Close this search box.


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

smother me.

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?

Thump, thump.



The Times, February 21st




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.


Claire Howland


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