Writing an essay was the last thing Oscar wished to do. He regretted reading Ava’s diary, the truth really did hurt somewhat. After dressing, he sat carefully at Ava’s desk, moving a small pile of paperwork to one side. His sleeve scraped against something. What was this? He pulled out a small A4 plastic wallet filled with a collection of newspaper cuttings. Tipping them out onto the surface, he spread them out carefully. Every single one covered the same topic, Sebastian’s disappearance. Oscar shuddered. In all fairness, Ava had admitted that she had been following the case. He shuffled the images together, placing them back, not wanting to read any further into the subject. The bedroom light flickered off. ‘What’s this?’ Oscar thought? ‘A power cut?’ He limped over to the switch,turning it back on.
Oscar eyed the small cutting which had fallen to the floor. He picked it up using his thumb and forefinger. ‘OSCAR’ , his name there on a piece of the newspaper, in bold capitals. He jumped, dropping the piece of paper which pirouetted onto the carpet.
“Is anybody there?” He declared. No answer. Oscar backed towards the door and hobbled down the staircase, turning on every single light along the way. Oscar jumped as his phone rang, dropping it upon the carpet. Gingerly he answered. He closed his eyes and shook his head, breathing a huge sigh of relief.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes I’m fine. Erm, I was actually calling to ask you the same question. Erm yeah, I’ve been thinking about you recently.”
“Stop sounding so surprised!”
“Are you okay? You sound really breathless. Have you been to the doctors?”
“Yeah I did, I had blood tests done the other day, but I’m just waiting for results.”
“Okay. I just wanted to check that you’d gone.”
“It doesn’t matter. Ava had her ultra sound?”
“Did it look normal?”
“Yes, the baby is healthy as far as we can tell.”
“Don’t let her walk over you.”
“You’re agreeing with me?!”
“Okay, well that says a lot. I need to go Oscar, I just wanted to find out.”
“It was good to talk to you, bye Mum. Oh and Mum, I love you.”
Oscar cancelled the call, feeling a tiny sense of relief, grateful for those few moments of company when he felt so very alone. What had given his Mum the urge to call? He shivered, sensing the hairs upon his thin arms stand on end. Oscar dreaded ascending the staircase, but he had work to do. He grasped the banister for support, checking anxiously over his left shoulder. Nothing. He closed the bedroom door and grabbed Ava’s throw, pulling it carefully around his shoulders for some warmth and resumed his assignment plan. An hour and a half passed, Oscar yawned completely exhausted and flopped onto Ava’s comfortable bed. He slid underneath the duvet, fully clothed, falling into a deep slumber.
Oscar startled from his dream. What was that? He sat bolt upright, shivering. Why was the duvet on the floor and the window wide open? He clambered out of bed, closing it firmly and retrieving the crumpled duvet from the carpet. ‘I must have had a really vivid dream or something’ he queried, gazing at the clock. 6am, ‘a little early to be awake’ he thought. Oscar pulled on his dressing down and a pair of socks. ‘Why was the house so cold? Is the heating off?’ Indeed it was. He remembered Ava’s words. ‘Stay warm okay.’ Oscar limped downstairs into the living room,turning up the thermostat. Seated on the sofa, he rolled up one of his trouser legs, examining the large, multi-coloured bruise upon his swollen knee. As he did so his hoody sleeve slid back,revealing another scratch upon his arm. He shook his head. ‘Now when the hell did I do that? It must have been when I fell over the broom. Ava will wonder what on earth I’ve been doing!’ He cursed. ‘A burnt stomach, a bruised knee and now a weird-looking scratch on your arm. Well done Oscar! You’re 20 years old and you can’t even look after yourself!’
To be continued….