Early

It was early. Inside the house it had turned grey. Last night it had been black when the sun went down. They made a fire at dusk and it burned brightly at first and then settled down to give off a deep radiant heat. But it was black around the fire. Black when they used the toilet, which was just a toilet bowl and half a wall, in the far corner of the one room house, and black when they went to the kitchen, which was also half-built, but did have a fridge which was plugged in. The windows were black in the black night, and they could not see the view any more, the view they had sat looking at for hours on the rudimentary furniture that afternoon. The fire died away and they closed the chimney flue when it was bedtime and the black took full possession of the whole house, and they were warm in their sleeping bags.

Warm until morning, early grey morning, when it was cold and still. It was hard underneath the sleeping bags now.

You don’t feel that when you’re going to bed but you feel it waking up, he decided. His could feel his feet. His feet were cold. Laying a thick overcoat over his sleeping bag had not resulted in increased warmth, and he was still cold. His head was cold, despite wearing a beanie, and his feet were cold, despite wearing three pairs of socks.

He wondered if he should wake up his mate. It seemed better to let him sleep. His mate was snoring. His mate wouldn’t feel the cold until he woke up. If his mate wasn’t cold it didn’t seem right to wake him just yet. So he lay still, and listened to his mate snore, and looked at the exposed beams of the unfinished house. He heard a horse stamp and whinny in the yard outside. He rolled over and caught sight of the view, visible again now though the picture windows all along the front of the house. He wondered if he should wake his mate. The day was stirring. Soon it would be time to get up.

A short, sharp, loud snap echoed through the house. The noise came from the kitchen. He felt his heart beating faster. His mind was panicked. “What the hell was that!” he said. He tried to squirm out of his sleeping bag without first undoing the zip. He failed to get out, and wriggled about on the floor instead. “It was just the rat trap,” his mate said. “Go back to sleep.”

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Published in: on May 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

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