Monday, 11 February 2013
Mental Pause - Chapter 7 (excerpt)
It was Friday night and the boys were out, Conrad was working and Abbie had an evening to herself. Ah bliss! She quickly threw on a load of laundry that had gone forgotten for a few days… the boys wouldn’t have any clean underwear left if she didn’t. Then she tossed a bag of popcorn in the microwave, poured herself a glass of wine, popped Rent into the DVD player and planned to sing along to every song without being teased.
She climbed into bed well after midnight and was asleep when Conrad got home but she felt him as he climbed in beside her. She snuggled back against him into their favorite spooning position.
Not long after, Abbie awoke to the pin pricks of heat crawling all over her body like a thousand red ants leaving tiny, scorching footprints behind.
Conrad started like he had been burned. “Jesus, you’re burning up!” He held her at arms length. “Are you okay? It’s like a furnace just switched into overdrive.”
“I know. Think how it feels from the inside,” Abbie replied despondently as she flapped the covers to try to get some respite yet knowing it was going to get worse. “I’m going to get some air.” She climbed out of bed and padded in her bare feet to the door.
“Want me to come with you?” Conrad asked, a tinge of concern appearing in his voice.
“No… But thanks. I won’t be long.”
“It was raining when I came in and it’s cooled down a lot tonight… your raincoat’s by the back door. You don’t want to get a chill.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine,” Abbie’s voice had an edge of irritation. She couldn’t help it but with a herculean effort, softened her tone. “I’ll be back in a while.”
She tiptoed past the boys’ rooms and crept down the stairs and into the kitchen, slipped on her crocs and her raincoat but left it unzipped to let in the cool air. She went off to the left, down the side of the house to the driveway, avoiding looking at the back gate, still not having ventured to the other side of the fence since the frying pan incident.
She walked briskly down the sidewalk to make the best use of the air filtering in and around her body, while the sweat poured down her back, and spackled her upper lip. Rounding the first turn on the crescent where they lived, she glanced back at Bess’s house. Her lights were off so hopefully Bess was sleeping. Abbie didn’t need the neighborhood gossip talking about her wild walk in the middle of the night. She made a quick turn onto the cul de sac that jutted off to the right and headed for the familiar pathway between two houses that led to the next street. The wind was kicking up so she dug her hands into her pockets. Her hand felt the small cylinder of pepper spray that she had carried while the neighborhood was being terrorized by that awful pit bull. Guess she didn’t have to worry about that any more. She felt her stomach do a flip-flop and wondered again if she was going to get into trouble for that.She heard a rustle in the bush just ahead and stopped dead in her tracks. A man in a trench coat and cap pulled down low over his eyes stepped out.