An Insomnia Fan fiction by TheBalance
AN: I'm writing this purely for people like me who want to hear more about the Little Bald Doctors from 'Insomnia'. They're my personal favourite Stephen King creatures – if not my favourites overall.Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos, etc. are all from the mind of Stephen King blah-de blah-de blah…So far, Nona and Olaf are the only characters that come from me. I'm pretty sure you all know what a disclaimer sounds like by now.Oh yeah, in case you haven't guessed, the term "Winding the Deathwatch" comes directly from the book.This is my first crack at SK and I'll do my best to lay it out like him.
A Brief Recap of Greek Mythology: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos are the three fates who deal out Life, Destiny and Death, respectively. Nona is the Roman counter-part of Clotho.
Feel free to R&R. If you like it, I'll keep writing.
Prologue – Winding the Deathwatch
"We've been waiting for you."
~Lachesis, Insomnia, page 438
If she had the strength to look up, she would've recognized the two little men standing at the foot of her brother's hospital bed. Nona Pedersen would also know why they were here. Though she had only ever seen them from afar, she knew what they were: omens. Or perhaps even death itself. Olaf had taken ill all his life and six long months ago had been transferred to Derry Home Hospital. It was around then that she had begun to loose sleep.
Nona raised her head slightly and peered at his gaunt face. Had it not been so, it would look exactly like hers: Perfect Aryan features now a distant homage to their long-forgotten birthplace. She looked into the mirror on the far side of the stale room and noticed that the dried tears had left painfully pink tracks from the inner corners of her eyes.
Still the men did not approach, as though waiting for her to notice them. She did not.
Instead, she buried her face in the crook of her twin's elbow and tried to cry once more. Why can't you die already? Can you not feel my pain?
One of the men attempted to step forward, the other passively raised the scissors in his right hand at his companion's chest. The first meekly obeyed the other's silent command.
Her dry sobs lasted twenty minutes though Olaf continued to breathe, his heart to beat.
[Nona!] The first could no longer watch idly as the young woman prematurely mourned her other half.
[No! Not yet! She's not-]
But it was too late. Nona jerked her head up as though wakened from a deep sleep, dark-blond hair falling about her face in curtains. Instantly, her eyes found the body that belonged to the voice. She looked into his eyes, momentarily mesmerized by the golden flickers that danced like fireflies in his black eyes. Sucking back a gasp, she looked to his companion and the long steel shears he held. Slowly, her head turned back to her brother's face, and then rose slightly as she looked at his sickly gray balloon-string. She turned back to the fellow with the vicious-looking scissors and smiled grimly.
[No, your friend is right: I've been ready for far too long.]
The little man nodded and smiled nervously. [Apologies, Miss. But usually when we go about our, erm, business, humans do not see us.]
[You do know what we do, do you not?] the first interjected hurriedly.
Nona nodded, [I have a vague idea.] She sent the visitors an image: an ancient vase with three women painted upon it. The first wove a thread, the second held a measuring rod against it, the third held it between a pair of shears.
Their thin smiles widened [Names we are familiar with,] he with the shears gestured lightly to himself: [Clotho,] to his colleague: [Lachesis,] he weakly pointed out the window: [Atropos.]
Nona followed Clotho's finger and saw an ambulance pull up into the emergency bay. The back doors flew open and the medics stepped out pulling a gurney covered with a vaguely human shaped blanket. As they turned into the entrance of the hospital, she observed a third little bald man. He caught her eye and raised an ancient, rusted scalpel in an obscene toast: [May we two meet soon.] With a shudder, Nona returned her attention to Clotho and Lachesis.
[Not a pleasant one, we know,] the latter stated bleakly. [Now,] with a sigh he weaved his fingers together apprehensively. [To the business at hand…] He gestured to Olaf and walked around to the opposite side of the bed from Nona.
Clotho mirrored him and placed his free hand over Nona's. When she looked up into his eyes he spoke softly. [You know we do what we must.]
[Take him, please,] she pleaded. [We've both suffered too long.]
In reply he nodded to Lachesis, who in turn placed a gentle hand on Olaf's forehead and kissed it lightly. [Go in peace.]
Taking his cue, Clotho raised his scissors in his right hand and held the dark gray lifeline of Nona's only known relative gently between the blades. For a moment, he hesitated and cast a glance at Nona. She stepped forward and placed her right hand over Clotho's, as a mother would to guide a child through a difficult cut. Together, they squeezed the handles of the scissors, severing the life-line.
[You shouldn't've done that,] Lachesis uttered.
[It felt right,] Nona replied. [It was,] Clotho confirmed.
"No-o-na-ah. Yo-ou s-st-ayed." Nona quickly diverted her attention and saw Olaf smiling at her. Clotho and Lachesis stepped back as she lunged forward, placed a hand on her brother's shoulder and weaved the fingers of the other through his short hair. In their twenty-six years - ten of which were being dragged through foster homes of varying nastiness – they had been each other's rock. Now, it was time for one to fall.
Fighting back tears she smiled and kissed the corner of his eye. At once, his body relaxed, the monitoring equipment went haywire and doctors and nurses flooded into the room. Nona searched frantically but of the Little Bald Doctors there was no sign