Bang!

You are startled out of your nap.

The echo of a sharp crack is still ringing in your ears as you lift yourself up on your elbows. Was that… surely it couldn’t have been—a gunshot? How, where?

You get out of bed and look out of the window. It’s evening, the street is lit with new energy saving lamps the council installed a couple of months ago. Apart from a guy in a black coat and a baseball cap, there’s not a soul on the street. A suspicious character? This is a quiet neighbourhood, mostly, but you don’t let that hoodwink you. You remember you heard shouting from outside earlier, as you were dozing off. But you just dismissed it as another disagreement between the couple next door. The husband is a sanctimonious clown and the wife, though most of the time quite pleasant, is petite but lethal. It used to amuse you until it got boring. But their arguments never went beyond yells and a few swear words. Not even a smashed plate. And this was a bang.

You exit your bedroom into the hall. It’s quiet and dark everywhere, except there is light leaking from under the living room door. You turn the handle and enter.

Your nephew Adam is lounging on the sofa, his long legs hanging from the arm, a huge bowl of popcorn on the coffee table. A few kernels litter the laminated floor. The TV’s on, he’s re-watching the Avengers again. Your cat Felix sits on the coffee table in a loaf-of-bread position and fixes his green eyes on you.

“Oh, hi, you’re up?” Adam says with a mouth full of popcorn.

“Puny gods,” goes Hulk’s voice from the screen.

“I thought a heard a bang, it woke me up,” you say. “Maybe I just dreamt it.”

“Oh that,” Adam licks his fingers, “Felix here knocked down the remote control.”

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