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After Midnight

by davidlavisher 

Posted: 04 February 2008
Word Count: 655

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‘God, it’s so cold, dunno’ whether to go or not,’ muttered Simon quietly, speaking as if there was someone else in the bedroom other than him. Lying back against the pillow he looked at the windows, which were showing a full moon spread over four of its eight panes.
‘’Won’t need the light on if I do,’ he said. The old house creaked, as it often did when there was a breeze scurrying around the eaves. He could hear the central heating radiators clicking as they succumbed to the cold air and a steady drip-drip came from the sink tap in the bathroom. Slow rhythmic ticking came from the old grandfather clock in the hallway downstairs. He couldn’t remember if he’d pushed the ‘silent’ lever over to prevent the hourly chimes blasting him out of bed. The first time that happened he thought the cat had been investigating the cooking pans in the kitchen and knocked them all off the shelf.
‘Soon know I suppose and then I’ll have to get out anyway,’ he muttered.
He heard a squeak of protest from a floorboard somewhere in the house and wondered if there was any truth in the tale about the Old Cavalier who was reputed to haunt the place, walking the rooms of the house in autumn.
‘’Can’t see that being so, ’wouldn’t want to haunt the place myself it’s so damn cold,’ he said. A sharp draught soughed into the bedroom, similar in intensity to the quick opening of a freezer door. He supposed he’d left a kitchen window open downstairs, he seemed to be doing that a lot recently, too much trouble to check them all before he came to bed.
‘’Won’t get away with that when Gillian comes back from her mothers,’ he mumbled, looking at the moon again. Every time she goes to her mothers she comes back with something new, last month it was a new television, the time before that it was a new microwave and before that a clothes dryer, which only just fitted in the back of the Range Rover with all the other junk she keeps in it.
‘’Wouldn’t be surprised if she brings a three piece suite this time,’ he mused, smiling as he said it.
There was a soft clicking sound and then silence, a creaking floorboard protested for a second and then nothing again. Throwing back the duvet he tiptoed to the top of the stairs wondering what he’d do if the Old Cavalier was coming up them. He should have gone to the bathroom when he first thought about it; he’d probably have been asleep again by now. Peering into the inky darkness of the stairwell he couldn’t see anything and gave a sigh of relief – now he’d go to the bathroom. Turning away from the stairs he heard a faint scuffling noise and a protesting hinge.
‘Damn cat flap needs oiling,’ he muttered, making his way to the bathroom.

‘A bit to the left, hang on a sec, it’s so damned heavy,’ a disembodied voice whispered in the gloomy hallway.
‘I know it’s bloody heavy, just don’t drop the blessed thing that’s all,’ came the hissed reply.
‘I don’t know why people have forty two inch televisions, wouldn’t fancy one myself, too big by half,’ the first voice swore softly as he trapped his finger against a door frame.
‘I reckon that guy walking down the lane earlier, in the brightly coloured uniform with the ostrich feather hat and sword must have been going to a fancy dress ball. What do you reckon to leaving a window open like that and nobody at home too?’
‘Hey, here comes Jimmy with the car now,’ whispered the second voice. The sound of a toilet cistern flushing drifted from the open window, mingling perfectly with the soft crushing sound of gravel as the Volvo drove slowly away.

David Lavisher © 2008

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