The walls were almost shaking with the volume of the noises that leaked through from next door. Sudden bangs and thuds, firework-like crackles and ripping and tearing and just a cacophony of sound. Meg lay in bed completely still, as if someone might hear her move over the din happening to the left of her. She didn’t want to even breathe too loudly, for fear of the unknown crashes. It was almost 3am and she had to get up for work in 4 hours yet she was too scared to really close her eyes.
It had started at around 1 in the morning, she thought. She hadn’t really paid too much attention to the time when she was woken by a thud on the roof. There had been silence for a few minutes and she had settled back down to sleep when there was a shriek. Too shrill and afraid to be a scream, an actual shriek of horror and terror. She had not moved since then.
Another neighbour had called the police. She heard them pull up outside, sirens off but lights flashing through her curtains. The police had arrived and hammered on the door, she was fairly certain they had kicked it down when they got no response but it was hard to tell over the clamour. The lights were still flashing outside but no one seemed to have come back out. The noises hadn’t even paused as several officers ran up the stairs to the source. Meg was pretty sure she had heard several of them screaming.
She had not moved in 2 hours, her eyes were heavy with tiredness and she desperately needed to pee but she could not move.
The din and clamour stopped abruptly at around 4am.
Meg still did not move, the night passing slowly.
She got up when her alarm went off, going through the motions of getting ready for work. The police cars were still parked on the street, lights still going. She didn’t know what else to do so she packed up her lunch and grabbed her bus pass from the kitchen counter.
She sneaked a look around the door before stepping out but there was no one around. A few of the neighbours were peeking out of curtains and around blinds but no one had ventured out yet. Meg nodded at the old lady across the street who did not respond. She was staring at the house next door and not paying any attention to Meg.
Meg took a deep breath before glancing at the house. She didn’t know what she expected but it was definitely not her middle aged neighbour putting the bin out in his best suit and slippers. He caught her eye as he headed back down the path to the front door. He nodded and waved.
“Odd weather we’re having.”
These were the first words he had ever spoken to her in the 3 years she had lived there.
He did not mention the empty police cars parked haphazardly in front of his house. Just smiled and ambled back in.
Meg went to work for lack of anything better to do.
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