Thursday, October 11, 2012

the corner of the room

Sara is kneeling on the floor, with Isabel lying in a foetal tuck, her head cradled in Sara’s lap. The other two flatmates stand around, anxious witnesses, hugging themselves through their dressing gowns.
‘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.

I’m not the only one who sneaks a look.


Anonymous said...

Ok - I'm curious....what was in the corner??

Spence Kennedy said...

Hi Tanya.
It was a sleep disorder thing - a particularly vivid kind of waking nightmare. So there wasn't actually anything in the corner, but she was so convincing you couldn't help but make sure...!

Anonymous said...

Wow - I'm not sure how I'd cope with something like that, from the way you told the story I think it'd be impossible not to sneak a peek at the corner. Poor girl, hope she's ok.

jacksofbuxton said...

Impossible not to look in the corner I'd think Spence.

Spence Kennedy said...

Especially when you spook easy (like me) :/

Chris said...

I'd look - I think everyone would. My stepson has the same type of thing - very scary to observe.

Spence Kennedy said...

My daughter used to get night terrors, too. And that was pretty scary, esp. when she'd point and react to things in the room that only she could see. The only thing to do was reassure her as best we could and steer her back to bed, but it wasn't easy. Hope your stepson is getting over it, now, Chris. I think it's mostly in younger children - quite rare in adults, thankfully.

JuliesMum said...

Blimey, pretty tough on her flatmates. And after all, they have to keep on living in that house - with the corner.

Spence Kennedy said...

They all struck me as being pretty level headed - esp. given the fact they'd only known each other for a few weeks. Hopefully they don't get the idea the place is haunted or anything... :/

VM Sehy Photography said...

That's freaky. Poor girl. Thought maybe she might have schizophrenia.

Night terrors are awful. I once woke up in my living room having fallen asleep in the chair. I swore the doorknob for the outside door was moving. Then the door blew open. I started screaming. The dog came into the room half asleep and calm as could be, so I figured it must be OK. I got up and closed the door and locked it. When I told my dad on the phone what had happened, he said I'd had a waking dream. Felt so darn real. I'm still not sure to this day that it didn't actually happen.

Hopefully she'll be OK. Perhaps some sort of activity that would relieve stress would be in order. Can't hurt.

Spence Kennedy said...

Those waking dreams are so intense. The best thing is if you can realise you're in one and try to manipulate events (although having said that, the one time I managed it, the whole thing went dreadfully wrong!)

I think you're right - exercise is always a good idea - esp. as a stress reliever.

Cheers for the comment, VMSP.

Unknown said...

Hi spence, I would have to slowly turn around to see....
I used to have night terrors when I was a kid about flying slices of bread! It was so real to me. It started after mum bought me a book of simple Simon and the pie man transfer books, you had to scratch the transfers where it was missing in the book.
I hated them.

Spence Kennedy said...

It's funny what can really scare you, especially when you're little. I hated a book of short stories by Enid Blyton, where an elf dresses up as a bear to trick the others, but then can't undo the zip to get out of it when everyone's terrified of him. Something like that. There was a drawing of him getting in to the costume that really freaked me out, for some reason. I've not seen the book since. Would probably faint if I did, even now. :/