It’s that time of year. The Northern Hemisphere dwindles into darkness, and its nights draw in. Children everywhere plan costumes and dream of treats. And the adults? The adults scare themselves witless.
In my fridge I keep my food and eye drops.
My nephew Andy visits, regularly.
I can’t see much. I have tunnel vision.
Andy says: “Get out more, Uncle. Eat less. Exercise more.”
I do. (I follow my tunnel to the fridge.)
One day he’ll inherit all this: the house, the cellar, the treadmill. I booby trapped it once, in case burglars tried to steal it. Later, I realised they’d probably want something lighter, like books. So I went down into the cellar and switched off the fifty mechanical mice I’d programmed to do laps on the treadmill. Of course I switched off the treadmill first.
Next, I locked the book room, put the key in an envelope along with my Will, and hid it somewhere.
Then my eyesight went.
And now, my memory.
Did I switch off the treadmill, or the mice?
My phone rings. It’s Andy. He’s worried about me.
He’s coming over. I warn him about burglars, and the mechanical mice.
‘Relax, Uncle,’ he says. ‘I’ll rescue you, and Hannibal will tackle anything else.’
Hannibal’s a sniffer dog. (Andy’s a cop). Those burglars don’t stand a chance.
Marcia stood at the window, staring blankly out at the street below. The car was still there. It had been sitting there at the same time, same spot for the past three days, and she was starting to get to her. Who was it? What did they want? These questions plagued her, doubting she’d ever get the answers anytime soon, either.
Her lights were out, mainly so she could watch the car undetected. There was a knock at the door, causing her to jump. She dare not answer it, nor even utter a sound. They would know she was at home (she had come in the rear entrance, sneaking upstairs). But the thought had occurred to her in the interim – what if they broke in only to find her there, anyway. She had thought it peculiar when that man at the train station had followed her, and thought herself lucky to have secured a cab home. They had obviously followed her, she reasoned to herself. How else did they know where she lived? The sound of the lock being tampered with reverberated in her ears, as she hid in the closet, trembling. The light went on. ‘Hello?’ the voice asked.