Dave had just settled in to a relaxing evening in front of the TV when an annoying sound rang out from the hallway.
He decided to ignore it, but his girlfriend, dozing at the other end of the sofa, stirred.
“Was that the smoke alarm?”
He rolled his eyes. “Yeah,” he muttered. “Damn battery must be running out.”
She sat up slightly. “Well, have we got a replacement?”
With an exaggerated sigh, he got up and went to the drawer where they kept spare batteries, cables and other bits and bobs. After untangling three pairs of headphones that probably didn’t work any more, he gave up.
“Nope,” he said, returning to the sofa and collapsing back into it. “A couple of double A’s, couple of triple A’s, none for the smoke alarm.
“Why don’t you pop up to the shop and get one,” she muttered, turning over and closing her eyes again. He stared at her for a minute. She was always falling asleep as soon as she got in.
“No chance,” he said. “I just got comfy. Besides, if it’s got enough power left to beep, it’s fine.”
Laura got home from work late again. She had been pulling extra hours all week, even working through lunch to try and get through the backlog, but the end was nowhere in sight. She vaguely hoped that Dave would have got tea ready for her, but as usual he was collapsed across the end of the sofa.
“Alright love,” he said, barely looking up at her.
“I’m knackered,” she said. “What’s for tea?”
He shrugged. “There’s a couple of ready meals in the fridge if you fancy one. I already ate.”
She sighed as she dropped her handbag onto the kitchen counter. It was typical of Dave. He hadn’t even done the dishes from last night. Reluctantly, she popped a ready meal into the microwave and waited for the beep.
She put her head on one side and listened. There was no beeping. She waited, and the only beep came from the microwave as her lasagne came to a halt.
“Thanks for sorting out the smoke alarm,” she said as she sat down on the sofa, pushing Dave’s feet aside with her bottom.
“Mmh,” he said noncommittally, his eyes fixed on the TV screen.
Dave saw the lights from the end of the street as he came home from the pub.
“What’s going on,” he asked, pushing through the crowd that had gathered between him and his house.
“Stay back! Keep back behind the line,” a voice yelled, as strong arms grabbed him and held him back.
“But that’s my house! Laura! Laura!!”
The flames licked at the roof of his house as he collapsed to the pavement, sobbing.
© Kari Fay