‘She’s eighteen. We all are.’
‘She’s studying science. Her boyfriend went back this afternoon.’
‘But it wasn’t like there was a fight.’
‘We cooked a roast together.’
‘Watched some telly.’
Does she have any medical problems?
‘No. Don’t think so. She never mentioned any. But we haven’t known each other that long.’
‘Since we started uni and found this flat.’
‘I don’t think she gets on all that well with her family, though.’
‘She’s estranged from them or something. Could be religious, I’m not sure.’
‘I heard a thump.’
‘We came straight in.’
‘She was lying in the middle of the floor, exactly like that, curled up on the rug.’
‘Pulling at her chest.’
Does your chest hurt, Izzy?
Sara strokes Izzy’s head. Izzy draws her knees up even closer, and presses Sara’s arm so tightly to the side of her face her knuckles whiten. Despite the bright light in the room, her eyes are wide and deep, like she’s looking past us all, straining to see something hiding just behind us in the shadows.
It’s almost like a night terror or something...
Between us we try to calm her down and form an idea about what could be wrong. It sounds as if she is making words, but it’s difficult to make them out.
What’s happened tonight, Izzy? What’s wrong?
She gasps and shakes her head from side to side, pushing Sara away one minute, the next, clinging on to her as if she were the last real person left alive in the world.
What did you say, Izzy? I couldn’t quite...
Suddenly she makes an effort to sit up.
Sara moves with her.
‘The corner of the room!’ she gasps. ‘I saw it! There, in the corner! The corner of the room!’
And collapses back down again.