Eyes open, aware, before lids break the sleep-gum seal from a staggered steal of sleep. Trains on the tracks; memory click-backs; time shunts forward, abrupt, jolts him onto his station ahead of schedule. Sound of wind contained, sucked in, soothed by soot-coated chimney brickwork; quiet, then frantic: a starling, swallowed, scratching as it searches for exit, for light.
He thinks of his Dad, hidden behind pages, locked in a cell, shadowed by the barred windows of Crime Fiction prose. Dad`s fingers tap dance armchair covers: woodpecker drums peck hole-peppered trunk in suspended solitude; advertises for the comfort of a mate.
Amplified, small noises approach Dad in intervals: dust and debris beaten, shook from a rug; held out from an open doorway, step-back reluctance from finger-chill air, colour-coded blue. A lightly crumpled map appears on his face: new pathways, off-route, lead into journeys most feared; secret furrows and illuminated hollows reveal feelings insecure; contour shadows, ridges, rivulets deeper than before.
Father remains home; palms still perspire, soft-clamp cushioned arms: two mother cats jaw-maw a kitten each, warm, secure; the son leaves his home, walks beneath shark-like colours of a frost-coated, duvet-wrapped figure, hanging heavy above; ready to slow-shift, turnover in disturbed sleep.
In the heart of the wood, he feels absorbed, held in its grain. Wind-split crocuses are shattered amethyst echoes of fragmented light from wind-scuffed skin of brook. Patches of rainwater hold reflection, smeared like post-tear wiped eyeshadow; worms washed up, rinsed onto the pathway, wriggle, drown; ask urgent questions in silence, a soggy broken script.
Trees bend inwards to support each other: many arms intertwine; hold strong an increasing invisible weight: prevent the new born to fall. Branches creak, surreptitious footsteps upon stairs; cluster-balled families of fur, folds of skin, shut-eyed in the earth`s chambers of sighs. Invertebrates wait; concertina, coil, restrained whips.
Mid-freeze and melt sky, now needled; electricity, nerve exposure, prickled with silver light. He walks into a glassy wall of rain as it transforms into a petit pois of hailstones: ping-stings ricochet off already element-numbed features, eyelids, nose and cheekbones. Dark denim doubles, becomes midnight; soggy cold towel slaps his thighs, chill adheres, brings an ache to knees like an unwanted love, water collects in hems: the relative calm of waterfall pools.
He hunches forward, a lurcher-like form, walks above hollows and falls. A steep concrete embankment retains development, ‘urban sprawl’: multi-colour name tags and questionable claims of conquest graffiti-patina this wall.