The long, draped coats which hung on the outside of the doors in the spare room would always look like a person, in the shadow of the night. I never gave them much thought during the day. Yet as the shimmers in my eyes grew more intense, moving shadows with flicking tails as the result of retinal bleeding, the transmuting effect of the fabric in the darkness would begin to become somewhat more disturbing by addition, and so the coats would just need to be moved. In the morning I went to touch the black material and my fingers passed right through.
The bright white of the walls of the room, sanitary, inexplicit, were offset by the darkness of the corners; unlit due to the heady realism of maintenance costs, or perhaps a desire to fester fear, uncertainty. The policeman certainly sat in his plastic chair. When he stood he would leave a sweaty outline of his crotch on the seat.
‘My mother is very proud of me.’
The words barely resonated in the polystyrene buffer of the false ceiling, they were absorbed into the fluffy inaneness of the filing cabinets and convection heater. A crusty remnant of a damp tissue ball dangled precariously above the policeman’s head, wafting vaguely in the waves. He fiddled with his pen and perspired onto his chair. He should have switched the convection heater off. He was only peripherally aware of this.
‘Although she’s dead. I killed her.’
Suddenly the room went very cold. The policeman held his pen, mid-tap. The potted plants on the windowsill quivered with the astriction.
‘I thought this knife was my finger, and her heart was a loaf of bread.’
In the swathes of cool heat and perplexity, he at last noticed that she had extended her finger. It was withdrawn in her next statement, too quickly to comprehend the rippling actions of diminutive human consciousness.
‘Everyone makes mistakes.’
Somewhere in time the ripples would intersect. Uncertainty grew from his lungs, palpitating breaths shuddering in liaison with the potted plants who were literally beside themselves with all the attention they were getting. The heat began to crawl into his flesh again, slowly, ascending the hairs on his back with each cruel second which passed. He remembered foggily that he’d left half a cup of coffee on his desk in the main office, by the window with a view of the sky which had vomited sleet for most of the week.
‘My Dad’s dead too, I thought his brain was a block of cheese.’
His desk had a pleasant coolness. The coffee powder his wife had bought for him to take to work was nice. Not great, but nice.
‘I put the cheese on the bread, you know.’
A rattling at the door convulsed words out from the pit of his stomach which he wasn’t quite prepared for.
‘But… we brought you in to… discuss… getting the pigeons off the roof,’ he struggled to pick up his pen which he didn’t remember dropping.
‘Never mind all that,’ she replied. ‘It was the worst meal I’ve ever had.’
‘It’s a frozen smoothie,’ she said, ‘but I’ve just hit a vein of anti-anxiety medication and I think it goes all the way to the bottom.’
He raised his eyebrows and walked away.
She didn’t blame him, she would have done the same, had she remembered to bring her horse legs.