By Barrie Darke
Read by Ben Phillips
It occurred to me later that week that maybe, just perhaps, it was happening to the other family men in the office, that they were also noticing these things about their families –- Thomas Malone, only in his early 20s but with two young boys, looked harried a lot of the time, and I thought about taking him out for a drink after work one day. But how do you go about broaching that subject? How many drinks would you need in you to mention you thought your family had been…? And what would happen to you if you got back looks that moved from the merely quizzical to the horribly worried? The whole idea of it happening elsewhere to other people was still hazy at that point anyway, so I thought I’d better let him come to me. I was an approachable boss, after all.
At home, it was how I imagine living in a haunted house must be. You moved in dread of every little awry sign, trying to convince yourself that the gaps between them were widening rather than shortening, accelerating. And that if the signs were there, then they really weren’t growing any more significant, they really weren’t becoming bone-rattlingly critical.