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(WIP, Untitled murder mystery)
Drew lifted their head to look around, fighting nausea. Lifting a hand, feeling the rasp of carpet on their bare shoulder as they shifted, they rubbed hard at their eyes until their surroundings coalesced into something other than a blur.
They were lying on the floor which was unusual, to be sure, but at least they were in their own bedroom. As Drew’s brain slowly woke up, the sounds of housemates moving around inside and cars flying past outside infiltrated. A normal day was happening elsewhere. In here? Well, in here Drew was less sure what was going on.
They levered themselves up onto one elbow, swallowing the acidic liquid that tried to swim up their throat. The bed was almost within arm’s reach.
Drew allowed the arm holding them up to collapse and roll them over onto their front, before pulling their knees up and, ignoring the carpet trying to burn their knees and elbows, travelled by a slow crawl to the comfortable mattress, pulling themslves up onto the bed.
Sliding under the duvet, the shock of cold across their body finally clued Drew into the fact that they were wearing less clothes than was customary. A quick feel revealed that they were, indeed, naked.
Drew groaned, trying to find their most recent memory. Getting dressed, going out with the new housemate – Ashwin. He was new both to the house and the city, and Drew had taken it upon themselves to help acclimatise the guy before the new Uni year began.
So there was that, but what else? Drew vaguely remembered many drinks, possibly making some new friends, but nothing very concrete and certainly nothing that explained them lying naked on their bedroom floor. On top of that there was an odd tightness around their chest and face, like something sticky had dried before they had chance to clean it off. Drewgroaned softly, that was in no way the most pressing issue. This pounding headache that had appeared and gotten worse with each moment of wakefulness, that was a more immediate problem. Painkillers and liquid, those were the important things, everything else could come later.
Drew rolled their head sideways to face their bedside cabinet, seeing an empty glass. They swore softly and slowly pushed themselves upright, grabbing the empty glass to fill up, and swaying with the dizziness that erupted. They grit their teeth and shoved themselves to their feet, holding on to the nearby wall for support, letting the swaying motions help move their feet forwards to the door.
At the door, Drew realised again that they were naked and their brow furrwed as they took a moment to consider. They didn’t hear anyone upstairs, and at this moment in time cared less about being spotted than about getting that glass of water. With a grunt, they moved forwards, opened the door, and lurched out onto the landing.
Step by torturous step, they moved to the shared bathroom, closing the door behind them, fingers fumbling at the lock,failing to slide it home, until they gave up and let it be. After downing one glass of water, they reached for the medicine cabinet to find painkillers and glanced into the mirror, seeing what that tight-skinned feeling was. Smeared across their face, neck and chest, mostly dry and starting to flake, was a red substance.
Their eyes widened as another sense kicked in and the scent of sweet copper filled their nostrils.
The bathroom door swung open and Drew started, yelping in both pain as their headache flared, and surprise at being invaded. Turning, they saw Ashwin, saw the surprise and confusion covering his face.
“Woah! What the hell happened to you last night? You were smashed, innit? You vanished! Why the fuck are you naked? Oh, shit, is that blood?”
Drew, wincing in pain at every syllable, turned around carefully, fighting back the urge to vomit and picking up on the final question, “Blood? Uh. No?”
“That’s not a question you’re supposed to answer with another question.”
Drew said nothing, unable to dredge anything up beyong the pain and sickness.
Ashwin shrugged, “A’ight, get some sleep or somethin I guess,” he backed out of the bathroom, closing the door behind him.
Drew fumbled again for the medicine cabinet, taking painkillers and sitting on the closed toilet seat. After a few minutes, they turned on the shower and climbed into the bath, sitting rather than standing in the warmth of the water, letting the blood – or whatever it was – be sloughed away. But still they had no memory of where it came from, or when they had, apparently, vanished and left Ashwin to his own devices.
Feeling a little better, Drew wrapped themselves in a thick towel from their pile in the airing cupboard, and walked, mostly upright, back to bed to fall into a deep sleep.
The next thing they knew was the police bursting through their bedroom door. At least, Drew thought later, they let them dress as they read Drew their rights and led them out to the waiting police car.
Writing prompt used:
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