Alice headed back inside, latching the door shut behind her. She stood dumbly in centre of the kitchen, scanning it’s contents, searching.
“I put it somewhere safe.” Alice muttered, closing her eyes.
“Where did I put it?” She demanded, shaking her head with frustration.
Always losing things lately aren’t you, forgetting where you’ve put things! Why is that do you think? A voice asked, no not asked ‘niggled’ from deep in Alice’s consciousness.
“I’ve got things on my mind.” She whispered. “Ever since that damned-article!” Alice sighed. The article in the newspaper which Alice was now searching for but couldn’t find.
“Maybe I put it on the table after all.” She said, crunching over the broken coffee-mug and skidding - with arms flailing – through the puddle of tea to the pile of newspapers.
She rifled through the half-finished crossword puzzles: brightly-coloured magazines and stack of out-dated local and national papers, tossing them into a messy sub-pile.
“It’s not here” She cried, "Where is it?"
Even though Alice had re-read the article several times already, it was all she had to go on.
So ring the paper! Get to the source. A voice whirred. It was a good idea.
Alice’s mind was humming, as she grabbed the nearest paper and flattened it out on the first page. She could feel her heart bumping as she scanned through the waffling for the number. There it was midway down the page, in small bold print:
Have a story? An enquiry? Contact one of the team on: 0845-*******
Alice hurried into the hall, this time noting the broken-mug and tea, and grabbed the phone. She punched in the numbers and waited impatiently for the dial-tone to be replaced by a friendly-ear.
“Morton-Gazzette, Chris speaking, how can I help?” A voice asked. A deep eager voice, polite and some what enchanting. To coax-out potential stories Alice supposed. She could hear telephones ringing in the back ground, voices rising and falling, photocopiers printing.
“A story, an article you printed last week” Alice began, “I was wondering if you could give me some more information?” She asked, chewing one of the nails of her free hand.
“We’re pretty busy here today” The voice replied “What information are you after? Which story are we talking about?” Chris asked.
“The man in the coma, the one who woke up.” Alice replied, cautiously. “There was no name.” Alice said, returning to her nail.
“I remember the story, yeh. The guy who covered it’s on holiday, won’t be back for another week. You’ll have to call back.” Chris said. “Jeff Brown’s the man you want” He finished. Alice heard the receiver click and dropped the phone back into it’s cradle.
“He’s out there, I know it!” She said, staring hazily at the wall, at a lop-sided painting which she proceeded to straighten.
And Flynn? A voice quizzed.
“His puppet!” Alice whispered, swaying on her feet as the room once again began to buzz. It hummed and pulsed like ten-thousand volts of over-head electrics. She slid down the wall onto the cool tiles and brought her knees up to her chin, fixing-her-attention on the thick navy tights which covered them. She wrinkled them down and stared-hard at her leg, at the grotesque silver scar which climbed seven inches up her left shin – and she closed her eyes.
She could hear it snarling - barking, see it's huge white teeth dripping with saliva, it's upper-lip stretched back into a hideous-grin. Her had stomach knotted into a rush of acid, and her heart was drumming so fast she feared she was having a heart-attack.
All the while he just stood there, laughing, encouraging the mutt to have fun! Enjoy itself.
Alice now tensed into a ball, and grabbed her left-leg tight, feeling a sharp-pain rip through her shin. She could hear Frank laughing in her mind's eye: hoarse-monstrous laughter which made Alice feel dizzy.
The mutt’s eyes rushed with excitement, it’s huge teeth mauling at her leg, chomping and slobbering through her pink goose-bumped flesh. And the pain was unbearable. Sharp, nasty, throbbing pain.
The memory fizzled out, and Alice wiped a tear from her cheek. Composing-herself.
“You got what you deserved!” She said, scowling.
“We’re even, leave me alone!”