Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)
TITLE: One Twenty-One
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My eyelids, heavy with newest sleep, suddenly fly open. Startled they flit to and fro, trying to focus in the dark. Drowsiness has me pinned. I can't move! All I can do is listen. Cold sweat trickles down my face. No...it can't be!
Oh, how I've dreaded this moment—this sound—so invasive, so piercing!
I've prayed that I would not have to hear this, not now, not ever! My sheet is knotted around my legs... I can't turn! This sound—this haunting, chilling sound—is here in my room? But I was prepared. Month after month I poured over books and manuscripts. I've sought advice from everyone, even strangers. This isn't happening!
Maybe it's not real. Perhaps I'm dreaming. Yes, that's it. I've read it somewhere, that one can dream of being awake, yet be sound asleep. I'm not hearing this at all. I'm sound asleep and dreaming.
Ah yes, a more familiar sound—the soothing sound of breathing. Oh, I can hear my husband's breathing. I can hear the stop and go of his moist breath. I can hear the sudden stabs of air relax into more placid, peaceful puffs. I can hear them unfurl, then drift away. Wait...
This is all too real. I'm not sleeping at all. I can hear!
Nothing can drown the intruder's quest to unsettle and upset. Not even these familiar, peaceful sounds. Oh Lord, I've prayed for sleep—restful, peaceful sleep. How I miss it! My eyes burn and my head throbs. This sound cuts. It slices through bone and marrow right into the heart—my heart! Its chill digs deep and I can feel it tear into my newest dreams.
Oh, let me dream; let me dream about that little condo by the creek. No grass to mow or weeds to pull, no painting or hours of cleaning. We'll have more time, just the two of us, plenty of time, now that we're... Oh, why does my heart hurt so? These tears—these uncontrollable sobs—why won't they stop?
It's that sound. It hurts! Why did it have to come, why? Why now? It's so awfully loud. It's moved inside my head. I can't breathe, can't swallow fast enough; I'm drowning in my own tears.
Oh, please Lord, don't let it wake Rick! It's enough that I should hear it, that I should feel its fangs and taste its ruthless poison.
I cannot bear it for another moment. Please Lord, take it—this sound of silence—let it be gone! I can't sleep! Bid it leave, Lord, please! I beg you, calm these choking, heaving sobs and help me breathe.
Please, stop this droning silence and let me hear, once again, the garage door open and then close. Please, let me hear the stifled thump of music beneath my tired ear.
Oh, let me hear the door! Let me hear the shuffle of his feet! Please, let me hear once more those familiar sounds. And let me see that shaft of yellow light, that lanky silhouette, that handsome smile...
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