Clunk! Creak! Clunk! Creak! Clunk! Creak!
Someone’s shuffling towards Janet’s bedroom door again. Janet knows it’s not her husband — he’s working away. And it’s not her little Billy — he’s sleeping beside her. So it can only be the same person who visits her every night.
Her husband doesn’t believe Janet, though.
‘She does it every night,’ Janet had said. ‘She hates me, and she wants to drive me crazy.’
‘Honey, you’re being silly,’ her husband said in response. ‘You’re tired. You’ve been dealing with a lot at the moment. Maybe you need a holiday.’
‘What I need is for you to believe me.’ Janet would storm off, ending the discussion.
Little Billy is wriggling. Janet hopes the noise doesn’t wake him; he’s been restless a lot lately. Well, they all have — life changed after the accident.
The footsteps stop. Janet’s shoulders tense. What does she want now? Janet thinks. She gazes at the bedroom door, remembering her husband’s words before he left. ‘It was an accident. You need to let this go. No one is trying to destroy you.’
She’s scratching at the bedroom door. Janet doesn’t know why, but she does it every night. Maybe it’s her way of scaring me, torturing me for what I did, Janet thinks.
Janet looks away from the bedroom door and checks little Billy. His chest slowly rises and lowers, sleeping undisturbed by the noise. Thankfully, he is used to sleeping with noise — next door used to make such a racket. Well, it was their teenage daughter mostly. She loved tormenting Janet. When Janet asked her to turn the music down, she turned it up. She even played music from her stereo outside of the house. And talking to her parents proved fruitless — all they did was grunt a response and close the front door.
The door of Janet’s room slowly creaks open. She’s coming.
Janet isn’t proud of what she did. She was so tired and frustrated. She didn’t see her on the drive — she doesn’t even know why she was standing there. Little Billy was crying, and the music blaring from that brat’s stereo didn’t help. All she did was look down to put Billy’s dummy back in his mouth, and the next thing she knew, she hears a yelp and something bang off the back of her car.
She says Janet did it on purpose, but Janet didn’t. Well, Janet thought about harming her at times — many would have — but she didn’t do it on purpose.
She’s standing in the doorway. Janet waits for her to speak.
‘I need to go to the loo,’ she says.
Janet moves her gaze from her mother-in-law, sighs, and pushes off the duvet. ‘Okay, I’m coming,’ Janet says and climbs out of bed.
‘And I should think so too. Helping to pull up my knickers is the least you can do after you nearly killed me. My leg and arm still hurt, you know.’
I wish I had killed you, Janet thinks as she follows her mother-in-law into the bathroom.
Copyright © 2020 Nicole J. Simms. All Rights Reserved.
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