In the darkness of the room Billy lay on his side. A pillow between his knees drawn up and another underneath his head. He was glad his wife was back home after a week away and she lay beside him but on the far side of the bed fast asleep and fighting a cold. The dogs just outside of the door in the hallway padding their way through sleep as dogs do with twitching paws and occasional snap at the air. But everything was still.
And Billy’s mind grew his own sickness in his belly that grew and grew up into the bottom of his throat, deep in his throat and in the bottom of it too. He was sick he knew, he had been told years before and sometimes it went away but lately he had been sick again. He could hear traffic on the Trans Canada Highway down by the railroad tracks, night time traffic moving farther west to British Columbia or east to the prairies. His arm underneath the pillow underneath his head squeezed the cushion against his ear. His eyes watched a sliver of moonlight on the wall that slipped through the window blinds. He pulled his eyes tight and knew that when he did fall asleep he would be sick still in the morning when he woke and again the next night when he lay in bed in the dark and quiet hours.
His stomach turned and the thing it had become in his throat grew again and he wasn’t afraid anymore of dying.