Part One - The Truth
He's with me when I jump through the window.
I later wonder if he told me to do it. I'm fast asleep when I jump. I fall the single storey and hit the Watsons' trampoline, which is wedged inside their tiny back yard.
As I bounce, I awaken.
I almost scream but swallow it. It's dark but for the glow of the streetlight wavering down the lane. My long hair whips me like a sheet in the wind and I lose what little balance I have, slamming into the wood-panelled fence and smashing my face. Stars explode before my eyes in dazzling streaks of blue. I shake myself, tripping and slipping like soap between the trampoline and the fence, pooling onto the scratchy surface of the Watsons' guinea-pig hutch. I’m orientated once I hear the scuffled horror of Boblet racing to his bedding compartment beneath me. But it aint quite over yet. I slide finally to the unforgiving ground like a sack of beet, like some meagre sacrifice, slumped before the cage.
Well, bugger me, I think.
I stare back up at my flat window. Except for Boblet, I’m alone down here. What happened? Where are you, Noah? I think I see him coiled around a rope of shadow, but I’m confused, in shock still? The dream, of course, is mashed to pieces, flattened like tarmac inside my head. I think of my bed above me; its warmth already evaporating. Moments ago I swear I felt his palms pressing hard upon mine, his frisky kisses streaking down my neck. I still feel the breath he left behind...
When I lick my lips I taste blood; my cheeks are wet with tears. I pull a splinter from my forehead and it frees another fragment of my dream. I’m skewered like a kebab below his slippery smile.
I can’t do this on my own, Noah. I can’t stay here without you.
When the lights don’t come on, I remember that the Watsons have gone away for the weekend, to Skeg. Has this fallingepisode been engineered by my subconscious mind just to remind me to feed the neighbour’s pet? I whisper to the terrified guinea pig but he doesn’t answer back, nor does he shift behind his bedroom wall, but I fancy I hear his heart beat, thrumming its torment, not far from mine. And if I really, really strain, I’m sure I see his outline too, the pulsing black twitch of his nose.
I remember that the Watsons keep Boblet’s hay in bin-bags beneath the trampoline, and I crawl towards it to see if I can make myself a bed. I might as well, after all. It seems to be the middle of the night.
Copyright © July 2012 Sara J Sheikh. All rights reserved
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