It was one of the days Henry dreaded most; a Friday thirteenth, the unluckiest day of the year. He debated if it was even worth getting out of bed. He could call in work sick and just stay here where it was safest.
No, the boss will know I’m lying, Henry thought, he overhead me talking about today for sure.
Henry got up and avoided doing anything that might trigger the bad luck. He didn’t look into the mirror, he didn’t walk on any cracks as he headed to work, he didn’t go under any ladders or scaffolding and he prayed no black cats crossed his path.
At work he didn’t speak much and just got on with his accounting spreadsheets. He didn’t take his breaks or stop of lunch, Henry just wanted the day to be over. He ignored his colleagues asking him to come out for drinks or food or dancing. He mumbled he was busy tonight or he wasn’t feeling well.
He left work on time, a rarity for him, and hurried home. Once there, he undressed and got straight into bed even though he was hungry and his favourite quiz show was on TV.
If I can sleep through the rest of the day, everything will be fine, Henry thought.
However, he couldn’t sleep and within an hour had got up and was making something to eat. He had soup and crusty bread whilst watching the end of the news. Seems a few bad things had happened today; but then didn’t they everyday?
As soon as he had finished and tided up, Henry went back to bed and read for a few hours. He felt safer in his bed, nothing could happen here.
He heard it start to rain outside and a cat begin meowing loudly. He tried ignoring the child like crying yowls but the noise was cutting through his concentration.
Henry got up, went to the window and looked out. At the house across the way, he saw an outside lamp on and underneath, on the front door step was a black cat!
Henry clutched his chest and stumbled backwards. Was it okay that he had only glanced the cat? The creature hadn’t crossed his path or touched him or even looked up at him. Perhaps, the cat wasn’t all black?
Henry clung to that thought and got back into bed.
Everything is going to be okay, he started repeating.
He checked the time and saw it was almost ten o’clock. Three hours to go till Friday thirteenth was over.
Henry picked up his book again and tried to get back into it but his mind kept wondering. He got up again and looked out the window but the cat had gone.
‘I don’t know if it was all black or not,’ Henry said aloud, ‘but if it lives in that opposite house then I must have seen that cat before and I know there’s no black ones around here! Unless…they got it recently….’
Trying to get rid of his thoughts, Henry got back into bed again and pulled the duvet over his head. He tried to convince himself nothing was going to happen and somehow he fell asleep.
In the morning, he awoke to his alarm going off. Henry struggled out of a deep sleep and turned it off. Sleepy, he looked at the date and saw that he had made it through the unluckiest day of the year.