"Yes Mrs. Holt."
"So why can't I see him?"
"We have him under observation."
"Is he in danger? I thought you said he was stable."
"Mrs. Holt, we don't want to draw any conclusions as of yet."
"Spit it out, what's wrong with him?"
"I can't say."
"So let me see him."
"Please Mrs. Holt, just give us a day with him, okay?"
"You said the worst is over, is it?"
"...yes Mrs. Holt. It is."
He returns. There are 100 ways to kill him with one of his own pens.
"Let's go over this again."
"Do you understand you were in a coma for only a day?"
"When you woke up you were combative."
"You said you were somewhere else."
"I screamed it, yes."
"You said you spent one million years there."
"Again, I screamed, but yes."
"Can you tell us any more?"
"It's gone, temporary psychosis, nonsense, surely you didn't believe me."
"We believed you believed it, you sounded sincere."
"A coma is a coma, whether for a day or a million years, it doesn't matter."
"Your wife was here."
"Can I see her now?"
"I asked her to come back tomorrow. Let me get you a tissue."
"Thank you. May I have a shower? I'd like to get cleaned up before she sees me."
"Well, you seem lucid, I'll ask an orderly to remove the restraints. He'll have to watch you shower, I'm sorry but it's hospital policy."
There should be a word for streetlamps overgrown with tree branches. The shadows they make recall the horde in battle.
"Oof! You'll crack my ribs hugging me so tight."
"I missed you Sal. You can't know how much."
"Got any tissues? This hospital issue is sandpaper."
"Sure you big lug, plenty for us both."
I fought from the pits to god emperor once. It appears I must do so again. A man must build. I have built so very much. I don't know how else to exist.
"What are these notes?"
"Scribbles, just fun."
"Fun with foreign languages?"
"Nonsense, made up."
"They're beautiful Frank, what do they say?"
"How beautiful you are and how much I love you."
"Frank! Ouch! Your hands are like claws!"
The first rule is to be feared and loved but not hated.
Perhaps I will find a way to spare the hospital. They laid hands on me. They also saved me. A delicate question of response to meditate upon. I have time. The gate is permanent.
A day here is a day.
Every night, I return to my kingdoms for another million years. Sometimes naked, sometimes mad, sometimes the wise man, often the fool, sometimes emperor, sometimes otherwise.
Across these chasms, my love for my wife remains, time is whatever I say it is.
I'm glad I awake each morning earlier than her. I watch the rise and fall of her breathing chest through blurred vision.
So far, she has not seen my tears.