“What are they doing out there, making all that noise? They mess about with the powerlines you know, put the electricity bills up. Why don’t you just leave me alone!”

He tried to lift his stick and bang it against the window, but I pushed it  down.

“It’s just roadworks, Grandpa.”

“I’ve seen them before. They tried to get into my house!”

“No, they didn’t. Why don’t you sit down?”

I tugged at his elbow, but he shook me off, before choosing to perch on the arm of the chair.

I bent down level with his ear.

“You need to calm down Grandpa. Remember what the doctor said.”

He winced a little, his eye flickering, but his gaze remained fixed on the gap in the curtains.

I took a breath.

“Have you been taking your medication?”

He swatted the thought away.

“Don’t need that. Poison.”

“Grandpa, you need-”

“Yeah, poison! They want to see me drop dead. All of them do.”

“That’s not true. They’re trying to help.”

He murmured something in irritation then began to look tired.

I helped him into the chair and his chin sank to his chest. I watched his breast bone rise and fall a few times, then looked about the room at familiar sights. The picture of me and my brother with our cousins in the tree, the misty 1940s portrait of Grandma’s sister, hanging slightly off centre and the grandfather clock rearing above everything, its tick long since deceased.

I wondered how long. Then I left quietly.