That night, I lay in bed, unable to sleep, the metal case of the camcorder warm in my hand. I idly ran my thumb over the record button and opened my eyes to stare into the darkness of my room. Except it wasn't my room. I was lying under the stars, in a field. The grass beneath me was flattened as smooth as a bedsheet, a small springy pile of it underneath my head. I sat up, disoriented. The camcorder was no longer in my hand, but I could hear it whirring somewhere close by, just on the edge of hearing.
It was a warm summer's night, and there was no other sound at all. I stared at the treeline; it seemed familiar somehow, outlined by the faint glow of the half moon. It all seemed so real - my senses ignoring my mind. It was only when I got to my feet and turned around that I was shocked out of my trance. I realised now why the treeline seemed familiar - there in front of me was the house I grew up in, just as it always had been. White cottage, thatched roof, one bay window to the right of the door - and just seeing it brought on an unexplained feeling of dread. There was trouble there. The kind of trouble that had followed me all my life, somewhere behind the warm yellow light leaking from the door and behind the curtains. But there I was, walking towards it, staring at the little grid of windows embedded in the heavy wooden door as if it were a puzzle I was meant to solve.
The door wasn't locked, as it hardly ever was on summer nights, and as I absent-mindedly wiped my feet on the mat, I heard voices from upstairs. Down the hall, past the empty living room with the TV turned down low, past the downstairs toilet, to the foot of the stairs. The voices were more distinct now, and the tone stirred up the discomfort inside me again.
I recognised my father's voice - was he pleading? Threatening? I quietly walked up the stairs, trying to make out individual words in his general tone. I turned right at the top - he was in my room. Who was he talking to?