A short story by SilverTongue
Copyright 1995 Studio Luck Dragon
He woke in a spasm of fear and confusion. The bed sheet was gathered near his feet, tangled and covering nothing but itself. He pulled his aching body off the mattress, blinking away the gummy moisture from his eyes. The pillow was damp, from either sweat or tears. Probably both. It didn’t matter. He fixed the sheet and lay down again, closing his eyes.
Sleep wouldn’t come. The only sound was the perpetual ticking of the Grandfather clock in the hallway, chasing his heartbeat, counting the fraying minutes. He was painfully aware of his lonely breathing. Finally, he threw the sheet aside, swung his feet to the floor and sat on the side of the bed with his head in his hands.
Nearly a year. Nearly a whole year.
He glanced at the framed photograph on the bedside table, at the smiling face pressed against his own lost grin. It was hard not to reach for it, to pick it up and press it to his body, but he managed it. The pain in his chest was hollow and raw, as if something had been torn from him, gouged away. With his eyes squeezed shut, he reached out and slammed the frame face down on the drawers.
Eyes still closed, he crawled back into bed and curled up into a foetal ball. Memories chased the pain into the dark and with tears coursing down his cheeks, he fell asleep.
In the hallway, the clock continued to tick.