Everybody has a limit. I just didn’t know why I had to keep pushing at mine. The limit of my patience and temper for one thing.

I ignored the goading of the Rash and carried on reading my book, focusing my eyes pointedly on the page.

The Rash was my little sister Evelyn. She was younger than me - only twelve to my almost sixteen years - yet had way more acne. That was part of the reason behind my nickname for her (which was not in any way meant to be a term of endearment). The other part was that she was equally irritating.

I had been slouching sideways on the armchair, my back against one arm and my legs hanging over the other, but now I snapped my book shut and got up, crossing the living room in a few strides, careful to block her view of the TV on my way, just to annoy her. My dad was snoring uselessly across most of the sofa like he did every evening. He would never bother to tell either us off for petty arguments even if he wasn‘t unconscious. Today he looked really tired.

I banged open the door to my room - it was a few metres square, just big enough for a desk as well as a bed and wardrobe - and flopped onto the rotating computer stool. When the world got too annoying there was always friends and instant messaging to rely on.

The first sign that something was odd was that neither of my best friends, Caitlin and Summer, were online. Inconsequential, maybe, but still. Since it was the first occurrence to stray from the norm perhaps it should have alerted me that something different was on its way. Though, isolated, the fact was simply frustrating more than a sign of something else.

I huffed a sigh and decided just to go to bed. It was earlier than I usually went to sleep, but since I was an occasional insomniac I didn’t think an early night would matter. My mother wouldn’t get home from her late shift at the hospital for at least an hour. I changed into my favourite comfy pyjamas - freshly-washed soft cotton was always reassuring and comforting to me - and curled up under my patterned duvet to get warm. The last thing I thought before I drifted off to sleep much more quickly than usual was that it was oddly cold indoors.

The End

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