It was night time, I was a woman alone, and I went to investigate the unknown noise in my aubergine flannel jumpsuit
I was drifting off, then my leg jerked upwards and I was awake. Why was I awake? I lay static, trying to figure it out. Then I heard a prolonged scrape, and I knew it was a repeat sound.
I shimmied out of bed and mashed my feet into the loose piles of thread I call slippers. I went out to the landing, put an arm across my chest, and trotted quietly down the staircase.
There it was again. Coming from the kitchen. A shaft of light from the front door transom bisected the central living area. I zigzagged between the closely packed furniture to reach the arch leading into the kitchen.
I flattened myself against the wall alongside the arch, then poked my head around the edge. It struck me as a Charlie’s Angels sort of move, and if I hadn’t been wearing aubergine and starting to sweat I would have rather enjoyed the moment. I saw nothing.
There it went again. Rr-eei-k.
I dropped onto all fours and crawled into the kitchen. As I passed the sink I stretched an arm upwards and felt gently for the peanut butter-smeared knife I knew to be resting on the edge. Whiffy weapon in hand, I edged forward to the far window, my knees bruising as they pressed against the unforgiving tiles.
I reached the window. It started two feet above the ground. I looked up at the thick yellowed netting that served as a curtain. It was there when I bought the place, and I hadn’t got round to changing it. Sliding my head under the netting, which hung a few inches below the window’s lip, I inched up to peer outside. A pair of eyes stared straight back into mine and I choked on air, my eyes welling up from the reaction.
I stood up and yanked the window open. Samuel – at least that’s the name I used for him – barely blinked. There was a complete composure to him, as always, and I thought about shoving him off the ledge.
We stared at each other a moment longer, then finally I said, “If you want to live here – fine. But for this, you’re getting neutered.”