Friday, 13 September 2013

for the ghost that lives at my place

It’s ok. I’m awake. I must have had a silly dream, I’m wet with sweat and my heart is trying to escape. It’s ok. You’re all right. I’m so full of adrenalin I think I might be able to levitate. I try. Turns out adrenaline can’t make you levitate.
Save my hammering heart and wheezing chest, it’s very quiet. Uncomfortably quiet. You’re 29 years old, grow up. I reach up to flick on my lamp - nothing, the globe must be blown.
Something metallic scrapes something metallic. I can taste blood. No you can’t. I don’t like this. It’s ok. My eyes are adapting to the dark now. I can make out vague blurry shapes; everything looks as though it’s where it should be. I fumble out of tangled sweaty sheets and make a plan: I’m going to get up, drink some water, piss out some piss and hop back into bed. But as my left foot meets the floor I hear a throat clear. I freeze. 
Someone’s in my room. Words spill out of me, but not the ones I'd planned: Someone’s in my head. They hang in the stifled air like dazed party decorations, and then slowly recede back into my skull. I make a sound like a hungry baby and try the lamp again. It works. Light travels from my bedside table and fills the room. It’s ok. It’s ok. I’m ok. Gently, very gently I swing my right leg off the bed and lower my foot to the ground; nothing. I stand and try to laugh at myself; it comes out in a self conscious gurgle. Good, I can laugh at that.
Behind me a throat clears. My blood spreads winter. I lift my clenched fists like a movie poster tough guy and turn around, finding nothing but a stressed bed and three walls.


My heart.

My breath.

The room's too thick, it stinks of sweat and the fish I fried for dinner.  Throwing open the curtains my blurry eyes settle on my blurry eyes.  My face floats before me in the glass, but it’s different.  It's wrong.  I blink hard, scrunching my eyes and cheeks together, squishy, heavy.  My nose.  My nose is big, it's different, it's huge, it's long and it's sloppy.  That smell; the trout I'd sizzled with lemon and pale ale as the sun set, that smell isn't just in my nose, it is my nose.  My nose is a fish.  A flopping, spotted fish.  This pale scaled slimy trout fused to my face between bone white cheeks. The tale splits at the end like wings and blends seamlessly from sloppy grey-white scales to human skin. Huge wet eyes sit limp in a skull dangling just before my chin.  Its gills open, the boney chest swells and I suck in fishy air.  Don't panic.  I shake my head to clear it, but nothing changes, I just turkey-slap my cheeks with the slimy swimmer protruding from the middle of my face.  You're panicking.  I shake my head harder, the fish slaps my cheek with such force a fish eye pops free from his fish face, fish blood and fish goo follow hot on its heals.  My room fills with a familiar sound, that dead man's laughter I don't believe in the daylight.  I slam my eyes shut tight.  I count to ten, but run out of patience and give up at seven.  I open my eyes, they settle again on my reflection.  It's ok. You're ok.  I'm ok.  I slow my breathing and study what the light bounces back: it's fine.  No fish, no fire, just a panicked idiot telling himself he doesn't believe in ghosts.

No comments:

Post a Comment