"WILL YOU WALK WITH ME A WAY?" - Dorothy Davies
Will you walk with me a way?
Not far, just to the end of this road.
I am...empty inside and need a few moments of interaction with someone. Oh my, that sounds so formal, doesn’t it? In truth, though, to ask you for a few moments of idle chatter, or gossip would be nonsensical. Especially with what I have in mind.
You look wet, is it raining? Oh I see, it’s that fine drizzle that no umbrella can ward off, so you didn’t bother. Me? No, I don’t get wet. Call it a shield if you like, rain tends to avoid me.
Tell me, how are things at the nursing home these days? Does the garden bloom as fine in spring and summer as it used to? I recall the days of sitting out there, listening to the birds that would be singing as if their lives depended on it, the insects buzzing and flitting hither and thither as if their lives depended on it … come to think of it, they did. But us, the static ones, we stayed where we were, in our wheelchairs or sun loungers or wherever the staff had put us, there to bake in the heat until they took us back into the coolness of the home once more. Not a word of complaint from any of us, you know that, but oh the longing at times for shadow, cool water and rest from unremitting sunshine was overwhelming. But it was life and despite its many, many drawbacks, we clung to it tenaciously. Why? I wonder now why I did not just give up and drift away.
The big problem really, for all of us, is memories.
‘Sometimes memories walk a little hard.’ The wisest words I ever heard, from the most wonderful person I ever knew, my maternal grandmother. Oh she was right! How hard do the memories walk when your means of perambulation is either wheels or a walker? You recall the times when three strides would take you to the door, the cupboard, the TV, whatever/wherever. You recall the way you could walk freely down the road, wander round the shops, visit restaurants and museums, libraries and stately homes. Can you even begin to imagine not walking?
Of course not.
It doesn’t come to all of us but enough … oh yes, enough.
But look at me now. Do I not walk well? Proud, tall and easy? Not so much as an ache in the hip joints or knees, the ankles flex and move as they should. Ah, the joy of it.
You? You are too young still, in terms of experience, to fully understand the joy I feel at being free to walk again.
I have to ask … do you not remember me? The old cantankerous lady who sat in her wheelchair in the garden and demanded cool drinks and ice cream and got neither? Do you not recall how I asked for shade and had none offered to me? Do you not know the suffering you put me through, you who were paid to care and didn’t?
Well, I got you to walk with me a way. And look, here we are, right by the cemetery which is now my home. Oh, you will not escape me this time! Now I see the horror on your face as I cast off the mask of humanity and show you what I am. A skeleton.
Bony hands can grip harder than flesh covered ones, can’t they?
Will you walk with me a way? Let me show you where I lie, here in the cold earth, with not so much as a snowdrop to lighten the darkness of the earth. No one cared, did they … and you, you were one of the worst. Did I not see you laughing behind closed doors at those who pleaded for respite from sun and thirst and were ignored?
Oh, you did not know, did you, that after I left your side of life I returned, over and over again, to watch, to record, to – all right, stalk you if you like.
Here we are. This is my narrow bed.
Will you share it with me for a while?
BIO: Dorothy Davies is a writer, medium and editor who lives on the Isle of Wight. Her horror output has increased tenfold since a horror writer decided to come and work with her from the other side of life.