It had been a long time since she’d heard the stranger’s pickup start up with a wheezing rumble. Laura had heard the tires struggle for traction on the gravel driveway followed by the rapid clacking of several small pebbles sent hurdling against the house by the spinning tires. Now it was quiet. The spot of sunlight on the floor was now just a fuzzy shape, much grayer and less brilliant than when she had first noticed it on the table.
She shifted her weight and rolled over onto her back, barely thinking anymore about the mess that still surrounded her and was now soaking into previously clean areas of her blouse and jeans. She flinched as her damaged head banged too quickly on the hard floor, her vision blurring for a second from the pain. When it had passed she was looking up at the flower pattern plastered into the ceiling. Even this minor change in scenery was a relief after hours, it seemed like hours anyway, of lying motionless, forced to look in only one direction. The left side of her body was slowing waking up; the pins and needles were right on cue. She flexed her fingers spasmodically, not yet in full control of them.
After five minutes, that seemed to stretch on for hours, of mentally preparing herself she sat up with one quick and ragged movement. She planted her hands on the floor behind her to keep from falling back over. The room was spinning and she was about to be sick. She closed her eyes and concentrated on staying in control, determined not to pass out and have to start all over. Slowly the nausea subsided and she opened her eyes.
The phone was still on the wall. The cord that had connected the phone to the wall plug had been neatly clipped. Well that would be too easy, Laura, she thought as she looked around the kitchen, her gaze snagged and held captive momentarily by the shards of glass under the table and the shattered hutch just beyond. The scene she was sitting in the middle of didn’t look any better now, but all least she could see all of it without fear of who was watching her.
She crawled over to where the sink was, leaving smeared handprints on the floor. Reaching up and grabbing the edge of the counter where the sink was she began pulling herself up towards the sink, trying to get her feet under her and slipping several times before finally standing up. She was trembling weakly and could feel her legs about to give out and the pit of her stomach rolling hard. She looked up from the sink and out of the little picture window, searching for any movement in the driveway or the strange truck that she had seen the last time she had stood here. At that thought, she whipped her head around, positive that someone was behind her. But all that she was rewarded with was a fresh bout of nausea and blurred vision and another unsettling view of where she had been laying minutes before.
She turned back around, her fingers white, gripping the edge of the sink, and retched. Unlike when she normally threw up, usually after too much drinking and dancing, this did not make her feel better, at all. Without looking back up, for fear of getting sick again, she fumbled with her hand until she found the lever and turned on the faucet. As she washed and scrubbed at her bloody hands she slowly looked back out of the window, not sure what she would do next and not caring. Each little thing she did seemed to take all of her energy and concentration. Planning beyond the task of getting some of the blood off of her hands and face was simply too much.
A few fat rain drops hit the window and raced down, leaving trails of smaller drops above them. Laura watched the drops slide down the window, her scrubbing slowing almost to a stop. A second later the window was a blur of water, all solitary trails of droplets gone. She looked back down at her hands, now covered in pink suds, and started rubbing them together again. The rain beat a fast rhythm against the glass underscored by a steady rumble of thunder like the growling of some great chthonic beast. Laura closed her eyes, braced for the dizziness and nausea, and put her head under the flowing water.