I knew just what was wrong. There had been no dawn chorus; no blackbirds anticipating the lifting of night, no pigeons squabbling, no crows cawing, no goldfinches, no chiffchaffs, no nightingales, no birds at all.
Earlier, in the dead of night I’d woken uneasy and afraid. I calmed my muscles and repeated a mantra of meditation, ‘I am strong. I am in control. I can wish away restlessness.’
I had pulled my head down and withdrawn my arms into my nightie until my body was lost to the bedroom. I remembered that this was what I had always done, when I had been very young and very scared; too frightened to shout out, knowing that the terror was too close for Dad or Mum to reach me in time.
Light crept in through the gaps in the curtains and danced against the shadows.
Then I knew and everything changed.