Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The City's Serenade

The City's Serenade
By Michael Cannata

Through it all she sleeps, soothed by a lullaby.

The noise of the city produced a symphony of sounds that carried through the night. The steady stream of traffic meshed with the low hum of the machinery that brings the city to life. The hum reverberated in the background; a mechanical movement that became the rhythm of life. It pulsed endlessly beneath the surface of the streets and sidewalks.  A constant cacophony of life's uttering's

The wails of the distant sirens lend an urgent cry that waxed and waned in the distance. The drone of the engines in flight filled the far away sky. In the distance a door slams. A shot rings out. The scream that follows adds its note to the urban melody that echoes through the streets and alleys.

Through it all she sleeps, as the voice of the city whispers to her

The people march steadily along its paths. Their footsteps become a measure that becomes a heartbeat. The noise of the city becomes a voice that rages and whispers; it calls and cajoles. It resonates with fear and awe. Violent vibrations coupled with subtle sighs that fill the air with power and passion; a velvet thunder that roils and rolls in a never ending crescendo.

Through it all she sleeps, as the voice of the city comforts her.

In her mother’s arms she slumbers, contented. In lyrical cooing, hushed pledges of love between mother and baby are spoken without words.  She doesn’t hear the angst and anger that the night cries carry. They blend in harmony with the pleas of pain and the peals of laughter.  They are the verse and refrain of the city’s composition. She doesn’t yet feel the fear beneath the hushed tones of the night. In the dreaded darkness she dances in dreams.

Through it all she sleeps, as the voice of the city serenades her.

The ebb and flow of the tides of life against the shores of the metropolis wash over her. Carried on the cool night breeze, the song of the city croons softly to her. The cacophony becomes a symphony. The reverberations become a rhythm.  The movement of the mechanisms becomes music.  The noise of the city becomes the lilting voice, singing a melody that echos in her dreams.

Through it all she sleeps, soothed by a lullaby.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Sleepwalker

The SleepWalker

By Michael Cannata

His wife lay quietly in bed, listening to the muffled sounds of her husband wandering aimlessly around the rooms below. He was sleepwalking again and she was worried. He'd started doing it over a year ago. The first time his movements woke her, she found him down in the basement, drilling holes in the family room walls in a random pattern. He didn't respond when she called to him. He didn't seem to know she was even there. When she touched him on the shoulder, shaking him, he woke with a terrified scream. He seemed dazed and had no idea where he was or how he got there.

Over the next few months his episodes grew more frequent and even more bizarre. One night, the police brought him home when they found him pushing an empty stroller down the middle of the street. When they woke him, they got the same startled reaction. Looking utterly confused, he explained he was dreaming he was walking their daughter in the park. They helped him home safely to the relief of his worried wife.

He sought a psychiatrist's help in figuring out what was causing the problem. The initial diagnosis was stress. Things were tough at work and, with the economy the way it was, the company was suffering. He was always worried about being laid off and had fallen far behind with the bills.

He continued to have episodes. He often left the house, only to be returned safely home by the police. Soon, everyone in the neighborhood knew what was going on. Neighbors sympathized with his wife and took turns returning him home when they found him wandering in their yards. He never remembered anything the next morning.

He never hurt anyone, but it was clear he was becoming a danger to himself.  His wife dealt with it as best she could while living in a constant state of fear, praying he wouldn't hurt himself while hoping his doctor could cure him. She let him roam the house, rather than wake and scare him. Eventually, if he didn’t leave the house, he always returned to bed.

Finally, she heard him coming up the stairs. She was relieved he was coming back to the room. She moved over ready to hold him close once he was back in bed. He always responded to her affections with a sigh and settled against her as she held him. He came into the bedroom with the same glazed look.

Only this time he was holding a gun, pointing it at her. Frightened, she called out to him gently, "Honey? Please honey, wake up!"

Slowly, deliberately, his gaze changed as he looked straight at her. "I am awake, sweetheart!" he whispered, staring at her with an insane grin.

He shot her twice, smiling as she fell off the bed to the floor. He climbed back into bed, pulling the covers over him to wait. He was sure the next door neighbors would call the police. They called every time they heard loud noises at this time of night. After all, they didn't want him to hurt himself sleepwalking.

When the police arrived, knowing who they were dealing with and seeing the gun on the floor, they approached him carefully. As always, he pretended to remember nothing about what happened and they believed him, as usual.

It took over a year to set his plan in motion. He had all the medical evidence from some of the finest doctors he needed. He had a lawyer who had successfully defended others who had committed crimes while sleepwalking. All his friends and family testified as to the love between him and his wife. He was confident and played the role of the inconsolable, grieving husband as effectively as he had the role of a sleepwalker.

He believed no jury would ever convict him… he was right.