There’s a bottle of bourbon sat on the side there, it may as well have eyes as I’m fairly sure it is staring at me. There’s a trace of a mouth, too. I shake my head, trying to rid my ears of the whispering voice. I blink hard, perhaps my eyes aren’t working right. I won’t reach for it, not just yet. There is a steady drip drip of wine slipping out of the glass. My wrist weak and limp from overindulgence. Wastrel. But i haven’t really noticed, and now it’s too late.
My hand jerks upward, sloshing more of the red-purple liquid. Not only does it end up on the carpet, it spills onto my dress as well. The bloody stain seeps into the fibres of the most expensive piece of clothing I’ve ever owned. No matter. It’s not like I’m wearing it for anything special, oh no, that would be ridiculous, of course.
I snigger – a horse-pig amalgam sound, right from the back of my nose. My glass is charged – a miracle in itself, so often it’s already been drained – so i raise it in toast and a small fountain of alcoholic droplets creates an arc in front of my face. A few of the drops land on the cat. Until that point asleep, she starts, turns and bares her teeth at me. She hisses with a look of pure contempt, then slinks away looking for another cosy spot where I won’t spill anything on her. I toast again and drink deep, not that there’s really anything left in the glass after I’ve thrown most of it around the room.
My eyes roll.
I’m sat on the floor, wedged into the right angle space of the corner sofa. The animal hide is cold against my skin as I tilt my head back and gaze, unfocussed, at the ceiling. Light from the main bulb temporarily blinds me, I screw my eyes up and raise a hand to shield my dinner plate sized pupils. But the hand holds a glass. In an instant it has left my hand, swiftly sailing across the room. I don’t realise I’ve done this as my fingers close against my weary, haggard face.
Then the explosion as it meets its end, disintegrating into a thousand shards on making contact with the wall to my left.
At least, I assume it’s hit the wall, I’m not actually looking.
A piercing, inhuman noise bursts forth, greeting my ear with sonic agony. I crumple, stunned and frightened, my eyes burst open and I find myself face down, hands clamped firmly over my assaulted ears. I fervently glance one way, then another. I don’t understand – I’m no longer in the living room.
It is dark and the ground is cold beneath my knees, damp. I’m rooted to the spot, completely disoriented. My head is spinning, pounding. I daren’t move. It’s cliche but I can’t help blinking my eyelids a few times, to make sure I’m not dreaming or having some strange, drunken hallucination – the kind you experience after dragging too hard on a heavily laden spliff.
I shake my head some, trying to dislodge the vision I’m sure can’t be real. My fingernails dig into the sodden soil under my palms.
The dress is ruined. The dress I spent so long choosing. My synapses fire, remembering in vivid detail all the times I stood on the dressmaker’s stool, terrified the old witch would stab me with her pins. She might have been an old crone, but she made a fabulous wedding gown. Now, here am I, with what would look to any other person like blood all over it, with moss and soil now thrown in for good measure. I imagine I must look like Miss Havisham, in the Dickens book.
I sigh, temporarily forgetting that I’m outdoors in a silken, flowing, flimsy gown, in the middle of the night and it’s February. I can almost feel the frost forming on my cheeks, my breath puffing in tiny clouds.
I snap back to reality.
The chill breeze licks at my bare arms and I shiver. I slowly rise, knowing I must discover where I am and figure out what is going on. I run my hands over the dress in a futile attempt to remove some of the debris, my head spins and my knees weaken, I almost fall, catching myself on a brick wall behind me. I lean until the dizziness passes, take a deep breath, and scan the surround. The pale light of a half moon lights the scene.
The building I lean against is 3 stories, pale rough bricks scratching at my back. On this wall, at least, there are no windows, and no door. A rough track which I assume passes for a road travels alongside, not tarmacked, as I would expect, but mud and stone. I am on an incline – above me the slope climbs, in front there appears to be a junction about a quarter mile ahead but the moonlight isn’t strong enough for me to see clearly. Left and right there is nothing. There are no other buildings, no vehicles, just a few naked trees and some tough looking grass at the side of the track.
Should I make my way to the crossroads, or see if there is anyone in this house – I say house, I’ve no idea. I haven’t looked at it properly.
Strangely I’m not frightened. My breath comes in short gasps but that is due to the cold, and my eyes flick, trying to find anything that will give a clue as to where I am.