If it was a dream of any kind, it took place in absolute darkness. He rose and fell on the mattress, but his head stayed firm despite the rolling of the whole house on the swell of a grass ocean. Two people in the room, one in each of the furthest corners, made the noise of strong breezes by blowing out warm gusts of air which managed to reach his face where he lay on the bed. They breathed in as they shushed to become a retreating wave clawing back shingle. Lips smacked somewhere above him and he felt a sudden troubling heat inflame his chest. Fingers not his own explored the source of the pain this caused and then they were gone. Over his face, something was being gulped down a capacious throat and stray drops of whatever it was fell onto his forehead and mouth. He ran his tongue over the spilled liquid, expecting sweetness, but it tasted metallic. Gradually, the blowers left their corners of the room and came nearer the bed until they both stood beside it, one then the other falling across his stomach from the continued tilting of the house. They had begun to bring rain by spitting and he could not even turn his head to escape the worst of the shower. He experienced a growing pressure on his neck and began to fracture the nightmare by groaning and wheezing in panic. When these finally became the loudest sounds in the room, they were exchanged for a long mournful howl. The others fell silent before this new cry had ceased. When it did, the rocking of the house slowly, slowly settled back into a position of stability that nobody would have thought it possible to disturb in the first place.
He is wearing the same suit and produces something from one of his sleeves, not an easy task owing to the tightness of the jacket. He holds it up to my face for inspection like a conjuror affirming the ordinariness of an object prior to its magical transformation. With both arms fully extended, he opens it up and a silver blade emerges from the black cover, which now acts as a handle. He illustrates its sharpness by running a finger along the edge and wincing. Then, too impatient for further ceremony, he draws the razor across his neck, an action I take to be a mime until I see the dark line that appears around his throat like a woman’s choker. At first, this line retains its simplicity, but as I watch it begins to weep streams that flow down his skin. The white shirt is buttoned to the top and this evidently lends the collar such a stranglehold on the neck that these runnels of blood cannot pass under it and instead dribble down the collar and onto his shirtfront or lapels. He stands upright with both arms by his sides, one of his hands still holding the razor. As the flow increases, his skull begins to brighten and the eyes to fade rather than close, eventually drying up completely and leaving dead cavities. The brightness becomes more powerful, the energy for this generated by an unknown source. The neck above the slash is clean whereas below that dividing line the flesh and clothing are soaked with what still manages to give the impression of being black liquid. I wait in horrified fascination for him to collapse but he remains standing.
‘Really good boy. You know what I want you to do?’
I remember this almost made me falter because our closeness compelled me to believe that we must have a telepathic connection of some kind, at least in development if not fully functioning and maybe this was a test to determine its potential. I licked my desiccated lips, but kept silent. I did not want to admit that I had no answer to her question. She briefly raised the curtain and flicked some water into my face before I was able to retract my tongue and I fancied that I could taste what would normally be the sweet scent of roses as though I was moving through a garden and deep kissing all the blooms. She laughed rhythmically from low in her throat as a parody of wickedness.