I’ve been mucking around with a bit o’fiction this week. Like this poor guy. Ever felt like him? …From The Ashers xx
He remembered the days when his nightmares were not things of imagination. When every night he fought with slippery, skittery things that lurked all day, carefully at the edge of his vision, and who came out once his guard was down, on the precipice of sleep. He fought them every night and eluded them every day, just as he skirted around the edges of the playground, keeping out of notice of Johnno Barnes and his followers.
If he came into the thoughts of Johnno it wouldn’t end until there was either blood on the asphalt down by the monkey bars, or the yard-duty teacher was summoned by the circling chant of “fightfightfightfight.”
These days it felt like his body was permanently switched to ON, sympathetic nerve system ramped up on high alert, always ready, always ready.
These days he drank and smoked to fill the holes and turn down a mind that didn’t know how to get out of overdrive. These days the nightmares were of different substance, Can I pay the mortgage, When will my wife leave me, Will I get prostate cancer and be up pissing all night without any chance of getting any joy out of this appendage? Still slippery grey monsters, on the periphery of his view, but now with names: Job, Mortgage, Wife, Health, Kids.
So he treated them like he always treated the enemy- he refused to look them straight in the eye, in the silent hope that they wouldn’t notice him, as he slunk by in a haze of smoke and foggy alcohol fumes. He evaded and evaded until eventually he fell, exhausted, into a fitful sleep, always careful not to let his leg stray from the bed, lest that thing beneath grasp his ankle and drag him down.
That monster under the bed.