The Last House

It was the last house I found it in. All the others had been empty, but not this one. Here it was plain as day. It filled it, bulging out of the windows and the doors and the vents where there were vents.

“I can’t believe it’s in the last bloody one,” I said to no-one but myself. “What are the chances of that?”

I went to the front door and the number by the bell told me exactly the chances of that. I rang the bell and knocked and shouted and rang the bell again and bellowed “Look I know you’re in there” but there was no answer. Maybe it thought I didn’t really know that it was in there, even though I could see it pressed up against the mottled glass of the door and also even though some of it was poking conspicuously out of the letterbox.

I started counting in a loud and obviously stern way, but once I got to fifty and it hadn’t budged or even quivered I stopped and took a swig of water from my water bottle and then after that I couldn’t really be bothered to resume that method of intimidation. I drank another couple of mouthfuls of water and tried to make up my mind about what to do next.

I put the lid back on the water and put the water back in my pocket and then I took one of the clips out of my hair and bent it into a tiny hook and expertly opened the door with a quickness that surprised even me, and then I pulled the front door open, marvelling at my good fortune with it being hinged that way round rather than the other way round like every other front door in existence except I supposed for sliding doors and also rotating ones. And sheds.

Anyway even once the door was fully opened it stayed there exactly where it was and didn’t come out, and although it bulged a bit towards me the surface tension held and it didn’t burst like I thought it would and flow out down the driveway and into the gutter and have that be that. Instead it swelled out in a neat parabola and then stopped swelling a few feet from my face.

The bulbous immensity of it was mesmerising up close. Just looking at it made me want to push my face into it, push my whole body into it, made me want to step inside it and pull the door closed behind me and let us merge together there in the privacy of this last home.

But I knew if I did that I’d lose my job and then where would I be. Although also if I didn’t get it out I wouldn’t get paid anyway either. So maybe I should just cut my losses and let its warm embrace soothe away my worries and my pain.

I assumed it’d be warm but who knew.

And no, no. No! That wasn’t an option. I couldn’t give up now. I’d have to entice it out somehow.

I absentmindedly picked the wax out of one of my ears with the lockpicked hairclip and then I examined the earwax and after the inspection wiped it from the pin with my thumb and forefinger and wiped it on my jeans and then I picked the wax out of my other ear and went through the rest of my procedures exactly as before and then I bent the lockpick back into a hairclip and put it back in my hair.

It was at this point I had an idea. I began dismantling the house at once.

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1. Written on August 25th, 2016

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The Bomb

We’d searched the house frantically for an hour or two now but we still hadn’t found the bomb.

We knew there was a bomb because the Bomb Location Service had rung us up and told us there was a bomb. They advised us to go outside and wait until they could get here, but that could take up to 28 days and we didn’t really want to have to sleep in the garden until then. And anyway our tents were in the house somewhere and if we had to search for them we might as well just search for the bomb.

So we were searching for the bomb but we’d stopped for a cup of tea. My mother was upstairs using the toilet and I was just boiling the kettle and my brother was searching around in the cupboards for some clean mugs making sure that none of the mugs had a bomb in them.

Before the kettle had even boiled my mother started calling down frantically from upstairs that she’d found something.

We found her in my sister’s room.

There was a box on the bed.

“What are you doing in here,” I said. “You’re not supposed to be in here.”

“There’s a box on the bed,” said my mother.

I looked at the bed, and there was a box on the bed.

“Where’d that come from?” I asked, looking at the box that was on the bed.

“Oh, yeah, they delivered that yesterday,” said my brother.

“Who delivered it?” I said.

“The delivery driver did,” he said.

“But what’s it doing in here?” my mother said.

“You didn’t let them come in here, did you?” I said. “They’re not supposed to come in here.”

“They said it was for your sister,” said my brother.

He always called her “your sister” when he was talking about my sister, as if by distancing himself from her he would somehow be absolved of blame, just in case there was going to be any blame.

“But she doesn’t even live here anymore,” I said. “Not till Christmas.”

My mother lifted the top off the box. It wasn’t even taped up or sealed or anything.

Inside the box there was a little pink woollen blanket all folded up neatly and tucked down at the edges like it was a quilt in a doll’s pram.

Whatever was under it was breathing.

We looked at the blanket rising up and down and we all held our breath for a bit and then we stopped holding our breath and my mother said, “What is it?”

“Maybe it’s a hedgehog,” my brother said.

“Why the fuck would it be a hedgehog?” I said.

David!” hissed my mother.

“I don’t know,” said my brother. “It looks like it might be.”

“It’s not going to be a hedgehog,” I said.

“Well what it is, then?”

“I don’t know!”

My mother shouted, “Don’t shout!” and then the box started to cry and then she said, “Now look what you’ve done!”

She pulled the blanket back and underneath the blanket there was a baby.

“It’s a baby,” said my mother.

“Why’s there a baby in the box?” said my brother.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Well she’s your sister,” my brother said. “Surely she should have told you if she was having a baby delivered here.”

“What?” I said. “Why?”

“To make sure you were in when it arrived,” he said. “Imagine if we were all out and they hid it in the wheelie bin like they usually do with parcels when we’re all out and then the binmen had come and emptied the bins before we got back.”

“Don’t say things like that,” my mother said. “It’s not nice.”

The baby was still crying but we were trying our best to pretend it wasn’t crying, but it was crying and it was probably that which was putting us all on edge.

“Can I hold it?” asked my brother.

“It’s not a toy,” I said. “And anyway it’s my sisters.”

“Well, we can’t just leave it in the box forever, can we?” he said. “Can we?”

My brother looked a bit bewildered by it all, to be honest. I shook my head.

“When’s your sister back from uni, anyway?”

“I don’t know. December some time.”

“It better not keep on crying until then,” he said.

It was still crying.

“Shouldn’t we call her?” he said.

“Aw, I wonder the baby’s called,” said my mother.

She had a faraway look in her eyes now.

“Isn’t it lovely?” she said.

Me and my brother didn’t say anything.

“I wonder what it’s called,” she said again.

“We should definitely call her,” my brother said.

“Okay, okay,” I said. “I’ll call her.”

“Aren’t you a lovely baby,” my mother cooed. She reached down into the box and picked the baby up and said, “Don’t cry, dearie, it’ll be alright, it’ll be alright.”

The baby exploded.

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1. Written on July 17th, 2016

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The Thing

It pulsed.

I watched them watch it pulse.

It strobed.

I watched them watch it strobe.

It shimmered, trimmered, mimmered, mummed.

And I watched them watch it shimmer and trimmer and mimmer and mum.

It raised itself slowly up onto its legs and undulated strangely in a way that would never work and I watched them watch it raise itself slowly up onto its legs and undulate strangely in a way that would never work and their faces signalled a mixture of emotions I had never seen there before.

It tottered and flapped to the edge of the table and jumped or fell it was quite hard to tell and it fell to the floor and smashed into pieces and I watched them watch those pieces as they twitched and whirred and whined and wept on the floor until the bell rang and the lesson was over and they all scampered away out into the corridor and I watched the door swing back closed behind the last one and I was alone again it was the end of the day.

I wondered if these would be the lessons they would never forget, and I hoped that they were, for the sake of their exams if for nothing else.

I swept up the remains of my son and put him in the bin and then went to the cupboard and prepared to hatch myself another.

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Notes:

1. Written on August 29th, 2016

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The Crow

There’s this crow that sometimes comes in our garden and I’ve been slowly befriending it.

At first it’d only come along occasionally and you’d only see it out there when the garden was empty and you looked out the window and there it’d be, prancing about, sniffing out some food, or lounging around on the bench out there.

Then a few times I was sitting in the garden and it would leap up onto the fence and then look a bit startled when it saw me, and it’d back away, and usually then go back down and disappear, although sometimes it would just sit there on the fence and warily watch me.

After a while though it got brave enough that if I was in the garden and it saw me there it would still come down into the garden but sort of skirt around me in a big circle, always keeping a big beady eye on me, as it went about it’s business. And if I ever made any sudden movements or startled it in some other way it would squawk at me and flee.

But I never made any sudden movements. And I never will.

Now it’s so thoroughly used to me it’ll hop up onto the table when I’m out there and sit on the keyboard of my laptop so I can’t do any work and then it’ll let me stroke it and it’ll purr and purr and purr

I think it’s a crow

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1. Written on July 16th, 2016

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The Hole

Jason put his finger in the hole first, then me, then our mum. Alice refused, but she was only three and the instructions said not suitable for children aged under 48 months so it was just as well.

Jason’s finger came out covered in sherbet. Mine came out covered in jam. Our mum’s finger came out covered in marmite and she laughed in delight as she licked it off and then she put it in the hole again and again.

Our Dad came home later and bent down and looked into the hole for a while, first with one eye and then with the other.

“What is it?” he said.

“It’s the future,” said our mum, and showed him how it worked.

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Notes:

1. Written on August 30th, 2016

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