Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Entry #170

Death's Courier
by Peter Davidson


'Peter! Hello? Peter! Can you hear me?'

'Why are you shouting? Of course I can hear you.'

A crowd of strangers, their faces floating above me, demanding, calling.

Ah, I remember.

The window is there behind them, blue sky now dark. The black shape of the bird, gone. Flown away, and not yet with my soul. I don't want to see it again. I'm back from the nothingness. No light. No tunnel. Perhaps no redemption. I take a breath. I've touched death, yet I'm alive.

'How are you feeling?' Another face asks.

An unanswerable question. My mind churns for an answer and finds none. I'm waiting. Waiting again for that instant oblivion. The pain builds in my chest. They notice. Hands work efficiently and the morphine flows.

'Does that feel better?'

I can only shake my head. When it comes, there's no warning.

Click. The switch is thrown on consciousness as quick as a killed light.

Only when the faces appear again, calling me back, do I know I've been gone. This time the window is black. How much time has passed? Is that bird still there, stealthily unseen, black feathers merging with the night, cold eyes glinting in the darkness, waiting. When will he take me? Fly me away into the night, into that timeless void, into nothing.

Sometimes in the hours of a dark dawn, I still look to the window and become fearful of the shadows, of black wings not a heart beat away.

23 comments:

Laurel said...

Harbinger of what we fear. This is that alone kind of scary you feel when its dark and you are far away from everyone else.

Killer mood setting.

onipar... said...

Very dark, very cool. You convey a real sense of hopelessness that gives me the shivers...in a good way of course. :-)

Bernita said...

A sudden trauma nicely expressed, in both real and symbolic terms.

austere said...

Liked the way you showed the coming and going.. really liked that.

Not sure you need that last line...

Aniket said...

Spine chilling. Great work with building the setting of the story.

catvibe said...

I get that he's in a hospital and having suffered a heart attack or some such (I inferred that from the last sentence), in and out of consciousness. Then in the last sentence, he's remembering that trauma. But the way you wrote it was like a bad dream. I love the way you express the nurses as 'faces', because that would be what it would be like on a large dose of morphene I imagine. Just excellent, I loved it.

laughingwolf said...

good one, peter...

lena said...

Greatly written. Can't add much because well... it is perfect!

Craig said...

Terrifying but in a good way. She capture the helplessness of someone in that situation so well.

peter davidson said...

Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to read and comment, it's appreciated!
Peter

Deb Smythe said...

A well told story. I loved the last line.

Patsy said...

'How are you feeling' is indeed often an unanswerable question.

pjd said...

I like the way you've used the window to express the passage of time while keeping the character in a single flow.

Kartik said...

To hell and back!

JaneyV said...

This is a very fine description of a near-death experience. You have captured the trauma, confusion, isolation and longing very well. Good job.

James R. Tomlinson said...

Purgatory is sometime the pain we endure. Interesting premise.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Love that last line. Awesome job.

Preeti said...

Very well done. I'm amazed at how well you've visualized the entire piece before presenting it to the reader. The imagery is very compelling.

Aimee Laine said...

To cheat death but have an omen that lives on to call it back. Yikes!

Aerin said...



my caveat

Something I Would Keep

"and not yet with my soul" - that line is haunting - it keeps coming back to me.

Something I Might Tweak

Second to last paragraph might need an extra question mark, after "waiting" -

Chris Eldin said...

Wow. THe setting you created is brilliantly dark. Very well done!

Jane said...

hi peter, long time no see!

loved this..very dark and despite surviving, the end is still chilling knowing he danced with death and he knows what's waiting for him on the other side when his time does come..good one

janie

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

I thought you did a great job, Peter! I felt like I was inside the narrator's head.