Macy lay in bed, the insomnia keeping her awake again. She listened to the rain hammering down and hitting the window like a handfuls of gravel. In the distance, the wind was shaking the autumn trees and evergreen bushes along the narrow road.
She thought about going outside and letting the weather sweep her thoughts away. Deciding she couldn’t be bothered, Macy went to turn the lamp on, her thoughts turning to reading or messing around on her phone.
The crying stilled her hand.
Macy wasn’t sure what it was; the weather? A cat? A child crying?
Maybe I’m dreaming? she wondered.
Turning on the lamp, she watched the light pooling around the bedside table and the edge of the bed. It was comforting.
The crying continued. It was a dim wailing sound like that of a sick baby. It sounded almost as if it was inside her house.
Didn’t the next door neighbour just have a baby? Macy thought then added, I need the bathroom now, unfair!
Sighing, she got up and went to the bathroom. She turned the light on, did what she needed to do then washed her hands. Catching herself in the mirror, she noticed that the dark bags under her eyes were worse. Her thin cheeks were flushed but her skin looked pale and unwell. Her short, dyed blue hair was sticking out, mused by her tossing round in bed.
Macy stuck her tongue out at her reflection and went back to bed.
There was no point even trying to sleep, so she got warm in bed and debated what to do.
‘Where is that noise coming from?’ Macy said aloud.
The crying sounded worse now. It was still feeble but it was louder.
Throwing the duvet away, Macy got up and walked though the small house. It was mostly her own now but somethings of her late step-aunt remind. An old arm chair, coffee table, TV stand, bookcases, photographs and ornaments. There was still a feel that an old woman lived here and not a twenty-something person.
It was a simple two up two down 1940’s terrace house. The front room and a kitchen with a two seater table downstairs, one bedroom and a bathroom upstairs. There was a tiny square back garden and not one on the front as the door open straight onto the street. A joint sheltered alleyway where the bins lived was on the left side between the house and the one next door. A gate into her garden was at the end.
Nothing here, Macy realised.
She looked out of the kitchen window and decided to go outside after all. She put on wellington boots, feeling the chill of the rubber on her bare feet and legs. From the drying line she took a hoodie and put it over the night dress. She couldn’t be bothered to go and get a coat from the hallway.
Unlocking the door and stepping out, the rain hit her like cold water in a shower and the wind whipped around her too skinny frame. She could barely see a thing. The light from the kitchen window wasn’t enough to get through the darkness of the early hour. Still though, she could make out the empty flower beds on the left and the muddy vegetable patch on the right.
Macy looked up at the back of her neighbours’ houses on both sides and could see no lights on.
They are sleeping, like I should be!
Stomping back inside, Macy shut and locked the back door. She went to take the wet hoodie off but paused as she picked up the crying once more. It sounded a little echoey….
An imagine filled her head; someone had abandoned a baby in the joint alleyway!
Macy ran to the front door, opened it and dashed into the alley. There was no light and she couldn’t see. Cursing, Macy went back inside and dug around for a torch or something. She found a candle, decided it would do and returned to the alleyway.
The small flame almost went out in the wind and rain. Macy waited for the candle to stop guttering then looked around the dripping walls. Her bins were lined up against one wall and her neighbour’s on the other. There was nothing on the floor and her back gate was locked.
She couldn’t hear the crying now, the rain and wind were too loud. Turning back, she took the lid off the bins and looked in, just to clear her mind. Nothing.
Maybe, it’s just a cat left out and crying to be let in? Cats can sound like babies and with this weather the cat could be streets away.
Macy went inside once again. She stripped off the hoodie and the boots. Blowing out the candle and locking the door, she went back to bed.
The clock said it was almost four in the morning. Macy felt cold and tried. She settled back down and rested, feeling sleepy for the first time that night.
To Be Continued…