I haven’t seen the shadow man again but he may have come into my room in the early hours this morning. It seems he likes to arrive at 4.35 precisely. I was waiting for him with the curtain drawn around my bed. Something brushed against it on the window ledge and I’m sure it scampered across the floor. The door was open so perhaps again he was looking for another patient. He has no interest in me, not until Monday at least.
I decided to call him Mr. Squiggles to lessen his impact. Calling him the shadow man gives him some power I thought and who can fear something called Mr. Squiggles. But that lasted all of ten seconds. Almost instantly I imagined something different along these lines;
Henry was only five but he knew the meaning of fear. His parents told him there was no shadow man. They checked under his bed each night, in the wardrobe just like he asked and behind the curtains. But when they left him alone, in the half light of the window, they didn’t see him slither along the ledge and enter his sanctuary. They didn’t feel the slow, cold touch of his fingers on their flesh or the heat of his breath on their face. They never met, Mr. Squiggles.
You see…It’s fine reading one of my books, you don’t have to live inside this head of mine twenty four seven.
But I’m not the only one with a Mr. Squiggles. I am sustained, maintained and my life is framed by the girl who I call Jo. While I linger here with my finger on the trigger of my mind, she makes sure I am ultimately fine. To have a darling is one thing. To have a darling at this stage of my life is wonderful. Each day she makes the journey, ensures I have what I need, has a wander down the corridor with me to have a sneaky latte in the hospital café or and brings me equally sneaky treats to lift my spirits. She loves me like I need and more, takes my hand and I feel her small hand in mine like a secret gift I don’t deserve. She holds me just tight enough and the merest, light touch of her lips on mine when we part, sends a spark to my fading soul. To be loved thus is beyond my warrant. I am a lucky man.
But I fear Mr. Squiggles may come to stalk her. Taking care of me and all the other burdens she must carry daily, leaves her vulnerable to his watchful eye. She cannot lean this way when it’s the time she needs it most for I am a ghost in her life today, haunting her peace with a worry that she could well do without. Peace of mind evades her I know, for as I love her she loves me thus, a thing of beauty always but the price of this beautiful gift of love is high for her right now and I am not there.
I want to watch over her, to sit by her window and let in only the light, to fight the shadow man, to repel him from her door. It is such a thing love. There will never be a grander joy, a holier chalice than love such as this. So what to do? I think I must trap my shadow man, my Mr. Squiggles. I shall lay awake and wait for him until I see him up close, face to face. Only then can I turn the tide, corrupt his power and make him hide, to keep him away from my darling, to keep her feeling safe inside. I want to leave this place so we can face him together, this Mr Squiggles.
The sun is up and so am I. Like the lark I’ve always been a sparkle in the early hours. If I try really hard perhaps, if I concentrate with all my mind, I can send my sparkle to where it’s needed most, I don’t need it this morning so off it goes, I hope she knows to catch it.
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