And so, when the wind rose, chilling Erhart, he dragged his black boots heavily scratching across the pavement. He shivered as he watched the dark clouds steadily hovering in from the sea. He watched. Black boots scratching. The manuscript he grasped loosely in his hand. If he dropped it, he was too numb to care. He clutched the phonograph in the crook of his other arm. He felt emotionless.
He walked absent-mindedly around his cottage and through the dim overgrown back garden. He grimaced. ‘What a painfully silly fool that I had been to write of an absurd creature in the sea. I behaved as if the creature were real, so real, I believed,’ he thought. He gripped the key and turned it round in the lock of the back door in a rough sort of way.
The door made a quiet creaking noise as he opened it. He glanced at the clock above the stove as he paced into the room. Forty-seven minutes past seven, it read. Erhart paused and listened. No creakings meant that no one was home.
The numbers and the hands of the clock blurred into black streaks. He sighed. He felt light-headed and strange after a sleepless night. His eyes were watery and most likely blood-shot. ‘Must smell like a fire, too,’ he predicted. He would need to stop being like this soon. At the moment he felt the urgency of going on: the final action of his work must be carried out. He stared at the clock, with its violently jerking hands, and his mouth twitched in hostility. He thought further: ‘Before this day is complete.’
He looked in the fridge with hunger burning in his belly. He glanced at a half-eaten sausage and firmly shut the door.
Craving something bready and sweet, Erhart opened the tin and grabbed a biscuit and chewed, eating as he wandered into the blueish hall. His raw eyes flicked and he noticed the crumbs flew on the turquoise carpet as he went. ‘Oh well,’ he thought acceptingly, as in his dream-like state, he floated up the stairs.
Erhart peered out the window at the clouding, darkening sky. He sighed quite sadly. His thoughts were clouding and darkening as well. He slid the story into an envelope and wrote the editor’s address. He gently set his phonograph and himself on the floor.
Rain began quietly pattering on the roof.
He set the needle on the record out of habit as he watched the glimmering water droplets run down the dark glass. Erhart discovered as he watched that he could not remember a single word of what he had written. This would have been a worrying fact had he known the powerful meanings that his sentences carried.
The rain thumped against the roof heavily now. The swelling fluttering breath of the flutes and the silky sliding hum of the violins quickly rose above it.
Erhart closed his eyes as the music carried his thoughts to somewhere nice. “I am about to sleep!” he nearly shouted and opened his eyes widely. ‘I must not sleep now; sleeping will be later,’ his thoughts stated insistently. For an instant on the other side of the window there was a face with dark eyes like glinting droplets of water.
Erhart blinked in surprise and snatched the needle off of the record. The blood drained out of his face as he held his breath, trying to focus on that face. But it had vanished. ‘Perhaps the raindrops had formed the face, and the face had melted as they streamed,’ he supposed. Shaking his head, he put the story under one arm and stumbled out of the room, down the stairs, and out the door.