The Wake-Up. A short story by Mark Burrow

Somewhere in a contagious zone wakes a husband from a several-month coma. Healthy and ready for home, he is released and leaves hospital alone.

A masked taxi driver steers down deserted streets in silence. Husband sits in the backseat feeling like he’s been kidnapped.

Driver veers into his once bustling town only to find it closed apart from the concentration camp image of a queue outside Lidl.

A police checkpoint: husband hands over his hospital release papers like a wartime border crossing. He explains he’s been in a coma for several months; No response.

He enters his empty home.

A note from his wife is presented on the kitchen table:

Hi, Hubby! Welcome back! If you’re reading this you are obviously home before me.
I’ve just popped out to buy you some welcome-home treats! I shan’t be too long,
depending on the queue outside the supermarket. You won’t believe your eyes!
As for everything else going on I will need to fill you in.
Your loving wife x

Husband sits down in his favourite chair. Clicks on the TV. Switches on the news: he scans the headlines and the rolling breaking updates.

‘Hmmm,’ he mutters to himself. ‘This is a new dream. When am I going to wake up from this damn coma?’


Mark Burrow is a poet and playwright originally from England and living in southern Spain.

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