I was lying on
my bed with my laptop, writing on my
friends walls on Facebook, which is what I
normally do when Im at home in the evening,
when I heard this clicking sound, really loud.
it was again.
hunched and all the muscles in my neck tightened.
I had this mental picture of myself having two
massive shoulder pads, except they would be hard
and triangular, like camels humps.
Pushing my computer aside, I drew my knees into
my chest, tighter and tighter, pressing my spine
against the wall, wishing I could blend into it,
was A Man in the house. I was sure of it. Click.
There must be, downstairs in the lounge, because
that was where the noise was coming from.
Click. No, I
really wasnt imagining it. He was upstairs
now, in the next room.
I eased myself
off my bed, gently, trying to make no noise at
all. I walked across the room, each soft thud
footfall on the carpet like crashing saucepans to
my ears. I grasped the brass doorknob. In
seconds, I would look across the dark stairway. There
would be no Man and everything would be all right.
But my hand froze. I could not bring myself
to do it, to open my bedroom door.
I drew in my
breath and held it. He mustnt hear me, not
my breathing, not my heart beating, not the blood
coursing through my veins like a waterfall. How
did he get in? Mum locked everything when
she went out. I saw her do it. "Are you
sure youll be all right, love?" she
asked as she picked up her purse. "I'll only
be out for a couple of hours."
fine. Being home alone would be so much fun,
sound zapped through me like an electric shock. I
jumped, literally. This wasnt A Man. This
was a Thing and it was actually in my room.
minutes, I stared at the spot where the noise
emanated, my carpet, my clothes on the floor, an
empty coffee cup. But I heard nothing, just
the gale that was my own breathing.
Not taking my
eyes from the spot, I grabbed my phone and texted
my friend, Laurie. She rang back
straightaway: it was so good to hear
something as normal as my ring-tone, even if it
did make me leap ten feet in the air.
the radiators, you idiot! she said.
They click when the heating goes off. Dont