The Fallen Chair

“Hi, I’m home,” Charlie called as he came through the front door and flung his keys onto the hall table. No reply. He walked into the kitchen where he would usually find Jess at this time of the day. No smell of dinner cooking. The kitchen was empty, but surprisingly, and disconcertingly, one of the pine chairs was laying on its back on the floor near the table. A frown appeared on Charlie’s face.

“What the ….?” He couldn’t compute what he was seeing. He turned and went back into the hallway.

“Jess!” he shouted. “Where are you, Jess?” There was no-one in the front room. He sprinted up the stairs, flinging each door back in rising desperation. No-one. Where was she?

He came down the stairs more slowly than he had gone up them, puzzling over the situation. Jess was always in by the time he came home from work. If there was some reason that she wasn’t going to be then she would have said so over breakfast this morning. Or texted. If she had just popped out to the shop or a neighbour’s she would have left a note on the kitchen table.

Back in the kitchen he found not a note, but her phone on the table, next to her mug of coffee …… which was still warm. He spotted her keys in their usual place. She must have left by the back door. The front door had been locked when he arrived home. Opening the back door he looked around their small back garden. Nothing out of the ordinary. His brick built shed was padlocked …. The shed! It was full of his valuable tools and just recently they had installed a home security camera and aimed it at the back garden.

He sprinted inside and called up the camera feed on his phone, scrolling back over the last half hour. There she was! Charlie watched in horror as he saw his wife sprint out of the house in her slippers, with a terrified glance back at the kitchen. What had scared her so much that she left without shoes, or her keys and phone?

Back in the oppressive silence of the kitchen Chris scrolled through the contacts on his wife’s phone. Who might she turn to? The silence was broken by the angry buzzing of a wasp, battling against the window trying to escape.

Just then Chris heard a banging on the glass pane in the back door. Relief flooded through him as he saw his slightly dishevelled wife looking back at him.

“Have you got rid of that wasp yet?”

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