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1… 2… 3… 4… 1… 2… 3… 4… I count the corners of my kitchen table as I round them, sliding my palm across the hard edge. 1… 2… 3… 4… again and again. 



I started walking in circles around my kitchen table when I was eleven. My parents weren’t concerned. My sister did it when she was younger, and she grew out of it. Yet, here I am, approaching adulthood, and I’m still pacing. Every night. It's comforting, really. 



I do it only late at night. With the lights off, no tv, no music. Just the sound of my feet on the linoleum and the only light from the clocks on our appliances. I was quite proud of those clocks. One was on the microwave, the other on the stove. I had them synchronised down nearly to the second. 



I’d watch the clocks, too. They were on opposite corners of the kitchen, so I’d see one, note the time and have the pleasant experience of seeing the exact same time on the other when I round the corner. 

11:00.


Round the corner.



11:00.



As I was doing my pacing, I felt the usual comfort in the sameness of it all. The silence. The limited stimulus. The corners against my palms, the dim LED glow of the clocks. Perfection. I checked the clocks. 



11:30.



Round the corner.



11:30.



I continued some more, counting into oblivion. There was a rustle outside the patio doors. I ignored it. Raccoons were about this time of night. I turned my attention to the silence I enjoyed. Just my feet on the floor, my counting, and if I listened hard enough, the slow, metered breathing of my parents down the hall. I checked the clocks. 



11:55.



Round the corner.



11:55.



The rustling had stopped. In fact, it had gotten much quieter than usual. Of course, I couldn’t always hear my parents, but I must’ve been stepping lighter than usual. The normal rhythm of my steps wasn’t there. The whisper of my counting came down to a mumble. Things weren’t too strange, so I continued. I checked the clocks. 



12:01. 



Round the corner. 



10:15. 



What? The clock on the stove was off. There must’ve been an electrical short, or something. I didn’t hear rain, but maybe there was some lightning that made the power surge. As I passed them, I looked outside my patio doors to see the weather. It was pitch black. Huh. I didn't know it was time for a new moon already. That’s the only reason it would be so dark. I shrugged it off and went on my way around the table. I checked the clocks. 



7:30.



Round the corner.



9:45.



Now they were both wrong. They were very wrong. Something was wrong. I shook my head and rubbed my eyes. I really should get to bed. Before the clocks went crazy, it was after midnight. Clearly I was sleep deprived enough to be seeing things. I stopped my pacing. 



I began walking out towards the living room, and as I reached the doorway, I realised something. The living room wasn’t there. 

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