It all started at around midnight when Alexia suddenly found herself awake. Still in bed, she turned her head towards her open room door. She couldn’t understand why she had woken up suddenly at that weird hour of the night. The house was semi-dark, despite it being a moonless night. For a moment she just lay still, listening intently.
She was lying on her back on her thin mattress on the floor which she used as a bed and her head was slanted partially sideways with her eyes fixed on her open room door. She always left her bedroom door wide open as there was no point in closing it since the lock was spoilt.
The building was in complete silence; too quiet, she thought. With her eyes still fixed on the room door, Alexia slowly reached her left hand up to the side of her pillow and gently grabbed her stun gun. With her other hand, she pulled her covers aside and felt the cool air gently caressing her naked body.
She stood up quietly, carefully switched on her stun gun and with her hand resting lightly on the trigger, tiptoed towards the door and switched the bedroom light on. Then she continued into the corridor and made a right turn into the living room. She pressed her free hand simultaneously on both switches and the room came to life. Inside the living room she first checked the main entrance door to the back to confirm that it was still firmly bolted. Then she checked the sliding door to the front which led to the balcony. It was also firmly locked.
Walking cautiously back into the corridor, she leaned across and carefully unlocked the bathroom door before switching on the light and peeking inside. Then she retreated and walked further towards the end of the corridor, gently unlocked the kitchen door and quickly reached for the switch. Alexia held her breath as the fluorescent light bulb danced on and off for a few seconds before finally staying on. As she stepped into the kitchen, she felt the coldness of the ancient marble floor pierce though her bare feet! She gave a tour of the tiny kitchen, using her free hand to check the huge lower cupboards, one cupboard after another. Then she used a long broomstick to carefully open and search the empty upper cupboards. At one point, she pondered whether it would be wise to peek outside through the large kitchen window that was covered with a delicate curtain. From her kitchen window it would have been possible to see the main entrance door of her neighbour’s apartment as well as the entire lobby on that floor. She stood facing the window for a moment, hesitated and then opted against touching the curtain or peeping outside.
Satisfied that the kitchen was clear, she reached for the adjacent door of the laundry room and quietly pulled it open. She peeked cautiously into the semi-dark laundry room before walking inside to check that the second back door was firmly locked. Satisfied that the locks of the huge metal door were firmly in place and feeling more relaxed, she walked back into the kitchen and served herself a glass of cold milk from the fridge before walking back to her bedroom without bothering to switch off any of the lights. Whenever she felt afraid or unsafe, she usually kept all the lights in every room of her apartment on.
From her bedroom, she checked to confirm that the second door that led to the balcony was firmly locked before sitting on her thin mattress on the floor with her back supported by the wall. Beside her mattress on the old wood-tiled floor lay her laptop. Alexia reached for the laptop, placed it on her bare lap and switched it on with the intention of sending a quick email. Strangely, she found that the wireless network on her computer had no signal and her internet cable was not working either, and she had no idea how to fix the problem. Irritated, she switched off her laptop computer and slammed it shut. She reached for her glass of milk and lifted it towards her lips just as a loud thunderous sound vibrated into the room causing her to spill the milk on herself. The old chandeliers overhead clattered and dangled dangerously and she felt the ground beneath her shake violently. Seconds later, the lights went off and the house fell into complete pitch-back darkness!
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