He was still out there—the Waiting Man—with his heavy stare; as heavy as a burden; as heavy as the hole where his soul should be, and all the quiet pretty things he’s tried to fill it with. He’s waiting, as he does so well. Waiting for me.
But I won’t open the door.
Between the frantic beats of my own heart there is only cold silence. I can’t hear him. That’s how I know he’s still there, waiting. The clouds I make with each frozen breath mark the passage of time.
Inhale, exhale, minutes. Inhale, exhale, hours.
My eyes are too dry to hurt, and I dare not blink; for in that span he may creep in, soundlessly, and then stand before me as if an apparition, and in death I’ll make him stronger. No; I must not blink.
When the silence goes on for long enough it sounds like the wailing of broken men, howling just beyond the locked door. But I will not open it. I will not let the Waiting Man in.
He waits for me like remorse, like judgement of guilt, like night terrors.
He’s the Waiting Man. I will make him wait.