Chapter 3

Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic

Oh dammit! What is that ticking? I roll over in my bed to look at the time, but I’ve placed my bedtime read “1421, The Year the Chinese Discovered America” in front of my overly bright digital clock. Dragging the book to one side reveals the dastardly hour of 01:58, rendering the room in an erie green hue. A three bedroom, English, semi detached, mid 1970’s house with the heating off this time of night, in the middle of winter and the sickening green light, is not going to invite sleep now. I shiver, and curl up, screw my eyes closed and hide from the world.

Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic

There it is again. What time is it now? 01:58.

I’m sure that was what it was hours ago! Bah. Why does time go so slowly when you can’t sleep? Now I need a pee. Nooooo! If I start padding around I’ll wake up properly and that will be that! Block it out, it will go away. But no, barely thirty seven years old, this bladder seems incapable of making it through a night. I’ll do a splash and dash, I’ll be back here before my body knows it. Okay, no more procrastinating, I swing out of bed, and make my dash, the cool air swirls over my chest and shoulders rather like being wrapped in cold wet lettuce leaves. At least, as I imagine that would feel. The result it predictable. A total inability to pee. Nothing... not a drop. Oh, the feeling is still there, sure, but flow is sadly lacking. I stand, jiggling, rather pathetically in a futile attempt to start something. Aha... finally, relief. Now I’m cold. Returning to my bedroom, I eye the clock. 01:58. Oh, you idiot... the digits are flashing rhythmically indicating there’s been a power cut, and the faint flashing has been triggering that damned ticking in my head. I wonder what the time really is? I may as well go downstairs, check the time and turn the heating on. I cover myself up with my dressing gown and head downstairs, stopping to peer out the landing window. Moonless, starless, still and silent. A thin mist hangs around the orange streetlights, forming halos that march off over the rise, to apparently fall off the edge of the world, their glow beyond providing a backdrop for faint silhouettes of suburbia.


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