Tuesday, 19 May 2009 - 6:59 pm

Need for real

I can’t believe it. I thought he was gone. I woke up this morning and it was so quiet. The others had gone out foraging, leaving me to sleep because I’d been up all night again.

From Ben’s bed, there were no moans or murmurs, no shouting or shifting in his blankets. He was so still, as if he was made of pale, thin wax. I couldn’t see him breathing; I thought he was gone.

I had to touch him. I had to make sure that it wasn’t a fearful hallucination, or a twisted dream I didn’t know I was in. Somehow, touching makes it real.

He was real. Cold now, the fever’s heat gone from his skin, and the sensation made my heart twist painfully. So cold. It wasn’t fair. It was too soon.

Then he opened his eyes. I felt his chest lift under my hand and he said my name, looking up at me. For the first time in days, he knew it was me there with him. I was crying when I answered him, and he sat up and hugged me.


That’s how the others found us. Ben smiled thinly and said hello while happy chaos burst around him. Even Nugget came up and patted his hand cautiously. We’ve all been more buoyant since then.

I’m trying not to read too much into it. Sax woke up before the end too. Ben’s still not well – he’s cold and clammy, and he has a grey tinge to his skin. He’s awake now and that’s all I know. I want him to stay that way. I never want to see him asleep again, just in case. He can’t slip away while I’m not looking if I keep looking at him. If I keep hold of his hand.

But it feels like a reprieve. If feels like I’m not going to lose him after all. I want to believe in this. I need it to be real.