At one time in his life he would have been hard pressed not to fiddle with the various models and trinkets on the neurologist’s desk, but the last few weeks had drained him, leaving him disoriented; a sense that had crept in to other facets of his mind, even his physicality. What began as the larva of belief, an unusual but undeniable feeling, eventually bore its way into an abatement of hygiene. He’d stopped washing or shaving. When Anna grew too tired of it, she would bathe him, but it gave him no relief. He spent long hours sitting and staring at nothing, an act that felt more comfortable to him in the twilight. In those moments of unpresence there was just some floating observation of a room and the shadows in it, but no one was witness. Just as well since Anna had ceased sleeping in the bed with him; didn’t seem to want to have much to do with him at all and he didn’t blame her, given his condition. Of course, she didn’t really understand. She used words like “depression” and “cold” and “distant”—all observations from the other side of the walls of whimsical perception, walls we cannot always see through in both directions—he could see both ways and she couldn’t understand.

The doctor enters the office, files folded under his arm. Hamilton thinks that he looks the picture of a neurologist: tweed coat, elbow patches, peppered beard, bald, glasses. The doctor comes swiftly shuffling around the desk to sit, saying as he does, “I’m sorry for the interruption.” Seated again in his comfortable leather chair the doctor intertwines his fingers and looks over the top of his glasses, a catalyst for his curiosity already present in his irises. “Where were we?”

Hamilton shrugs, “I’ve tried to think of it any other way, but it’s pretty simple. I’m dead.” He pauses. “I’ve been dead since the accident.