When I woke this morning, I knew the wet, open wounds on my foot had fused with the bedsheet without having to feel it. I sat up and tried to peel the fabric away as slowly and as gently as I could, but it still stung, causing my eyes to water and fresh blood to ooze out.
As I lowered my left foot to the ground, I yelped in pain – not just because of the ripped skin, but because the muscles in that leg ached so terribly. I had held it up for a total of nine hours yesterday.
Arthur’s smug face materialised in my mind. To soothe myself, I imagined grabbing the stick out of his thick, rough fingers and ramming it deep into the jelly of his eye.
As I tried to stand, I realised my right leg didn’t feel much better. Holding onto the walls for support, I limped to the kitchen to pour myself a glass of water.
Just as I was considering whether the pain of getting into the shower was worth it, I felt a surge of panic – it was light outside my kitchen window. The sun rose just before eight o’clock at this time of year.
I looked over to the clock on the wall.
It was eight forty-five.
Today’s Advent House door was going to open at nine o’clock. It would be impossible to get there in time, even if I had been able to sprint all the way.
But then a sudden calmness washed over me.
“I’m not going to the Advent House,” I said to myself, as if it were a vow I needed to say aloud in order to abide by it.
I picked up my telephone, wondering whether I should call the library to tell them I would be unable to work, or whether I should warn Aunt Iris in case they questioned her about my absence.
I put it back on the receiver, feeling stupid. No one would pick up. They were all at the Advent House.
Then I considered barricading myself in by pushing the bookshelf in front of the door, but I quickly decided against that. Not only would it be difficult in the state I’m in, but they would find another way in, no matter what I did. I was just going to have to sit in my armchair and wait for them to come to me.
And that’s just what I did. All day. I managed to eat a few bites of leftovers around lunchtime – it was all I could stomach – but for most of today I’ve just been sitting, waiting.
It’s dark outside now, and no one has come for me yet.
It’s only a matter of time.