His eyes are stinging and prickly by the time he pulls up in front of his house at 2 A.M. An eight-hour drive, preceded by a ten-hour flight, makes for a mightily weary man. He thinks of his bed, soft and warm and utterly glorious.
He looks at his home. Every single light is turned off. Even the porch light.
“Damn it,” he mutters. “What did I tell her? Literally the last thing I said to her. ‘Leave the porch light on.’ How hard is that?”
The house is rural. A charming cottage in the middle of sodding nowhere. No chance of streetlights up here. It’s one of the reasons why they like the place so much; they can look up into the night sky and see the stars. Perfect darkness.
He gets out the car with a groan, all stiff with endless sitting. He retrieves his suitcase from the boot, locks the vehicle up and heads for the narrow path that will take him to his front door.
His dress shoes slip on the slimy, moss-covered path. He topples forwards, flails his arms and manages to right himself, until he trips on the ragged edge of a broken paving slab.
He careens into a hedge which snags on his suit and scratches at his face. He throws himself away from the vicious shrub and one of his feet lands on top of his son’s skateboard, naturally abandoned in the worst place possible.
The skateboard’s wheels send one leg shooting forwards and he wails as he falls unwillingly into the splits, his trousers suddenly far too snug in an area that is far too delicate.
He leaps up, kicks the skateboard to the side, takes another step and slips on a banana peel. He’s felled in an instant. A horrible thwack rings out as his head hits the path. His back spasms and he groans feebly.
The porch light clicks on and the front door opens. He peers up at the warm glow and sees his wife’s silhouette.
“Have you fallen, darling? Whoopsie-daisy.”
“Said… leave… light…”
“I know, I know, leave the porch light on. I remember you saying now, but I forgot to do it before I went to bed. Silly me.”
“Mm, I’ll have to remind the kids not to leave their things lying about like that.”
“Ba…na…na… peel?” he mutters.
“Oh, I have absolutely no idea how that got there. Not a clue. How strange.”
“Back… hurts… can’t… move…”
“Really? Gosh, it sounds serious. I suppose you won’t be able to go shooting off on your next business trip on Monday, then. You’ll need time to rest. What a shame.”
“It’ll be nice, actually. You’re away so much, darling. Good opportunity for you to spend some quality time with the kids. Works out wonderfully, in fact, because my sister just invited me on a little jaunt to a spa next week. I suppose you could babysit, let me have a break.”
“You… did… this… on”
“On purpose? Of course not! Don’t be so silly. That’s the bump on the head talking. Let’s get you in bed, shall we? I’ll call your office tomorrow and tell them you’ll be off sick for a week. Better make it two, just in case.”
Stories inspired by a random songs from my Spotify library. This time it was “Long As I Can See The Light” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.Follow Ellie Scott on WordPress.com