My exploration of the night-time fear of Death
| My guardian returned for me as the day ended. I had been engaged in a game of make believe with Becca. Today, we played camp cooks- our play was elaborate- we planned menus, made fancy desserts and treats for our campers.
She came to take me home as always, quietly. Stretched out a lean, firm hand to clasp my own small hand. Though I hated to leave my play and my playmates, I obediently walked beside her as we covered the short distance to the rooms where we dwelt. The forbidding rooms were small, stark, unrelieved by comforting decor. They truly were her dwelling and reflected the somber austerity that she projected.
I prepared for bed as she had instructed and briefly considered scrambling under the bed to huddle on the thin, coarse rug that covered the cold wood floor. I resisted the impulse as I remembered her dragging me out by an arm or a leg- the sting of rug burns was fresh and raw. I climbed into the bed to cover myself and try to fall asleep before she came into our shared room.
I did not succeed. She entered the room, crossed to my little bed and sat in the chair beside it. We talked briefly of my day- the play life that I had dreamed up- Then, as always, she bent over me and firmly tucked the cover in, more like a swaddling or mummy wrap than blanket, I could barely move once it was secured. She sat back in the chair and as my eyes stared widely into the dim night, she began to weave her spell ... it inhabits my nights still.
She spoke of herself. She is Death. Spoke of the inevitability, the inescapable end. She reminded me that she would be near, very near, as I slept. Only one breath away- should I need her.
I accepted her words. They must be true, I reasoned, for I had been entrusted to her.
And so I succumbed to sleep slowly as her cool, hard words blew over my face snatching at my breath.
Do I now beckon to her when I lie awake at night? Must I hear her promises replayed again and again when I am alone? May I not escape her presence and go out into the world of make-believe I have envisioned during my daydreams?
I am no longer her ward yet I have been imprinted by Death. Presently, I lie awake in the dark. Aware that camp was real and is completed once again. It is somewhat like a dream- another life where I cannot stay.
And the thoughts of Death crowd in. Do I welcome the thoughts, or does She come unbidden? I do not know. I cannot escape her for long. And she is pervasively persuasive.