I awoke in the early hours with a chilling feeling of guilt; as if I had that night committed some horrendous crime for which I would be pursued for the rest of my life. My body was cold and damp, and I shivered despite the warm summer night. My nightclothes were wet; as if drenched with dew after a night sleeping in the open air.
The priest’s housekeeper, a woman, well past middle age, was five doors along from my room. In the night I had heard her sobbing so loudly I could not understand how she did not awaken the whole house.
Then I remembered that, apart from the housekeeper, I was alone on this landing, having arrived late and uninvited.
The floorboards were cold, tacky and gritty on my bare feet. I pulled my mackintosh over my pajamas and walked out into the corridor. I shivered and my teeth rattled.
The old lady was sat up in bed. Her hair dishevelled; the previous evening it had been neatly and sternly held in a bun. Her face was broken in misery and despair.
Fragments by Boz