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The Midnight Disease

October 20, 2010
File:Nott painting.jpg

Nótt riding Hrímfaxi by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Midnight approached. A deadline. Precisely eighteen minutes left of the year with another one ahead full of doubt, anticipation. The progress of the novel was consistent enough for the last month, but without the necessary inspiration and writing space I resorted to drinking coffee in the middle of night. It took one cup to keep my eyes open, two to stay focused. And a third to begin writing.

As the sun rose, Rebecca parted the curtains and watched the dust float in a beam of light.

A laughable attempt at beginning a final chapter. My editor will certainly mark a line straight through the sentence. Six minutes left of the old year. When the new year finally comes the chapter will be complete, a bittersweet end for the Sanctuary Saga, pouring the old year’s frustrations and disappointments into the space between words.

Ah, two more minutes and I will forget who I am and why I write. I will be possessed by an unstoppable force that propels my fingers forward and across the keyboard, where my eyes are no longer directed onto the screen, but on the stretch of world beyond the window. If I rotate the blinds I’ll let the night sounds console me as I ignore the strain in my hands and arms. After four hours I will need twenty ounces of water. But I will not get up. I will remain on this seat, fixed to the images that run from inside my mind outward and replay before me.

Rebecca parts the curtains, but an old memory disturbs a seemingly ordinary Wednesday morning.

Alas, the deep recesses of my mind, of the past and its secrets will rise swiftly and join into sentences. The images in my mind will come alive and I will become an observer. Rebecca will breathe, move, pick up the phone when her husband tells her he won’t make it for dinner. She will not need me anymore. Not until the disease begins to heal itself, to fade away into the next sunrise. The final chapter will shape itself into a raw mold only I can form. Rebecca follows her husband to work. That wasn’t a lie. When he leaves she follows and enters a neighborhood on the other side of town. She needs fuel, but will run the dial and wait for the warning light.

I see now why she doesn’t trust him. In a matter of weeks, his happiness was restored by someone else. Hers, it was left without a glance during her childbearing years. An hour gone and Rebecca’s journey appears to come to an uncomfortable end. But she doesn’t follow him because the truth will ruin their marriage. She wants the truth. What matters is the knowledge. Not the reaction.

I’m thirsty. The story won’t acknowledge this. Two more hours before the healing can begin. On the final hour, when Rebecca’s journey is complete and when the fleshy ache in my back and neck cease my fingers will slow down and I will rest. Night becomes day and sleep will subdue the force occupying my body.

The midnight disease will arrive in three, two, one…

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