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Duncan White

A nne rolled over which woke me up. I kept my eyes closed. Then I felt that she’d sat up.

She blew out her cheeks.

‘That fucking radio.’ She said.

Still I kept my eyes closed. I wasn’t that awake. Though I was beginning to know what day it was.

‘Everyday. Every single day.’ She said. ‘It comes on.’

I hadn’t heard the music. Not until she said it. I don’t know if I had heard the music before.

‘I can’t sleep,’ Anne said.

I felt bad lying there not knowing if I’d heard it before.

I opened my eyes.

Anne’s arms were folded and she was looking at the ceiling.

‘Try and sleep,’ I said.

I knew it was early. It was a Saturday. Both of us were very tired.

She looked down at me.

‘I can’t sleep.’

I rolled over and closed my eyes. Anne was very still. I lay still. But I could hear the radio then.

It was loud. The music stopped. Then I could hear the voice of the DJ muffled through the floor above.

I rolled back over.

Anne was looking at the wall. The voice stopped and the music began again.

I couldn’t sleep.

‘Shit.’ Anne said.

I sat up. Climbed out from the covers. Anne was watching me. I pulled on my clothes. Then sat to lace my shoes.

I didn’t look for any socks.

‘What you doing?’ Anne said.

‘What does it look like?’

I walked over to the door. Opened it. And left it ajar behind me.

Nobody else was on the stairs.

All the other doors were closed. I passed the door opposite and heard my feet on each of the steps.

I found the flat directly over the one we were in.

Anne was house-sitting for this friend of hers. I didn’t know the building. Or anybody in it.

I could hear the radio and I knocked.


I looked through a window across the stairwell. Out in the street a man walked over to his car. Unlocked the door and climbed in.

I knocked again. Harder.

A woman opened the door quite wide and looked at me.

I don’t know what I looked like. I didn’t think I looked like anything.

‘Yes?’ She said.

The radio was loud behind her. I saw into the flat. The hall and the half of one room I could see were like the rooms downstairs. They were very tidy.

I could see a plant with apple green leaves on a table in the corner.

‘Yes?’ She said again.

‘Can you turn it down?’ I said.

She looked at me. She was dressed neatly. And her hair was tied behind her head.

‘I live downstairs,’ I lied. ‘Your radio wakes me up.’

‘Sorry.’ She said.

‘That’s alright.’ I said.

‘I’ll turn it down.’

‘Thanks.’ I said, looking past her again.

She began to close the door. I looked at her. Her face was funny. Then the door was closed.

On my way back down I thought that she had been afraid. I could hear my shoes again and where they met the trousers I could feel my ankles. The car in the street was gone.

‘It stopped.’ Anne said.

I got out of my clothes and got back into bed.

Anne was still awake and sitting up. I lay on my back.

I said, ‘I think I scared her.’

‘Oh.’ Anne said.

She lay back down. Neither of us could sleep.

Being scared in the morning wasn’t any fun. Everyone knew that. The radio never woke us up again.


Duncan White lives and works in London where nothing is easy. In between he writes very short stories. Currently his work is online in He thinks writing is something 'relentless/unheroic/and necessary.' He dedicates everything to a girl named Alex who lives near by.

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