portent (a story)


All day I’d been getting this itchy, tense feeling. Like something or someone was watching me. I kept looking over my shoulder in jerky movements, until my neck was tense and really sore. I was feeling really tense in my chest as well. And my head was starting to ache. Paranoia? Or was I coming down with some illness?
I finally went to bed. Taking something to help me sleep, or at least relax. And it took effect soon after. Well to a degree.
I was becoming drowsy and was in that tween state of relaxation, between sleep and awake. But I kept twitching awake. Like something was startling me. An arm or a leg would jerk and I would wake and look around.
It was beginning to upset me, and almost had me ready to get up and go do something to distract myself.
But then I dozed off and actually went to sleep.
Which I now regret.
As soon as I fell asleep, I started to dream. It came almost in a series of stills or photo vignettes. Which was beyond weird for me. I barely dream, let alone like that!
I saw two owls rise above my house and sit on the roof.
Then they started squabbling at each other.
They flew up and started to fight. They seemed intent on killing each other. Right over my house.
One of the owls dropped to my porch, in front of my door.
And at last glance it had a red ribbon around it’s neck.
I woke up screaming. And could not go back to sleep. So I got up and went to watch something nice on TV. Some light comedy or something. To get my head out of this twitchy state of mind.
I was feeling really oppressed. Like the other shoe was about to drop. Like this was the eleventh hour on the clock of doom. And it was getting harder to breathe. I wasn’t the type to get panic attacks, but that seemed to be how I was feeling. Dread.

“By the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes”

That feeling.
So when the phone rang, it took every ounce of courage I had in me, and me chanting prayers to my goddesses for me to answer it.
I was right to be afraid…
It was the hospital calling to tell me that my friend had been in a car crash and I should come immediately. It was bad and she was not stable. She was slipping in between life and death.
I threw jeans and a coat on over my PJs and grabbed my keys and went running for my car.
I broke every speed limit going to the hospital.
And it was only by the skin of my teeth that I arrived in time to hold her hand as she slipped out of life for the last time.
I sat there shaking for the longest time. Too upset to cry.
Finally the nurse called a doctor and I was sedated. I woke up later on a bed, in my own room, with a nurse beside me.
It all came crashing back on me then. And I fell apart. My world had just changed. I was diminished.

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