Andrew James Whalan

Poet Blogger Writer

When The Fear Came

I’m woken this time by light not sound. It’s about 1 or 2 in the morning. I’ve left the bedside lamp on. I’ve forgotten to turn it off again and the glare has woken me up.  I opt to try to go back to sleep. I reach across to turn it off.

Except I can’t. I’m frozen. I’m like a cat crouched ready to leap. But at what? And why? As I stay still I become aware of something. I’m not sure what it is exactly. I wait and calm myself some more. It’s fear. I can feel fear. There’s fear in the room. I slowly realise that  it’s not me. I wait a little. I tell it to go away. I wait some more. But it doesn’t. It is more insistent and urgent than ever.

I’m now fully alert. I’m now more than a little alarmed.  It’s still there. I can feel my response to it. It is like electricity coursing through me. As I cannot go back  to sleep, I decide to keep it at bay. I end up staying with the fear until I fall asleep. Until that moment, I felt like I’m on-call again waiting for the emergency call-out.

I put it aside. A few days afterward I receive a phone call. It’s bad news. There has been a fire at my ex-wife’s place. But it’s not the worst news. I am then assured that everything is fine. There follows a somewhat fragmented story.

Someone had tried to set fire to the house. Fortunately that lit fire had failed to take hold. Even better the smoke alarms had gone off. That was enough for my sons and ex-wife to wake and escape quickly. Nearby the neighbours had called the fire brigade who had arrived promptly and put out the fire. I feel the energy drain out of me in relief.  then a thought occurs to me.

I ask, “When did this happen?” I’m told the exact date. Then I ask,”What time?”After midnight or so.

Then I stop stock still. It was then the fear came.

 

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