Monday, September 12, 5:30 AM

There was a moment not long ago when I thought: This is it. I'm dead.

I think about that night all the time and I feel the same fear I felt then. It happened two weeks ago, but fourteen days and nights of remembering have left me more afraid and uncertain than ever.

Which I guess means it isn't over yet. Something tells me it may never truly be over.

Last night was the first time I slept in my own room since everything happened. I'd gotten in the habit of waking in the hospital to the sound of shuffling nurse's feet, the dry chalk-dust smell of her skin, and the soft shaking of my shoulder.

The doctor will visit you in a moment. He'll want you awake. Can you sit up for me, Ryan?

There was no nurse or doctor or chalky smell this morning, only the early train crawling through town to wake me at half past five. But in my waking mind, it wasn't a train I heard. It was something more menacing, trying to sneak past in the early dawn, glancing down the dead end streets, hunting.

I was scared - and then I was relieved - because my overactive imagination had settled back into its natural resting state of fear and paranoia.

In other words, I was back home in Skeleton Creek.

Usually when the morning train wakes me up, I go straight to my desk and start writing before the rest of the town starts to stir. But this morning -- after shaking the idea that something was stalking me -- I had a sudden urge to leap from my bed and jump on board the train. It was a feeling I didn't expect and hadn't the slightest chance of acting on. But still, I wondered where the feeling had come from.

Now, I've rested this journal on a TV tray with its legs torn off, propped myself up in bed on a couple of pillows, and have started doing the one thing I can still do that has always made me feel better.

I have begun to write about that night and all that comes after.