This story started a few years ago when Adam Peterson found he had been born with an illness that left his joints with no muscle support. He accepted at that time sooner or later he would be in a wheelchair, this was his worst fear. That he would become a burden to his loved ones. However being the man he was he was not just going to sit in the corner and wait for the inevitable to happen.
“I will go on as long as I can,” he told friends, family and the doctor.
They all agreed this was the best way to fight it, battle to the end, enjoy life as much as he could and be glad for what he had the chance to do with it. This was also a two-edged sword as the more he fought the weaker the joints became. What he could do one week, the next week it was too much.
Time passes and his joints got weaker soon walking became too painful even after a few minutes. Sitting in his room he realised his world was like watching water down a drain as the circles close in like a vice, telling you the boundaries of what you can do. Things were not helped, when one day while working in the garden he tore his left Achilles tendon. Now he could hardly move. Forever closing down his world to the point that it became so small it is frightening. Once so keen on walking and using the experiences for writing was now confined to his room, the mind that once thrived on the thirst for knowledge and travel now taking over and running scenarios that could happen.
“That is the problem with an active mind,“ he thought. “ At times it is your worst enemy, as it is never at peace and forever thinking what can happen.”
As he could feel the body weakening, the aches more painfully obvious by the day. His mind was telling him that sooner or later he would not be able to get more than a few yards without the severe pains, which were now racking his muscles and joints,. For Adam this was just a bad as the knowledge that his days of travelling were at an end. Playing on his mind was that as much as he loved his garden and growing his plants, he would no longer be able to help in the garden. This was eating away at him, his mind was leaping around and moving to a time in the not too distant when he would be housebound. This was such a chilling thought for only this year his life had turned so quick.
At the start of the year he had planned a weeks writing holiday to his favourite haunt of Scarborough and was looking forward to going to see places he missed on his last trip. Then as his illness took over he realised that this was not an option, so he choose to have day trips as this was all he thought he could do. Looking forward to trips to places like Worcester and Warwick, where he had longed to go, his mindset was calmer on the acceptance of being able to go somewhere. He realised that two hours on his feet was the most he could manage. He had set his sights on shopping in town. Going to a writing course was out of reach as well as he could barely walk and the venue was old and had no disabled facilities. His garden was now the limit of his world. With his mind closing down and running the scenario of him being bedridden and unable to move. He began to wonder at this point, was having an active mind a good thing at all. Having a less active mind he would not have been able to rush his mind to the awful things ahead. Accepting the knowledge of his demise would have been easier to take.
The mind that once thrived on the thirst for travel and knowledge, feeding the writing urge had now turned in on him, it was feeding his fears. Years ago when his dog died, friends and family had told him to get out more as they feared he was getting afraid to go out. He hardly ate, weight dropped off him until he looked very ill. Now eight years later, things had switched around, even though he wanted, he knew he would never see the lovely countryside out there again. His world had got so constricted that he wondered if it was worth it now.
The only things keeping him going were the on line friendships he had made and his urge to keep writing spurred by the possibility of a book publication.
Worse than this, he knew the more he thought about it, the more his mind fed upon the fears, driving him to deeper places of seclusion. He had become an insomniac now, he had not had a good night’s sleep for months. Afraid of where the dreams might lead, his mind filled with dread and worry, the darkness had closed out any light in his life. In reality one of his nightmares had become his reality now. He had hated the thought of not being mobile enough to even walk, of becoming a burden to all around him. His mind reminding him that this is real now.
Adam could feel the pains crawling up his spine and through his skeletal structure, like
‘The Tingler,’ in the Boris Karloff film of the same name. Just like barbed wire around your spine, each movement a knife in a joint, each step a blade of agony shooting pains through your legs to your hips.
Many years ago, he had been chatting to a lady he had met in Canada called Faye, and she asked why he was ill so often, he had told her about the black mould spreading along the wall. “Hun you HAVE to get rid of that love as the spores are deadly.”
Adam had bleached the wall as far as he could, there was one corner he could not get to. It was above his desk and just too far to work on with a stick and cloth. There the mould stayed, It was this corner that was now above his bed head. Laying on his bed. Looking at a patch of dirt and mould from years gone, he had started seeing faces there. The longer he looked the more he saw. Some benign and looking happy, some not quite so pleased and some as animals The more he looked up at them from his bed, the more they changed.
He could not get up the stairs, people came to see him. But did not notice if he was seen for days, he stopped answering the door as it would take him five minutes to get the fifty feet. Walking was so hard and painful, when he did not answer nobody thought anything of it.
One day his wife wanted to ask him something. Thinking he might be in the garden she passed through his room. As she did, she saw his lifeless body laying on his bed looking at the ceiling,he had often told her about the faces.
She looked up at the corner to see looking down at her, a face she had known for many years only this time he was smiling for the first time for as long as she could remember
“He is happy now, he is with his Faye,“ she thought as the tears rolled down her face.
An unaswered question remained-was Adam’s seeing the faces their way of showing acceptance? Did he make them take him as he knew he would be with his Faye? Or was he taken against his will to protect their domain?