Clarity of Death




Rain spat at my window, spiralling down in angry chunks. I traced patterns down the glass with my finger. That was the first time I saw them. Bang of a car door, blurry distorted figures through the lashing rain. Old man, old woman, someone in a wheelchair, looked like a child. Heads bent, drab figures, walking up the path, grey, like the rain that welcomed them. My face pressed against the glass, misted breath clung to the pane, I wiped it away. Curse the rain. House next door had been empty for years. New neighbours, old folks and a kid, ignore them, hope they go away or die in the night. Not interested, just don't stick your business in my face.

        Dreams started that very night. Choking, can't breathe, mouthful of blood. Woke up sweating, sheets wringing wet. Had a mind numbing tumbler of scotch. Knocked me out, knocked me back into the same dream. Damn.
        Next morning, still half asleep, launched an angry assault on my door. Kicked my way into a new day. Still spitting rain, walked down the path and stopped. Something was clinging to me. I turned round slowly, eyes, blue dead eyes staring at me. It was the kid, sitting on the porch, riding a wheelchair. Screw you kid find another stare victim. Turned to walk away, felt the eyes follow me, spun round angrily. Kid was gone.

       Three days I went through this stupid ritual. My temper finally flared on the third morning, long time for me.

" Look kid, stop....... "

       Her ashen face, dead blue eyes, framed by stringy black hair, stared back at me. I felt my heartbeat quicken. Her dead eyes crawled down my throat and stole my voice. She said nothing. I stumbled for words but turned and walked away, humiliated. Scary kid that.

       Next day started brightly. Old man Wilson had died in the night, choked apparently, silly old scrote. Dragging his ninety year old frame along the street,

telling the same old stupid jokes. Avoided by anybody with the slightest will to live.  I'd seen him talking to the kid the day before, wondered what she'd made of him. That was the second death in three nights. Mrs Danvers, kindly old busy body had choked to death two nights ago. Must be contagious. I grinned, that would get them smiling in the bar. Needed to work on it though.

       Came home the next night in a particulary foul mood, kid was sitting there as usual, staring. Right, I needed something to humiliate, just for a bit of light relief. Walked straight up to her, she was holding a toy in her hand. Old, very old, carved out of wood, chipped and scratched. She was turning it over and over in her hand. I watched hypnotically. It was a yo-yo. Not one of the fancy ones you see from time to time but carved out of an old tree or something. She stopped twirling it, I wrenched my gaze away and looked at her. I opened my mouth but she did the strangest thing, she smiled. Her hand moved towards me holding the toy. She must have wanted me to take it. I did and looked at it fascinated, it had writing on it but I couldn't read it. Suddenly it seemed to twitch, it slipped from my grasp and clattered on the floor. I bent to pick it up.

" NO !! "

        A croaking voice slapped my face. I looked up and retched.

Bloated maggots squirmed across dripping skin, cheek bones thrust through the side of her face. Streams of blood and mucus oozed across the gorging maggots. I started to scream but I was looking at the angry face of a young girl. She held out her hand. I fumbled for the toy. My hands were shaking as I picked it up, I put it carefully into her hand as the skin rotted at my touch. Bleach white bones clawed at me. I stood transfixed dragging my eyelids towards her face. The girl spat in my direction, I felt the spittle seeping down my cheek. I ran.

       Scotch rampaged down my throat. I drank and drank until the shaking stopped, then I drank more for the hell of it. I remembered falling over at one stage, lying on the floor thinking of blue eyes. Dead blue eyes. I filled the glass but it didnt seem big enough as scotch spilled everywhere. I was going to drink the night through. The thought of the dreams catapulted my mind into drunken wakefulness. No sleep, don't close your eyes, don't sleep, think of numbers, don't sleep, another glass. DON'T SLEEP !!!!

        Damn it's cold ! My legs refuse to obey so I lie there getting colder and colder, drunker and drunker. My breath spirals in lazy misty vapours. Noises, stupid noises fumble through the darkness. My eyes are closing, open you damn fools, open ! They refuse to cooperate. Breath, freezing breath, bites my cheek, slices across my forehead. I feel my eyelids being wrenched apart.

        Blue, all I can see, blue pools pressed so close, I can smell flesh. I struggle to focus. What the fu..... ! The girl, that stupid kid, her face an inch from mine. I lash out but miss.

        " Play " a whispered knife cuts my ears.

         Spinning before me I see fingertips holding a piece of wood, that bloody stupid yo-yo. My arms flail through the air. A vice like grip pins them to my side.

        " Play "

        Something touches my lips. I try to jerk my head back but it's wedged. Harder now forcing my lips apart. I can taste wood. I feel my eyes bulging my lips being forced wider and wider. Oh God help me ! I start to wretch. Inch by inch this foul stuff fills my mouth. I vomit but it has nowhere to go, I swallow it. The vomit singes my throat as it slides back down.

       I feel the toy touching the very back of my mouth, pressing, pressing. Fighting for every precious morsel of breath, screams echo in every corner of my mind. My screams, silent screams. I can feel flesh in my mouth pushing harder and harder. Brain still spinning from drink, blood surges up my throat filling my mouth. Can't breathe now, splinters in my throat. My eyes burst open, my dying convulsions filled with sight of blue orbs and the twisted grin on the face of an ancient child.

      Clarity of death such an amazing thing. Mr Wilson, Mrs Danvers now me, contagious indeed. I have no idea where I am. There is no light in death, just cloistered black. No bodily sensation, just numbness. Numbness that has conscience and ....... and.......a child walking towards me. A pretty young girl in a pretty dress, sparkling eyes glowing with life, crystal blue above smiling lips.

In her hand a bright shiny red yo-yo.

" Do you want to play " she says sweetly.





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