The noise was so loud it woke me from a deep sleep. I sat up in bed as still as I could be. My wife's breathing was the only sound that I could hear. I then noticed the tic-tic of the clock at our bedside. The iridescent glow told me that it was 1:08 am. My heart beat soon drowned out the sound of her breathing followed by the sound of the clock. All I could hear, now, was the double bass beat of my atrium and ventricle. My brain was sending signals to my ears in order to figure out what woke me in the first place, hoping for a repeat to find the culprit. My eyes were no use to me because of the darkness. That made my auditory senses much sharper. I sat there for a few minutes trying to decide what to do next when I heard it, again. My pupils had dilated to allow more light and I could see my wife lying on her side, facing away from me. I had not noticed how dark our bedroom was at this time of the morning. It was dark. I had to rely on my hearing which was becoming very acute. The noise sounded like it was coming from the front room. Our bedroom is at the back of the house and I could still hear that something was not right. I live in a house that was built sometime in the forties and it has the sounds most old houses have. This was not an ordinary sound. It was loud enough to wake me up from a dead sleep. I sat there frozen, not wanting to wake my wife. We have a poodle that sleeps at the foot of the bed on his dog blanket. He is 14 years old with cataracts in both eyes but that don't affect his hearing. There is nothing wrong with his hearing. It's fine. Then why does he not hear the noise in the front room? Shit! I cannot lay back down until I figure out what the hell is going on."Pooh," I whispered. That is the dog's name. Blind and deaf. Just my luck.
I quietly turned and put my feet on the floor trying to locate my house shoes. Damn, the floor is cold. My night vision has found its groove and I can see, a little. What I couldn't see was my house shoes. I tip-toed towards my dresser to get a pair of socks. There it was, again! Someone or something was definitely in my house. My foot brushed up against something. My house shoes. I slipped them on and made my way to the bedroom door. My night vision is not good enough, I have to get some help. In the top drawer of my dresser is a pen light. I need that light. I, with great care, slide open my dresser drawer about six inches, just enough to get my hand inside. Something is not right. I keep a box in the right-hand corner of the drawer filled with tie clips, cuff links, my class ring, and assorted items. The box is not there. I stand very still and think about what I've done. I got out of bed on the left but I sleep on the right. I can barely see the room but I can see enough to know the arrangement is all wrong. There is very little light coming through the window. There looks to be some sort of heating and air-conditioning unit running the length and below the window. A television is mounted about six feet off the floor. A curtain is mounted in the middle of the room pulled past the foot of the bed. My breathing is going to give me away, it is that loud. I close my eyes tight and try to concentrate on slowing my breathing when I hear the noise, again. It sounds like it is just outside my door. I am wondering if it is my door, my room. Hell, is this my house? Thoughts are racing through my brain at warp speed. I must be dreaming. That has to be what is happening. It would explain everything. A crooked smile has me starting to relax. I am not used to mellow dreams. They are usually horror flicks. Relief.
I grope for the switch on the wall and flip it up. What the hell! I find myself bathed in bright florescent light. I am standing in the middle of a hospital room with two beds, the curtain separating the two. One bed is empty and fully made. No one has been lying in that bed. This has got to be the weirdest dream I have ever experienced. I could not see if anyone was using the other bed. I was closer to the door when I hear a noise coming from the other side of the curtain. It sounded like someone gargling Listerine. Where the hell did my wife go? I know I was just lying beside her moments ago. I thought I was, at least. Please, God, wake me up. I do not like this, at all. I reach for the door and slowly open it. The light from the room was shining on my refrigerator. Now I am totally confused. I just want to wake up. I opened the door completely and could see my kitchen. I felt a little better, so, I walked over to the sink, turned the cold water on, cupped my hands and splashed water on my face. Shit, that's cold! I turn and look at my bedroom door and it is closed. I could see it by the light over the oven we use for a night light. Yes! Finally. It has been a while since I did any sleep walking. I almost laughed out loud. You don't know what a relief I felt. I was tired all of a sudden and decided to go back to that warm bed. I opened the door and all the air left my body. I stood dead still. I could not move. It was the Col. sitting up in his hospital bed staring into my wide eyes. Why? Why? I slammed the door and ran. I ran as fast as I could go with a back that has been fused. I stopped when I realized that He would not follow. He will be waiting for me in my dreams, with open arms.