waking dreams

He can't tell the time from the light through the window. It's too grey. Mute. It could be dawn, dusk, or noon. 

His heart pounds loudly as he squints at the alarm clock. It's too far away to see without his glasses on. It could be six or eight. Either is fine. He can still sleep but his heart won't slow down.

She sleeps on quietly next to him, on her side facing the other way. He looks at the duvet rise and fall as she breathes in peace. He wonders for a moment if she's faking it, if she's awake but just not wanting to face him. 

Squinting again at the clock, he sees it's half past six.

It must have been a dream, he thinks. Something frightening; something horrible has set my nerves off. 

He slips out of bed and steps quietly out into the hallway. The coolness of the wood under foot calms him somewhat. He paces gently, avoiding the floorboards that he knows will creak. 

As he walks his chest settles; he tries to remember his dreams. There's nothing. Just darkness and then the grey light.