****Argh, I can't fix the layout, but I really do know how to indent new paragraphs, it just looks like I don't, ha! 1st draft. Enjoy.****
Without a second thought, Michael Martin, still wearing his pyjamas, jumped from the top of the White Cliffs of Dover. His body plummeted through the air almost weightless, before shattering on the jutting rocks below. Michael Martin didn’t leave a note. Two days earlier, he had received a package in the post.
Michael Martin woke up on Wednesday 4th April at 6:45am for another tedious day at work. He had been waking up at this hour for so long that he forgot the last time he actually used his alarm. He sat up, blinked through sleep-thick eyelids, scratched his messy blonde hair, and stared at the same room which he had woken up in for the past six years. Nothing had really changed, except the white walls were now tinged with grey, and the windowsill held a thick, greasy layer of grime that Michael always told himself he would get around to cleaning. He jumped out of bed and headed straight for the shower.
For breakfast he ate two pieces of white bread with little butter and a dash of jam. He took his tea with a splash of whole milk and a heaped tea-spoon of sugar. Next he slurped down a shallow bowl of cornflakes followed by a half-pint of orange juice – no bits. He sighed, opened his laptop, and began checking the internet for any traffic or weather updates.
There was a knock at the door. Michael checked his watch. It was 7:30am. His brow creased and his eyes narrowed. He went through to the front door and looked through the peephole. It was a deliveryman dressed in red and blue, and in his arms he held a small brown package. Michael shivered. He hadn’t ordered anything. He opened the door and signed for it, one eyebrow raised. He scratched the back of his neck as he looked for a return address. There wasn’t one. The invoice was water damaged and all the ink had run into abstract. He set the package down next to his empty bowl, and carefully, delicately, began peeling back the brown tape.
Tie loose around his neck, shirt pulled from his waistband and trousers creased and mud-spattered, Michael knelt in his tiny scrap of garden, furiously digging at the moist dirt with his bare hands. His eyes were wide, maddened. Spittle dripped from his out turned bottom lip. His fingernails had bent back and seeped with blood. He grabbed the package which he had haphazardly taped back up and thrust it in the pit he had dug, before using his forearms to pile dirt over it. He rocked back and fell on his side, pulling at his hair. His eyes rolled around in his head as he sprang to all-fours and scuttled back into his home like a dog.
With gentle fingers Michael pulled back the length of tape on top of the package. With just as much caution, he opened the box and peered in. He looked for no longer than a split second before he stumbled back, arms flailing. He yelled and grabbed his face, his fingers digging into his eyes. They felt as if they were melting and his brain as though it was being cleaved in two. He tripped and landed on his back, looking up at the table with the box on. The lid had closed, but Michael was too afraid to go near it. He wanted to get rid of it, thought about throwing it in the bin, but they wouldn’t be back to collect it until Monday, and he wanted a more instant solution. He could hide it in the freezer, but then he would have to deal with it being in the kitchen.
‘I’ll bury it,’ he said.
Michael called in sick. He peeled off his dirty clothes and had another shower. This one lasted for almost an hour. The water was coming through cold at least ten minutes before he decided to get out. Michael locked the windows and used all the downstairs furniture to barricade the front and back doors. He hauled his fridge-freezer upstairs and set it up in the bedroom, along with his toaster, kettle, and microwave. He blockaded his bedroom door with the bed frame and mattress, and sat wrapped in his duvet in the corner with the lights out and curtains pulled. The only noise was the comforting hum of the fridge-freezer. He tried to sleep, but his mind still too active to rest; it grinded and sparked with thoughts and ideas and worries, instead Michael spent the rest of the day staring at the blank ceiling. He didn’t blink once.
It was almost 24 hours before he moved. Michael kept low to the ground and crawled over to the window. He wanted to look outside, to see if anything was different out there, but he couldn’t bring himself to. Instead he started to pluck the hairs from his head one by one, threading each strand between his lips and over his tongue. Every few moments he stopped and scanned the room, as if looking for a disturbance he knew was coming.
When several patches of scalp started to seep with pinpricks of blood, Michael stopped and felt his way over the floor in darkness. He sought out the fridge-freezer. He placed his hair in the bottom freezer drawer on a bed of frozen mincemeat. But still Michael’s head clanged with incessant noise. He couldn’t rest.
He crept to the window again, and slowly peeked outside, his body shaking, sweating. A chill trickled down his spine as he stared at his barren garden. He could feel something spying on him. He slid back down to the floor. Michael lay on his back and rubbed the stinging bald patches, dislodging small black plugs of blood.
In the anaemic gleam of moonlight, Michael, in his pyjamas, with patches of hair missing, sat hunched over the shallow grave he dug for the box, which he tore open. The plasters he wrapped over each finger unravelled and churned in with the mud, to reveal little raw stumps. The pain went unnoticed. He got to the box and stopped. His eyes, cue balls in the sick moon’s glow, rolled frantically in his head as he carefully lifted the slightly damp box from its resting place. He held it as far from his body, as if it held some disease. He staggered back to his house and through the dark, bare halls, before digging out his front door from his makeshift barricade.
He left the house and headed for his car. He placed the box in the boot, under the matting, in the middle of his spare tyre.
He drove southeast on the A2 towards Dover and didn’t stop until he was there. It was sunrise when Michael arrived. The car churned through dewy grass as it trundled near the edge. He wanted to throw the box in the sea, but he couldn’t bring himself to – something wouldn’t let him. Instead, less than 100 metres from the lip of the cliff, Michael’s foot tickled the accelerator. He was going in with it.
But as the car neared the edge, Michael leapt out. He hit the ground hard, but was on his feet in time to see his beloved Rover tip over the edge. He waited for the crash of metal against water before relaxing. He was free. Or so he thought.
Michael’s curiosity grabbed him, and he walked over to look down at the sea. He saw the rear of his car poking out of the water, almost merging with the rocks. The boot had sprung open. The noise returned, or at least he thought it had.
Without a second thought, Michael Martin, still wearing his pyjamas, jumped from the top of the White Cliffs of Dover. His body plummeted through the air almost weightless, before shattering on the jutting rocks below.