Victor sat on the floor cross-legged, trying to steady his breathing.
Behind him it sounded as though a tiny engine kicked into gear. “Oh no,” he whispered. He looked behind him and saw a wasp hovering at his eye level. Before he could turn himself around the wasp flew at him. With his rear end planted uselessly to the floorboards, Victor could only thrust his upper body forward and lean down; he felt the rush of wings above the back of his head as the wasp’s razor barb missed by millimetres. He sat upright as the wasp swung around for another pass; he had only one leg out from under him before the wasp charged again. Like a seasoned Twister player toying with an inexperienced opponent, the sadistic bug sent Victor sprawling backward onto the floor, an awkward contortion of limbs. In an instant the wasp was above him and dove straight at his face. Victor winced and tilted his head. A thud sounded by his ear, followed by a frantic buzzing. He opened his eyes and turned his head; the wasp was stuck, its stinger embedded in the floor. Victor rolled over and jumped to his feet. He snatched up one of his shoes, knelt over the wasp and hammered it to a fine paste.
Gasping for breath after administering the excessive beating, Victor examined the small puddle of goo that was just moments ago a living insect. Its only recognisable feature was now the fish hook stinger, in perfect condition; he picked it up and twirled it between his thumb and forefinger.
After sitting for a few minutes in peace—uninterrupted by savage insects, gun-toting blind men, reptilian schoolmasters or demonic paintings—Victor stood up and stretched his back. His stomach growled. He picked up his shoes and returned to the bedroom where he had left his things. In the room, Victor threw his shoes on the floor then walked over to the bookshelf and placed the fish hook on the top shelf. He turned around and put his hands on his hips. The desk was upturned on the floor where he had left it earlier, with the notepads and pencils strewn about. “I can’t leave it like that,” he said. He lifted the desk and stood it upright. On his hands and knees he gathered up all the coloured pencils and placed them in a row on the desk, picked up his wallet and keys, the lollipop, and then re-stacked the notepads. By the door the candle had miraculously landed upright and continued to flicker calmly. Victor set it back on the desk. On the floor next to the wall lay the notepad with the spotty artwork. He picked it up and replaced it on the desk, opening it to the page he had seen before. He crouched almost to eye level with the notepad and scanned the artwork on the page. Every blue, green and purple dot had been meticulously drawn. “Unbelievable,” he said. “That one page must have taken an hour to complete—just for a bunch of spots.” He shook his head in wonder and stood up. As he looked down at the page he tilted his head. He squinted. He picked up the notepad and held it before him at arm’s length, and then brought it right up to his nose. “Well how about that?” he said. Victor noticed the green dots on the page formed letters. Those letters formed the words, HELP ME.
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