'Sylis' Chapter 4A Chapter by MichelleClay
I blinked as a beam of light shone through the small crack in the curtains into my eyes. I slowly lifted my head from the pillow and looked around the room, confused. What happened? Everything was a bit hazy, like how you feel when you’ve been out drinking all night and wake only remembering pieces the next morning. I turned to look at my bedside table. The letters had been stacked in a neat pile, still stained with my blood. I frowned. Did I put them there? I rubbed my eyes and gasped at the bandage tied around my wrist.
My mobile vibrated against the bedside table. I grabbed the phone and looked at the caller, Boss.
''Hello?'' I answered.
''Grace, it’s Philipa, I’m calling to see if you're ok as you didn’t show or call in this morning, are you sick?''
''Oh, hi Philipa.'' I said panicking as I looked at the time. Was I sick? ''Uh, no I’m not sick'' I mumbled ''I um . . . I had an accident.''
''Really? ''Are you ok?'' What happened?'' I bit my lip, disappointed with the predictable question and my inability to answer it and frowned as I looked through the doorway. The bathroom door was closed.
''I um. . I slipped in the bathroom,'' I said quickly, ''yeah I was getting out of the shower. . and I must have knocked myself out or something. Your call just woke me actually.'' I cringed. I knew how pathetic it sounded.
''Oh that’s awful,'' she said, ''do you need to see a doctor? Should I call someone for you?''
''No!'' I shouted and cringed again. ''No,'' I coughed, ''I’m fine. . . in fact, I’m coming in, just give me half an hour and I will be with you ok?'' I stumbled forward, grabbing a pair of trousers off the side.
''Hang on Grace,'' she said ''I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. If you’ve hit your head you really should get yourself checked by a doctor first.''
''Philipa please,'' I said quickly. ''I’m fine, nothing’s hurt, other than my pride.'' I stabbed stubbornly at the bandage ''Oh, and maybe my wrist.'' I bit my lip again, wishing I thought that through first.
''Your wrist?'' she asked.
''It’s fine,'' I cringed. ''I must have just caught it when I slipped, I’ll see you in half and hour.''
I ended the call quickly, before Philipa could question me further and placed the mobile against my forehead. I breathed in and out again slowly, allowing my heart to return back to a normal rhythm.
My whole body froze as the door creaked in the bathroom. I forced myself forwards a few steps, scanning for the nearest solid object and grabbed the deodorant can from the side. I crept slowly towards the door and peeked through the small crack. My heart was pounding in my chest. I took another deep breath in and counted slowly in my head, one…two…three…. I kicked the door hard and raced forward, screaming and swinging the can like a bat but the room was empty.
I stopped yelling and lowered the can and jumped as the door creaked again. I glanced towards the door and gulped. Was someone behind it? I quickly pulled it back towards me and screamed as the alarm clock buzzed in the bedroom. I laughed and rolled my eyes. I was being so paranoid.
I filled up the basin, quickly washed my face and cleaned my teeth but I still felt edgy, like half expecting someone to jump out at me at any minute. I stomped loudly back towards the bedroom, hoping to disturb anyone that was down stairs and dressed quickly, not even checking in the mirror to see what I looked like.
I flicked the alarm off and grabbed my phone and scrolled down the 3 missed calls I had from earlier. Two were from Emily and one was from Shakey. I frowned as I looked at the times. I must have been completely out of it, not to have heard them. Did I drink more wine? I shrugged and picked up my bag from the bedroom floor and tossed my mobile inside. I stared at a blob of blood on the wall and gasped as a missing piece of last night flashed back. I got on my hands and knees and scanned the floor quickly for the knife. I’m sure it landed somewhere over here. My stomach churned. I couldn’t find it! I glanced at the clock and panicked, I needed to get to work.
I ran down the stairs and stopped abruptly half way, almost toppling over. It suddenly dawned on me that I would have to drive myself into work today. I stepped down slowly, one step at a time. It had been so long since I had driven. What if I couldn’t remember how? My foot hovered over the creaky third step at the bottom. I closed my eyes and started to smile. I wasn’t afraid any more.
I pulled into the car park that faced the huge towering building at Doucasa International, quickly found a space and turned off the ignition and grinned proudly. I really wasn’t afraid any more. I opened the door and stepped out into the heat and looked up at the rows of glass windows. I smiled as I turned to lock the door behind me but I could feel my neck start to prickle. I turned around quickly and scanned the car park but it was completely silent, other than the rusty 'way out' sign creaking slightly in the breeze. I shuddered and walked quickly towards the building's entrance.
Today was so different. Other than the unexplained events at home, I actually felt different. I didn’t feel numb any more. When I closed my eyes I could see the pink of my lids, instead of terrifying nightmares I was used to seeing, but for some strange reason I couldn’t shake off the feeling that someone was watching me.
I swiped my card at reception and walked past the endless row of cubicles. I could see Shakey looking at me as I walked towards my desk. Her face looked worried, it made me nervous. I could see Philipa standing by her desk. Was I in trouble? I put my bag down and gulped as she turned and stormed towards me.
''Good morning and how are you feeling?'' she asked. My hands started to sweat.
''I’m fine'' I said, tucking my wrist behind my back. ''I’m sorry about being late, I will make up the extra time.''
''Nonsense,'' she interrupted, ''It’s not like you make a habit of it Grace.'' She laughed and shot Shakey a warning look. I followed her gaze and watched Shakey’s head dip and start to type quickly on her keyboard. She had to be listening. Shakey couldn’t type that fast.
''Now, I've put the files from the Mattson’s case on your desk, do you think you could get them back to me by the end of the day?''
''Of course.'' I smiled nervously.
''Great, great,'' she said, ''oh now that reminds me. .Sarah. . .''
I waited for her to walk over to the new girl’s desk before releasing the breath I was holding. I slumped into my chair and swivelled it towards the desk and looked up at my phone as it started to ring. I searched frantically for a pen and some paper.
''Good morning complaints, Grace speaking.'' I said scribbling the half chewed biro against a pad.
''Yes, I would like to make a complaint please.'' The caller said. I frowned at the familiar tone. ''You see, I had this friend once'' she continued ''a friend that used to pick up when I called.'' I rolled my eyes.
''Shakey, get off the phone'' I whispered ''do you want to get us both sacked?''
''I don’t care about that.'' she said. ''What happened? Why do you have an ugly bandage on your wrist?'' I huffed.
''You really don’t miss anything do you?''
''Nope'' she replied.
''If you must know I had an accident, ok? I slipped in the shower, it’s no big deal, and I’m fine now.''
''Hmm.'' she said suspiciously.
''Shakes seriously, I haven’t got time for this. I have work to do, and so do you.''
''Ok Ok,'' she said, ''but you could have called me, I was really worried.''
I felt a twinge of guilt as I thought back to the letter I had written, the one Shakey would have been reading today.
''Yeah I know . . I’m sorry, ok?'' I said softly ''Look, tell you what, I’ll make it up to you. Anything you want. I promise.'' I said cheerfully.
''Anything? Hmmm. ''Well, you could make it up by coming to a party with me tonight? That really hot guy Luke is going to be there?'' My face fell.
''Oh, really, a party huh?'' I started twisting the phone cord nervously around my finger.
''You did say anything!'' she sulked.
''Um, yes I did, didn’t I?'' I stalled.
''Great! Now I just need to find something to wear, oh and we definitely need to find something for you, I mean when was the last time…'' The line went silent.
''Shakey? You still there?'' I asked.
''Yes, I know that’s unfortunate Mrs Mazier, but I can assure you we are investigating the matter.'' I smirked.
''You are so busted'' I said and quickly hung up the phone.
I glanced at the clock, confused as people packed up around me. Had it really gone 5pm? I shook the clock and frowned as I placed it back on my desk. I flicked off the monitor and turned in my chair and jumped as Shakey smiled back at me.
''Hey'' she said cheerfully. I threw her a look and put my bag on my shoulder as I stood up.
''Shakey, about this party?''
''No way'' she cut in.
''What?'' I said confused.
''No way are you bailing out on me, you can’t! Not this time! He knows I’m coming and everything! You said you would make it up! You promised!''
I watched the vein pulsating hard in her forehead. It grew larger the more she stressed.
''Shakey relax,'' I said, touching her arm, ''I’m still coming. I just wanted to know more about it, as in, whose party it is and how far away?''
''Phew'' she sighed. ''You had me worried then. Well, it’s my friend’s Zoë’s friend’s cousin, who’s….'' I rolled my eyes at her.
''What?'' she smiled. ''Look, it’s all cool, I promise! Marcus knows I’m coming and I said I was bringing a friend so you have absolutely nothing to worry about.'' She tapped my cheek.
''Ok fine, whatever.'' I said pulling away.
''I'll pick you up at seven'' she grinned. ''We can have some wine at the flat and go from there ok?''
''Ok fine'' I sulked. ''You sure that’s what you really want to do?'' I said trying reverse psychology.
''Yep!'' she said smugly. I huffed in defeat. Psychology was so overrated.
''Just one other thing…'' she said.
''Which is?'' I frowned.
''Try and make an effort?'' she pleaded. I glared at her.
''I’m just saying. Talk to people ok? Wear something nice, you never know you might actually enjoy yourself.'' She winked and swaggered towards the door.
''See you at seven'' she shouted.
''Can’t wait!'' I said sarcastically.
I hated parties. Attempting another session with the knife seemed more appealing. I peeled back the bandage and stared at the scabby red wound.
''Definitely didn’t dream it then.'' I muttered.
''Dream what?'' a voice asked behind me. I turned to see Emily fiddling with the pink clip in her short black hair.
''Errr nothing'' I said, quickly hiding my wrist. She shrugged.
''I wasn’t sure if you were working today. I called but you didn’t answer. You must have been dead to the world.'' My mouth twitched at her choice of words.
''Yeah, sorry about that, it’s a bit of a long story.''
''Well you can fill me in on the way home. You ready?'' she asked.
''Ah about that too. .'' I fumbled ''well . . I actually drove myself in today.'' I watched her jaw drop before beaming a huge smile with dimples.
''Well that’s great,'' she clapped silently ''I mean it’s great that you’re driving again, not that it’s great that I don’t have to take you any more'' she panicked.
''It’s ok.'' I laughed. She smiled. ''Em, look, I just wanted to say thanks for looking out for me, you know, taking me to and from work and stuff.''
''Hey, no problem at all,'' she smiled. ''I’m just really pleased you’re getting back to normal.'' She touched my shoulder tenderly.
I watched her walk towards the door and picked the car key from my bag. Was I back to normal? I heard the door creak behind her. My stomach turned as I remembered the bathroom door being shut. Would I be alone when I got home?
I pulled up to the kerb, not far from the house with the red door and smiled at the kids on the street. I switched off the engine and sighed. Things felt so different today, somehow so much easier to bear. I got out of the car and stepped towards the red door and felt my stomach knot with anticipation. I turned the key slowly in the door.
''Hello?'' I whispered, as I stepped in and closed the door behind me. I walked through the lounge carefully looking around the silent house.
''Hello?'' I said again. ''Anyone here? As if a burglar would answer'' I laughed. It felt good, I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed.
The floorboard creaked in the kitchen. I froze and quickly looked around the empty room. What if it was a ghost? Or did ghosts only come out at night? I looked out the window and sighed with relief that it was still light. At least I had a bit of time before the sun would set, plus Shakey would be here soon anyway. I ran quickly up the stairs making as much noise as possible, still hoping to scare away anyone in the house.
I stepped into the bedroom and scanned the room to see if anything had moved since the morning. Everything looked how I left it. I walked over to the blob of blood on the wall and searched for the knife. It had to be here somewhere. Maybe it was under the bed. I crouched down and looked underneath but couldn’t see anything.
I moved the large chest of drawers and searched under a pile of clothing but still there was no sign of it. I frowned and sat on the edge of the bed and huffed as I threw myself backwards. I rolled on my side and stared at the covers as I traced the dried bloodstains with my finger. I doubt I would get those out in the wash. I rolled the other way and looked at the stack of letters on the bedside table. I quickly picked up the pile and shuffled through the names on the envelopes and frowned. There was one missing. I quickly shuffled through the pile again but Shakey’s letter had gone. My stomach turned. I looked quickly around the floor and underneath the bed again.
''What the?'' I said confused.
I looked at the clock and jumped off the bed, Shakey would be here any minute. I ran into the bathroom and quickly washed my face and stared at my long dark hair in the mirror as I patted my face dry. At least it didn’t look too bad, just a few loose curls hung down against my chest. I picked one up and studied the ends. They needed cutting. I frowned. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? It was like I was waking up from some sleepy dream. Had I really been so dead before?
I damped down a few unruly hairs and popped a hair band into my bag in case it got out of hand again later. I opened my wardrobe door and peered inside and immediately closed it again.
''Try and make an effort'' I laughed, sounding like Shakey. I sighed and opened the wardrobe door again and stared at the endless row of plain work clothes and boring t-shirts. I shoved the hangers apart searching for something to wear and pulled out a pair of light blue jeans that I forgot I had. I had tucked them away long ago because they were too tight but now, as I tried them on, they fitted, looked loose even. I pulled out a white ribbed vest top, and blue Doucasa aertex and stared at them both disappointed. I quickly shoved the work-wear back in the wardrobe and pulled the vest over my head and reached down for my plain white pumps. I hesitated and bit my lip and quickly tossed them aside and slid on my tan high heels instead. I found the bracelet Shakey had bought me and smiled as I put it on. I stood up straight and wobbled in front of the mirror. The heels would take some getting used to.
'Well, it will just have to do.'' I huffed slapping my arms against my sides. I leaned in closer to the mirror and grimaced at the few freckles sprinkled across my nose.
I found my make-up bag in a drawer and blew off the dust as I rooted inside for some mascara. I looked at the brush suspiciously and shrugged as I applied it a few times to my hazel green eyes. My lashes felt heavy; I blinked at the unfamiliar feeling. I licked my lips and thought about applying some lipstick. No matter what the weather they have always been pinkie-rose and full, they probably didn’t need it but I found some tinted gloss and smeared it on anyway. I pressed my sticky lips together and turned towards the window, as music grew louder from outside. It had to be Shakey, no one else would admit to listening to that music, let alone play it full blast. I ran down the stairs and found my keys and bag from the side and glanced round the house one more time before heading out through the door.
''A little under-dressed aren’t we?'' she said, as I slid into the passenger seat. I glanced at her Chinese red mini dress and red stiletto heels and sighed. Her blonde hair had been curled and pinned loosely into a twist.
''A little over-dressed perhaps?'' I suggested back.
''Well, I like to make an impression'' she giggled. I glanced back towards her red dress and at the split riding up her thigh.
''Well I wouldn’t worry about that'' I smirked. She slapped my arm teasingly and started the engine.
© 2011 MichelleClay
Added on March 19, 2011
Last Updated on March 31, 2011
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