Valorie had been very bored all day. There was nothing to do in the flat. The television worked, but there were only six channels, and not very interesting ones at that.
What was more, Adam refused to leave her alone for even one minute. Not even when she had to use the toilet – she could hear him hovering outside the door, listening for any sign she was trying to escape. It was very annoying.
And Adam never shut up. He was always trying to get into a friendly conversation with her. But she would always push him away from her, because frankly, he was a very dull person. His idea of small talk was asking her what her favourite kind of pillow was – ‘Do you prefer downy pillows or just those plain fibre ones?’ or talking about how much Angel Delight he used to eat as a kid. He was weird.
But, however dull he was, Valorie couldn’t escape the fact that he was also very, very scary. He often walked around in a foul mood for no reason at all, and on increasingly frequent occasions, would point his rod at something and change it into something else. Once, Valorie was mere centimetres away from becoming a table lamp.
He would also draw pictures when he felt bored of trying to talk to her. Most of the pictures were of Sophie – or maybe Valorie, she couldn’t always tell. There were other pictures – a man she didn’t recognise. When she’d asked, Adam told her it was Joe, an old friend of his. Valorie doubted this very much - whenever he finished a Joe picture, he always tore it into millions of tiny pieces.
Valorie was invited to draw with him, but she refused. This seemed to upset him, but he didn’t force her.
Valorie had spent most of today just lounging around the flat, sleeping on the sunken old sofa, not doing very much at all. Adam had busied himself with his drawings. Right now, however, he sat on a chair, staring at her. He pointed his rod, as he liked to call it, at a table, turning it into a lamp, into a computer, into a dog, into a stapler, and into a table again. He did it over and over, casually flicking at it with the rod as if he were doing nothing more ordinary than changing the channels.
‘Hungry?’ Adam said, after Valorie’s stomach rumbled for the third time.
‘Not really,’ she said stubbornly.
‘I don’t mind feeding you, you know. You are allowed to eat.’
‘There’s not much there, I’m afraid – a few things in the freezer, some tinned stuff.’
Valorie looked at Adam as coldly as she could. ‘When I want to eat, I’ll get something myself.’
‘Fine, Adam said, turning away from her. He got up and walked away. Valorie stayed where she was, knew there was no point in trying to escape. The windows were all locked; the doors leading outside the flat were locked.
When Adam returned, he had a bundle of cloth in his hand. ‘I thought you might want something else to wear besides your pyjamas,’ he said to her. ‘These are a few of Sophie’s old clothes, if you’re interested.’
Immediately, Valorie shook her head, and Adam shrugged and put the down on the armrest. ‘Well, there they are anyway, in case you change your mind.’
‘I won’t,’ Valorie assured him, and he scowled at her again.
‘Why don’t you loosen up? I’m not trying to torture you.’
‘I am not wearing your dead girlfriend’s clothes, no matter how much you think I look like her,’ Valorie said through her teeth. She turned away in disgust. She heard Adam get up and leave again.
When Valorie was quite sure he wasn’t watching her, she picked up the clothes and looked through them. Flowery shirts and long skirts – the sort of clothing she would never think of wearing herself. She dumped them back on the armrest and turned around again. She thought about feigning sleep for a few hours, if it meant Adam would leave her alone.