“What’s that smell?” I thought as I rolled over dragging the doona with me.
Through sleepy eyes I looked over at the digital alarm clock expecting it to be flashing. It wasn’t, instead it’s bright orange digits showed the time as 2:32am.
I couldn’t place the smell that had floated into the bedroom. My brain was telling me that I should know it but couldn’t tell me any more than that. It wasn’t an unpleasant smell but it was definitely not something that I expected to be wafting around in the middle of the night. Then again what smell does someone expect to be wafting through the house at night?
Confused but not alarmed I threw the doona back and swung my legs out of bed. Before my feet hit the floor I was reaching for my dressing gown which I’d left conveniently placed in easy reach. I stood up at the same time as I pushed my arms into the sleeves of the gown and then began buttoning the front of it as I started walking out of the bedroom.
The smell was slightly stronger as I stepped into the hallway but I still couldn’t place it. I kept walking, my feet skimming through the soft carpet reminding me that the housed needed a vacuum. As I reached the cold tiled floor I made a mental note to place a pair of slippers beside the bed before turning the light out from now on.
Rounding the corner of the hallway and kitchen I immediately noticed the oven clock was not flashing as it had been on previous mornings. As I had done the previous morning I left the lights off, said nothing and just made my way towards the kettle and switched it on.
Some time before falling asleep I decided that if my mysterious stranger was to appear again I would wait for him to break the silence before talking, but not being able to identify the smell was really beginning to annoy me and I really wanted to know what it was
As the kettle began bubbling away to itself I stood in the semi darkness. The entire room was lit only by the digital clock on the oven which was facing the wall behind me and providing little more than a dull glow. Despite the lack of light I could still see my tall, long haired, hunky stranger sitting at the table in the same seat he’d been sitting in for the past three mornings.
By the time the kettle had boiled and switched itself off we were still in darkness. I was expecting him to make the lights come on as he’d done, seemingly by magic, during our previous encounters but for some reason that had not happened.
I stood for several seconds before I decided my stranger was not going to be switching on any lights and made my way to the kitchen light switch to do the job myself. From the light switch I couldn’t see my tall stranger, and he couldn’t see me but it wasn’t until I turned and stepped back towards the kettle I realised something stranger than even my tall hunky stranger.
Sitting in the seat where the man who for whatever reasons had refused to tell me his name or what he was doing waking me in the middle of the night was a life like mannequin. At first I thought it was my stranger but on second glance I could tell there was nothing real about him. He was as stiff and plastic as a clothing store dummy.
“What the bloody hell is this?” I said to the empty room.
It was then I noticed what the smell that had been filling my nostrils was. Sitting on the table next to my tall, long haired, hunky stranger mannequin was a KFC Double Zinger burger.