It’s been three weeks since he left.
The long nights spent drinking as you stare into a laptop feel endless… sometimes you make it to the bedroom before you pass out, sometimes not. the light is starting to waver, the room is darkening around you.
Friends have passed by, you’ve managed to avoid them for the most part by pretending to be out, ignoring their calls.
Maybe you’re just trying to work things out in your head, maybe you just like the silence.
It’s the middle of summer, the heat is oppressive even as the clock ticks towards 11.
You want another drink but tomorrow is a Monday, and you have to force yourself into a suit bright and early.
You can’t call in sick again.
You climb into bed, trying to ignore his shirt mocking you from the back of a chair.
It’s finally dark out, the open curtains are letting in a tiny bit of light from the moon. After a decade of the city being bathed in the orange glow of the streetlamps, you and Paul enjoyed laying in bed and seeing the light of the moon shining in. Now you were home alone in the cottage you once shared, it was another part of your isolation. You could probably make it over there to close the curtains. Considering how long it took you to make it to the bed, you opt to leave it.
You’re triggering yourself. Thinking of him.
Perhaps it was time to get some sleep. But you don’t want to face your dreams, not yet.
You blink tears away and pull out your smartphone. You chuckle as it takes you several attempts to input the correct code.
Since the break up, you’ve been using Twitter quite a lot, it’s a good way to keep in touch with friends from back in London, and they’ve been a good support network during tough times. You only have a handful of friends in the county and while they’re good people, they don’t really understand what you’re going through.
Twitter never changes; news about a recent celebrity death and a recent political controversy all feature highly, a few former workmates are having a technical discussion about a coding dilemma.
You know the answer, you’re about to chime in when you come across a tweet from him. He’s posted a photo from the hotel room of his balcony “Me and Tom, enjoying venice! #TTOT #Travel #Venice” he said. The view really is beautiful.
He always said Tom was just a friend though. You feel anger starting to course through you. It doesn’t matter whether you were just friends… it isn’t your business anymore.
You don’t really feel like chipping in on the problem now.
“Feeling low, everyone else having a better Sunday?” you post. You have around a thousand followers, someone will be online, even this late.
“Sucks to hear you’re having a rough time. Come down to London next weekend for dinner?” comes one of several responses.
You get a text from your sister too: “Saw your tweet!! don’t let Paul get you down! Plenty of hot guys in the sea! ;) “
You don’t really share her teenage enthusiasm, and you don’t much feel like replying to anyone. You put the phone down, fall into a drunken sleep.
Although you have a brief struggle with mania as you lay there in the darkness, you bottle it up and get some sleep.
You wake suddenly during the night.
It’s wet out.
The closed curtains block most of the moonlight and have coated the room in darkness. You grasp at your phone and the blinding glow tells you it’s a little before 4. You can’t justify getting up yet, it won’t be light for another 2 hou…
You didn’t close the curtains last night.
You look towards the window, not three feet from way you lay, and you can clearly see the silhouette of a person, backlit by the moon.
Your breath catches in your throat. Maybe you should call the police?
But what if it’s Paul? You did get the locks changed after he left in a fit of impotent rage. But why would he just be watching you like this?
Maybe Paul tried his key and it didn’t work.
You push yourself out of bed and stagger to the window.
This was a bad idea.
The shape is wearing an olive green raincoat, a peaked hood that hides most of the face behind shadow. As you approach the window, a slight tilt to the head acknowledges your presence.
It’s a predatory gesture, it chills you to the core. “Paul?” you chance, finding words for the first time.
The figure raises a single finger to the hood in a “quiet” gesture, before raising another hand to pull down the hood roughly.
The hood comes down. This guy is wearing the stupidest luchadore mask you’ve ever seen. You want to laugh for being unnerved, but there’s something about the manner that’s just threatening enough to put you on edge.
You’re still standing there when he points right at you, causing you to take an involuntary step back. Still no words. “Paul?” you chance again weakly.
He shakes his head once, bringing the knife into view.