timeslip

‘How come you fell down the stairs?’
It was a few days ago, but Hanna still looks pretty beaten up. Panda eyes, bandaged head, dressings on her left elbow and leg, and everywhere, blooms of rich and sickening bruises: blue-green, green-black, purple-black.
‘I was jet-lagged. At least, that’s what I think.’
‘So what happened?’
‘I’d been staying a couple of months with a friend in America.’
‘Very nice.’
‘It was. Just the loveliest time.  Absolute bliss. Well, when I came home, I went to bed and fell into a particularly deep sleep. I was still dreaming when I got up in the night to go to the loo. But I must’ve gotten used to the bathroom and bedroom being one way and not another. So when I turned right instead of left, I fell all the way down the stairs.’
‘The whole flight!’
‘All the way to the bottom. When I came round I was covered in blood, and – I’m ashamed to say – I’d wet myself.’
‘It sounds as if you were knocked unconscious.’
‘That’s what they reckon. Anyway, it took me quite a while to come to my senses. I behaved – quite oddly, really.’
‘How do you mean?’
‘Instead of calling 999, I dragged myself all the way up the stairs again.’
‘To go back to bed?’
‘No. To call for help. To wake my parents up. Of course – they’ve been dead twenty years. But I was confused, you see? I’d had this bang on the head. I couldn’t understand what had happened to me. I was calling out Mummy, Mummy! I’ve fallen down the stairs! But no-one was coming out to see me. So I went into their room. It’s a junk room now, I’m sorry to say. So there I was, standing in the doorway looking at all this junk and wondering where the hell they’d gone!’
‘How weird.’
‘Terrifying. So d’you know what I did next?’
‘What did you do?’
‘I went into my sister’s room and sat on her bed. Milly I said. Milly. I’ve fallen down the stairs and hurt myself, and Mummy and Daddy have disappeared. But then I realised she wasn’t there either. No-one was. Which shouldn’t have been surprising. Milly hasn’t lived here since she married in 1972 .’

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