Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Pinning Things Down

You wake up. In the corner of your room is a shadow that shouldn’t be there. You don’t dare to breathe. If it was me I would close my eyes tight, attribute it to a trick of the light and force myself back to sleep. But it is not me; this is happening to you.
   You work out how close your hand is to the knife under your mattress. You prepare to move. I would be going through supernatural phenomena; you are reviewing a list of your most dangerous enemies and which of them is unhinged enough to be in your bedroom.
   Before you act there is that want or wish that this shadow is inanimate, explainable; did you hang your dressing gown somewhere different? I would be thinking the same. However, as you hope, you see it breathing and whereas I would be wondering where I left my phone and how long the police might take and if you can text 999, you are working out the height of the shadow and the trajectory you will need to throw your knife at to hit its jugular vein.
   Two seconds have passed since you woke and people always count to three, so you know your time is almost up. You grab your knife from its home and you throw it. With precision. Finally you allow yourself to breathe.
   ‘Please God, make it my dressing gown,’ you say as you turn your bedside lamp on.
   I didn’t think you’d be the type to talk to God. You walk over to the corner of the room and look down
at the crumpled form. The knife is in my throat but I manage to say, ‘Hello.’
   You shake your head. I see your eyes are filled with tears, which is your second unexpected reaction. Maybe I got you wrong.

Monday, 21 March 2016

The Breeze in the Leaves is like Laughter

Floating, following the current, I dip my oars in less and less; letting go of reality. The sunlight sprinkles through the trees; the breeze in their leaves is like laughter. I am lullabied by the canoe’s rocking. I lean back, then lie right down, cradled by the boat. The sky is a hot midday blue, collaged with spring green leaves. I am filled with warmth and wellbeing. I let my eyes close and enter a world of my imagination’s creation…


…Cold, whipping, wet, I am startled awake. I lurch up and grab at where the oars should be, but I’ve let them escape. The canoe is hurtling over rocks, captured in the rapids. I clutch the sides and brace myself. The sky is swollen with mauve and brown clouds. Waves smash over the prow and I desperately and fruitlessly scoop out water. The trees loom over me, the wind in their leaves is like laughter. The canoe judders over more sharp rocks; it catches for a second and then I am pitched forward. Freefall, waterfall, and as I fall I remember Alice and her rabbit hole drop and pray I have not yet woken up.