The fear comes in the morning, even before the sun’s rays have had chance to warm the room. The cold feeling in his stomach as he wakes, a full three hours before the alarm is due, and unable to rest again as his mind is taken over by the threat of the day.

He knew he should just leave, move on, but it was never that easy. Never easy to get out of a situation when the next one might be worse. And besides, if he stayed as he was, and continued to complain, he knew his place in life as a martyr, a complainant, and the voice from the sidelines.

The one who sighs.

As usual, it was the sigh that woke Maggie. She turned to stare at him, bleary eyed and no longer sympathetic from the daily alarm call.

“Just.. go back to sleep.”

He didn’t reply. There was no point – how could he explain, other than it was the weight of the world that pressured his breathing.

The day ahead was still to come. Friday. The challenge of work, then, was nearly over for the week. But the weekend wasn’t long enough, and besides, that brought its own feeling. He considered everything, and ran to the bathroom to be sick.

The sky was still grey, but he could see without putting on the light. In some ways a relief. In others… admission that sleep had escaped. Early morning seemed odd, the half light between the full darkness of the night and the sun rising. Not that he’s see it through the bathroom window – it faced the wrong direction. IT always seemed like the entire house faced in the wrong direction, there was no sunrise, no sunset, and just the coldness of the wind on the wall of the bedroom. But the house had seemed a good idea at the time. And it was too difficult to change.

A cough brought nothing up, to start with. More emptyness. A pain all across his chest. It had been getting worse this last week. Should see the doctor, he supposed, but he’d started on the fags again, and the whisky was noticibly down, and somehow it didn’t seem the right time to get an appointment. Besides, he’d have to wait a week and he could be feeling fine by then. Or be dead. Either way, it wouldn’t matter any more, so why waste their time?

Another cough. This one seemed more contageous, shaking his entire body. Bloody fags.

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