Struggling to do even the basics, I am trying to keep my schedule going…
As always, any feedback, especially the good kind as I’m trying not to get emotional about everything, is very welcome!
Amazon Universal Link: http://myBook.to/NewNineLives
Dylan was sitting on the arm of the couch, and she could swear he had a disapproving look on his face. She sat down beside him and rubbed gently behind his ears. ‘Did you miss me, or are we still sulking?’
He shrugged her hand away and jumped gracefully down to the floor, heading for the kitchen. She knew exactly what he was doing, he would go and sit by his food bowl and glare at her.
Why did she care about him so much, she thought, deciding not to play his game. She had never been sorry she found him one rainy night not long after she moved in, but sometimes he could try the patience of a saint!
She switched the kettle on and checked the letters Janet had put on the hall table. A quick glance told her there was nothing important; she could safely bin the lot.
She didn’t know why, but she almost convinced herself that Danny might have sent a card or something. He wasn’t supposed to know where she lived, so how did he know what happened to her? There was no logical answer to that question and tried to put it out of her mind. But the mysterious voice had other ideas. The thought he might come there, to her own private place, filled her with dread.
Thinking back to her childhood with Danny, she remembered how mysterious he liked to be, revelling in pulling the wool over her eyes at every opportunity. Like hiding from her, sometimes for hours on end, only to reappear from the first place you looked.
The oddest occasion was when Matron swore she had seen him in the village, and Kate knew he had not left the house.
Danny loved to play tricks, sometimes quite cruel tricks carefully orchestrated to make her cry even though she was the older than him by several years.
There was that time he lured her to his favourite hiding place in the woods. He tied her up and terrified her; she thought he wanted to kill her, but she couldn’t recall exactly why.
Knowing all these things about him never helped her to remember exactly what it was that made her dislike him.
She knew all his faults, that he could lie and cheat, be selfish and cruel, not to mention deliberately getting her into trouble, but despite all that, she was sure there must be something else.
The kettle boiled and she made a cup of coffee, determined to stop thinking about Danny. With a bit of luck, she wouldn’t see him again.
She found herself thinking about the time she had that bad influenza when she was a child. It was a nasty virus, killing hundreds of people old and young, and surprisingly she seemed to be the only one in the village to get it. She didn’t remember much about it, but Matron constantly moaned about how she sat up with her for three nights, desperately trying to keep her temperature down or she might have died.
The voice in her head mumbled something about a fourth life, and Kate groaned. Not that again, and what did it mean; fourth life? Did it think she was some kind of cat?
Her mind travelled back to the boarding school. Why was she the only one to get the flu, what was so special or different about her? The one thing she did seem to remember clearly was Danny coming into her dormitory and whispering to her she should have died and seemed angry she had not.
She remembered feeling sad, frightened and alone that day, and swore as soon as she grew up her life would be different.
She started to think back, forcing herself to try to count all the times she had nearly died. Her memory wasn’t what it was and she soon gave up. What did any of it matter anyway?
Kate was putting her medication in the bathroom cabinet when she suddenly remembered her cigarettes. There was an unopened carton in her bedside cupboard she should throw away. The fact she had no desire for one was surprising and unexpected. She wouldn’t push it though, a promise was a promise.
She had wanted to quit for a while now, along with the diet she never quite managed to start. It was time to turn over a new leaf, better late than never, or so they say.
Kate opened the cupboard door next to her bed, expecting to see the familiar royal blue carton inside, but it wasn’t there.
She stared into the cupboard, fully expecting them to materialise at any minute. When they didn’t, she slowly sat down on the bed, trying to remember exactly when she put them there. She brought them on her way back from having lunch with Sam. That was on Thursday and she remembered it clearly because she almost ran out and wanted to be sure there were enough for the weekend. Today was Saturday, so where were they?
Kate systematically checked every hiding place and came to the obvious conclusion they had gone, and where?
She noticed other things too; things had been moved as if someone was looking for something. She became aware of a faint trace of tobacco smoke laced with a flowery scent that seemed to be lingering in every room. Gradually a horribly creepy sensation began to seep into her mind and body. She felt sick; trying desperately to deny the fact someone had been in her flat and taken her stash of cigarettes. She couldn’t deny the fact the cigarettes had gone and somebody had taken them. Someone had touched her things and ruined the perfect peace and tranquillity of her private place, her sanctuary. It will probably never feel the same, she thought, sadly.
Who could have done it?
Her brother’s smiling face floated into her mind, chilling her to the bone. As far as she knew, he didn’t smoke. Could it have been him?
How did he get in? The lock wasn’t broken, so did he have a key?
She wandered around the flat and looking around her perfect living room, she shivered, realising she had always felt safe there, but not anymore. Someone had spoiled everything she worked so hard to achieve, and her first impulse was to run…