The thought of that cup of black coffee makes her naughty bits tingle in the most delightful of ways. Peering over the edge of the bed, she knows it’ll be an awful thing to step foot on the cold floorboards, but also knows that she has no choice. Kicking off the duvet, she leaps through the air and makes it to the other side of the room. Landing with the agility of a cat, she balances on tiptoes before grabbing hold of the doorknob to stop herself from falling. Pulling herself forwards, she squeezes through the gap in the doorway. There’s only a gap because the door won’t open all the way on account of all the dirty clothes piled behind it. If her mother saw the state of the room right now, she’d be appalled. Gretchen, she would begin, I didn’t raise you so you could live your life as a pig! She might call her mother later in the day and ask if she can have some money. A loan, as she always phrases it, much to her mother’s despair. On the landing, she hops down the stairwell and is about to run into the kitchen when she abruptly comes to a halt. What if the others are about? She doesn’t want to speak to them. Not because she dislikes her housemates, but, if she can, she’ll avoid them at all costs, much like she does with people in general. It’s not that she’s a miserable cow or anything, just that the less she comes into contact with the human race, the more she feels at one in a skin she hasn’t felt good in since the days of her childhood. With her pinky ear stuck out, she hears nothing other than the ticking of the clock in the dining room. The clock has a cuckoo in it and is supposed to appear promptly on the hour, but for some reason or other, only comes out late at night. A bit like her, really. Satisfied by the sounds of silence, she hurries into the kitchen and switches on the kettle. Waiting for it to boil, she opens the fridge and helps herself to a few slices of cheese. It’s foolish because cheese always gives her the shits, but then she’s a foolish girl, so it fits.