While He's Away - Part one
















         
Five miles away from the village and two miles from the nearest house, the little cottage stood alone. At this time of year the whole area was engulfed in real country darkness and the cottage glowed like a single candle in an otherwise pitch black room. Wind and rain pelted the outside of the house and the windows were close to freezing.

Inside however, there was a different atmosphere entirely. Jen sat in the living room on the little couch wrapped in a blanket feeling toasty warm. The blanket was completely unneeded as she had put the fire on a few hours before and the room was baking hot. The blanket was more for comfort really rather than anything else as she had planned on watching a creepy film before going to bed.

She must have misread the TV guide though, and instead of sitting terrified watching The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, she now sat watching Sister Act. But she was still terrified. Whoopi Goldberg twirled and danced around on screen, her eyebrow-less face grinning at her from the TV. Jen tucked her head under the blanket and thought that maybe it was time for a hot chocolate followed by a bath. There was nothing better than lying in a red hot bath while the wind howled outside.


From under the blanket she could hear Whoopi having an argument with someone with a strong new York accent. she started to wonder whether people from New York actually talked like that when she heard a sound. It sounded like a clunking. Is that those stupid pipes again she thought, and peeped out from under the blanket to make sure the sound wasn’t coming from the television. She wasn’t sure so she picked up the remote and clicked the sound off. She listened for the sound. . . nothing.

She clicked the mute button again and as soon the volume came back on she heard the sound. There was definitely a noise coming from somewhere.  It sounded like someone was knocking on the front door. Who would be at the door this late she wondered. She looked over at the clock to check the time and heard the knocking again. It always made her feel uncomfortable when someone knocked on the door when they could easily just ring the bell. And the bell even had a little light on it. It was probably the police; no one ever came round this late.

She walked slowly to the living room door and looked across the hallway to the front door. It was eerily quiet. She couldn’t see anyone through the little stained glass window on the side of the door frame but she wouldn’t have been able to anyway really. Not unless they had their face pressed right up against it.

She opened the living room door and quietly walked up the stairs to get to the bedroom at the front of the house. She wouldn’t have opened the front door even during the day time without checking who was there first, and she definitely wasn’t going to at night.  It was a much better idea to go and sneakily peep through the curtains like a nosy neighbor.

The bedroom light was off and the room was almost pitch black. That was good, she didn’t want anyone to be looking up at the window and see her peeping out. Then she would have to answer it. Making sure she didn’t hit her legs off the side of the bed, she made her way to the window and pulled open a small slit to look through.  She slowly pressed her face to the opening and looked down so she could see the porch and the front door. . .

It was empty. There was no one there, just the little frog statue sitting smiling in the flickering light. She hated that frog. She stuck up her middle finger. The frog still smiled.

Downstairs In the living room the film was still playing and now there were nuns on the stage singing. “I think it’s time for the hot chocolate” she said to Whoopi Goldberg.

While the kettle was boiling Jen sat at the table looking through magazines for some home decoration ideas. She would have to start with the kitchen; it was the only part of the house that actually needed anything. The cabinets were ok really but the whole room could do with something new. Tomorrow morning she would wake up early and go and look round the DIY store for some inspiration before meeting Bobbi, and maybe buy something. When the kettle had finished, she made the hot chocolate and went to get some cream out of the fridge.  This was going to taste amazing.

Lying on the couch with the hot chocolate in one hand and a book in the other she was feeling completely relaxed when she heard another knock at the front door.

“Shit”. The sound had startled her and the hot chocolate nearly tipped onto the floor. It was oak and they’d only just had it sanded a few months ago. There was another knock, but much louder this time. There was definitely someone there. She felt worried, why would they have left the first time? Maybe it was the police, they might be going door to door or something. She crept quickly over to the living room door again and slowly opened it so she could see the front door. There was no one at the little window that she could see. The person at the door was banging now in slow, loud, heavy thuds.

“Shit,” she said out loud again, and then instantly regretted it in case the person at the door had heard her. She crept up the stairs again so she could have another look at the front door. It’s probably, definitely the police, she told herself as she maneuvered her way across the dark bedroom.

There had been no more knocks or bangs on the front door since she had been upstairs, so maybe the person had gone. She hoped she would look at out of the window and see a policeman or two standing there. That would be the most likely thing to happen she thought as she peeled back a little opening in the curtain. She pressed her face to the glass and peered out.

OH SHIT! There was someone there by the front door and it wasn’t a police man. She quickly crouched down by the window. Fuck did he see me? He couldn’t have. It’s too dark in hereBut he must have seen. He had been looking right up at the window.

She had only seen him for a second but he had been staring up. And there was something wrong with his face. Something badly wrong. Goosebumps spread across her back and up her shoulders. She was scared. Very scared, and now the thumping had started again, but it was louder now. In a panic she ran across the bedroom and grabbed her phone off the charger.  She called her boyfriend but hung up after the first ring. And then she called the police.

“Hello this is the police how can we help you?”

“Hi, there’s someone outside my house and he’s banging on the door, I think he’s trying to break in.”

“Ok can I have your address?

“er.. yes its 214 Trafalgar grove”

“Ok, ill dispatch an officer to come and see you, but ‘ll take some more details ok.”

“Ok, yes. Please hurry I think he’s still there.”

“Just try and stay calm, there’s a unit not too far from you they should be there as soon as possible. You said someone was trying to break in.”

“Yes. . . yes I think so, I heard a knock at the door a while ago, but there was no one there, and then I heard the knock again and he started banging. . . so . . I came upstairs to look out of the window and looked out and there was a man there. . and he was staring at me. And he started banging on the door again.”

“Did you recognise the man? and if not can you give a description so we can advise the officers what to look out for when they arrive.”

“Yes. . . I didn’t see him for long but . . . he was large. . . tall. . over six foot. . . and his face . . . I don’t know, he had a strange face.”

“What do you mean strange? Like a disfigurement or something?”

“err. . yes I would say yes.”

“And is the person still outside your house now?”

“I don’t know. . . shall I go and have a look or shall I stay here?”

“yes”

“yes, stay here, or yes go and look?”

“Please go and have a look. The officers should be arriving any minute now so don’t worry ok.”

“Yes. . . Ok, I’ll go and look”


Jen clutched the phone to her chest and walked toward the curtain. Knowing the police were on the way she felt braver now and pulled back the curtain. She didn’t care if the person was there or not. She hoped they would be so she could watch them get arrested on her doorstep.
But the doorstep was empty. . .

“Hello. . . Hi are you still there, yeah there’s no one there now, I think they’ve gone.”

“Ok, that’s good, would you like me to stay on the line until the officers arrive?”

Jen agreed and for the next five minutes she had the most boring telephone conversation of her life. But it was better than waiting alone in her bedroom for the police to arrive while that freak hid somewhere outside her house.

The police had arrived and Jen had told them exactly what she had told the person on the phone. They had nodded and wrote little notes in their books and commented on how nice the coffee was. They had searched the back garden and checked all the windows and doors to make sure they were secure. And they had found nothing. Of course they had. Whoever had been at the door had been long gone by the time they had arrived. One of the officers, who looked far too old to be of any use, had told her that it was probably just a drunk who had got the wrong door. And the other one had made her feel bad by saying she was only scared of the man because he looked disfigured.

Jen was pleased they had gone, she didn’t need some stranger preaching about discriminating against a possible burglar. They didn’t even seem to think she was at any risk. And the tone of voice they had used with her was patronising. Little woman at home by herself scared by the bad man at the front door. She thought they would probably be joking about her to the other officers back at the station. 

She walked back into the living room and sat down on the couch. She was exhausted now. So much for a relaxing evening in she thought. The cup of hot chocolate she had made earlier sat next to her on the little table by the couch. It would be cold by now but fuck it, she was going to drink it anyway. She took one sip and spat it straight out. The top inch was a thick rubbery layer. “Ughh sick!” she said to the cup. She put the cup back down and started laughing out loud. It was nice to laugh, she was actually happy. Mick would have been laughing too if he was there and she couldn’t wait to see him. Maybe they were right about the little poor woman at home alone she thought. Anyway, it WAS late and she took the cup into the kitchen and poured the hot chocolate into the sink.

As she stood by the kitchen sink she looked out of the window and into the darkness of the garden. It was good that the police had checked everywhere. Her eyes followed the edges of the fence when I a thought struck her . . . oh fuck they hadn’t checked everywhere. They hadn’t checked the little Wendy house.

The Wendy house was standing directly opposite her at the far end of the garden. Its little cobweb covered windows concealed in darkness. She hadn’t told them to look inside there. It was covered in bushes and she had forgotten it was even there. She remembered watching them walk round, shining their torches into the bushes but they hadn’t actually looked inside the Wendy house. She leant forward over the sink, cupped her hand round her eyes and stared into the darkness. 

It was too dark to really see anything from where she stood. The garden was surrounded by trees and any light from the street lamps was almost completely blocked. The sense of anxiety that she felt earlier in the night had started to creep back into her mind and the silence of the night was being replaces by the sound of her beating heart. Her eyes tired from the straining, unfocused and adjusted, and the sight of the Wendy house was being replaced by the reflection of her own scared face staring back at her in the window.

Stupid, she thought. You’re being stupid. She poured herself a glass of water, turned off the light, and went upstairs to bed.


……………………………………………………….


From the back of the Wendy house he smiled as he saw the kitchen light go out. She had been looking right at him but she hadn’t been able to see him. He was happy about that. He let out a strained squeal and clapped his large hands together. Soon she would fall asleep and then he would enter the house and stroke her hair while she slept. Like he had done each night since that man had left three nights ago. He had stupidly thought he could just knock on the door and maybe she'd invite him in. But he had seen the look on her face when she'd seen him from the upstairs window. She had been petrified. It would be much better to keep in the shadows. . .For now.

For Part Two Please Click HERE