photo credit: info.forwater.com
The ground was squishy beneath his feet. His legs hard to lift. His lungs heavy with effort. His body soaked with sweat and muddy splatter. His clothes at one with his skin. He’d fall into a puddle of muck only to rise and have his face raked by the knives of branches. He was blind. The path a long shadow of darkness. He could hear the pounding of feet and exerted breath of someone behind him. Gaining ground.
He was overpowered by the force. Jumped from behind. His face planted in the mud. Hands at the back of his neck. Legs squatted on his spine. His words were muffled screams. “I promise I won’t tell! I promise I won’t tell! Let me go! Let me go! Let me go!”
Ella was shaking him. Her face scratched and her arms red with the imprints of his fingers. Tears streamed down her face. “STOP! STOP! TOM! TOM! WAKE UP PLEASE!
He was hyperventilating. Losing air. His heart wrenched at the sight of his wife’s wounds. He began to weep. ” I know you didn’t mean it, darling. But the nightmares have gotten worse.” Do you want to talk about it?” He shook his head emphatically. He would just need to get a grip that’s all. He thought the winter’s affair had cleansed him of the stench on his soul. But the nightmare was so vivid in its action and its accompanying emotions. Fear and Guilt hung in the air.
He had begun to dread bedtime. He would creep out of bed after Ella fell asleep and wander the house. Check on the kids. The doors and windows. The rains were relentless, causing area rivers to overflow their banks. Some roads became impassable. He was unable to ride his bike for relief. Sometimes Tom sat outside in the midnight torrents not sure if the water might drown him. He was drenched in stink.
The weather became an inspiration for Ella. She painted and sculpted productively through the winter season while he was away. The current season’s gloom lent a noir element to her art. So much so that their nearby city’s well-known gallery wanted to show her work. To Tom’s inquiries about her theme, her reply was simple. “All of us have a dark side, sweetheart. But it remains our choice as to how we express it.”
So here he sat in yet another downpour. Warm air moved in and with it great claps of thunder and dangerous bolts of lightning. He knew who was on top of him in the incubus. But how could he tell anyone it was the face of his father?