She heard his head explode from the other end of the telephone line, a ripping-bursting-popping-splattering kind of sound. Waited a moment. “Hello?” she said, tentatively. No answer. She looked at the receiver and then looked at her nails and then looked around the flat and did not see blood and brains shot up the wall which, with the the blast sounding so close, she was convinced she would. “Hello?” she said again. The line was still live but she could not hear anything on the other end – no commotion, no hysterics, no desperately improvised situation in the style of people reacting to a suddenly exploded head. She touched her stomach and felt the cold of her hand against it, thought about how she had not worn clothes for eight years, not been outside for nine, barely spoken to a soul in ten. And now this. Which would surely put her off attempting to speak to anyone ever again. Or attempting to go outside, or attempting to wear clothes for that matter. “Hello?” she tried again. Nothing. She began to wonder whether she had imagined it, thought back to a few minutes ago when she had heard the ringing of the telephone, mistaken it for the doorbell, gone to the window, peered out of the curtains… and eventually answered the phone. He had sounded so cheerful, the man on the other end of the line, so cheerful in blissful ignorance of the fact that his head would explode just minutes later before he had chance to complete his sales pitch. He had been selling animal suits. Full body, realistic, dress-up-and-pretend-to-be-an-animal, animal suits. When she thought about it, it was quite funny really. When she thought about it. When she thought about what had just happened, she wondered what she had been worrying about for the past ten years. “HELLO!” she tried again, shouting now, surprising herself with the sound of her voice. She started to giggle, caught herself, covered the receiver with her hand anyway. There was still no response from the other end of the line, which could be anywhere, could be in the middle of nowhere and no one but her knowing about the exploded head of an animal suit salesman. She waited a moment more and then put the phone down and stepped through to the kitchen. As she began washing up she started to feel less like a character in a story and more like a real person, and knew then that she would be going outside again, that it was time. That otherwise she would just end up an exploding head on the end of a telephone line one day. She went back to the phone, dialled a number for the first time in eleven years. If she was leaving the house she would need something to wear.