Ever since Jamal had upped and ditched her for that scummy bimbo from accounts, Rhonda couldn’t get over how spacious the king size bed now seemed. He was shocking, ending their relationship with a text message, a true coward and a typical man, in her experience, but despite her sour grapes, and fuming sense of betrayal, she would sorely miss the warmth from his side of the mattress.
He never smelled too fragrant at the best of times, and he certainly never had a personal scent unique to him, as was common between lovers. His manners were nothing to write home about, and his domestic abilities were virtually nonexistent. He was good with his tongue, but that was about it. All in all, glad to be rid. Nothing would be missed.
Apart from his warmth. Apart from the solid life-affirming bulk of his presence. Anyone, she realised, was better than an empty half of the bed. Anyone to plug that narrow but creepy gap between bed and wall. Rhonda always, always, slept on the edge of the bed.
Whatever it was, it didn’t account for the fact that this was the third time in a week she had been disturbed from slumber at the same time of the morning, three bells after midnight. She remembered reading somewhere that 3am was a common time for people waking up in the middle of the night. It was an actual official spook time, for some legitimate reason she couldn’t think of.
The last two nights she had remained under the covers, but tonight she was getting up, even though she was more scared now than the other two times combined.
Why did the lamp have to be on the other side of the room? And where was that cheating slimeball Jamal when you needed him? Damn being alone!
She opened the curtains to let some light in but it didn’t help one jot. She flinched in the fluffy total darkness of her bedroom, as if something was going to touch her. She wondered where she would go if she felt something brush her skin, once she had screamed and panicked and ran from the flat. She wondered about ghosts and hauntings and exorcisms and all kinds of impossible things that seemed not only likely, during the long walk to the light switch, but imminent.
Finally she reached the lamp and flicked light into the room. No cat, no wind, but no relief. Not yet, and not ever. WHAT THE !!!
A cold shiver rippled her flesh from tip to toe. As she turned back round to the bed, her sudden fear was so intense that she lost control of her bowels. Bottled gas from dinner warmed the insides of her thighs in a prolonged, noisy outpour. Any other time she would have been embarrassed but her alarm at what greeted her from what she had believed to be the empty side of the bed was similar to knowing a bomb was about to go off.
She hadn’t been alone in bed. There had been something in the bed with her. It would have still been in the bed now, if it hadn’t rose to embrace her. It was bloody, and handless.
She didn’t scream. She didn’t have time. But the rest of her guts dropped, hot and brown, as her heart sank into the pit of her stomach. She gulped, and slid down the door to the floor.
Dying instantly from shock is not a myth. It can and did happen to Rhonda Elizabeth Blancher.