His breathing became laboured. Further and further his lungs seemed to push inwards, yet less and less could they exhale. His heart began to constrict, his muscles tensed beyond movement, his mind so afraid he could not scream. Visions began to dance in front of him - threatening, horrifying visions approaching him.
He jumped awake before the visions could touch him, inadvertently throwing off his covers - then he stopped, and looked at his surroundings.
He was nowhere but in his bed. Nobody was there but him. Nothing there was going to harm him.
A clock ticked on the wall. Jerry stared at it from his bed.
Slowly, the second hand kept ticking.
It was only eight o’clock.
Eight o’clock exactly.
Jerry moved his legs and tail to the side of the bed, and slid his feet into his slippers, then stood up. Slowly, deliberately, he made his way to his window, and looked through it.
Heavy rain poured outside. Even from high up, he could feel its chill.
Smell its petrichor.
Hear its patter.
He didn’t like it much. Too cold.
Jerry kept gazing out the window, and watched the ships by the harbour loading containers - grain, straw, salt, sulphur, wood, and any other exports.
He watched as the rain washed the streets wet, as the clouds combined with the smoke of the ships and factories, and as through them, streaks of light rayed from lamp-posts and signs, radiating like blurry halos into the night.
It all reminded him of the cold exuding from the window. No more warm summer nights where you could do things - just rainy cold. The west-coast version of winter.
Another thing he didn’t like.
Another thing about winter - night now started earlier than he liked. In summer, it would still be light out. But now, it was already fully dark, and becoming darker my the minute.
He didn’t like that either.
Then he stopped thinking manually - he’d run out of things to think about. Jerry continued watching the window, mulling over the sight without words.
Wasn’t this what his mother had told him afterlife was like?
No hunger, no pain, no noise. Just you and other souls, slowly meditating on the ambient dark, for eternity. She said it was blissful - you could put down your burdens and just be…
It must be terrible, he thought, this… opossum afterlife. He couldn’t stand the sleepy, ambient attitude of winter - how on earth could he enjoy death?
Again, his inner monologue went quiet.
Suddenly, he started. What was the time? He shoot a look at the clock.
Immediately he rushed away from his window to get ready for work.