All original work © 2009 - 2018 Alexey Provolotsky

12 December 2014


Let me sleep it off.

The knife got stolen.

I mean, someone actually got into my room while I was at school or sleeping (or sleeping at school), and took it. In order to do so you had to: unlock this room with a spare key that does not exist, walk to my wardrobe without stepping onto any of my toys or slippers, open the wardrobe and pick the second gown from the left, slip the hand into the far pocket and take out the knife. Do all that and not leave one single trace a girl like Marie could notice.

Could it happen? No.

Did it happen? Yes.

Creepy. Yes, I know. You can watch any number of funerals on TV or in the cinema, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing. Black clothes will make you itch.

Perhaps I should explain here why I had the knife in the first place. It happened two years ago after classes. Walking home from school, I sensed somebody’s presence behind my back. The presence was so unsettling that I had no guts to turn around and find the cause of my anxiety. I only noticed him when I entered a more populated street and a few familiar faces brought a false (oh no doubt) sense of security. A man with hollow cheeks whom I had never seen before. After a Dennis-sized smile he walked past and disappeared around the corner. I refused to pay it much attention and never said a word to my parents. But then he appeared again. And again. I began to hear footsteps. I walked faster, he walked faster. I changed my route, he followed anyway. And that smile. I didn’t tell anyone because I trusted no one. Jack said he had the right to know and I told him he had the right to walk away (which he did in the end, though not before a few ugly scenes involving him screaming me laughing). At night I could not sleep and kept leafing through The Turn Of The Screw for the umpteenth time. My sleepless nightmare was that he would enter the room through the window, late at night, and rape me. In fact, raping me was the least he could do. My imagination painted far darker things. In the end I just stole one of our kitchen knives to keep under my pillow and help me sleep at night. Did it work? It worked so well that one or two weeks later the man with hollow cheeks disappeared altogether. Just once my mom wondered where the knife was, but this was never supposed to be a big deal in my family. My dad kept buttering his toast. And I decided to keep it, first under my pillow and later in the pocket of my old purple gown.

And now the knife got stolen.  

At home today, I heard hushed sounds coming from my parents’ bedroom. My mom was not at home, so I came closer and listened up. Dad was on the phone, and right away I knew it was Emily. I could not discern a single word, but sometimes intonations speak louder than words. Two lovers plotting something, both sickening and strangely fascinating. I could stop them. I could tell my mom. Instead, I’m not going to do anything. This is an account of a murder and I’m not about to intervene.

Charlie called. I told him to forget it.

Mom called. She never calls me, so I answered. It was about Emma. Emma had just had one of her episodes. It was the first time I heard about Emma and her episodes. “Is she coming?” I asked, concerned. “She is”, my mom said. “But we have to be careful”.

Too late now. 

P.S. 13 days.