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22 Mar 2004

He got out of the car slowly, waiting for one foot to touch the kerb before the other one was lifted off the mat that rode up against the pedals. His knees resisted with a stiffness that was almost entirely psychological. Old now, for certain, but feeling it more in his head and heart than his veins and joints; old from the top down, as if the grey in his head had soaked into his brain, and thence to his blood and his knees. He began, ponderously, to straighten himself out of his seat, and under his corduroy trousers he was certain he heard a cartilaginous crackle.

The Nightmare Sonata III

1 Mar 2004

"I don't know, Luke."

"What can we do? Look at the chap. Look at him. He's miserable. Don't you want him to have what we have? Don't you want everyone to have what we have?"

"Yes, but.... It's so risky. How do we know the same trick will work twice? How do we know that either of us will be able to help him?"

"We have to try, Jess."

"Help me, please, mates. I want to sleep, you see. I've not slept for five days. My alarm clock stopped five days ago so I don't dare drop off."

The Nightmare Sonata III

22 Feb 2004

Disaster: they are both asleep. The one the brakes of the other, and neither can apply themselves: cannot yank the handle, stamp on the floor. Anticipating a grim resolution to the torture of fifteen minutes here and fifteen minutes there, the rain pushes against the windows and through the hole in the ceiling with renewed vigour. Their luck has run out: in five minutes' time they would both be mad.

Higher and higher

9 Feb 2004

This was the country of dead things, of circles worn thin in the sky by birds of prey, lazing and looping out of genetic habit rather than the prospect of something among the rocks yet to be killed. Were the heartbeats of tiny things still tap-tap-tapping their fear in the grass, they would have been stopped by the swoop of talons and beak. The rock, the steppes and the shelves, all yielded nothing except bits of scrub, roots gently grinding the lichen and the half-food. This was his favourite mountain, and he climbed it whenever he could.

The Nightmare Sonata II

27 Jan 2004

She hugged him to her, glad she had woken him in time. His mind had been falling, spinning like a plate, but she caught it, she did, before it cracked against this disease. No respecter of cleanliness or isolation was this plague of the soul, contracted by sharing vibrations. Everyone suffered, from its first night onwards. Nobody knew how or why it....