You freeze. But only for a second before sliding out of the bed, which is several inches higher off the floor than you’re used to, so despite your caution you go tumbling to the ground, your face pressed to the carpet next to the crumpled wreckage of your clothing from the previous night. You fish your cellphone from your jacket pocket and hit a number. Any number. Kevin. Thank God. He’ll know what’s going on.


The phone rings for half an eternity before Kevin picks up, sounding slightly annoyed. Your eyes flick up to the window. Still dark, but you’re not quite sure if it’s early or late.


“Kevin,” you say breathlessly, having just fallen rather heavily out of a strange bed. “It’s me. What happened last night? I remember the karaoke bar, and then it’s all fuzzy. And look, I just woke up in a strange bed. Not my bed. My apartment, but not my bed. And there’s this weird sound down the hall, and I–”


“Uh,” he says. “Hi, um, yeah, I’m sorry, but I wasn’t there, so I don’t really know how I can help.”


He sounds strange. As though you sound strange. But he’s one of your closest friends. Oh no, you think, what the hell did I do last night? I swear he was there. He did that killer version of “Paradise City.” We did Jäger shots in the alley. God, that was disgusting.


“Yeah,” he says, “so, uh, good luck with the weird sound, I’ll see you at work on Monday.”


“Okay,” you say, but you can’t even get the whole word out before the line goes dead.


Before you can start formulating theories on why Kevin doesn’t even seem to know you—he didn’t sound angry, you realize, he sounded foreign—you notice the sound from the hallway is louder. A sort of dragging thump. Not just louder, but closer.


There’s a knock at the door.


this installment was written by domini enfilden