I bolted upright in bed, a scream catching in my throat, my heart pounding so hard in my chest I felt as though it was about to burst through my ribcage, my body moist with sweat.  Already the images that had plagued my sleep were starting to fade, but their echo lingered on as I began to tremble.


Alicia shuffled in the bed beside me, grinding her teeth as she often did when her sleep was disturbed, but for once the vile grating sound didnít perturb me.  I gazed down at her, half expecting her eyes to open, but after a few moments she settled, resting peacefully again.


I reached over and brushed the hair from her cheek, smiling down her.  The shadows that had consumed my mind seemed to evaporate, the turbulence inside me easing as I watched her.  She didnít have to be awake to calm me, to let me know that everything would be ok.  She simply had to be there.


I lay back down, rolling onto my side, my nose just inches from hers, taking comfort from her hot breath against my skin as I closed my eyes once more.



Many thanks to Alicia, whose editing expertise never ceases to enrich my work as much as she enriches my life