SOMEONE HAUNTS Sarah’s dreams, someone who looks just like her.
Her name is Kelly and her life is a nightmare.
Are these dreams a message for Sarah’s future, or a glimpse of Kelly’s past?
Or are they both trapped in a world that isn’t their own?
Excerpt from ‘Not My Life’
Their house seemed like any other house, without them in it. As I walked around to the back door, I couldn’t believe my luck at finding the small side window in the hall was open a crack. You had to get close to notice it. The question was, could I climb in? Did I still remember how? It had been so long since I had climbed anything. Looking around, there was no one in sight. I found a milk crate, one big enough to give me the boost I needed.
Climbing through the small opening, which in a few more months would be impossible, I thought of Jimmy. He would kill me if he found out, because of the baby. Mother would simply kill me before dying of embarrassment. Dad would probably hang his head in a dark corner of the pub and wonder where they had gone wrong.
Once inside, I looked around. Curious as to what they thought was a normal home. Mother had mentioned that Sally Woodford would be giving up work soon, as he didn’t want her continuing in the Bank, carrying heavy money bags around. I was surprised he hadn’t thought of a way for her to carry them home, judging by the video collection I was standing in front of.
There were many old gangster movies; I recognised some of the titles. I also found several ‘video nasty’s’. There was ‘Spit on your grave’, ‘Silence of the lambs’ and ‘The Devils’, amongst others. No romance or comedy, nothing light-hearted. I wondered if Sally watched them with him. Did they sit here late at night, imagining themselves in the lead roles?
I would have liked to find the place covered in dust and cobwebs, but the house was clean and tidy. Downstairs, there was a faint odour, which gave me a funny taste in my mouth, but I put it down to what I felt about the house.
There was little in the way of ornaments, two cookbooks, an A-Z, and one large, heavy book on old English tortures. Complete with horrible pictures of the rack and other devices. With details of exactly what happened to those unfortunate enough to fall foul of them. Horrible things done with hot coals and pokers; it turned my stomach. I knew I shouldn’t be looking at this disgusting stuff. A history book or not, it should be burnt.
Making sure to leave everything as it was, I tried the front door and found it hadn’t been dead-bolted. I couldn’t believe he had been so slap-dash, after telling my mother she was far too trusting. Open windows and unlocked doors were an invitation to those less desirable. That was me; I was undesirable. I was in their home, their sanctuary, a place I shouldn’t be unless invited.
On the way back to my house, I felt decidedly odd and my legs were shaking. People passing by had me jumping out of my skin. My heart was racing, adrenaline rushing, terrifying and exciting me all at the same time. Do burglars feel this way, I wondered; when they sneak out with their ill-gotten gains? Is that what makes them do it again? For the feeling of excitement, as well as the family silver?
Hoping no one had seen me leave, I crept into my own house. I couldn’t be sure, but I thought the neat curtains of the house opposite had twitched. I could always say I had absent-mindedly walked through the wrong gate.
Our front door was unlocked as usual; something that had me wondering if my mother could ever change the habits of a lifetime. I found her in the living room knitting baby things, all pale yellow and white. I could have told her to go ahead and buy blue wool.
I sat in the room with her, flicking through a magazine to the sound of clicking knitting needles, my mind unable to shake the images I had seen in his book. One, in particular, stuck fast in my mind. It was a picture of a merry-go-round, a high wooden platform with cruel metal spikes. How it was meant to be ridden was left to the reader’s imagination, but the poles protruding from the side of the platform allowed the men to rotate the device. Several images of how it worked flashed through my mind. The caption underneath the picture read, ‘Round and round she goes, where she stops, no one knows.’
The magazine was open on my lap, but I had no idea how long I had been staring into space when mother said, ‘Penny for them, Sarah?’
As if I could tell her what I had done, what I had seen in that book?