Let me start of by saying, I did not want to recall this tale. I am not at liberty to invest myself in human lives; I am busy, every day and every second. (Forgive me if my usage of Time is inaccurate - Time and I do not have a very good relationship.)
However, there are sometimes when I am Asked to remember the misfortunes of unlucky humans, in the hopes that others of the kind may learn a lesson from these. Mostly, they do not. But such a Request is not to be denied, and so Time lends me ten minutes. If he is in a good mood, he gives me an extra hour.
(The coffee table reflects his face, distorted by cloth wipes, almost as if his face was a puzzle and someone had to slot the pieces together. It had obviously been cleaned today, as if his neighbour had been expecting a visit.
A plate with pastries pyramided on top of it is put on to the table. The chocolate one has pale icing thrown over it, and it makes his mouth water.
Let me set the scene. There is a young human boy in bed, with caramel-coloured hair and milky-pale skin and six years of life stitched into his body. He is swathed in blankets weaved with rockets and UFOs and stars. His ceiling is a mirror of these blankets, Saturn and Venus peering luminously down at his closed eyes.
Now expand the view. Beside his bed is a side-table, set with a nightlight and a teddy bear standing watch. Opposite this table is a dresser in which his clothes are folded. On top of the dresser is a flimsy plastic-bubble picture frame, in which a man is smiling, cradling a baby in his arms.
You may recall that I said his eyes were closed. He was, however, not asleep. Is not asleep. (I apologize. English is not my first language.)
He cannot sleep.
He opens his eyes.
It so happened his gaze falls directly upon the picture frame of the man. Perhaps he means it to be so. Perhaps he sleeps in that position for the very purpose of it. However, I am interfering. I must continue.
("Ooh, that's a nasty one," his mother remarks as her eyes drag across his knee. "When did that happen, love?"
The child glances at it; the gift of a bruise blossoming like a faint flower on his twig-like bones. He laughs. It's silly, really. It's supposed to be from when he bumped into the bathroom door at night. He says as much.
"I'll keep the light on tonight." She smiles.)
The boy watches the frozen man, watches him as if the tauntingly blank eyes of the photograph might suddenly burst into flame. But Sleep is infallible, and so his eyes will themselves shut.
(The bruise only darkens.)