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The Sleeper – Part 5

Marina pushed the door open, allowing light to spill into the warm, dark room. There were no sounds apart from the soft grumble of Daniel’s snoring. He snuffled and grunted as he rolled over to bury his head under his arm when she switched on the light.

“Come on, handsome.” She chirped, tugging the covers so that they pulled free, exposing his head and shoulders. “My turn!”

Rolling onto his back, Daniel uttered an inarticulate complaint at this unwelcome intrusion. Marina, however, stripped off her clothes and snuggled in beside him, kissing his chest and biting playfully along his collar bone. She pulled away, giggling, as he began to respond.

“Ah, sorry, loverboy, but it’s your turn to look after Jeremy, remember?” She pushed at him, trying to get him over to the edge of the bed, but he pulled her close instead, sliding his hand over her naked flesh.

“Come on” He kissed her, trailing seductive fingers along her thigh. “I’ll let you lie in later”

“Now that’s tempting” she admitted, arching against him “But Joshua’s wide awake and just next door.”

“He’s always awake” Daniel grumbled, kissing her neck.

“Yes, he is.” Marina’s mood abruptly changed. “You honestly don’t think that’s weird?”

“How could it be him?!” Daniel released her in exasperation “How could it possibly be him? He is a 6 year old boy,
for god’s sake. I know mother love is supposed to be blind, but how could the whole world spinning; how could time itself depend on him being awake?” She slid off the bed and reached for her nightdress, tugging it angrily over her head.

“It does, you know it does. Every time he goes to sleep, time disappears! We need to tell someone.”
“Really? Can you imagine what would happen to him if people thought he did this! People are trying to cope and hopefully we’ll adapt, but just look at the mess we’re in right now – half the world’s in permanent darkness, there’s talk of war and famine, and thousands of people are ill or dying and you want to dump it all on the shoulders of your own son. They would kill him!”

“Of course they wouldn’t kill him!” They were screaming at each other by now. “If him sleeping is causing this much bother, imagine what it would be like if he died. The whole world would stop.”

“Oh, now you really have lost it! What’s happened to you? What good do you think it’ll do?”

“At least they would know where to start! Do you really think I want them to hurt Jeremy? Of course I don’t, he’s my son! No mother would want that, but this… this is huge Daniel and you know as well as I do that there’s a correlation. Every time he goes to sleep the world jumps ahead to him waking up. You can’t deny it any more than I can and sooner or later people will find out.”

“How!” Daniel cut across her angrily. “If we don’t say anything, how could they ever find out? They don’t need him to work this out!”

“Maybe they do.” Jeremy’s small, frightened words ended their fight as swiftly as gunshot. Daniel glanced in disgust at his wife and then rushed to his son, scooping him into his arms and mumbling reassurances into his hair. Jeremy crumpled into the embrace and clung to his father for a moment before wriggling away to look at his mother, who was watching them with tears streaming down her face.

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