The unusual lamb
18 Oct 2008
It staggered towards the fence, this third sleep-counting sheep of mine, with bright drops and wet patches of drool covering its black wool, its thin, trembling legs propelling it forward. The second sheep had zoomed over the fence with hooves striking sparks off the stony ground, screaming like a Stuka, but this one zigzagged slowly, as if uncertain or blind. Its eyes were red pearls of fever in black sockets of insomnia.
It was thin, starved in a way that revealed bones that didn't seem right for a sheep --- and no, not for a wolf either. Its short snout and wide mouth were half-hidden by a white mist of sweat and wheezing, bronchitic breath. A thin cluster of sharp teeth glittered coldly behind.
It reached the fence and, with a pitiful cry, tried to jump but just mashed its head against a fence-post instead. Sinking, leaving smears of drool and sweat on the wood, it wheezed and pushed itself against the fence, slowly flailing, clawing, leaving writhing, curving tracks in the loose earth. It dug its way under the fence, squeezing itself between posts and crossbars, like a snakeskin filled with weird bones, covered with lumpy black wool and white spit.
It got halfway through, bent in a tortured U-shape under the fence, red eyes staring madly upwards at the misty world beyond --- and then it got stuck there and began to cry.
With a cry, I jumped up and off the bed. No, counting sheep doesn't work for me.
I didn't feel sleepy at all, and that was only the third sheep.
I didn't want to think what the fourth would be like.
* * *
Yes, if I tried to count sheep something like this would happen. If I need to get to sleep, I just consider the fractal weirdness of human relationships in Ranma 1/2 --- after a few minutes I'm so tangled in loves, knows and loves-nots that some inner switch trips, and sleep comes tout de suite.
And sometimes I dream of Kodachi Kuno, but that's all right.