She awoke with a gasp and sat up in bed for the second time that night. The room was dark. She sat still, opening and closing her eyes, trying to figure reality from the dream she’d had. She couldn’t remember much of the dream, just a feeling of terror; of being chased perhaps, or of being hurt.

She looked for the red light of the numbers of her clock radio, but the doona she’d flung off during the dream had covered it. She leant over to move the doona and her hand touched the electric flex of the bedside lamp. She gasped and drew back, then realised what it was and chuckled out loud.

The chuckle was met by another laugh, and she shivered then froze. She felt cold creeping up the back of her neck, and her eyes swept the room in the hope that she’d be able to see something out of the darkness. She heard footsteps outside and heard a conversation start up in the close distance. The laugh repeated. She breathed three times, then turn the light on. The room was empty.

It was not the room she’d expected, then room she’d grown up in. It was the first night that she’d slept in her new place, and she was only just starting to get used to the location. It was noisier than her last room. This room was at the front of the house, and was just off Smith St, so there were plenty of people walking past, day and night. She got up, pulled on her dressing gown and went to the bathroom.

She stared at herself in the mirror, and her wide eyes scared her. She looked at the sink – there was dirt in the grouting on the tiles and the drain looked disgusting. She reached under the sink for her new cleaning products, grabbed some bleach and an unused toothbrush and started scrubbing.

A few hours later, the bathroom was transformed. It still looked old and used, but a lot cleaner and nicer. She smiled, washed her hands and went back to bed. She pulled the doona across her and settled in to sleep. The alarm went off. She got up and went back to the bathroom.


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