The dormant moon snoozed above the city of London, slowly inching across the steel blue sky, edging closer and closer to the morning sun rise. Past double-glazed windows and countless curtains laid many a silent bedroom where soulless bodies perched softly in the sound assurances of slumber. Though within one household, through the curtains of one bedroom, curtains with patterns of old blue sailing ships against a white felt backdrop, lay a storm beneath a soft, ruffled bundle of blankets. The bed is double, though inhabited by a single person- Michael. Sweating and groaning in his sleep, something was amiss with his whole aura, his sleeping was off and his dreams taunted him in a sort of bullying way, dangling the prospect of sound sleep before his mind then snatching it away from him to drown his mind in images of struggle and confusion.
Suddenly the dreams became too terrible and Michael awoke, panting, sweat-drenched and dazed by the slap of waking up before one’s time. Regaining his composure, Michael sighed and stretched before looking at the clock next to the bed and atop the small chest of drawers, “four-twenty-one; fucking great”. He lay back down and carefully positioned his head on his disturbed pillow, in the hope of falling into a sweeter sleep than he had just been in. However, as he started getting comfortable once more, a distant noise crept into the room and raced into his ears, causing panic to shiver down from his neck to his moist fingertips, someone was quietly looking through his kitchen drawers and cupboards downstairs. “Shit! Someone’s in the house” he muttered softly to himself before throwing the blankets off of his half-naked body and silently creeping off of the soft, warm sheets onto the cold, hard wooden floorboards.
The sound subsided and Michael thought it may just be a slight spill from the dreams he had just had, and so walked to the bathroom directly opposite his bedroom to wash his face and clear his mind, to force away the paranoia with the cold sting of the water. The light stabbed his eyes with a temporary sting which denied his eyelids the possibility of opening. Once the pain had passed Michael, opening his eyes to a bathroom which was his, though seemed completely alien to him- as if he had just emerged into a time before the house he called home was his to call home.
On the sink before him, Michael saw small, circular, plain white pills full nearly to the top of the un-capped bottle they were in. The pills worried Michael: had he been drugged? Were the noises he had heard real and being made by someone who had drugged him? Michael clasped his right hand around the stretch of his hanging mouth when his eyes turned to the razor casually lying on the side of the bath to his right. Michael darted for the light on the outside of the room and flipped it off, sucking the room behind him and the hallway before him into a huge black hole of darkness. The memory of the razor branded the front of his thoughts, why was it there? Who had put it there? Just as he had been pondering upon these questions there was another sound downstairs, the opening of a drawer, the cutlery drawer, and the taking of something, a knife? Michael crept to his room and, on edge, put slippers and a vest on, “I’ll have to go down there” he thought as he snuck up to the door of his bedroom.
Reaching the top of the stairs, Michael noticed a flickering light coming from the direction of the kitchen, to the right of the bottom of the stairs, meaning the light would hit him as soon as he got off the last step on his way to the kitchen. Looking around him he noticed an umbrella laying at the top of the stairs and deemed it an adequate weapon to protect him from whatever, or whoever, was in the kitchen. Armed, Michael descended the cool mahogany stairs, making sure to push his feet right against the sides of the stairs so no creaking in the old wood could rob him of his inconspicuousness and disarm him of the element of surprise over his intruder.
Once at the bottom step, Michael perched his trembling back against the smooth wallpaper, making certain no part of him was outstanding from the wall he was backed up against. With the front door to the house on his left, Michael noticed a pair of boots he didn’t recognise by the door and instantly his mind was flooded with flashbacks of every horror movie he had ever seen, wondering to himself “whose boots could they be? A psychopathic farmer’s wife? An escaped mental convict hell-bent on murder?”. Michael’s mind was embraced by panic, he felt as though he was drowning as the terror completely submerged any and all rational thought beneath a sea of paralysing fear.
Michael forgot about the boots and tried to sneak a look around the corner of the wall he was up against; as he did so he saw the back end of the faintest shadow of a person walking from the half-illuminated kitchen to the flashing living room. “This is it” he thought, as now the person who had intruded on his life was in the living room where he could easily get a look at them and flee if he should need to. With that thought he lifted off the final step, almost bouncing onto the hard marble floor after the creak of the last step echoed through the kitchen and, surely, into the living room. Michael stood still, certain the creak had been heard by the intruder, holding the umbrella in both his hands and up next to his face, ready to swing in case he needed to defend himself.
Thirty seconds past, a minute, a minute and a half, two minutes- nothing. “They must not’ve heard” Michael thought to himself as he lowered the umbrella back to his side; he kept on, slowly and silently slipping through the hallway toward the kitchen.
A small, hollow ball bounced in the living room and rolled toward the cupboards next to him in the kitchen where he now stood, “Fuck! They’re messing with me now, this is messed up!” he said to himself as he quickly glanced to his rear into the pitch blackness to check he wasn’t being flanked or hunted from behind. Slowly manoeuvring into a crouch, Michael’s eyes realised their surroundings and adapted to the impenetrable darkness to show an upright figure before him on the other side of the hallway. Michael’s mouth emptied of all but dryness as every hair on the back of his neck and his forearms stood straight up as if they were going to race out of him and pierce the outer world around him.
The hairs fell back to sleep and moisture returned to Michael’s mouth once he realised the figure was his own long, office coat hanging up exactly where he had left it just a few hours ago. Relieved, Michael swivelled back around toward the kitchen and regained an upright posture, an attempt to hide his fear and assert some authority upon the intruder and the situation he had delved into somewhat too fast for his own liking. His step was still feather light and womanly soft, though he moved gingerly, like a young child because of the sudden rush of adrenaline that was now coursing through his winter-cold blood like a train surging through an endless tunnel of fear.
Michael reached the opening from the kitchen to the living room and stared at the back of the top of the couch which sat before him in front of the flickering television. He looked and saw the curly brown locks of his wife’s hair, entangled ever-so elegantly in an endless dance of beauty around the glowing globe of her beautiful head which was bowed in, what seemed like, prayer. Michael smiled as he caught the slightest glimpse of her lovingly smooth lips, clapping together ever so gently like the hands of a God, quietly appreciating the sight before it. Michael’s daughter lay emerged in a dream-like state within her mother’s hands, smiling as her father crept into the view of her watery, brown eyes which played the role of the elephant in the room. Her mother looked around at Michael and he caught sight of her ocean-blue eyes which spotlighted him like some glowing sapphire, “oh, Mike, I thought I heard you” she whispered, “could you just pass me the milk bottle behind you, it should be cool enough now, sorry if I woke you up”. Michael slowly put the umbrella by his feet on the floor and turned toward the kitchen counter to pick up his daughter’s bottle of milk.