The Colonel’s Shady Demeanour

…That candle – no that one, over there – it gutters in the wind that skims up off the sea and crawls in through the open window. No, no I can’t close it. What if she comes in the night when I’m asleep and she’s battering her wings against the glass, trying to wake me, howling silently underneath that leering moon. I can’t bear that thought. Can’t bear it…

…You know, some nights I wake up and see storm people flailing in the sheets of the spare twin bed, stealing the forms of those who have slept there before. Are they ghosts? Don’t be silly. You’re a man of reason, as am I…

…Earlier today I took in nine holes with the chaps who live upstairs. It reminded me of those golfing holidays we used to take on the east coast. Remember how we’d read M.R James and whistle for the dead on empty beaches? That was good. It isn’t the same here…

…Oh no, they’re nice enough chaps, mostly. But the old Colonel, he… he troubles me. It’s something about the stoop of his shoulders, how his twisted face looks up to the sky as if he’s at the bottom of a well. I think he’s blind, but I can’t be sure. I’ve never heard him say a word…

…I can see you shivering. There are extra blankets in the wardrobe. Would you take the spare bed tonight? I think I can hear the beating of wings, far away over the sea. No, no, don’t leave. She won’t get here tonight and I don’t want to be alone. There’s tea in the pot and we can revive that fire. Make yourself comfortable…

…Did you hear that, old son? Old son? Old-

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