‘What I have done this time?’
I switch the light on to the kitchen and shut the window to stop the nippy air from poking me through more guilt. Worthlessness presses down on my shoulders, sucking at any warmth rising off me. A small comfort comes from the homely scent of roast.
‘This can’t keep happening. I need to control this.’
The kitchen around me is spotless. The granite bench shines with the increasing light in the room. The stove top is a slick black mat, its tidiness outshining that of a display room. The sleek fridge hums the only noise in the house. I can’t find anything out of place.
‘My wrist hurts.’
I look down at myself. A deep purple is pressing up against the skin on my arm. Its hot throbbing expands angrily, demanding attention. The front of my shirt catches my gaze. A tear in the fabric rips my shirt almost in half. The collar is the only strength holding the shirt on me. Cold air wraps around me, unchallenged by my attire.
‘Was that a muffled cry? Can’t be. I’m home alone just being my usual crazy self. I did all this by myself.’
A soft plead sounds out again from the other room. I freeze, hoping with all my strength that the sound is in my head. The pleading continues from the bedroom. My feet automatically lead me toward it. My ability to protest is absorbed by the shock that releases my body from reality. I’m lead into my bedroom, the sound louder and louder with each step. I switch the light on.
‘I’m truly crazy now. There’s nothing here.’
A thud pounds against the wardrobe door. I jolt back in fright. My heart rockets. I can see the door moving in small shivers that match the whimpering on the other side. Clarity in the situation is as lost as the time. I hold a shaking hand out to the wardrobe door. My body leans away as I snap the door open and jump further away from it.
‘What are you doing in here?’
I force the image of my cat locked in the wardrobe to the front of my mind. I wait hoping for her to bounce out gleefully, basking in the freedom after casually falling asleep on my clean clothes. The cat doesn’t jump out. I lock my eyes down to the mess in the bottom of the wardrobe.
‘Who are you?’
A man with a bloodied head and tied hands is stuck awkwardly at the bottom of my wardrobe. His back presses against my pile of a shoe collection. His mouth is taped shut. A deep red leeches out from his shirt. The spreading blood seeps deeply into his shirt from a deep indentation. The fabric eases deeper into his wound with each panicked breath.
I sprint to the kitchen and yank the oven door open. A spicy aroma bursts out of the oven. The air clears to reveal a tray of golden potatoes and a chunk of roasted flesh.
‘Damnit. I’ve done it again.’