It is 9:02 am and I have not slept. My head aches but my heart is beating too fast for coffee. I am at my desk.

I need to staple these papers. The stapler is not where I left it. I look and move everything on the desk, but it is not there. I paperclip the papers and file them. The stapler is now where I left it.

Someone calls. They call me by someone else’s name. They’re probably right. It’s fine.

I spin in my chair to face my screen. I go too far and let myself revolve again. The screen is asleep by the time I stop.

I send an email. It arrives in my inbox, from someone else. It asks if I’m OK. I don’t reply.

I feel in my bag for lunch. I check the time. It is 9:10 am.


They had set out on their walk that morning, smiling at each other in the sunshine. They were caught in the rain the moment they were out of sight of their cars. It had fallen hard enough that they sought shelter, hiding beneath a large tree. Pulling their hoods down, he had insisted that they keep going despite her joking protests. So, hunched and laughing they had headed out into the rain.

They had been walking for hours. On their right side was thick, impenetrable bush and on their left was a clear and still lake.
Every time she asked how far they were from the car, he told her they would be there soon. But they never arrived.

Soon she began to recognise landmarks, passing every few hours like clockwork. When they sped up or slowed down, the path followed a clear routine.

She recognised the fallen tree that they had passed when they originally joined the path, but the bush blocked where the car park should be. She tried to stop and climb through, but it was too thick to even get her hand through. They sat on the log, a hand on her shoulder nudging her to get up after some time had passed. She stared at the path as they walked, trying to ignore the sight and focusing on the sounds of rainfall and her companion’s steps beside her.

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