The Mistakes of the Day Revisited by Steve Goodlad

“Norman, I think I heard something.” She whispered.

Norman rolled over under the duvet but kept his eyes closed, “One of the cats?”

“Not unless it was wearing boots. I heard footsteps in the hallway.”

She had his attention at last, she thought. They lay still and listened but when she heard Norman's breathing becoming heavy with sleep once again, she shook him, “I heard it again. I think it’s on the stairs.”

Lately, Doris had not been sleeping well. She was tired from the stress of her job at the hospital. The long hours, staff shortages, the decisions, the responsibilities for other people’s lives. She fell into bed exhausted only to spend the night fretting about the patients, the mistakes she might have made. There had always been pressure, but never like this.

Reluctantly, Norman left the warmth of the bed. She saw the bedroom door open around his silhouette and then close. Later she realised she should not have let him go.

After a period of silence, she heard dragging footsteps across the landing. It entered the room. Closed the door. Something wasn’t right. She wanted to scream but already the pressure was constricting her throat. Her body was leaden, her limbs wouldn’t move.

Something undressed slowly as if it needed to remove an extra layer before it lifted the duvet and climbed in beside her. She felt the pressure on her chest as its weight slowly lowered down on her and she sank helplessly deeper into the mattress. The heat of its breath caressed the side of her neck and a voice rasped in her ear: “He can’t hurt you, I’m here.”

She managed to turn her head away only to see the wardrobe door open and Norman's lifeless body fall out onto the bedroom floor.

Selected: Weekly Write #15
Published in Issue #29

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