but to live at one with it
I was embarrassed to acknowledge Trish's eccentric behaviour startled me and left me feeling unsettled for the rest of the night.
I poured myself a double scotch and sat before the fire staring at the flames.
It occurred to me since I left the agency I hadn't been preoccupied with social media and had been living the life of an ascetic or a contemplative, high in the sky in my arcadian retreat.
Admittedly, I wasn't out on the penthouse terrace watching stars, but nevertheless, staring into the fire seemed to promote the same types of feelings―the calm serenity of rustic simplicity.
I was on my second or third scotch―I wasn't counting, and feeling rather mellow when a noise back in the condo brought me out of my reverie.
It was a dull, thumping or rustling sound as if someone were moving about in the study or the master bedroom.
It's predictable the way the body reacts in these circumstances―tingling at the back of the neck and holding the breath while listening intently.
Hearing nothing, I went exploring. The back of the condo was in darkness and light switches just out of reach so I had to enter blind and carefully navigate the zone of darkness.
Thankfully, there was nothing. I turned on the light trying to scope out a possible cause, but came up empty.
Yeah, paranoia strikes deep.
I'm not the nervous type nor easily spooked by things that go bump in the night, but this felt different.
I glanced out the widows at neighbouring lights of nearby buildings and got the distinct impression I was being watched.
This is what happens I suppose when you fall prey to an unknown attacker who subverts you in the workplace―your imagination runs wild and you're hyper vigilant.
I considered another drink but decided I'd hit my limit, so I shut off the lights and headed to bed.
I was exhausted by the day and drowsy from booze but found it hard to sleep. Probably overtired and overwrought, but I pressed on watching a parade of red digits on the ceiling projected by my weather station clock.
After some time, the digits still read 3:00 am. Enough was enough. I got up and took a sleeping pill figuring I metabolized most of the scotch by tossing and turning.
Sure enough, the pill clicked in and within minutes I was fast asleep.
Some time later, however, I was awakened by the strange dull thumping or rustling sound I heard earlier.
I lay there listening, curled up on my side in a fetal position.
The room seemed dark and menacing but I was now totally awake, my senses attuned to a dark forest of sounds consisting of creaks, cracking sounds and rustling.
I heard what sounded like a swishing noise and felt the bed compress under someone's weight.
Terrified, I made an effort to roll off the bed but found to my dismay, I was unable to move or make a sound.
I could sense someone behind me, breathing down my neck. A wave of fear overwhelmed me, but I was powerless.
Finally, I fought off my lethargy and managed to break free.
Propping myself up on one elbow, I swivelled to see what was behind me and found myself staring into Trish's leering face.