She can sense it as soon as she wakes up. Something has changed. There is evil afoot. But why?
She wraps her dressing gown around her, slips on her
slippers and heads downstairs. It’s cold. Too cold. The front door is ajar. She
peers out and spies a delivery man get into his truck and pull away.
Faint singing draws her into the kitchen – ‘White Christmas’, all out of tune. Her skin prickles with goosebumps.
It’s a yellow sticky note today. Blue ink. Just the one line: “Your hair is shit and so are you.”
Bit lacklustre. Not witty, not clever, not even particularly brutal. Perhaps the culprit’s losing his knack. After all, this is sticky note number 398. They’re bound to run out of insults to throw at me eventually. They can’t all be fierce doozies like number 187 (“Mr. Blobby called. He wants his body back.”) or number 249 (“Do something for the greater good. Kill yourself.”). They’ll probably stop soon.
Something really cool happened. Janise Michel created an animation for one of my short stories, I Remember, for her digital drawing class at university. It’s amazing and you should watch it immediately! That is all.
One pair of trousers, that’s all June required. She repeated it over and over in her mind as she hurried down the high street: “One pair of trousers, one pair of trousers, one pair of trousers”. The mantra fell in time with her footsteps – “one pair” with the left foot, “of trousers” with the right. It looped so quickly, so incessantly, that it became white noise and nonsense and she disremembered altogether why she’d ever walked into town. Trousers? Forget about it. Not with so many other beautiful garments on display to entice and torment her.
The front door slams, the house shivers and its inhabitants freeze.
“They’re back,” says Daughter, and her face quickly crumples as tears well.
“Don’t you dare cry,” hisses Mother. “They’ll hear us.”
The family falls silent and listens. A series of thuds and rattles comes from the floor below. Cupboard doors are opened and closed, opened and closed, over and over. Then there’s a short yell, a moment of quiet, and the soft wail of a miserable child.