Discarded Ending I Presume…

Long sleep the end…

The bottom line was that I was trapped. I was in a place of safety, secure in the knowledge that I would never be exposed to the forces that threatened me, those forces that lived on the outside. The problem was that when places were this safe, they didn’t tend let anyone either in or out.

The voices were coming at me every minute and they were garbling about ways to get out. I had the dead milkmaid giving advice, but she had been trapped here for centuries. Then there was the neediness, the suffocating helplessness of Demonic, springing out at every unnerving opportunity. The windows had gone and a still air filled the Great Hall; it was like the place in the book called Great Expectations, the bit with the wedding cake, the cob-weds and the mice, and the old woman who used to be young and was now very sad and acidic. And there was me sitting in the arms of the great fireplace hoping for a voice that was really only an echo of a memory that I may have had once. It was then that I got the old man, the one who had previously taken to sitting on the end of my bed before disappearing as I was clearing the grit from my eyes. I named him the Sandman after that school that I was locked in. But apart from these manifestations there was nothing else to keep me there, nothing that provided any distractions beyond the wistful dreams of finding the way out. And if any more of them decided to provide any sort of vague hope with their practiced air of mystery, I would tell them to stick it where the sun never got the chance to shine.

Stories must come to an end. It is the rule of the world, the way of nature. They cannot be suspended in mid-story forever. They needed an ending, but ‘ending’ finishes in a gerund, the type that suggested a present continuation and not a line under it. A gerund is one of those confusing words that appears to be one thing yet functions as another. In its recognizable form it seems to be a verb as it has a present continuous verb ending, but in reality it is a noun:

“Everyone enjoyed Clive’s writing.”

Do you see the magic there? The verb, that classification of words that define an action such as running, swimming or telling become more established once they are working as nouns and do not need a definite ending, because they don’t have to end. Ending in itself is a noun. It’s the time and place in which actions cease. And yet they carry on… ending. In a world such as this, there is no escape; the denouement continues and continues with improbable ‘ings’ recurring and recurring like ripples in a lake. So my problem was to work out how this world worked and how the mechanism that kept me incarcerated could be tricked into opening the door, or window, to my escape.

Everyone enjoyed Clive’s writing.

Everyone enjoyed Clive’s writing.

Everyone enjoyed Clive’s writing.

“The clue is to stop writing. Stop writing. Read between the lines and wake up.” 

I neither knew that I was writing not sleeping. What I was doing was the ‘ing’ endings, the continuation, the world without end type stuff. And I had had that advice about reading between the lines but, for the life of me, I could not remember ever having read any book. Perhaps I was wrong or merely forgetful, or dead.

I always wondered what death would be like. Perhaps it was a state in which everything was easy, no work and no thinking and no obvious problems with having to communicate with others. It could be silent, no running, no waiting in queues and no annoying interruptions. There would be no sensed presences, or questions encased in speech marks. And no goshawk preparing to rip its prey apart. Death would be silent and it would sit at the end of the bed waiting for something to happen. But death was awaiting me. It was waiting for me to awaken. It waited and waited and waited but when I finally woke Death would leave. It would be its trick, its little game, its between the lines clues; and I would wake and I would think that something had been there in my room.   

“Was that what you had written?”

I hadn’t written anything. The presence of Death on my bed was just that, the presence of something that was so taken for granted in the world that most people didn’t notice it, it was what they call omnipresent which meant that it was all around, and being all around meant that it was sort of invisible. Death had sat there, I was certain of it. Death knew that I had noticed it so had played its hand and had disappeared into the morning air before I had time to pin it down. It was banking on my disbelief, my incredulity, my denial of something that was real but was not real. Death was a shadow, a shadow that could throw itself over whatever it chose. But I hadn’t written about death, death had just snuck in when I was sleeping. 

“But you know about dreams, don’t you? You know that they are 

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