It is darkness, and I do not dare open my eyes. Pressing my lids tighter, the retinal fireworks explode and celebrate fear’s victory, while the prisoner lays quivering in his bed. Somewhere, a thousand miles away perhaps, a grandfather clock swings its long pendulum and beats each passing moment into my ears as my heart beats out of my chest.
Eyes open would only confirm darkness. Holding them closed is the only consolation, the only hope that what I fear does not exist and will not smother me as I lay. Deep thoughts mingle with shallow breaths and soon my mind is sinking steadily downward like a stone, a boulder, a ship torn open.
With a flash of imagined light the eyes flutter open and breathing stops.
Ringing… whistling… my name spoken?
Hissing… piercing… my name spoken?
Then, before me, in honey-like motion, I see the life, the choices, the games, the loves, the fears, the yearning of a young man. And in a jukebox voice, someone inaudibly whispers my name and I have tears.