The phone is ringing. Reluctantly, I pick it up.
‘Hello,’ says a voice. I say nothing.
‘Hello? This is Kylie from next door. I’m ringing to make sure you’re ok. We’ve not seen you
go out for ages. Are you ill?’
‘No.’ I answer, my voice a quiet croak from disuse.
‘I’ll come over, if you like?’ Kylie says.
No! It’s dangerous. I throw the phone at the wall, rush to the door and check the bolt.
I pull the blinds down, rush to my bedroom, and climb into the wardrobe. Each second I
spend in there seems like a hour. Then I hear a noise – a thump on the front door. Or is it
I close my eyes, breathing heavily. There it is again. Thump, thump, thump.
I’m being strangled! I feel hands around my throat. I open my eyes. There’s no one behind
me – just an old jumper.
I listen. The thumping’s stopped.
Carefully, I open the wardrobe door, and step out.
I look thoroughly, but no one is in the flat.
I should probably eat something. The milk in the fridge is off, and the bread in the bread
bin is mouldy. I shudder at the thought of venturing to the supermarket again. I find some
beans in the cupboard, an overripe banana, and a cake that is still in date.
Carefully, I turn on the hob to cook the beans. The sound of twisting the knob terrifies me,
so I turn it off, opting for cold beans instead. I open the can, the sharp edge sending
shivers up my spine. I eat the beans, and the banana then tear of chunk off the cake (I
dispensed with knives long ago).
That night, I lock my bedroom door and get onto my bed – I don’t have sheets in case they
As usual, I can’t sleep. What if I never wake up? I fight to keep my eyes open.
The dark scares me. Anything could come after me, concealed in the blackness.
I see… a body, lying on a bed, a shroud covering the face. I see black figures crying, a
coffin, a hole in the ground. I’m sinking, down into the earth.
‘Help!’ I gasp.
I can hear footsteps again.
I get up, standing uneasily next to the bed. Thump, thump, thump.
I flee for the wardrobe. Thump, thump, thump. I cover my ears, trying to block the sound
out, but it gets louder. I can’t breathe, I’m so terrified.
Thump, thump, thump. Why won’t it stop?
The Times, February 21st
MAN DEAD IN WARDROBE
Yesterday, the body of Karl Martins, 55, was discovered inside a wardrobe in a room
of a London flat. No signs of injury were found on his body, and the flat’s door was
bolted, showing no sign of forced entry. Police believe a heart attack was the most
likely cause of death. Why Mr Martins would shut himself in his own wardrobe
remains a mystery.