Tuesday, 2 August 2011


It's 3.30am. The heat of the previous day has yet to fade and I am restless hot and sweat. In the dim yellow light of my bedside lamp, the artex pattern on the ceiling mocks me. One swirl has joined with another to form what looks like a boot. It jumps out to strike against my head. A dull thud settles at my temple. 

The light flickers to distract. I put my hand up to the bulb, so close that my hand glows red. My fingers; they're almost see-through, as much as skin can be, except for the threads of blue veins. I feel the heat - the slow burn of flesh - and yet, I can't snatch my hand away. I am compelled to leave it there a while,  watch it glow. I feel like E.T.

The sheet, which I tucked in tightly at the end of the bed, suddenly feels like lead. Within the coffin confinement I wonder how it would feel to be buried alive. I imagine the earth, chalky thick and brown, crumbling as it tumbles around me, clogging my eyes, sapping me of air as it fills my throat. I inhale deeply to make sure I can still breathe. I watch the rise and fall, rise and fall of my chest. I think of my veins knitted through my fingers, the job they do. It's all okay. I am alive. 

My legs are heavy with unease and fight with the sheet above. Air licks my feet and toes wriggle with delight in their freedom. My body has a fidget fit and for what seems like an age, I turn and turn and tangle within the sheets. The pillow is not a friend and I punch it with fists until a stream of white feathers graze the air in a soft dance. For a while, all is still. 

But then, the door moves within its latch - a slight hitch back and forth sounds as loud as thunder in the morning silence. There must be a breeze, though surely it's a sinister kind never to grace my flushed skin. I throw my leg over the edge of the bed. It's there all of three seconds before the creep creep of unease; the loss of protection, the feeling that something will snatch and bite and I'd be legless and not in a good way. It doesn't matter how old you are; deep down, a person will always wonder what exists beneath their bed.

I curl into myself with the knowledge that insanity is a real possibility. 


  1. Yeah, I wonder what the matter is with half-open closet doors, under the bed space that's so creepy to us at night. Try putting up some ba-gua mirrors to fend off the evils.

  2. "The pillow is not a friend and I punch it with fists until a stream of white feathers graze the air in a soft dance." Awesome. Absolutely awesome.

    Hasn't everyone been here, wondered what happens at night under there?

    I hope all is well with you, Lou. I've been a bag blogger. I will try to do better. I love coming here in your space. (((hugs)))

  3. I've been in that place you describe ao well + thta is so true about you thinking the leg being snatched off. Lolz.

  4. Sarah: I actually have a little red octagonal mirror in front of my window to fend off the bad spirits- I don't know if it's called a ba-gua mirror but it came with a feng shui kit that I never used!

    Robyn: I am quite happy to have you sporadically comment- feel free to drift in and out from time to time. I really do not mind! Hope your son is doing okay.

    Anon: It's true, I always think my leg will be snatched off whenever I hang it out the bed on a hot night. I'm certain I will think this when I'm 80, though I probably won't even manage to lift my own leg at that age. haha :)

  5. I grew up in a bed full of snakes, with ghosts dancing on the ceiling above me. My father told me that the snakes were really just lumps in the blanket and the ghosts were just lights and shadows from cars on the street. I will always remember having to endure the horror completely on my own. My imagination has always overpowered my logic. You too?

  6. Yes, Bruce. Me too. My imagination was my playground all day but my torment all night. Sometimes I think that's still the case! :)

  7. I really like the simple fear this piece addresses...maybe the boogie man, maybe the rest of your life...equally as scary. Thanks for another great piece, Lou.

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