Because she prides herself on her outstanding immune system - the result, she believes, of more than twenty years working retail - she wasn't terribly alarmed when she woke up with a sore throat a few mornings after her last market. “You'll blow this off in a day.”, she told herself. The insomniac always talks to herself in the third person, which she doesn't consider at all strange. However, should she ever start referring to herself in the past tense, then it might be prudent to think about moving her to a full-time care facility.
And that did seem to be the case. But on the morning of her birthday, Friday the 13th, she realized that whatever plague virus she'd been infected with had returned with a vengeance, and she would be forced to miss the festivities.
Cards, presents, leftover food and cake were sent home with the spouse who did attend, remarking to the youngest as he walked out the door, “Just because your mother can't celebrate her birthday, that's no reason the rest of us shouldn't.” And although she did attempt to eat her generous single serving of luscious lemony birthday cake a few days later, she was only able to manage a few mouthfuls. Telltale signs the insomniac is fairly ill: she hasn't been able to drink coffee in over three weeks; candy is left untouched on the kitchen counter; and cake of any variety is left for others in the household to consume.
Now if you were to look at the birthday gifts the insomniac received from her friends that night, you could not be faulted for thinking, “Wow! In the short year she's been out there, she's really gotten into rural life. I'll bet she's going to pound back that bottle of wine, take that terribly sharp knife in hand, head out to the forest to kill something, drag it back home and then taxidermy it on the Dining Room Table using her newly acquired information from the guide book.” Well, you'll just have to wait until the end of the post to see whether you're right or not, won't you?
While we're on the subject of presents received, this seems an opportune moment to thank the many people who've sent the insomniac gifts recently (some as recently as five months ago!) - especially since it wasn't even her birthday. So, in no particular order, a heartfelt thank-you to the following bloggers for their kindness ...
To The Curious Professor Z for a copy of Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing - a most excellent reference book, from what one remembers of it. The youngest, who has come to stay at the Little Gothic Cottage for a while, mentioned that since she'd be out here in the Land of Boredom for a few months, she should probably get her Sainted Mother to teach her how to sew or knit or something to pass the time. Since that fateful comment, the book has somehow disappeared into the room formerly known as the Dark Fairy Princess “Guest” Bedroom, but is now referred to as The Abyss.
To Nightwind for a copy of his newly published (like five months ago!) book of short stories, Tales of Dark Romance and Horror. The insomniac promised Nightwind she'd review his book on this blog, but has come to the conclusion she's pretty awful at writing reviews. However, she can say she liked the book very much. And apparently the youngest did too, since it also seems to have disappeared into The Abyss.
To Little Gothic Horrors for the beautiful stuffed raven who, quite predictably, goes by the name of Nevermore. The sly thing has developed the bad habit of finishing off any half-consumed bottles of Apothic, then flying erratically around the Little Gothic Cottage searching for a bust of Pallas to perch himself upon, waking us in the middle of the night with his incessant croaking of his name.
To Winter Moon for the perfect vintage copy of The Turn of the Screw, which will be read after the holiday season is over and one is craving a nice Gothic ghost story for those long, winter evenings; postcards suitable for framing (especially the Lugosi one); a necklace made with a tiny vial of Welsh moss; various charms depicting toxic substances; and a hearse brooch. And although she couldn't have possibly known, the card included with all those lovely gifts is exactly the same as our wedding announcement paper - those same unused announcements one distinctly remembers packing up two years ago, but for the life of her cannot remember which box exactly she packed them in.
To Easel and Quill for her perfect Hallowe'en postcard of a coven of witches (also suitable for framing), sent with a collectible Haunted Canada stamp and containing a lovingly decorated letter inside.
Thanks also to Lucretia's Reflection, who sends the insomniac beautiful cards throughout the year mentioning that she's thinking of her - despite receiving diddly squat in return.
And lastly to Spooky Moon, who made an amazing trio of stuffed pumpkins for a Hallowe'en swap hosted this year by Ms. Misantropia. When picking up the package from the local Post Office, the clerk remarked, “Oooooh, you have a package from a Spooky Friend!” Yessiree, Postal Clerk Lady ... the insomniac considers herself blessed indeed to have SO MANY Spooky Friends.
Hopefully, nobody has been forgotten in this list of long overdue thank-you's. And this is what happens when you leave these things for five months - someone is bound to have been missed.
And what exactly did the insomniac end up doing with her birthday presents? Created a stunning display with her new terribly sharp knife while managing to avoid slicing off any fingertips, poured herself a glass of wine, retired to her overstuffed chair to read Guide to Taxidermy from cover to cover, decided after going over the nasty bits a few times that maybe the dead things in the freezer could stay in there a wee bit longer, and then proceeded to kill the bottle before Nevermore got to it.
Until next time, the insomniac wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.