Brian Collier
Monosyllabic Experiment 3

My arms and legs will not move.  No part of me will move.  Straps bite me when I try to move.

I will lie still.

My eyes can move.  White walls tilt in on me.  They move more than I can.  I close my eyes.

A moan rolls through the room.  It is not mine.  It comes from past the door.  In the hall?  I think there is a hall past the door.  What is the moan from?  It sounds like an owl.  A big owl. An owl the size of a man.  An owl in the hall just past the door.  My door!  A clang rings out and the owl stops.

"Wake up!  Wake up!  This is Bad Boy Rick Loy with your rock 'n roll wake up call.  It's past six in the morn' and you'll be in deep scat with the boss if you don't wake up now!"

The voice in the box jars me from my dream.  I slap the snooze bar and lie on my back.  I can hear my wife's breath in the still air of the room.  Her skin is warm.  I don't know how she sleeps through that man's voice.  I can't seem to bring back my dream, but I know it was strange.  It should come back if I doze off though, just for a bit.

The owl moans.  The door clangs.  The owl does not stop this time.  I can see my door.  It is not closed.  I am in this bed.  I can't move.  I close my eyes.  The door squeals and clangs.  I can't keep my eyes shut.  I hear a sound like drips on tile.  I try to look.  My head will not move.  I can just see part of my room.  A man with a dog's head sits in the part I can see.  He stares at me.  He drools.  The spit rolls off his fat, red tongue -- splash splat -- to the floor. The wall at his back is glass, and the moon pours white through it.  Owls look in through the glass.  They claw at it -- scrape, screech, scrape -- and try to get in.  Some fly at it and they hit hard -- clack, clunk, crack.

"I hear the ride to work is too clear, so let's get some cars out there and clog up those roads!Here's a track to help you off your back: it's the new one from Day Dream, 'Too Real to be True'."

I flip the switch and the voice in the box goes dead.  I swing my legs off the side of the bed and sit on the edge.  Jill makes a soft moan as I reach back and touch her bare chest.  She turns to face me and smiles through a yawn.  "Do we have to get up?"

"You don't... yet."

"Good."  She pulls the sheet up to her chin and rolls to her side.

I pad to the fridge, the tile floor chills my feet.  I break an egg in the pan.  A strange thought slips through my mind, a sense that I should not be here.  I watch the bright bulge in the pool of white bounce in the heat of the pan as it pops and spits at me.  The edge turns brown and crisp.  I try to flip the egg, but my arm hangs numb at my side.  The sounds fade, and my sight goes gray.  I think I may faint.  "Jill?  I..."

"John, can you hear me?"

A voice.  I raise the lids from my eyes.

"How do you feel, John?"

A man in a lab coat.  He has a chart in his hand.  I know him... I think.  "Where am I?"

"In your room, John.  Don't you know that?"

"Where is my wife?"

"You don't have a wife, John."  He pats my hand.  I try to sit up.  Straps bite me.  "Be still, John.  You'll just get hurt."

An owl moans in the hall.  The door is not closed.  "Close the door!  The owls will get in!" He looks at me.  "Close it.  Please!"

"Nurse Mills," he turns to talk to the nurse at the foot of my bed.  She purrs when he looks at her.  "This is John.  He's been with us for... " he checks the chart in his hand, "three years now.  Not much hope, but we do what we can."

The owl in the hall moans.  It wants to rip me up with its beak and eat me.  The walls spin.  I close my eyes.
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