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Three Little Words

Someone else has been living in my flat, I’m sure of it.  I’ve given up trying to explain it to my friends – they think I’m mad, all except Molly, who, in her typical New Age fashion, instead declared that I have an infestation of pixies and offered to come and do a spiritual cleansing for me.  Sweet of her, but unnecessary.  I’m positive that someone else stays here, even though I’ve never seen them and mine’s the only name on the lease.

It was little things that made me wonder at first.  A hairbrush left on the dresser instead of by the sink.  A coat hung up when I thought I’d left it on the floor.  Things that could simply be a sign of absentmindedness.  After all, I had been working rather hard recently and there was always the possibility that I hadn’t put them where I thought I had the night before and it was my mind playing tricks on me.

But then came the notes.  The first was stuck to the front of the fridge:

Clean this out

Nobody could deny this as proof, could they?  It wasn’t my handwriting and unless I was sleep writing, it had to be someone else.   But when I showed it to my friends, they just laughed and pointed out that my fridge was rather disgusting and it was probably my mum trying to be polite.  Clearly, they hadn’t met my mum.  Molly declared that my home was haunted and offered to come and smudge it for me.  I couldn’t imagine that a poltergeist would choose to leave commentary on my housekeeping, not with all those other powers at its fingertips, so I declined.

The next note was taped to the front of my cupboard:

Buy more coffee

I checked and sure enough, I was running low.  Not a coffee drinker myself, I only kept it in for visitors and the jar had been full only a couple of weeks ago.  This was clear evidence that I was not alone.

Not according to my friends, who laughed and reckoned that I’d drunk it myself, refusing to believe me when I said that the very smell of it made me want to heave.  Molly frowned and decided that I was being targeted by a voodoo deity and offered to come and set up an altar for it.  I figured that if that were true, the god was clearly helping itself already so there was no need.

Instead, I decided to set up a trap.  I’d already been through the place with a fine toothcomb and been unable to find anyone lurking anywhere, so I rigged up a few cameras and left them running while I went out for the afternoon.  When I came back, I switched off the machines and settled down to watch the footage.  Sure enough, not long after I left, someone came through the front door, went to the kitchen, where they helped themselves to some food, washed their plates and then disappeared off into the spare room, where they went into the cupboard.  I was vindicated!  I wasn’t mad!

My joy was short lived, however, when I got to the end of the tape and they still hadn’t come out of the cupboard.

The cupboard that I was sitting right in front of.

I was too frightened to move.  A note fluttered down, as if materialising from the ceiling, coming to rest by my hand.

GET OUT NOW

I didn’t need a second telling.  I ran.

 


 

Sweet Nothings

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

I know that sound.  It’s taken me a moment to place it, but I’ve got it now.  It’s one of those heart monitoring machines that let you know you’re still alive.  I must be in hospital.

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

It’s all coming back to me.  I remember it was dark and it was raining.  I was driving home.  There was a big bang and a flash and then… nothing.  Nothing until I heard the beeping of the machines.  I guess someone must have driven into me and I ended up here.  Maybe I was in a coma or something.  I don’t remember much and I don’t know how long I’ve been here.  I can’t seem to move or make a sound to ask anyone, but that’s OK.  I can hear the machine.  It sounds like everything’s all right and I’m sure I’ll be able to open my eyes soon.  That’s what happens in all the movies, right?  Meanwhile, I think I’ll get some more sleep.  I may have been in this bed for days, but I’m unbelievably tired.

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

Someone’s crying.  It’s Mum.  I can feel her hand on mine and if I could just move my fingers, she’d know I’m fine.  I’ve never heard her like this, big, wracking sobs as though her heart has shattered and she’ll never be able to piece it back together.  I’m OK, Mum, really I am.  You have to know that.  You must know that.  The machine tells you that.  Dammit.  I can’t even get my mouth to work, can’t make a grunt, something to tell her I’m here, I’m alive.  Maybe tomorrow.

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

“-is a hard decision, Mrs Weisz.  Take all the time you need.  We don’t want to pressure you into anything.”

“But surely there’s something you can do, some treatment you can offer?  They work miracles these days and they’re coming up with new things all the time.”

“That’s true, but your daughter has been in a coma for three months now with no signs of improvement.  We have run every test and the results are conclusive every time.  There is no brain function.  It is only the life support system keeping her alive.”

What does he mean, no brain function?  I’m here.  I’m right here.  How can they not see that?

“We have tried everything we can think of, but there is nothing more we can offer her.  The decision is yours, but I’m afraid we would advise turning off life support.  I am so very sorry.”

What does he mean, sorry?  Sorry??  Calls himself a doctor, but he can’t see that I’m still alive?  Don’t cry, Mum, don’t cry.  I’m here.  I’m not going anywhere.  Do you hear me?  I’m not going anywhere!

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

It’s all right.  Everything’s going to be all right.  Mum would never consent to them turning off the machines.  She knows I’m still here, even if they can’t find me.  She’s my Mum.  She has a mother’s instinct.  She’s always been able to find me when I got lost.  I remember that time at the zoo when I was too scared to find a grown up because I’d been told not to talk to strangers and I thought I’d have to sleep with the monkeys.  She found me then.  She’ll find me now.  She won’t give up on me.

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

“You’ve made the right decision, Mrs Weisz.  It’s the kindest thing.  I am truly sorry that there was nothing more we could do.  I’ll leave you to say your goodbyes.  Take as long as you need.”

“Can you hear me, Marie?”

Yes!  I can!  Why can’t you hear me??

“I love you.  I loved you from the moment I first held you.  You always were one for drama, right from when you decided to come six weeks early.  I thought I’d lose you then, but you were a fighter.  You fought and fought and fought and the doctors were stunned at how well you did.  You were my little miracle baby.”

I still am, Mum.  I’m still fighting.  I’M STILL HERE!

“I really thought you’d pull through this time as well.  It wouldn’t have been the first time the doctors were wrong.  But you were just too badly injured.  The truck driver who forced you off the road said he just didn’t see you, but I know he wasn’t looking.  He’s still waiting trial, but I know however long he gets, it won’t be long enough, never long enough to make up for taking you away from me.”

He hasn’t taken me away.  I’m right in front of you.  You’re sending me away!  Please don’t send me away.

“I’m sorry, my beautiful, beautiful darling.  You will never know how much I love you.  I don’t know how I’m going to go on without you.  You’re part of me.  You always will be.  Goodbye.”

No, Mum.  Don’t go.  I can feel your tears on my face, I can feel the warmth on my cheek where you kissed me.  You can’t leave me.  I’m still here.  Please don’t go.  Please.

Beep.  Beep.  Beeeeeep.