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Red of the Darkness

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The little room is boiling, and it’s the heat that wakes him. A chill runs through his battered, weary body. It’s dark, and late. Woodrow has lowered the light of the oil lamp – Gus can see his silhouette as he sits back against the wall asleep. It’s probably the first time he’s slept since finding Pea Eye. The man’s played out.

Gus closes his eyes and sinks into the bed. The pain never goes away, a constant throbbing where his leg used to be. It’s a shivering thought, used to be. Unnerving. Christ, it’s that all right. That leg served him well all of his life. He’d go so far as to say that he was mighty partial to it while he still had it and now –

He chuckles. Must be bad if he’s musing about his leg the way he’d ordinarily think about whiskey. And the whiskey in this hellhole is nothing to get excited over. He’s had far better. Worse too, to be honest.

Woodrow should soon wake up. It’s not right to be sleeping now, not when time’s so short. The time for sleeping will come after, when he’s through. There’ll be all of the time in the world to sleep and to dream and to imagine. Not that Woodrow was ever the kind to imagine, but still.

He hears a voice, and it’s a shock to realise that it’s his own. This fever is making him run on at the mouth some. Who knows how long he’s been talking to himself, with no one to answer and argue with. A good argument would be marvellous now. Woodrow always gets caught up, no matter how he tries not to. Can’t argue with Pea Eye, it just goes over his head. Maybe he’ll find Deets, when the time comes. Time’s coming soon, he can feel it. Woodrow better wake up.

He meant to write to Lorie. And Clara. They’ll be wondering about him. He meant to do it, and then he passed out and now he remembers it but he can’t find the paper that the doctor brought. Woodrow will help, when he wakes.

Gus opens his eyes, and his vision is tinged in red. He closes them again and it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference. Everything is red now, even the darkness. Red mists and stained bandages. Not much longer now, and Lord, but he’s tired.