I awake in the night. Late for work. No, it’s Saturday. Fuck. Fuck me, I need to sleep. Eyes closed in the dark. What had I been dreaming of? Lucy. It is always fucking Lucy, with her back to me, asleep.
The bed feels too big and cold. I push my toes deep into the cold. The muscles pull beneath my legs, tight. Fuck me, I need to sleep.
I will paint a picture in the dark. Work. Work always puts me to sleep. Sitting at the nurses’ station. Poking through the dark with my flashlight. Rooms filled with invisible dreams.
But then maybe I am asleep. Maybe this is a dream. But then what? All I want to do is sleep. Can I fall asleep in a dream?
Thoughts. Too many fucking thoughts. I need to stop thinking. I need to fall into the bottomless dark. I need to die. Stop thinking.
Has it worked?
My eyes are open. My eyes are caked with sleep. I can see my bedroom. I can see it bubbling like TV static. My clothes on the floor, my wardrobe open, my clock flashing . Power surge. What time is it? It will never be morning again. Fuck.
And there is a light. A light on in the hall. Did I forget? No. A burglar? The monster under the fucking bed? It’s coming closer. Closer. I can see the wallpaper. The cold is in my legs, my feet, my toes. It is so bright, my eyes are bubbling, boiling. I can’t see anything but dark and light. I am going to die. I need a weapon. My bedside table. My novel. My glasses. My cup. That will do. Fuck me, what is going on.
Get out of bed. Cold toes, stiff as boards. Carpet. Knees. Forward. Quiet. Raise the glass. This is a fucking dream. Close my eyes. Now!
There is screaming. Check. It is not me. What have I done? Fuck. Open my eyes. The light is on the floor. Small, screaming. A girl, four inches high, naked, wings, a fairy? I am dreaming. I am fucking dreaming. Wake up.
I am dreaming. Nothing matters in a dream. Drop the cup. Down, over her head. Screams muffle, thousands of miles away. Is my real self screaming? Am I alright? Am I about to die? Fuck. Fuck me. Fuck it all. There is nothing I can do. Stop fucking worrying.
Bend down. Look in the glass. She is beautiful; naked. Scrunched up in a ball, knees to her breasts, face down crying, glowing gold, crackling, on and off and on and crying and her wing is bent down, broken. Fuck. What have I done?
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Shit. What am I doing? Why am I letting this get to me? This untruth. This reality. This means nothing. It is nothing. A lie. I am lying. I am insane. Fuck it all.
Pick up the cup. Place it on the floor. Scoop the creature into my palm. Lift it to my eyes. Warm. Beautiful. I touch her shoulder with my finger. Feel her skin. So real. Vivid. Will I forget this all when I awake? How could I? It is so real.
Talking. I am talking.
What do I do? Do I take her to the doctors? The vet? A witchdoctor? What do I say? I injured a four-inch-high flying girl in fucking self-defence?
Thought. Everything I know as fantasy is a lie. What else may be true? Vampires and centaurs and dragons and hob goblins and trolls and witches and werewolves and magic. And I have injured one of their own. They will want revenge. What do I do?
“I’m sorry. I am so very sorry.”
But I am not sorry. I am sorry for myself.
She is on her knees. She drops her wrists on my own.
She bites me.
Jolt. Tendons pull. Arm goes up. Flying. Wings beating. Falling. She hits the carpet hard. Legs buckle. Bend. Break under her. Still. Eyes closed. Fuck! What have I done?
Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.
The light flickers. Goes out. Everything is dark.
And she wasn’t a fairy at all. Fuck, it all makes sense now. An angel. A fucking angel. I have killed an angel. I will never see Lucy again. I am going to hell. Fuck.
Get up. Go to bed. Lie down. Close eyes. Stop thinking. Nothing. Everything will be alright. Fall asleep. Do it. Sleep. Everything will be alright in a dream.