Ellie descended the stairs gingerly, wary of what she would find on the floor inside her kitchen this morning. With her husband Liam at work, her two young sons sleeping soundly in their room upstairs and her baby daughter enjoying the peace and safety of her cot so much she was sleeping in late, Ellie had no one to fall back on should she need to again today. Even the dog was useless, except when it came to barking at anyone coming within a mile of the house. So Ellie stopped at the kitchen door, took the handle in her palm, closed her eyes and breathed deeply, steeling herself for her entry. The kids would need their breakfast before their dad came home, and she would have to go in there sooner or later, so she let out one extra loud sigh, closed her fingers around the handle and opened it.
This morning, she needn’t have worried. On the floor there was nothing but a few stray cat biscuits the cats must have chased under the gap between the door and the gripper rail holding the hallway carpet in place before the kitchen lino starts. And on the cork notice board, the one with the arty black and white picture of New York City at the top that was a continuation of one of the themes from the rest of the house, were the postcards. Still pinned to the board, still as Ellie had arranged them before turning off the light and shutting the kitchen up for the night at bedtime the previous evening. After a quick phone call to tell Liam that, today at least, there were no postcards on the floor, she would try to get a few quiet minutes by herself before the boys woke for the day, her heart beating at a normal speed for the first day in a week.
(Chapter 2 due tomorrow, 19/12/08)