I pull my duvet cover up to my neck, and close my eyes. Feeling my delicate eyelashes tickle my skin, my nose twitches, before I allow my entire body to succumb to darkness.
Footsteps. Echoing. Hauntingly mirroring the beating of my heart. Downstairs. Yes, that’s where they are originating from. Downstairs in the kitchen. The hammering of bulky trainers on the freezing cold concrete tiles, leaving behind dirty, encompassing footprints imprinted on the glossy surface. Silence. The opening of a cupboard. The soft clinking of glasses kissing each other at the rim, and then the running of the tap. A jet of water, followed by the trickling of stray liquidised particles upon the floor. Rushed gulping. Sharp breaths. The placing of a glass upon the scratched, grey-toned granite worktop. Footsteps. Again. Out of the kitchen. Into the lounge. A zip scratching against the sofa. The irritating tear of embroidered threads. A churlish curse muttered from the mouth. Over to the window. Curtains screeching against the rail. The squeak of a thumbprint forming on the window, then the rub of a sleeve as it dissolves into a smudge. Eyes rest upon the handle, followed by the muted turn of a key in the hole. The push of the button, and the solid ninety degree crank of the handle. Creeping away from the frame, the rush of fresh air as the window is opened. Breathing in the petrol fumes and late-night crying. The whistle of wind and sunlight dying…
More footsteps? This time closer. Straight outside my room. The familiar patter of my Father’s worn out slippers. My heart races. Who is in the kitchen? He pauses at the top of the stairs. Waits. He hears nothing. Hand repositioning itself upon the banister. Stairs groaning under foot. Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen. He’s reached the bottom. The flick of the light switch. The yellowish glare from the bulb. Into the kitchen. Another light turned on. A ‘Hmmm’ at the glass upturned by the sink, saliva clinging to the iridescent edge. Footsteps reach the fridge. The door swings open, as a milk carton is withdrawn. The unscrewing of the lid, and the gentle pour of the bottle, a consistent glug, straight into the mouth. Tired hands tighten the lid, before the bottle is placed back in the fridge. The door closes. A noise. He turns robotically. What’s that behind the door? A pixelated shadow. A pair of eyes. Something silver, glinting in… a hand? The shadow tilts, and a figure is revealed. A man. My father turns to run, but his feet are glued to the spot. The stranger darts towards him. And the possession he is carrying is identified. A knife. Terror is smothered all over my Father’s face. The man pounces towards him. One quick slice through the throat. My Father drops to the floor. Dead.
Then I wake up. I pull on my dressing gown, and rush downstairs into the kitchen. And there he is. My Father. Just as I pictured. Dead.