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Paranoia (part 3)

"Richard," I stammer. "I can explain this."

He doesn't even look me in the eyes. His stare is fixed on the trophy, he turns pale, starts to tremble. Not a good sign. He'll turn on me any second. I lift my left arm to protect my head against his blows while I thrust my right hand with the trophy towards him. But instead of hitting me, he turns on his heels and leaves.

"Richard!" I cry after him. "Don't leave me! There was somebody in the flat earlier. I need you!"

I run after him and call down the stairs twice more. The only answer I get is the door
slamming shut. My knees won't carry me anymore. I sink down on the corridor tiles and start crying.

The door of our next-door neighbour's opens.

An elderly woman pokes her head out and stares at me. She shrugs her shoulders and, with a shaking head, retreats. Neighbours aren't what they used to be. I could have done with a comforting arm around my shoulder, a cup of tea and a chat.

Perhaps it's my fault. I haven't bothered yet to introduce myself to all the other people in the house. Wiping away my tears, I get up and go back inside.

My eyes fall on the kitchen clock. Half past eleven and I haven't even put on my make-up, not to mention prepared lunch. And why haven't I gone to work? My boss will sack me.

I'm still wearing my old jeans and the sweater I usually put on when cleaning. There are some nasty dark spots down the front. No idea what caused them. That must have happened yesterday. If only I were able to remember. Has it anything to do with the football trophy? What happened in front of the fireplace?

Torturing my mind is no good. I want to know and so have no choice but to go into that hateful living room. At the same time I might as well have a look for that other thing. What was it?

"Nothing, silly girl! There's nothing else you have to look for. Pull yourself together!"

Ok, I'll do it. Never mind the weak knees, never mind the cold sweat running down my spine.

And why should I have a dry mouth? It's only a living room, nothing else. Richard's right, I'm being childish. I take a deep breath and fling myself through the door.

(To be continued)
Pictures from Clip Art Gallery