He Came In The Dead Of The Night

It was the dead of the night, and Maria was dead to the world. Her legs sunk into the mattress, the weight lifted away, her mind finally tranquil when the first pebble hit her bedroom window. The cul-de-sac she lived on was quiet; a safe space away from the city, the throng of trees a shelter from the concrete jungle that her days played out in.

On this cul-de-sac on the hills the sky was clearer, the stars piercing, the air always crisp. A haven. Still, it had taken a long time for Maria to fall asleep, and now she felt herself waking to what she instinctively knew would be a nightmare.

Her eyes twitched awake and the feeling of tension flooded her shoulders. She rose and another pebble hit the window. It was a quiet noise, consistent; in theory non-threatening but also heart stoppingly terrifying, because Maria knew who it was. She dared to peek through the curtain and her heart started to beat double time. He was there – all six foot off him swaggering around on the pavement, drunk on nothing but rage. “Maria” he said quite calmly, and a chill ran down her spine and her face burned in fear. She hoped he didn’t see her. “Should I call the police?” Maria wondered, but she thought no, they won’t get there fast enough. To Maria, he was like a super villain. Either you have to die or they do. There’s no other option. The police couldn’t help her, her Father couldn’t help her, nobody could. He was a monster and she’d made him angry and now this was his wrath, it was menacing, silent, sadistic; the end of the world, over and over, every single time they fought.

Another pebble hit the window and as he bounded forward towards the driveway she swore she saw his hazel eyes burn auburn in the darkness. Maria’s mother’s car was on the drive. He pulled its wing mirror off and Maria felt like it was her own wing he was pulling, she felt her insides crumble as he took her dignity and flaunted his disrespect for the thousandth time after promising things would change, that now he was new, that now they were different.

His fist loosened and he smiled slightly as the wing mirror fell out of his palm and tumbled to the floor, clattering, disturbing what was such calm. “Mariaaa!” He said more insistently now, and now her phone was ringing. She panicked and flung it under her bed before sitting on the floor, trying to think. But now his foot was tapping her front door, quietly at first, then like a drum, and then like thunder. Her heart was in sync with it all.

She heard glass smash and she knew it was useless, that he would come in as if he owned the place and shut her bedroom door behind them and pull her hair and slap her face and kick her legs and make her wish she’s never been born, make her wish she’d never met this man that swept her off her feet once upon a time, make her wish his parents had never been born to have been able to conceive him. He’d pick up Maria’s favourite belongings and smash them to the floor, throwing them at her head with force and then use that same force to make her to pick them up only so he could throw them at her again. And once she was finally broken, too numb and scared to cry so just shivering with a bloated face, her bronze skin now frightened yellow, he would relent, say she shouldn’t have picked a fight with him. He didn’t like doing this. He would pick up her body that was lying in a fetal position up off the floor and pull her into his big warm arms as if he was not her villain, but her saviour.

Maria wiped a tear from her cheek as she got up off her bedroom carpet, her fingers brushing the carpet not wanting to let go, not wanting to get up. But she had to; this had to end. She walked down the stairs slowly, savouring every breath she could swallow, and tip-toed into the kitchen. As quiet as a mouse, she opened the drawer and picked up the biggest kitchen knife she had in her retro suburban kitchen, so warm and lovely. Closing the drawer behind her as she took one last deep breath, she walked towards the front door.




I got really stoned over the Halloween weekend, came home and wrote this – but it did actually happen to me, many years back now – sometimes life is the Horror story, eh?

By Maz Halima

Writer, Londoner, Grime music lover, cat owner, glasses wearer, hug giver.

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