As I decide which one of my crazy ideas I ought to pitch at my agent one-to-one, here’s a piece from an unfinished novel, Simon Says.
Chapter 1: Perfect Prison
Who knows how she got to that moment? Banging on the kitchen door, demanding to be let out. She was cooking a pasta bake, pasta steaming away, needed a tissue, and she couldn’t get out of the door.
Simon had Louis, their son, their one and a bit year old. She could hear them playing, probably running the ride-on car along the wooden floors of the dining room and sitting room. But if she could hear them, why couldn’t they hear her? She rattled the door again, aware of the newness of the fake-old hinges and the cost of replacing the pitch pine door. She shouted, ‘love, can you let me out please?’
Nothing. She was actually getting angry now. Of course, there was sure to be a reason, perhaps the sitting room door was closed. But this was not part of the deal. And her nose was dripping.
They’d put the bolts on the doors because Simon didn’t want to have stair gates on the doors downstairs, and they didn’t want Louis to get into the kitchen. They had a bolt on the stairs as well to stop him disappearing off. Sarah had managed to persuade him to put a stair-gate on the stairs eventually, though he wasn’t keen on messing up the paintwork. But Simon had spent a lot of time painting the doorframes in Farrow and Ball pointing and he didn’t want to cut into them. He didn’t really want kiddy stuff all over the house.
She shouted again, rattled the door some more. What would it take to break it? But was she really so desperate? She started to make the cheese sauce, weighing up the butter, reserving her energy.
Could she get out of the back door and bang on the front to be let in? She checked the pasta wasn’t boiling over on the stove. It was hard to clean the starch off the stainless steel when she lost concentration and let that happen. She moved through the utility to the back door, turned the handle. It was locked. She was locked in the kitchen. She couldn’t quite believe it.
She shouted again. ‘Simon. If you don’t let me out of here soon, I’m going to break the bloody door off the hinges.’
The door opened.
‘We couldn’t hear you.’
She didn’t look at his eyes.