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She woke up with a splitting headache. As soon as she moved, it was as if some small and vicious demon was hammering against her left temple. She groped in the darkness for her alarm clock, batting at it until it stopped ringing.

She lay still for a moment, face squashed against the pillow, one arm hanging off the bed. Time to get up, she told herself.

Five minutes later she heaved herself out of bed and into the bathroom. A shower might help. Warm water might wash the headache demon away.

It didn’t work. Wearing her dressing gown inside out, she stumbled into the kitchen and sat at the table with her head in her hands. She felt slightly nauseous and couldn’t face breakfast.

Instead she got up and poked through the cupboard where she kept her first aid kit and medicines. She pulled out boxes of cough syrup, cold and flu powders and throat lozenges before she found what she was after. Painkillers.

She poured herself a glass of orange juice and fought with the tamper proof container, muttering curses and epithets at it until she finally popped it open. She took two pills, then went to the phone to call her boss, making sure to sound as feeble as possible.

After she put the phone down, she dragged her duvet down into the sitting room. She curled up on the sofa, drawing the duvet around her, engulfing her in warmth and cosiness. One hand poked out of the duvet and reached for the TV remote.

After flipping through the guide for a while, she settled on a documentary channel whose schedule was full of overly dramatic titles like “Imminent Danger” and “Seconds From Disaster”. She liked programmes like that. They tended to repeat themselves so much that paying constant attention was entirely unnecessary.

With a smile, she settled in for a peaceful and relaxing day.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: When I saw the Three Word Wednesday words this week – engulf, imminent, tamper – I intended to write some kind of thrilling tale of disaster. Unfortunately I woke up with a headache and couldn’t think of anything except the duvet day I can’t afford to take…)

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