It is very still and dark and I am deep beneath my duvet, awake but only just. In the living room I can hear the dog’s medallion tinkle against her collar as she stirs. I hear her clamber out of her bed and shake herself. Next the clicking scratch of her toe nails on the bamboo mat in the little corridor. I can’t see her but I feel her move into the bedroom, sighing in the darkness and after a pause the soggy, well-chewed, soft-toy bunny is shoved lovingly onto the pillow and into my face. Its her way of saying ‘I love ya but I gotta pee’.
Its 5am and I can’t find my clogs.
Its cool outside but without the slightest chill; plumb pigeons stir uneasily in their sleep as they are goosed by wild little eddies of warm wind which whip in and out of the elder trees lining the fence.
Behind me to the East, the dark night has split at the horizon like an overripe fig, purple skin tearing apart to reveal a fragment of soft white, red and pink.
Above my head, hanging over the concrete dog-run, is the moon; brim full of reflected light, glistening and so full and heavy to my eyes it bleeds wet, gold, glitter into the surrounding night.
It is wonderful; I seem to have come outside into the very place where ancient earth magik is brewing. The monstrous moon reaches out and attempts to grab me by the back of my neck. I hold my breath and am aware Grace too has stopped circling to find the best place in the run to relieve herself. Now she stares upwards, alert, her hackles raised. I don’t think either of us would blink if Aslan leapt over the fence from next-door’s garden or an ancient hobgoblin hissed from the flowerbed.
‘A quest!’ I think, my eleven-year-old child leaping from my chest with the strength of hundred thousand wishes. ‘I am to be given a quest.’
Suddenly a police siren goes off in the distance and Grace yawns loudly, squats and pees. I flinch, duck away from the lunatic moon’s blinding shining and following the steady dog back inside, into the half lit house and am back in my warm bed in under 60 seconds…
But I dream.