She dreamt that night of a silent and predatory force gliding beneath the still dark surface of the narrative, a wayward ripple had reached her for warning and her nerves raced to the shore where she now lay heaving with only seconds left for looking backward as it surfaced and made of all time an eternal horror. And then she awoke.
As her breathing calmed, eyes first and then thoughts focused slowly on the contours of her prison cell; how ironic to find an effective antidote to fear in the deadening familiarity produced by years of confinement. A nightmare, then, that’s all, a common thing and she imagined the many scattered characters waking like she was now, all hoping to dispel the author’s morbid panoramas and rescue the story with the first purposive touch of a foot on a floor alongside a bed. Hardly an original state of affairs for any of them, but then again it was an historical novel.
Still, it left her in a foul mood. The situation was absurd. First the nightmares, then years of captivity obliquely condensed into a single morning, and throughout it all not one knowing side-conversation or subplot, nothing so much as an abandoned pile of words left in a corner somewhere to play with. “I despise you!” she shouted out truthfully, if not eloquently, into the stale air of her imprisonment. What a troublesome and judgmental character, thought the author. I believe it’s time for another execution.