Sameera watched closely as the second’s hand moved painfully across the face of her antique wall clock, aching to conjoin with the minute hand and then continue forward. She had come to hate the sound it made, it wasn’t even a proper tick-tock. It sounded more like horse’s hooves on a road. Kriti had suggested that she replace it with a digital clock instead, but she disliked that idea. Not knowing exactly when the number on the screen would change made her even more uneasy. She had decided to stick with this one, although she wasn’t sure. She closed her eyes, trying to drive away all the thoughts from her overheated brain and fall asleep.
Sameera opened her eyes again. She sat up on her elbow and switched on her bedside lamp. Was there something she had forgotten to do? Had she checked all the faucets and all the doorknobs? Even the ones at the back? What about the window shutters? Maybe the garage lights?
“No, no,” she could almost hear Kriti speaking. “You have the list to help you, remember? You have checked everything off. Now please, for Heaven’s sake, go to sleep. You have to wake up early.”
After a few seconds of a mental battle with Kriti, she switched off the lamp and flopped onto her pillow.
She knew what she had forgotten. It was the hatch for Aristotle, her pug. She knew it was on the list but was convinced she had forgotten to open it somehow.
“It is open, Sameera,” Kriti said in her mind.
But what if she hadn’t? He would be trapped outside. What if he wandered away? She wanted to check, but she knew that if she left her bed, she would never return.
As another tussle ensued inside her head, the clock struck twelve. That decided it for her. She pushed back her sheets and stepped out. She walked purposefully towards Aristotle’s bed, and sure enough, he was snoring away peacefully.
“Oh well,” she sighed. Since she was already out, she decided to recheck everything.
The silence felt heavy, pressing against her shoulders as she moved to each door and window. The nerve ends of her fingers started to tremble with pain, and the vibrations of it spread through her fingers all over her body. A slow dull ache started to form a hollow in her heart. The pain in her body abruptly vanished, only to be replaced by an excruciating numbness.
She was almost back near her room. She wanted to make it this time, but her brain opened all the floodgates. Memories of her traumatic experience with an intruder rushed forward and tears blurred her vision. Three years she had spent with Dr Kriti, battling severe anxiety and panic attacks. She stretched her hand forward, trying to recall all the steps she had been taught.
“Breathe, relax, count to ten…” Dr Kriti had said.
But her legs gave way, and she crumpled onto the floor in a heap.
Photo From: Unsplash
This is an entry for the event #twelve #Five00-10 at ArtoonsInn Writers Room.
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