It has been a pretty busy but productive weekend, even if we spent the bulk of Sunday holed up. What is probably the most significant winter storm southern Ontario has seen since 1999 seems to have timed itself very well. Lots of people knew it was coming on Saturday, and the consensus seems to have been that Sunday would be a great day to stay indoors. We went over to my parents for Sunday dinner this evening. The snow had stopped but the plows had not been able to catch up. Fortunately, traffic was so light that, even though we were stuck at travelling at half the speed limit, the journey was actually fairly stress free.
Had this occurred on Monday, it would be chaos. Already a section of the subway has been shut down. Possibly a snow day, but too many people in southern Ontario don’t take these sorts of days. But at least this way, Toronto doesn’t have to call in the army. That’s one thing David Miller can hold over Mel Lastman.
I’ve been working on the family Christmas letter and Erin has been working on work. Not much time to do much blogging, so here’s another snippet of The Dream King’s Daughter:
Chapter Two: A Murder of Crows
Part 1 - Aurora’s Long Night
If you will recall, we ended the last section with Aurora dealing with another sleepless night. We now go into flashback:
“So, Aurora,” said Dr. Zane. “You’re in perfect health. Is there anything else?”
“Well, yeah,” said Aurora. She couldn’t suppress the urge to look around to make sure they were alone, even though the doctor’s office was half the size of her bedroom. She leaned close. “I can’t sleep.”
The doctor frowned. “You’re having trouble sleeping?”
He leaned forward. “How long has this been going on?”
She took a deep breath. Then bit it back. She looked into his eyes.
“And the Nobel prize in medicine,” the M.C. shouted, “for his contributions to medical science: Dr. Myron Zane!”
Dr. Zane approached the podium, carried on the shoulders of his colleagues.
“Thank you!” he shouted to the cheering masses. “I owe it all to—”
She could already see where this conversation could go. Instead of “for as long as I can remember”, she said, “A while.”
“Everything good at school?” asked Dr. Zane.
She stopped herself from rolling her eyes. He’d ask that about a hangnail.
“Fine,” she said.
He blinked. “Everything good at home?”
She glared. “It’s fine.”
“Your bed uncomfortable?”
She shook her head.
“Something worrying you?” asked Dr. Zane.
Other than the fact that I don’t sleep and can look into people’s dreams whenever I look them in the eye? “No.”
He leaned back in his chair. “Many people have trouble getting to sleep, Aurora. Maybe you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to sleep. It’s a bit of a catch-22. I can get you information on some relaxation exercises you can try as you go to bed…”
He droned on. Aurora stared at his steepled fingers. This was going nowhere. But then, how could it go anywhere when she hadn’t told him the extent of her problem?
Okay, maybe he might jump at a chance to make a medical case history out of me. If he figures out what’s wrong with me, he deserves a Nobel Prize. This isn’t normal.
“Look, I can’t sleep,” she barged in. “I don’t sleep. I stay up all night staring at the ceiling. I can’t sleep. I haven’t slept for…” She caught herself again. ‘Ever’ became “…months.”
Dr. Zane had leaned forward as she said this, his brow furrowing, but now he sat back, his face clearing like the end of a storm. “Oh, you’re worrying too much.”
Her voice rose. “I already said I’m not! There’s something wrong with me. Test me!”
“Aurora, I don’t need to examine you to know that you’re sleeping,” said Dr. Zane. “If you went more than ten days without sleep, you’d be dead. You’re sleeping. You just don’t remember sleeping. Now, about those relaxation exercises…”
Maybe I dream about the clock radio showing me 3 a.m., thought Aurora. Maybe I dream of listening to the BBC World radio service under my pillow because nothing else is on. But she didn’t say these things out loud.
And that was all she said about that.
Funny, though, she thought. I would have thought the dead got lots of sleep.
Aurora looked over at her clock radio and saw the display click to 5:25. Outside her window, she saw the first glimmer of dawn. The drapes twisted in a cool breeze and brought the smell of rain. Somewhere, with the sound of distant rolling kegs, thunder rumbled. The house around her was still asleep.
Aurora took a deep breath and levered herself out of her bed. She padded to the bathroom to wash up. In front of the mirror, she stretched her arms and rolled her neck, and then picked up a comb and dragged it through her bed-matted blond hair. She peered at her reflection in the mirror, at the normal face that stared back at her. Other than a couple of troublesome pimples, and that little snub nose she hated, her face was that of a typical, mildly pretty teenage girl. She didn’t even have rings under her eyes.
“Not bad for a dead woman,” she muttered.
Behind her, the clock radio flipped on to the latest country drawl. She hated it, but it was the only station for miles. In the next room, she heard the springs of Matron’s bed creak as the woman rolled off, muttering. 5:30.
Aurora thanked heaven once again for her meditation exercises. Without it, she would have died, of boredom if not anything else.
I’m not dead, am I? I’m just weird. A great medical mystery, probably. Someone who’d spend the rest of their life in sleep laboratories with electrodes all over my skin if I could get any doctor to believe that I haven’t slept a wink since…
Wait a minute.
I did sleep. In the car. It was the first time I can recall sleeping. Ever.
She stopped, her comb caught halfway down her hair.
“Dad, what did you do to me?”