Three Rooms Down

Inspired by Poppy Adams', The Behaviour of Moths | Vial 526602

A deep stirring in my stomach woke me up earlier than I had planned. Per usual, my eyes were droopy, and my limbs weren’t feeling all too inclined to function. They clung tightly to my form, refusing to leave my side for but a second. I stayed curled up in the spiral that I like to sleep in. My mind though, my mind was more alert than it had ever been – morning or night. Something disturbing was afoot, I could feel it in every bone of my body.

Then it hit me. My sister, lying on her bed, three rooms and a mahogany door away, was dead. I knew because I didn’t hear her clambering down the steps at two in the morning for her “mandatory pre-morning glass of milk” that apparently does wonders for the body as soon as you enter deep sleep around the three o’clock mark. There was no screeching of the old joints of the kitchen door. No noise of the suction of the fridge as she opened and closed. There was no sloshing of the milk as it hit the edges of her cup that resounded through the entirety of this surprisingly acoustic house. But that wasn’t the only reason I knew. There’s one thing I haven’t yet told you.

Earlier today, I went shopping. That on its own should be news enough, but it’s what I went shopping for that’s more significant. You see, I couldn’t add this particular item to the list for the help to get, no. They would be suspicious, so I had to go out and get it myself.

Almond milk.

The item on its own wouldn’t arouse suspicion, but in the forty-seven years that my sister has been alive, almond milk hasn’t once entered this house. Allergies, you see. So naturally, I had to go and get this particular item myself.

Once home, I swapped out the regular milk with the once I just bought, then took the now-empty carton up to my room and shelved it away underneath my mattress where no one would look for years.

I imagined my sister’s throat closing up as she clawed around for the emergency EpiPen she kept in the kitchen drawer. But I had taken that away too. I imagined her eyes widening in shock and horror when she realised it wasn’t there. When she realised she was going to die.

You see, if you were in my place, you would have done the same. When all the facts are considered, it really wasn’t such a horrible deed. Hearing creaky wooden stairs at the tender time of two in the morning is not fun. Hearing every single action amplified at a time when even the birds are asleep, even less so. It does things to one’s mind. But it wasn’t just this little pre-morning routine of hers, no. It was so much else, so much more. But I couldn’t possibly tell you everything – we’d be here all day. And stopping without completing is out of the question, so I’ll leave you with just this much.

I think I’ll replace my usual glass of juice with one of milk when I sat down for breakfast that morning.


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Art work by Rhea Mehta