Lullabies and Dirges

Off Suit

a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep

He wasn’t sure when he’d started studying the meaning behind words, learning their hows and whys, but found himself grateful for the habit as he watched a booted foot twitch slightly as its owner slept. He wondered if vampires dreamed.

night-mare noun a terrifying dream in which the dreamer experiences feelings of helplessness, extreme anxiety, sorrow, etc.

He should be sleeping, he had work in far too few hours and his body was already protesting the hard manual labour to come. Instead, he found himself staring at the ever so slight tremor in slender fingers and wondered without malice what the monster under the bed would have nightmares about, if he dreamt at all. 

ef-ful-gent adjective shining brightly; radiant.

He’d only ever heard the word muttered once, an eon ago. Back when he’d thought in shades of gray so close to black and white he was surprised he’d never tripped over his own hypocrisy. Maybe he had, and he’d been too blind to even see the ground rushing up to meet him.

mon-ster noun any animal or human grotesquely deviating from the normal shape, behaviour, or character

They hurled words like spears. Hid behind them as though they were stronger than the very walls that stood around them. He sometimes thought - right before he fell into sleep, where he could deny the thought later - the monsters were of their own making. Moulded like clay with sharp barbs and preconceptions.

breathe verb to live; exist(breathe upon) archaic or poetic/literary tarnish or taint

He wondered at that almost more than anything else. Watched the other man paint himself in layers of blood and gore, as though trying to wash something else from pale skin, too long memory. Watched as scuffed boots proclaimed themselves monster. Watched quiet breaths drawn in the moments no one saw, mimicking life, or living it. He wasn’t sure any more.

sleep verb to take the rest afforded by a suspension of voluntary bodily functions and the natural suspension, complete or partial, of consciousness; cease being awake.

Exhaustion wrapped arms around him as he lay, listening to the soft sounds of the other man imitating life in repose. His lids were heavy, eyes so tired he couldn’t stay focused on anything. Still he fought away the leaden limbs trying to drag him down, taking comfort in the unintentional life of someone who died before his parents were born, yet still seemed to live more in a second than the rest of them did in a lifetime. 

life-time noun the time that the life of someone or something continues; the term of a life.

The smile was crooked at best, bitter to those who didn’t know him well. Briefly he wondered how many lifetimes he had to measure against. The smile froze then because he knew the answer only too well; too many, always too many. 

The End