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Resonance: Chapter Seven

       Last updated: Friday, November 12, 2004 02:23 EST



    He pulled open the front door and looked outside.


    He ran to the gate. No Annalise. No car racing off into the distance. No person struggling with heavy luggage.

    He ran back inside.


    Silence. He ran upstairs, wondering if he was overreacting, what would she think if he knocked on the bathroom door?

    He didn’t have to knock.

    The bathroom door was open.

    No one was inside.  

    He felt the towels - they were dry. He checked the sink, looking for something - anything - a lipstick, a toothbrush, a hairbrush. She couldn’t have unravelled. Not again. Not so soon.

    He looked behind the door, he ran onto the landing. “Annalise!”


    He checked his bedroom, the box room. He hovered by his parent’s door, his hand fluttering a few inches above the handle, hope and foreboding mixed in equal measures.

    He grabbed the handle, turned and pushed. He had to find out. An empty room stared back. No Annalise, no mother, no father.

    He was alone.


    He checked his jacket pocket, pulled out the note and read it.

    Nothing had changed.

    Same job, same room, same address.

    Only Annalise had disappeared. Though he wondered for how long? Was she out there somewhere now? Sat in a shop doorway, or boarding a flight for Heathrow?

    And what of ParaDim and the men in the black car? Were they waiting for him on Westminster Street or lying forgotten on a discarded thread of possibility, never to return?

    Graham did not want to think about it.

    He walked slowly around the house, proceeding from room to room, cataloguing what he found, checking what had changed this time.

    Very little had. A few books, a few items of clothes, a vase that his mother had broken ten years earlier had reappeared - pristine and filled with flowers.

    He checked the kitchen window, looking for signs that it had been broken.

    It hadn’t.

    He rummaged through his drawers, looking for any notes he might have written to himself. Anything that mentioned ParaDim or Annalise or expressed concern about his safety.


    He ate his evening meal in silence, broken by the muffled sound of next-door’s TV and the hum of passing traffic. Occasionally, he looked up when he thought he heard someone walking past. But it was never her.

    By eight o’clock he’d lifted his jigsaw down from the top shelf and had started sorting out the edge pieces. By nine he’d forgotten about everything except fairy wings and the jagged silhouette of a woodland glade.



    The next day saw him back inside his fairy glade - kneeling on the lounge floor, the huge frame of the jigsaw in front of him, pieces scattered around him; sorted by colour and shape.

    Late Saturday afternoon he dragged himself away, there was shopping to do, housework and the garden needed attention.

    He mowed the back lawn, dead-headed the roses, tied back the shrubs that were flopping over, weeded the patio. He hoovered, he dusted, he … stopped.

    The brass candlesticks on the lounge mantelpiece were not where they should have been. They’d been switched. The one on the left had a slight scratch. It should have been on the right hand side, a thumb’s width in from the edge.

    He switched them back, carefully aligning them with his thumb. He looked at the clock in between. It was centred correctly but it was too close to the wall. He should have been able to push his index finger between the clock and the chimney breast.

    He checked the other ornaments in the lounge; the vases, his mother’s figurines, the holiday souvenirs. They were all slightly out. An inch here, a quarter inch there. But they should have been placed exactly. Every ornament had a home. He measured them precisely, using fingers and thumbs and reference points; the edge of a tile, the tip of a leaf on a wallpaper pattern, a knot in the wood.

    Had the last unravelling knocked everything askew? Or had someone searched his house?

    He put all the ornaments back, carefully sliding them into position. And wondered what else had changed? If someone had been inside his house, would they have taken things away? Maybe removed any notes he’d written to himself?

    He checked the other rooms. A similar picture; items slightly out of place or rotated. Even the freezer compartment of his fridge wasn’t immune. Someone had put frozen peas on top of the beef burgers. Something he’d never do. He always kept his vegetables on the left and meat on the right.

    Why would anyone want to search his fridge?

    And should he care? The rate the world was unravelling at the moment it was unlikely that anything would last more than a few days. All he had to do was sit out the weekend and everything would change. Once these ParaDim threads worked themselves loose, the world would settle down.

    A thought that kept him content all the way through to late Sunday night. He yawned, stretched and staggered to his feet. His knees were killing him and he was starting to see fairies in the wallpaper. 

    He picked up his cup and carried it through to the kitchen, stopping by the light switch to flick it on. The fluorescent light flickered once before humming into life.

    She was sat on the floor between the fridge and the back door - Annalise, with long black hair this time - leaning back against the side of the fridge, her knees drawn up. She grinned, placed a finger to her lips and held out a slip of paper.

    “Don’t say a word,” it read. “Your house is bugged.”

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