Annie Is Sleeping

Sherri Turner

              Annie will wake in the morning later than usual. She will have a hangover that she doesn’t remember getting.

              She will head to the shower and stand under the pummelling jets for an extra five minutes even though she is already late for work. Annie will not know that she will not be going to work today.

              She will rub at her wet hair as she walks through the lounge towards the kitchen to make coffee. She will not notice the shape in the corner that looks like a pile of washing, because she is drying her hair. Nor will she notice that a knife is missing from her kitchen rack. Annie will make the coffee, but will not drink it. She will carry the mug back into the lounge and see the shape. The mug will fall from her hand and a brown stain will spread across the cream carpet.

              Annie will ignore the coffee stain. She will see that the shape is a hunched up man and that there is another stain on the carpet that has spread from beneath him. Annie will scream and then she will call the police. Annie will not realise that the man is her husband until after the police arrive.

              Annie will not remember the phone call she made last night, when she was very drunk and lonely. She will not remember the ring on the doorbell half a bottle later when she had already forgotten the call, or her shock at seeing him, the pleading, the promise that he had changed. She will not remember seeing his clenched fist and the feelings that resurfaced, or her panicked rush to the kitchen. Annie will not remember any of these things until she is in the interview room.

              Annie will be told about the AA chip, three months, that the police will find still clutched in his hand when they examine the body. She will cry when she hears this.

              Annie will not be going home.

              Annie is sleeping. She is dreaming of a dark-haired boy, a green field and a picnic. Annie is smiling in her sleep.

Sherri Turner has had numerous short stories published in magazines and has won prizes for both poetry and short stories in competitions including the Bristol Prize, the Wells Literary Festival and the Bridport Prize. Her work has also appeared in many anthologies and in various places online. She tweets at @STurner4077.