Alicia’s Story~ the third day of August.

It’s 6:45am.

I just went to leave them a message on the sofa. It was just about getting light, so no one stirred. I was unseen, just how I like it.

The main house felt warmer than the annex even though we had been told the electric would be off until next week. It’s such a maze-like structure in its historic skeleton, I can hear it creaking and groaning as if its bones are grinding and snapping, not helped by the lack of lighting or warm radiators to lubricate its joints. The summer has not been kind to us so far, I’ve been told. Our solar intake isn’t enough to keep us going. Just another rationed resource. We are only allowed our bedside lamps on from 8pm to 10pm anyway, which doesn’t help my journal keeping or my night terrors coming to claim me. I know I shouldn’t be afraid of the magic of the night and its dark embrace, but I am. My mind stretches and flicks around like an elastic band, leaving red thrash marks inside me that never seem to heal.

I pushed open the door to the old ballroom, creeping in and feeling the softness of the carpet curl itself between my bare toes. Such a contrast to the ice cold of the marble hallways and chipped floorboards in my annex. The dawn was yawning its dim orange light which was preparing its wake up hum through the ceiling high windows, but most of the room was still in darkness. The drapes had been left idly open, just hanging limply like old skin, collecting on the floor like pools of velvet macabre flesh. I glanced around at the sofas to check that no one had fallen asleep on one of them the evening before which sometimes happened in the house. That’s why I prefer the annex. I can walk round during the darkness hours and only meet ghosts. Not real people.

That’s when I noticed everything had been moved around.

The last time I went in, there were five sofas, all of different styles and in various states of disrepair. The leather one with the weird patchwork circles all over it was the one I sat on that morning when they brought me here. It was cold through my jeans and I was glad when they left the room, mumbling and whispering to each other in their bizarre code. I could stand up and change seats. That was when I noticed the one I have come to find now.

A number of coffee tables were now strewn around, one or two pushed against the windows, the couple that were usually placed in front of the sofas, most likely for foot rests not for drinks and such, were now gone leaving one at the end where my favourite sofa usually was. The girls are encouraged not to leave personal items lying around as we’ve had some stuff taken lately, so it looks bare most of the time. The end table supports a lamp, one that you can adjust and bring down to your table level. It’s bright orange. There’s not really anything else I remember about this room, only that it’s too big for these few things. The windows are too tall and menacing. The curtains ancient and stuffy, leaving a mouldy smell floating in the room despite its seemingly endless high ceiling and wall of glass that defies logic of perspective. Maybe it’s my meds that make me so fucking paranoid.

My message sofa had gone.

I stood there for a few seconds, unable to figure this out. My head was still swimming a little and I felt queasy. I didn’t trust my judgement, but I never do these days. Then I saw them. Long mounds on the floor covered up so I couldn’t see any detail. Were they bodies? I crept closer, the room being so large and bare of furniture that it seemed like I was wading through water to get there, my movements so slow, my legs now weak, cold crawling up my calves. I stopped there, I could see enough. Heads. Some heads visible because they were lolling out of the end of their cocoons, mouths open, emitting soft purring sounds just like my cat, Morgan. Another cocoon housed two bodies entwined beneath, their limbs tangled, one hand emerging, fingers spread out showing me a dark purple colour painted on the nails. A tuft of black hair spilled over the cushion but the face was buried in the covers. I crept round to the front of this cocoon, being careful not to tread on the others that were strewn around me in case I woke them up. The other head was covered in blue hair, odd strands contrasting in colour to the white flesh that it swept over. The girl was asleep on the boy’s chest, neither of them stirring despite the intensity of the jealousy that I could not stop casting towards them.

Boys are not allowed in the house or annex.

As the morning light began to filter in and illuminate the cream carpet with its cigarette burns and coffee stains, one of them began shuffling, kicking the covers and stretching their legs until imprints of feet could be seen. A loud yawn echoed round the room and the person mumbled something. It was a boy’s voice.

Shocked, I turned and ran out of the room, down the pitch black corridors and out through the glass corridor, not stopping until I had thrown myself into the haven of my room and banged the door closed, latching it and letting myself slide down with my back to the familiar wooden grain. I hugged my freezing cold legs close to my chest and breathed…and breathed until my heart stopped racing and my mind fogged over, casting away the image of the girl with the blue hair flowing all over the soft milky flesh of the boy’s chest.

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