Sleeping Silence

I am trapped, trapped in the depths of this coma; I can't free myself from the pain. Will someone save me, for I can only face defeat? No, this battle I fight alone.

I awoke from sleep at 5:03 a.m., unusually late for me since the incident. I step out of my room to the desolate hallway, where the clothes I had peeled off last night lay. The cold wooden floor beneath my feet was no longer smooth as it was in days of old. Stepping quietly, almost tiptoeing, so no other being could hear, I reach my kitchen. I am struck with a fear only men who have faced death can fathom, a dark figure hanging in the air like a child's misconstrued doll. I was struck with such a feeling of paralysis that not even the strongest of men could break free from. I opened my eyes, the figure was gone. I felt some relief, but this was a regular occurrence since that night; the night that I kept to myself for many years.

I stepped out of my small apartment into the cold winter air. I am much too old to be in this type of weather. I walk down the snow filled sidewalk to the corner of a busy street, where a group of young children are playing with the fresh snow. With my destination ahead, I walk slowly into the large office building where I meet with an old friend. These halls are ones I have walked for many years. I am wary of this meeting as it may be my last if this cough keeps up; I haven't been sick like this in many years, but my age most certainly doesn't help.

This is new. He has an office now; I take a seat in the spacious waiting room. A stunning young blonde-haired woman walked up to me hesitantly, like I was some type of damned monster.

"Sir?" she seemed nervous, intimidated almost.

"Yes?" I replied sarcastically, as if her behaviors offended me.

"You must be Walter O'Dwyer," she said slowly, like she thought I couldn't understand her if she talked fast.

"Guilty as charged."

"Right this way, sir."

We walked down a hallway, it was ominous. I felt as if greater men than I deserved to be here.

"Last door on the right, sir."

I removed my old black fedora and nodded. "Thank you very kindly," I always tried my best to be polite.

I walked in to the last door on the right and suddenly realized that this wasn't an office suite. This is a professors office, an office of a distinct man, someone with status and respect. I was astonished when I looked up above his mantle and saw a six foot self-portrait of him, the boy I grew up with. In my mind, I thought about what I've done with my life. I was a writer at one time, getting by some nights without eating just to be able to afford paper the next day. Him, though; look at him, a doctor. As if on cue, he walks in.

"Walter, my old friend."

"Richard, it's good to see you again," I shook his hand with my trembling old grip.

"Please, Walter, sit down."

"Well, you sure do have the best of the best here, Richard."

"That I do, that I do," he spoke with laughter in his voice.

"Remember our senior year when we would sneak out of Mrs. William's statistics class?"

"Of course I do! Memories like that one simply does not forget." Richard's voice quickly lost the joking tone and he quietly asked, "How have the flashbacks been, Walt?"

A silence washed over the room, making it seem cold and Richard seem distant; I was at a loss for words.

"They have been good; they rarely occur," I replied slowly. I knew it was a lie and by the look on Richard's face, so did he.

"Walter, you can't fool me. I can read you like a book, and I always could," he snapped back. "I will give you a stronger prescription for medication."

"The same one?” The one I've been taking for years?"

"Not exactly.” New drug, it's supposed to be some type of miracle for people with what you suffer from."

"OK, thank you, Richard." I stood and was about to shake his hand again, but he pushed it away and pulled me into a hug before I could resist.

"Have a great day, Walt."

"Thanks, you too."

I exited the office and proceeded to the waiting room; it was virtually empty. I chose to take the stairs down to the first floor, and realized the mistake after the first three steps I took. I returned to the icy cold of winter but luckily the pharmacy was just across the street. Sometimes I think they planned this. I walked across the icy road slowly to insure my balance.

Marty was working and he knew why I was returning. "The usual, Walt?"

"Nope, new stuff today," I replied.

"Alright, it'll just be a minute. Why don't you take a seat?"

I did as he said and as I waited for my medication to be ready, we caught up like old friends do. Soon, though, my prescription was ready and it was time for me to head home.

I returned to my apartment. The lock on the door is old and desperately needed to be repaired, but it would have to wait. I beat my door until it opened and I managed my way in. I set my keys in a bowl on the dry sink near the door. I set my pills on the counter and went to put Glenn Miller on my record player.

It's here again, I thought. The dark figure.

I yelled at the top of my lungs, "What do you want from me!?" It slowly turned, but didn't move. Again I yelled, "What the hell do you want from me!?"

It stepped closer and closer. I admit, I was nervous but I held my ground.

I woke up in the hospital. Confused as to why I was there, I tried to get a nurse to answer my questions. It's like I wasn't even there; no one was listening. I got up and removed my I.V., which wasn't pleasant, and walked out. I was starting to get noticed then, but it did not matter anymore.

When I reached what I believed to be the front doors, I was stopped by an old man. He told me, "Son, you can enter, but you can never leave."





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