The Big One

Make it stop. It’s coming closer and closer, and it’s making a terrible noise with its spindly legs on the wooden floorboards. A human-like inhuman screeching.

“What is it,” he asks, “I don’t hear anything.”

There is never a moment of silence, she answers. It’s the big one today. Sometimes it has another one with it, a smaller one. Sometimes it’s only the smaller one on its own. I don’t mind the smaller one so much. It doesn’t screech, it sort of mumbles, and it stops when I look at it. It’s the big one today. The big one scares me. It’s coming closer. Make it stop.

“What is it? I don’t see anything. How can I stop something I can’t see?”

She grabs his arm.

“Ooh, your hand is cold!”

He shivers and tries to pull away from her.

No, it isn’t. You feel so hot, like you’re burning up from inside. It has huge round green eyes. Look, it’s looking at you now. I think it has come to take you away from me.

“Who are you anyway? I don’t remember seeing you before. At first I thought you were a nurse,” he says, “but you don’t look like one and you have something bloody messed up going on with you, pardon my language. Why did you come into my room and sit down on my bed?”

I came to be with you so you wouldn’t be alone with it.

“With what,” he asks. “Something I can’t hear or see. It’s obvious that you must be hallucinating. Why can’t you just leave me alone and let me go back to sleep?”

His nostrils draw in a smell of rotten eggs. He squints at her face, so very close to his now.

Fine, she says, but if I do it will take you.

“While I’m sleeping?”

She nods. While you’re sleeping. See, I can stop the little mumbler but not the big one.

“Who are you,” he asks again, looking into her eyes, watching them change their shape from oval to round and their colour from ocean blue to forest green.

What should I tell them you wished for when they ask, cremation or coffin?

The green hue has enveloped him now and he can’t hear or see her any longer.


(c) Ash N. Finn, 2017

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