"So you want to be a hero?" The voice echoes from above him. He sits huddled in
the doorway, staring at nothing. In his hand the bottle is clutched tightly.
Bloodshot eyes turn from the pavement for a moment to behold the figure, wrapped
up against the storm, hidden by the light that shines behind it. His mind
struggles to shake itself from the fog. Inside his head the birdsí wings beat against
his skull. He wants to question, knows something is so very important, but all that
comes from his lips is a bleared word.|
".....Dream?" He feels something, perhaps contempt as he realises how far he has fallen, but has no time to think upon it. There is something far more important to do. He tries again, and this time more slurred words form. The figure smiles, pleased, as he struggles against the thunder in his head. To fight. That is important. To fight. He does not want to turn from the figure, this watcher that knows his dreams, but cannot still the birds within his mind enough that he may speak. It inclines it head, watching, knowing, studying.
"Wunt....want...." he tries to force the words out, but they wonít come. He canít even hear them clearly in his mind. "You want to be a hero." The voice is silken, crystal clear even through the storm. He is not sure who spoke. The watcher pauses. He gathers himself, starts to feel something in his long abused soul, something awakening beneath the blood and the storm and the birds. He has to speak. "You are a drunk." The contempt in the voice stings, destroys. As he grasps for that which awakens in his soul it flees back, beyond his reach. His hope is dead. The figure turns and walks away, taking with it the shadow of hope fallen on him. Leaving him to the light. His bleary eyes sting as he turns them to the pavement, finding relief in seeing nothing. In his hand the bottle is tightly grasped, providing comfort as no human ever has. He thinks of nothing until he stands, staring at the floor, shuffles off into the road. Hours, minutes, days may have passed, he does not think of them. The storm still thunders. The rain rushes off his coat, soaks into worn gloves. He does not know where he is going, but far behind him, in the doorway, the rain carries filth from the sides of the bottle.
copyright A.Whetton 1997.