Hi there! This is a little piece this afternoon. I might continue the story in another post some other time – let me know if you’re interested – or I’m happy to leave the unanswered questions up to your own imagination. Enjoy!
It’s been a long time. A long time since I stood here on the cracked, concrete steps, a long time since I saw the discoloured, peeling paint of the front door, a long time since, key in hand, I entered this place. I swallow hard, trying to still my shaking hands. Stalling for time, I examine the thin weeds that sprout wildly from the cracks in the steps, twisted and bent by the wind and the rain. Their small leaves stretch out for the limited available sunlight. There are no more excuses. Taking a deep breath, I fumble the old key into the familiar lock, a smile touching the corner of my mouth as it sticks in the same place it also used to. A wiggle, just like that, and the mechanism slips into place.
The door opens with a shuddering, groaning creak that falls into a deadening silence in the hallway dust. I flick the light switch, but it seems the power has been cut off. Cobwebs hang from the ceiling, and I shudder at the thought of spiders that might lurk here, brown hairy legs inching their way out from under the fridge, eyes glaring –
I squash the thought, picking my way carefully over the detritus of a life I used to know. How quickly we had left here, when it happened – but no, I mustn’t think of that. I promised him I wouldn’t think about that, and I always keep my promises. I cross to the living room. A board game is abandoned on the table, half way through playing. A bowl of crisps is covered with a thick layer of mossy green mould. There are fewer windows in here, so I take out my flashlight, scanning over the upturned piano stool, the scattered dice, the book left, spine upwards, marking a place that was never returned to.
And never will be returned to, the voice in the back of my mind reminds me, and I shiver again.
I shouldn’t have come here. I turn to go, sweeping my flashlight across the room one last time, when a quiet, insistent beeping starts in my pocket. I swear softly.
They’ve found me.