Story: Three Knocks

This town has changed, almost unrecognisable since I last came here. I’m sure it never used to be quite so… loud.

I’ve been running for far too long; been trying to see everything, always telling myself that I need to do one… last… thing.

I’m tired of looking over my shoulder. The soles of my shoes are beyond reparable, and my feet have been bleeding for days.

Perhaps it’s been long enough, anyway. I’ve had my chance.

The front door creaks as I push it open, and dust rises as I take steps further forward; semi-darkness greets me, only a little light penetrating dirt-encrusted windows. The house is silent, and my feet are tentative on the stairs, almost expecting them to splinter beneath me; there’s a fair chance of it.

This house is the only thing that’s seemed to remain constant, but even now I can hear things skittering on the wood of the floor – the new inhabitants, making it their own.

I let out a breath, closing the door behind me – almost as if it will help – and sitting on the bed. It creaks, another layer of dust rising, and I’m aware that I’m not the only thing moving on it.

Another breath. Another. I count them, and I wait.

Three knocks on the door. Quiet, polite. I straighten, knowing that there is nothing I need to say, and watch him enter.

He smiles gumlessly, reassuringly, and holds out one boned hand. I look into empty sockets, return his smile, and take it.

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