But there is a mystery surrounding his new home.
Who made a mess of his shed? Who is the little girl in the photo?
Brock needs to find some answers before he too becomes a victim…
Formats: ebook $2.99
Length: short story
Available from your favourite retailer here.
Brock blinked, and sighed with resignation at the long beige streak on the pale blue wall.
Most of the wall was painted perfectly. He’d taped the whole lounge room up the night before, taking the time to get the masking tape exactly along the edge of the cornices and the skirting board, knowing that his chances of having a seizure were less at night. He’d come out this morning and had his two slices of toast with tomato for breakfast. Then he’d taken his Keppra and waited half an hour for the medication to fully kick in before he even opened the paint tin and picked up his roller.
And now he’d had what he called a ‘zone-out’, a couple of seconds, maybe a minute, where he’d probably been standing immobile, his face slack. His hands had probably dropped slowly to his sides, letting the paint-filled roller slant along the unpainted part of the wall like a giant beige caterpillar.
At least it had landed on the drop-sheets he’d spread across the floor to protect the dark wooden boards. And it hadn’t hit the skirting either.
Brock glanced at his watch. Only 9.37am. Damn. Usually the first seizure hit somewhere around eleven. He bent down to pick up the roller and set it against the wall again, using long strokes to obliterate that telltale streak.
Hopefully he should be able to get the rest of this room painted before he zoned out again.
Brock had battled epilepsy for most of his life.
He’d been diagnosed at age four, after he’d had a seizure at his daycare. Three years of doctor’s visits, different medications and one ambulance ride to the hospital at age seven, sirens howling, had taught him and his parents to watch for triggers. At first, when the doctors were balancing his medications, he would fall twitching to the floor at least two or three times a day. But as he got older he was able to stop some of the focal seizures, the ones where he just looked like a zombie or babbled incoherently, from becoming generalised ones.
Not enough to avoid being the ‘freaky fitting kid’ at school, but enough that he wasn’t constantly covered in bruises.
And definitely enough that he’d finally been able to convince Mum and Dad he could live in his own place.
He grinned slightly as he shifted his drop-sheets and started on the next wall. They hadn’t expected him to move three hundred kilometres away! But Norton was almost perfect for him. A small town far enough away from Melbourne that he felt like he was really on his own, but right on a railway line so his parents knew he could visit when he wanted to. Or send him tickets when they wanted him to visit. The house he’d found was a bit run-down, it badly needed a fix-up and a paint job. But because of that it was on the market cheap and he was able to afford the mortgage payments with his parents as guarantors on the loan.
He might not be able to work a regular nine-to-five job, but he was the absolute king of budgets.
And his computer didn’t care if he stared at it blankly a couple of times per day.
After all, writers were supposed to do that, weren’t they?
Not that he was a real writer yet. He only had a few short stories up electronically and a few more in the mail, but he was getting there.
But he hadn’t even unpacked the computer yet, although he’d brought it inside. He’d left most of his stuff, including the few pieces of furniture he owned, in the shed, alongside a heap of boxes the old owner had left. He’d given himself two weeks to get his new place the way he wanted it, using the meagre savings he had left after the deposit.
It took him until a little after noon to get the walls done, including the cutting-in work around the skirting and cornices with the small paintbrush, before he carefully pulled off the masking tape. It was a relief to get rid of that pale and patchy blue.
Someone had done a really bad job on that.
His next job that afternoon was to give the kitchen cupboards a decent wipe-down before he bought his first load of groceries from the small Norton Supermarket.
He was actually standing looking over the island benchtop at the pantry doors when his vision went fuzzy at the edges. Instantly he dropped to the floor, knowing he would fall if he didn’t, and lay down.
And, for the first time in years, he hallucinated as his limbs started to jerk uncontrollably.