He sat for a moment in bed, head in his hands trying to rub away the stubborn image lodged in his mind, but it wouldn’t shift. He closed his eyes but it became all the clearer, plus his throat was super dry. Jamie tossed the sheets aside and grabbed the door handle to the landing, a little too loudly. He stopped for a moment and listened to his parents in the other room, however only the loud snoring of his dad could be heard. He opened the door and slipped through into total darkness.
The landing had no windows meaning he couldn’t see a thing. Even when his eyes adjusted he could barely make out a couple of feet before him but this was his house, he knew how many steps it took to reach the stairs on the other side and which floorboards screamed at the slightest touch.
One hand on the banister rail he made it to the stairs and moved ever so softly down them and into the hallway. It was cold. The tiled floor made his feet numb; however there was a small window above the front door that provided a shaft of light from a nearby streetlamp. For a moment he had to momentarily shield his eyes from the sight. Squinting, he turned right and into the dining room.
He saw the window and for a moment he couldn’t breathe. The piercing cold clenched around his chest, yet the image drew him past the table and chairs, beyond the cupboard full of crockery and to the wall next to the window.
For a moment he flattened his back against it, eyes closed. Over and over he muttered, “Please don’t be there, please don’t be there.” He turned around and placed a hand on the coarse paint, clenching his slim fingers around the corner and moving his head to look outside. His breath was held and the blood thrummed through his ears. He glanced outside, past the stone path, the little pond and the broken section of wall with only the moon as a source of light.
A flash of a shadow and he quickly ducked under the window sill. His breath came in sharp, ragged gasps, his eyes widened in fear. But he had to look again.
He forced himself to stand up. There, running away from the wall, was the dark figure of a cat. A laugh escaped his lips and he slumped to the floor, exhausted.
Before he could get comfortable though, he crawled for a moment, then stood and made his way to the kitchen.
It was drafty, he realised and even colder in here which made his hairs stand up. Eventually his breathing returned to normal as the last of his adrenaline dissipated. Suddenly tired, he grabbed a glass from the draining board and lazily flicked the water on so that it roared and sloshed in then back out of his cup. He closed his eyes once more and took a sip. Stepped back from the sink and looked out the small window towards the swing.
Somebody was sitting on it.
He flew backwards, slamming his back on a cupboard handle and dropped his glass. Shards of water and crystal rose and slapped the floor and he felt one piece scratch his foot. He flinched from the pain.
The figure stood and turned towards him. He wanted to be sick as he tried desperately to meld into the cupboards, unseen. But the figure came closer so that the face covered most of the window.
He had the sudden urge to punch the window in the hope that it would smash and hurt whoever it was. Then he saw the face and who it was.
He fell to his hands and knees and almost cried in happiness. It was his mum. She must have been sleepwalking.
Once back upstairs, Jamie lay on his bed and put his earphones in. He switched on his IPod and closed his eyes.