Monday, 30 June 2008

The dream box

At 3am I was awakened by the sound of struggle.
The TV whistled to the sound of static and its glare lit up vague bookcases filled with things I may have read. The couch stank with the droppings of a day and night spent filling oneself with carbohydrates and poisons.
I stood groggily. A tiny fly buzzed by my hand. The curtains stood open and I saw mellow streetlamps fizzing on the other side of the road.
I could hear Sarah in the bedroom. Her twisting movements on the mattress caused the sheets to whisper and the springs to croak. She spoke, but too quietly to be heard between walls.
My mind moved slowly, as if through water, like a mill-wheel or the great paws of a bear. She must have come in sometime after eleven. She mustn’t have wanted to wake me. But why didn’t she turn the TV off at least?
I sensed objects moments before I crashed into them or stubbed my toe. The buzz of the fly and the TV faded to the tune of Sarah’s breath. She swallowed air like she was drowning somewhere.
I made it to the hallway and could see that the door to the bedroom was open wide. I slid over the passage by stretching my arms forth and allowing them to catch my weight as I dripped across the space. There I held myself, crucified within the wooden frame of the door, staring at Sarah.
The curtains were drawn tightly in there and it took perhaps a minute for my pupils to compensate for the freshness of the darkness. And there she struggled, against the whims of her mind, against the heat of the morning, against the suffocating covers that she gripped like a lover.
Collapsing then, into the room I loomed over the foot of the bed like a spreading ghoul, a watching phantom delighting in his handiwork. Using the edge of the bed as my guide to her, I moved around keeping Sarah always in my gaze.
She spoke to someone, entreating them. Such a helpless thing she was, and as I saw the sweat trickling from her brow I moved to wipe it clear; moved but slipped to my knees at her side.
And there, in a small box floating perpendicular to the bedside I could see her dream; sparking, cold and full of fear. All life and colour was being drained slowly from the screen before me. Inside it, Sarah floundered in the midst of a muddy veil as black shapes, amorphous clouds of soot, flitted about pushing down this grey net around her so that it began to cut into her lips and gums when she screamed.
I tried to get to my feet, to turn myself off from the horror I was viewing, but in either field of my vision I could see separate Sarahs writhing in synchronized agonies and I was transfixed.
I sat there, watching those demons plague her until the light from the dream grew as dim as the room. As the final drop of colour and the last pinprick of light faded from the dream box, my head slumped against the mattress. Soon I joined Sarah in dreams again, and my head whirled there until morning.
When the daylight lifted my eyelids several hours later I was damp and shivering and crawled into bed beside her. She’d discarded the quilt and was now sleeping coolly in a loose ball. I dragged the covers back on with my last drops of strength and sanity and snuggled in behind her.
Time stabilised soon after, our temperatures aligned and our bodies took on that soundless motionless sleep; the sort of sleep that adults envy in their children, as they watch them in fear and awe each night. They stand there helpless wondering where their child has gone to, what they are seeing and how they can possibly protect them there.

4 comments: said...

phew.... that was some way of writing ..loved it.

Bryan said...

How bizarre.

eda said...




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