Progressive Alternative Writing Exercises: To Sleep, Perchance to Dream


“whimsical dreams lead to unexplanable blissful days”

His skin is putrid and falling away from muscle and bone, his frame is frail and weak-looking, his eyes hollow as if no soul motivated the husk of flesh that I often see shuffling down our quiet street, and his stench is overwhelming. But, that does not mean he deserves to be poked, pushed around, or bullied. He is still human.
Dressed in his usual tattered coat with hood that obscures his body down to the ankles, I watch him as the local young @$$holes throw stones and shout threats at the ill man from down the way. I have never talked to him and I don’t know his name. But is a name required for human decency? I don’t think it is.
I rush outside with an old blanket, wrap the man in it, and try to defend him from ignorant verbal insults and stones. I hear the youth shouting “don’t take him in your house” “he is cursed” “you’re an idiot” “he will infest your home” “you’re doomed!” I listen to none of it.
After we get inside my home I offer him a drink. He shakes his head, still hiding his face. “You are safe now. You can remove the hood.”
There is a moment of hesitation, and then slowly he removes the hood to reveal a near-skeletal face. I try not to respond but my non-verbals have never been good.
“You need not hold back your revulsion. I know that my appearance is unsettling.” His voice was low and deep but not deep like a large man, but rather, as if the sound came up out of a cavern found near the core of the planet. Deep like the voice of an ancient spirit that has traveled the entire expanse of the universe.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend,” is all I could say.
“No need for apologies. Rather, I should apologize to you. I should have not allowed you to bring me into your home. I should have warned you to stay away.”
“What? Why? I couldn’t let those kids keep attacking you.”
“But they were correct with their verbal assault.”
The ill man which I still do not have a name for stands up with a slowness that must come from being an ancient presence on the verge of endulging oblivion. He peels away the tattered coat that was more a second skin, and swarming across his entire body were insects and vermin like none I have ever seen. I throw my body back into the couch, screaming. All the insects and vermin begin invading my home, blanketing me in their presence. My eyes begin closing as the man speaks, “I am indeed a curse personified, and I shall claim your restless and tormented soul.”
What an ass!


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