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The Nightmare

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Marlo Maher felt it even before he opened his eyes. He had had a dream, a strange one with Medusas and Goliaths. So when he woke up, it was with a deep but unfounded sense of misgiving in his heart. Marlo raised his arms to rub his sleep-encrusted eyes. But oh! His eyes... there were more than two. There were four eyes. Two noses. Two mouths. Two heads. Marlo jolted off his bed and made a dash for the mirror. He lost his balance and stumbled on the plush red carpet. Having crawled to the mirror, he saw that indeed, he was two headed.

One head was half the size of the other. The bigger one was matted with dirty, tangled black hair and whiskers. Its eyes were red and bulging. The skin was scarred with jagged shaving mishaps. A wide grin revealed an unspeakably yellowed and cracked set of teeth. The face reminded him of himself many years younger, when he was studying for his final law exams from dawn until the morning sun rose in the horizon. Except this face was wilder, angrier. It was bestial.

Marlo turned his four eyes to the second head. This one was the polar opposite of its partner. Its skin was white, so white it appeared bleached and was crisscrossed with blue veins. His eyes were a pale, pale grey, and when they made contact with Marlo's horrified gaze, turned half-moon shaped with sympathy. The hair was carefully oiled and impeccably parted. The red porcelain mouth turned up ever so slightly, such that it wasn't a grimace, but nor was it a smile.

In the opulent hotel room, the only sound was of the ticking ornate grandfather clock, the haunting cello next door, and Marlo's stampeding heart beat. Lub dub. Lubdub. Ludub. The beats bounced off the walls and ricocheted across the ceiling. Like boomerangs, they returned to Marlo and made him shudder uncontrollably.

Gasping breaths catching in his chest, Marlo thought about the case he had to present this morning. He was accusing the prime minister of fraud and bribery and it was to be the epitome of his career. But now... Marlo's mind raced as he stared at the two-headed monstrosity in the mirror. Which face would he put forward? Four eyes streamed with tears as Marlo cradled his heads and wept his sorrows...
* * *

A torrential rain battered the aged roof. Tri tri chi ri chiri... a stream of rain water leaked through the hole in the rafters and splashed on the weary face of Mark Mayer, sleeping directly below with his head cradled in his hands. An orange sun rising above the city skyline streamed through the small window and chased away the shadows from the dingy, dishevelled apartment room. The pattering water washed the sleep from the young man's eyes and he reluctantly climbed off his bed, already anticipating a long dreamless sleep after finally writing his law exam.





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