The clock started chiming downstairs, echoing through the house. It always played a peaceful tune that gradually got louder as it continued on. It was programmed that way many years ago, for the original owners, a delightful old, married couple, both had heart issues, and did not want to be startled. Now, though, it had been passed down through the family for generations until it finally found it's way to the home of Brenda Guðsdóttir.
Brenda had thought the clock a work of absolute beauty when she first laid eyes on it. She knew that it would one day be sitting in her den, the only spot on the wall that wouldn't be consumed by the bookcases that housed every single story she had ever loved in her thirty-something years.
Presently, she was rousing from a deep slumber, the deepest in months, content in the knowledge that she would be back in the comforting darkness of her room soon, albeit not soon enough. All she had to do was meet with her sponsor in the middle of the afternoon, and at least appear to have been busy during the beginning of the day.
"I can handle that," she murmured, still wiping the sleep from her eyes. "It's only six hours."
Sitting up, she caught her reflection in the vanity mirror on the other side of the room and groaned. Her hair was a mess. She couldn't recall the last time she had properly washed it. She didn't care, either. There are only two people with any potential to give a damn.
"Or," her reflection began, "there were two people. Now there's only one, and she's contractually obligated to. You chased the other one off." Brenda barked a furious, wordless shout at the mirror and turned away, keeping her eyes low, so as to avoid the judgmental glare of her cat perched on the end table.
She swung her legs over the edge of the bed and felt several stabs of pain in the bottoms of her feet. Cursing, she drew her feet back and peered over the edge to find a shattered wine glass on the floor. It was almost enough to make her start crying again, despite swearing tears off quite loudly to the neighbors the night before.
Several minutes later, she wrapped her throbbing feet with a pair of socks, mismatched, and adjusted her four-sizes-too-big nightshirt as she gingerly stepped out of the bedroom. Her cat hopped down and followed. After several steps, she couldn't expend the effort and just began shuffling her feet through the pain. Right now, all she could think about was coffee, and maybe spiking it with something.
"No," she sighed, "she'll know. I'll be lucky if she doesn't find out about last night." Brenda paused as she arrived at her coffee pot. Staring up at her from the counter was a printout of an email he had sent. A sob lurched up through her chest and escaped from her mouth, but died shortly, turning into practically a snarl.
In a rage, she snatched up the papers and began tearing them apart. All the while cursing the man, no, boy, who had sent it. How dare he leave me? After everything I did for him! After...after everything.... She dropped to her knees, wrapping her arms around her stomach, as scraps of paper fluttered down around her.
She eventually slumped over to curl up on the floor, fingernails digging into her sides.