A dark shadow man crossed my window ledge at precisely 4.35 this morning. It was the briefest of encounters as I lay wide awake and anxious, hoping my procedure will not be put back this morning. I want it over and so I lay awake as I do, staring out at the moon when he, scuttled into view.
He scurried goblinesque, pausing for the briefest moments to turn his head in my direction. The featureless creature stared eyeless, into my soul, before moving on. All night long I had listened to some poor unfortunate, groaning in pain, struggling against life and as we looked deep into each other that creature and I, in the distance I believe I heard the final death rattle of the anonymous man down the corridor.
My shadow man flittered off in that very moment and I knew he was truly something dark. It was a tiny entity, no larger than a small dog but somehow I knew he could swallow me whole. I wondered? Had he come for the poor soul down the corridor or was he taking a peek at his future prize? It sounds so morbid I know, but having once crossed the Stygian waters only to turn back at the last moment, I cannot help but watch for signs.
I am a man who writes of terrible horrors in at least two of my books, so you might think I am being led astray by my own vivid imagination. But I don’t even have nightmares of this sort, never. My fears are always reality based, but I do have a history of portentous dreams. This was no dream.
My biggest fear today is that the theatre is backed up and I may have to spend a weekend lying in a hospital bed waiting for Monday morning surgeons to come back to life. But what of my dark, long fingered, eyeless, shadowy friend. Like Peter Pan’s shadow, he felt strangely connected to, yet simultaneously disconnected from me and I can’t seem to shake him off this morning.
I sat alone looking at the sky through my window when he had gone, my groaning neighbour now silent. In that moment I never felt so lonely, is it true that the darkest hour is just before the dawn? I touched the empty space in the bed beside me, the space that should never be empty, the space where lies my heart each night. But not this morning. On this morning I am alone and all is empty.
It is five thirty a.m. and I opened up my laptop for company. I have written a promised review for a wonderful book by Lesley Hayes and I have tried to edit my sequel to Darkly Wood II The Woman who never wore shoes. It has been interrupted so many times I should have subtitled it The book that never gets finished and now even that thought makes me melancholic.
When last I faced this dilemma, I met the edge of life and saw no light or flashing of my life before my eyes. I blogged about it in detail and for those who read it, they will recall my only feeling at the edge was one of melancholy. Maybe I revert to my natural state at moments like this.
So… what to do? The wonder that is hospital tea, won’t come for another three hours and the sun won’t appear for at least another hour. Everyone else is asleep, there is no unfolding drama for me to earwig on, nor discussion of stools to entertain me. I guess I will have to fake a smile for myself, just for a bit, just long enough for the sun to peek through the leaves of the tree outside my window, long enough for the rattle of the tea trolley, the whistle of the porter and the inevitable drama that is hospital life. Just long enough to fool myself out of sadness. I’ll be fine by breakfast, sliced by dinner with any luck and back in my bed for tea. Hopefully I’ll bring back a less eventful tale than last time…and maybe even my real smile.
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