Orlando Belo (Derby, England)
A Bedtime Story
It was just after midnight and I’d been reading in bed for an hour
when a sweet sickly smell wafted in, which turned horribly sour.
Cursing, I got out of bed and opened the window some more,
which seemed to cause a draft that slammed shut the door.
I reopened the door much wider this time and returned to my bed,
a draught blew the pages losing the place to where I’d read.
The temperature dropped so I again got out of bed and closed the door,
and also the window slightly, but it was still cold, so I closed it more.
Large goose bumps formed along my arms as I got back into bed,
I picked up the book and tried to find the last page that I’d read.
It was warmer now, but I still pulled the covers up to my chest;
I found my page and carried on reading with keen interest.
The atmosphere in the room seemed somehow unusual and strange
with an unpleasant smell and sudden coldness change.
Above the top of my page I saw a movement at the foot of the bed
and I saw someone standing there, so I raised my head.
The hairs on the back of my neck stiffened and sent a shiver down my spine,
for a second I was speechless; it was an apparition the colour of lime.
Motionless he just stood with his face towards the floor with nothing to say,
his lifeless body sagged wearing a worn out coat that had seen a better day.
“Who the Dickens are you and what do you want? ” I nervously said.
He stared straight through me when he slowly raised his head.
His aged gaunt tired face seemed to stare far beyond my body,
so I turned to see, but there was only the wall behind me.
“Why don’t you answer me, ” I said, “are you unable to speak? ”
Then with a voice that was deep and certainly not meek,
said, “Oh yes I can speak when and if it suits me to,
but what makes you think that I want to speak with you? ”
“Well excuse me, you came into my room and stood by my bed
and you looked as though something just ought to be said.”
“You don’t mean anything to me, I didn’t even notice you
until you broke my spiritual flow, like all you living do.
I don’t think you living realise that restless spirits come and go,
we roam the dead space of time just as the four winds blow.
We didn’t ask to be here, abandoned to wander forever more,
we’re trapped and forgotten spirits behind heaven’s door.
And don’t bother to ask me how I got here because I don’t know,
I never harmed anyone when I was alive and that is truly so.
I freely admit that some of the spirits have become evil and sour
and like the living, insanity becomes worse by the hour.
You the living remind us of how it was when we were there,
but we are enraged by the many who abuse and don’t care.
It is possible that you could end up here in this dead space,
and then with me you’ll be wearing my kind of face.”
As I was about to ask a question he quickly faded out of sight,
the smell and coldness went with him into the night.
I don’t expect anyone to believe me, but I know it’s true
and perhaps one day a similar experience might happen to you.
Comments about this poem (A Bedtime Story by Orlando Belo )
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