Saturday 16 June 2018

'Going Batty' by Miranda Kate

Rachel took a deep breath and closed her eyes trying to settle her mind. It was her first time meditating up in the loft and she was struggling to get focused. Normally the discomfort sitting cross-legged passed, but tonight it was proving difficult because each time she found a point in her mind she heard a fluttering in the room.

Maybe it was a bird on the roof outside, or even nesting in the eves – it was spring after all. But it’s dark outside, a little voice in the back of her mind whispered, are you sure?Rachel opened her eyes, and re-crossed her legs the other way. Don’t be silly, it’s nothing.  

But just as she was about to close her eyes for a second time, it came again. It wasn’t outside. She looked around. The loft conversion hadn’t been that long ago, barely a year, so there weren’t any old dusty, nooks or crannies for anything to hide in.

She remembered the night Robert had finished it, how they’d celebrated, just months before his disappearance. She recalled the night he disappeared too; how she’d thought he’d gone up into the loft to fetch something, but when she’d gone to check a few hours later there’d been no sign of him. She had no idea where he’d gone or why. Months of searching had brought nothing.

Tears pricked in Rachel’s eyes. She got up. She didn’t want to think about that, it was too painful. She walked the length of the room. Had something come in under the eves and got trapped in one of the side cupboards? When she heard it again it was behind her and not inside any cupboards.

The line of four spotlights in the ceiling weren’t very bright. They didn’t reach every corner; there were shadows. She spotted something, could it be a moth? But the next time the fluttering came there was a tiny squeak with it.

Oh no, not Bats, please no, she thought to herself. They’re endangered, I’ll never be able to get rid of them!

She walked over to the corner and looked up. She could make out something where the walls met, but it wasn’t clear in the dim light. She reached up to see if she could disturb it. The fluttering and squeaking came again and something dashed out.

Rachel screamed as it bit her hand. Then the room seem to shrink away from her as the ceiling came closer. Two claws extended where her feet used to be and grappled at the wall, barely holding on. She looked down at the room. A fluttering next to her made her turn to look. Robert’s eyes stared back.  


2024 Wigleaf Longlisting

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