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"The party is an ordeal, but she’s got enough Valium and Vodka in her to make it a surreal experience she can get through. She smiles, frozenly and nods occasionally and then the stupid bastards finally leave. “I’m going upstairs.”
Ah, but he doesn’t want her to, because he’s pissed off. Maybe something one of the men said, and since he won’t take anything out on anyone else, least of all a man, he focuses his fury on her.
At some point she does escape. Somehow she manages to even doze a little. But then she hears him moving around below. Her one wish is that he’ll fall asleep drunk and maybe she’ll have a few hours in the welcoming dark to rest.
Sleep is more elusive than ever—normal sleep—although there’s that lovely deep, dark haze that sometimes comes to carry her off in its painless embrace—don’t knock respite even if it is brief.
Her thinking is muddy now—she’s losing it, she knows.
A smile curls her pale lips, better to lose it—better to sink into some eternal oblivion where she won’t care anymore.
The room is cold, he won’t put the heating on—he likes to think of her huddled up there—curled up in an icy ball, suffering—enduring.
She falls asleep or passes out, the relevance is irrelevant.
Later she awakens, stands up on shaky legs and looks at the door. It must be locked. There isn’t any reason to check he’s not forgetful.
A crash from downstairs—and she jumps, startled—clutching her bony chest. Her eyes light with a rare glimmer of expectation. That crash, did he fall down? Is he lying down dead, his monster’s head smashed open like an overripe melon?
But the hope is fleeting. “No,” she reasons, he probably just dropped something.
She waits—but there’s nothing, no other sound. She walks on trembling legs to patter over to the door to listen. The TV’s on, she can hear it.
The doorknob—like a magical orb—waiting to be turned, waiting to lead her into; into what, the Promised Land? Hardly. Yet, stupid creature that she is, she reaches out to feel its smoothness.
I only want to feel it—it’s not as though I think it would actually turn! But the knob does turn—and her breath catches in her throat. It’s open! He hasn’t locked it! Dare she?
She dares. Soon, she is treading slowly—creeping along an inch at a time. Don’t let the floorboards creak!
She leans over the banister—there’s nothing to see. Just his briefcase he put down earlier from work. Briefcase! His work colleagues don’t know him like she does!
She pauses at the stairs, waiting—too afraid not to be waiting. Donald?
His name, not out loud of course, it’s only in her head.
She’s half-way down the stairs when suddenly she stops—she can hear him now, moving around in the kitchen.
Something leads her down the stairs—her will (somehow regained) perhaps—and she finds herself standing in the doorway. He’s bent over, looking in the fridge. He spins around.
She falls back—he’s covered in blood—blood down his arms and chest—and all over his mouth. He throws the food down and smiles, but his teeth look different, they’re yellow and pointed.
Her eyes lock onto the thing lying near his foot—the sandwich. But then she screams because it isn’t a sandwich! It’s…! He reaches over and picks it up.
“Young, best when they’re young, darling!”
(end of excerpt)
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