A girl wakes up in the middle of the night, and for no reason, she feels the need to go to Mums' room. She doesn't know why -- she is 14 years old now, far too big to be needing Mum in the middle of the night.
She creeps through the house. Everything is dark and silent.
But when she peeks through Mums' bedroom door, her heart skips a beat. Because the room looks like a bomb has gone off.
The wardrobes are tipped over all the drawers on the floor clothes flung anyoldplace a door torn off the mattress sliding rumpled unkempt off the base the smell of spilled aftershave and there is no mum anywhere.
The girl is beyond frightened. She tries to swallow and hears the click as her dry mouth and throat protest. Her heart is thudding.
She creeps out to the kitchen, hoping to find someone hoping not to find someone, and there is her dad, sitting at the table with a loaded gun.
The gun looks 18 feet long, cold and deadly. Her heart stops, then thuds so hard she can feel it in her ears and neck.
"Where's Mum?" she whispers.
"I dunno," her father slurs, belligerent, surly, unthinking. "But when she comes back I'm gonna fuckin' shoot her. Alright???"
The girl thinks fast.
"OK," she says. "Well, I'm going back to bed."
On the way back to her room, she checks on her two little brothers. They are just 4 and 2. They are in the room next to her parents' room, and they're still fast asleep. How they weren't woken by the fighting and the smashing, she'll never know, but she's thankful. They're too little for this shit.
"Bloody hell," she thinks. "I'M too little for this shit!"
She climbs out her bedroom window, still in her nightie, and runs up the street to the Post Office.
This is back in the Olden Days, at the very end of the 70s, and the town still has actual people working on the Telephone Exchange. She bangs on the door and frightens the girl who's doing nights.
"Get the police to go to my house," she says. "My dad's got a gun. He says he's gonna shoot my mum."
In a small town, it's better not to give too much information, but the girl is 14. She's more concerned that her mother might be shot, than worried about what the town will say next day.
She hobbles back home. She didn't wait to put shoes on, and her feet are hurting now. She sees the police at the house, and creeps back inside when they're gone.
The next morning, no-one mentions what's happened. It's as though she dreamed it all.
She checks in her parents' room just to make sure, and the bed is neatly made, the clothes all put away.
The wardrobe doors and drawers are missing.
Some days later, she comes home from school, and her father snarls in his beer-sodden voice, "Look out, I'm runnin' amok! Ya better go ring the cops!!"
"If you do, I WILL!" she snaps back.
She goes into her room and cries till her heart stops hurting so bad.
It takes a long time.