- Part 1 -
- Part 2 -
- Part 3 -
- Part 4 -
Katya was on the sofa, again. She liked the sofa, the sofa didn’t betray her, the sofa didn’t confuse her or hurt her. It held her in its deep cushions and didn’t for a moment judge her. The postman had been, a moment ago, so now she was just waiting, fearfully for the second drop.
Yesterday, her birthday, had been a disaster. She kept playing the scene over and over again in her head.
She had wrenched the door open to find her ex, Larry, holding the next black envelope. There had been a stalemate, for just a moment. Then the tableaux had subtly altered, they were stood in the same positions, only she held the envelope. She had reached out and tentatively taken it from him, barely trembling at all. She almost convinced herself the tremor was too much tea and no breakfast.
Something dark slithered about Larry’s feet, like a coiling black mist. She had been seeing things, auras, for the past couple of weeks. She had been worrying it might be a tumour, or a mental break down, or both.
“You should open it.” He said in his gentle growl. She used to call him her friendly tiger.
She felt curiously detached as she opened the envelope. She didn’t really want to, but there was a dark fascination, a sense of inevitability manhandling her through her trepidation, forcing her onwards.
The mist at Larry’s feet shivered excitedly, began crawling up his legs, as if climbing to a better vantage point, anticipating something, whatever was in the envelope.
She already knew. The first envelope had five feathers in it. The next had four. She looked up at Larry, frightened, confused, hoping he would stop this, somehow. He just smiled at her, expectantly. She reached in, no longer able to pretend she wasn’t trembling. And there they were.
Three black feathers.
The darkness rushed triumphantly up Larry, it seemed so real she had to take a step back, gasping, dropping the feathers and the envelope. The dark smoke burst out from his shoulders like plumes of ash. They hung in the air, dusting downwards, as phantom wings.
She stumbled backwards into the house. He was smiling as he closed the door, leaving her alone with his last words.
“Time to wake up, Katya.”
She sobbed into the sofa. She was so confused. Her head ached despite the painkillers, a throbbing, brooding thunder that slowly rolled from the back of her brain to settle behind her eyes.
The letterbox sounded off. The second drop. She didn’t move, just curled up on herself and buried her face in the dark, oblivious crack between seat and backrest.
She knew what would be lying in the hallway. Another black envelope. This one would have two black feathers in it, she knew. And tomorrow it would be one.
What happened when there were no more feathers?
- Part 5 -