He woke up. He wanted to hit something. It was getting ridiculous now.
Jamie was about to sit up when he heard something. For a moment he wasn’t sure what it was, but he had a feeling this had been why he had awoken. He strained his ears to listen, yet not daring to move, not even breathe for some insane fear that maybe, if his bed squeaked, somebody might jump into his room and kill him.
Then he heard it again. The squeaking that could only come from a swing that hadn’t been oiled. Somebody was on the swing.
Maybe it was a cat, maybe the wind was just playing up.
But he couldn’t hear any wind and besides, he knew the sound of that swing and knew the squeak meant somebody was putting pressure on it.
He couldn’t help but imagine the shadowy figure. Then he thought of his mum. The image almost made him laugh, whether from fear or amusement or both.
Then the squeaking stopped and Jamie heard nothing but his fluttering heart.
For an agonising couple of seconds there was complete silence, broken by the sound of a door gently opening. The back door. All the blood drained from him and a chill made him shiver, so he pulled the quilt tighter to him.
Something was moving downstairs. Whatever it was made an odd sound, a long scraping sound then a thunk, as if they were dragging their feet. But the sound grew louder and louder, closer and closer.
He felt his heart beating in time with the thumping of foot on ground.
Then silence again. He let out his breath as quietly as possible. Already he could feel sweat dripping on his forehead so that his hair plastered against it. Part of him wanted to shrivel away, the other part wanted to yell and fight whoever it was.
Then the noise started again. This time it was a double thump. They were climbing the stairs.
Jaime almost put the sheets over his head as whoever it was reached the top. Then the scrape and bump re-started, now deafeningly loud to him, almost as loud as his heart threatening to burst from his chest.
He hoped to god it was his mum sleepwalking again, and for a moment the fear eased. But something was wrong. He knew the landing in his mind. The person had walked past the bathroom, past his parent’s room, around the corner, past the spare room. He even heard the floorboards squeak. This person did not know which floorboards were loud. That almost made it worse.
They were outside his room.
His eyes were fixed on the door, for a moment he thought he saw the door handle twitch.
He had to do something.
He tried to clear out his tightening throat in a sort of hoarse squeal. The sound stopped.
Whatever it was didn’t move then. Didn’t go back and didn’t enter. Most of the night he stayed awake and didn’t hear a single sound more.