She wiped the sideboards, straightened the spice rack, moved the fruit bowl from the sideboard to the table, and wiped the sideboards again; she felt like she needed to keep her mind occupied, even if that meant cleaning to a higher standard than is necessary.
Something walked to and stood in the doorframe and stared at her.
She filled her mug with water from the kettle and picked it up; she thought she could feel a presence behind her. She turned around.
As something raised its left hand and curled its fingers into an almost-wave, she dropped the kettle and mug. The mug smashed and covered the floor in the first stage of tea.
She looked back up to see nothing in front of her. As fast as she could, she bolted for her bedroom. As soon as she reached it, she slammed the door behind her and dived under her duvet.
Terror commandeered her body; inescapable distress inhabited her mind.
Her bedroom door exploded with the same double-thud that invited her outside.
The door creaked open and he crept in.
There wasn’t a piece of his skin that showed. At the end of his brown long sleeves were black-and-white striped cuffs; at the end of them were a pair of white gloves covered with red stains. He was dressed in calico dungarees, the thighs of which were also covered with red stains. His boots were the most menacing piece of attire and it looked like his choice of footwear was made with function in mind.
His collar matched the stripes of his cuffs and his hair was such a vibrant red that it was as if he was engulfed by a mane of embers.
White paint covered his face and neck. Black paint covered the area around his eyes.
Red around his mouth.
He inched towards her bed and slithered on top of her.
She pulled back the duvet and stared into his black eyes.
She knew him.