“Ah, there’s the damn salt.” Nevil had done without salt on his food for a little over a week. He found it on the top shelf of the pantry. “Who puts their salt on the top shelf? It was hidden way up there” Verbalizes with himself.
He grabbed the salt and head across to the dining room table where he salted his sandwich. He got all of two bites into his meal when there was a weak knock at the front door, which was behind him and to the right, down a short passageway. He turned his head slowly to look at the door. He could see a small blurred figure outside. Likely a small woman. Perhaps the elderly. She was trying to peer through the pane of frosted glass on the door.
He rose and walked towards the door. He pulled it open about 8 inches, just enough to show his face. It was indeed an elderly woman who stood outside. Nevil greeted her with a smile and a calm “Hello”.
“Oh…” She was stunned, she was certainly not expecting him to answer. “I was looking for Emma or Tom.”
“Why?” Nevil held the smile.
The elderly lady was clearly uncomfortable already.
“It’s just that I haven’t seen them in a while. I haven’t seen Tom leave for work all week. I haven’t seen Emma watching over the kids play in the garden in the afternoons either.”
There was a short silence.
“Right… They went on vacation,” Nevil replied. He never broke eye contact.
“But, who are you? Why are you here?”
“I’m Emma’s cousin. I’m watching over the house while they’re gone.”
“Her cousin? Oh, that’s odd… she’s never mentioned you, and I’ve met the rest of her cousins before.”
“That is quite peculiar,” Nevil replied. His stare and smile remained. His words were calm. He didn’t waver, even slightly.
“Alright. Well, bye-bye then,” the old lady said as she turned and started to walk off. Nevil knew she didn’t buy the story. She was going to call the police. His smile disappeared.
“Why don’t you stop being such a nosy bitch?” he called to her.
She turned. Flabbergasted, she managed to utter a single “What?”
“I said, stop being a nosy CUNT,” he shot at her with venom. She was now clearly horrified and scurried off quickly.
Nevil closed the door. It was time to go. After 8 days. Not great. But alright. He wondered if he’d ever beat his record of 3 months. He walked out into the back garden and climbed the fence. It connected to a pathway which ran alongside a side street. He started to walk away. Maybe he’d take a bus, maybe he’d call a cab. But by the time the old lady called the police, by the time they arrived and found the family of four cut up and crammed in the basement freezer, preserved in salt, he’d be long gone.
He would be looking for his new short-lived home now.
Written by SHUBHAM SANJAY SHEVADE