Alex vaguely felt for the door-handle to his room, turned it and shuffled through into his area, strewn with paper and yesterday's clothes. As he pulled off his clothes he lethargically shook his head - at once both a sign of despair and an attempt to cast off the thick veil of sleep. One pint too many again. He hated feeling like this. It wasn't as if he'd be ill in the morning however. It was with this consoling thought that he punched at the light switch, and crumpled, naked, onto his bed.

Sleep swiftly swam through his head... and then he opened his eyes. The room was dark. For a couple of seconds Alex lay, simply registering the fact that he was awake. Minutely frowning, he wondered why he was awake, but this thought was overtaken by sleep once again gently teasing down his eyelids. As he lazily blinked, enjoying the sensation of drifting away, he absent-mindedly took in the familiar terrain of his room... through the darkness he made out the winking green light of his mobile phone, the staring red eye of his stereo, a squint of moonlight peering through a chink in his curtains, something standing at the end of his bed.

Sleep and its vestiges fled into the murky corners of the room. Suddenly Alex was aware of a dryness in his mouth, rhythmic rumblings of thunder in his ears. Moisture started to spring from his skin, already his back felt uncomfortable against the sheet. Hoping the night would shield his consciousness from the intruder he looked again. The shadow was still there, and as his night vision improved, the shadow melted into features.

It was a man - he had white skin and no hair, save for a few ugly short bristles that sprouted haphazardly from the loose blotchy flesh. It hung over the man's skull more like a hood than a scalp. Alex followed the loose skin, down past oversized ears, carefully avoiding the man's face, to a jowly neck, peppered with liver spots and, here and there, a vague hint of blue lines. The man's top half was naked, his pasty white chest catching the indifferent light of the moon. The body was emaciated, yet little folds had developed under each nipple, and they lay lightly on the visible rib cage. Below that the figure disappeared into dark trousers. Alex slowly raised his eyes, back up the lurid chest, past the eldritch jowls, and onto the face. It was old, wrinkled and saggy like the scalp and neck. Indiscriminate hairs poking out of the area above the chin, like those on the head, stopped at the mouth. This was thin and expressionless, a muted line of light red running along it. The nose was large, crooked, from it the wrinkles seemed to emanate, at times getting tangled up in pockmarks. The eyes were watery and grey, sunk into hollows of blackness... and they were looking directly at him.

A feeling of terror slowly crept up Alex's back, spreading throughout his body - a sickly sweet treacle passively oozing along his arms, to the end of his legs, up his neck and then invading his head. His body felt like it was sinking into his bed; he was heavy and immobile, gripped by paralysis. The man at the end of the bed raised his left hand. In the gnarled and bony fist he held a long, gleaming pair of scissors. Alex's paralysis was broken, but only by an uncontrollable shaking, that ran up and down his body. His breath rasped and jarred, stopped and then forced itself out again. The man knelt down on the end of the bed, and then, on his knees, he moved up the duvet, eventually straddling the shaking body of Alex. Attempting to exert some control, Alex shut his eyes, tight. He felt the weight of the thing on top of him, and then the warmth of the duvet suddenly disappeared and he felt the cold air of the room against his perspiring skin. As Alex opened his eyes he saw the man above him, raising the scissors over his head.

It seemed to Alex that the steel blades fell in slow motion. As their tip punctured his wet stomach he was almost calm, watching as a spectator. The blade sunk down, deep into him, releasing a thick red flow of blood. It was an intense coldness, penetrating right into his insides, scraping the edge of his ribs, passing through soft, comforting matter. The man then dragged the blade down, away from Alex's still watching face. The ice turned to fire, and the change of sensation made Alex gasp for air, and he kept on gasping and gasping as an incredible searing pain ripped through his entire body, bursting from his abdomen into his shoulders and toes, crackling up his spine and the back of his neck into his head. Still gasping he saw the blood spill across what remained of his stomach, trickle down his sides, and become enmeshed in the sheet.
Something swam swiftly through his head.

Robert Allen

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Rider
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Rider
-- Mychael Knyght, a mon quo ne exist...
A lone croisader in a worlde daungerous,
the worlde of the Knyght Ridere --