the night

The long stretches of night, when the rest of what remains of the the world is sleeping, are the worst.  The minutes clunked dully on the clocks and nerves until all time keeping apparatuses were removed from the house in a moment of calculated fury.  It was a decision that has yet to be regretted even though time continues slowly regardless of their presence.

Insomniac dreams come to life in the small hours as the darkness presses against the home and shadows launch long claws.  The delusions and hallucinations are easy to spot after years of growing familiar with them, but they can still be unsettling at times.  When foes real and imagined are hunting you, complacency is foolish.

I can only count on myself.  All my friends and family gave me up for lost years ago, before I learned to spot the difference between waking nightmares and the true terrors of our present world.  They said the lack of sleep would drive me mad and had, in fact, already done so, but they were too scared to see the truth of my situation.  Cowards.  All of them.

Dark times had come and I had to walk that fine line between insane and sane so I could see how best to do battle.  I never gave myself to the madness, and I never will.  But, I had to see it.  I had to know what it felt like crawling under my skin to be aware enough, and open my eyes enough, to see the monsters laying siege to our way of life.

It was with sadness, I watched my friends and family walk away from me, succumbing to the ravages of the night.  The same affliction in the darkness could never touch me because I refused to sleep.  I stayed awake so I could see the beasts coming and fend them off.  I tried to warn the world.  I did.  I tried.  I failed.

But, I’m still here, and I’m still fighting.

panic

A noise woke me from my slumber.  I call it slumber, not sleep, because I had only been dozing off and on throughout the night anyway.  We’d tried to go to bed early, tried to be good knowing the hectic days we both had ahead of us, but as is often the case: that knowing that we needed to be sleeping made it that much harder to actually sleep.

The noise had been a crashing sound.  Something in the room or the adjacent bathroom being knocked over and tumbling down to the ground.  A cascade of noises, really, with a solid thump to cap it off.  The cats, I thought as the last strings of my tentative hold on sleep were severed completely.

I checked for pressure, weight, on my feet or next to my legs and found none there.  That absence solidified the truth of the situation, the source of the noise.  Definitely the cats.  What are they doing up so early?

Maybe it’s not early?!  Panic hit me like a ton of bricks.  My chest heaved with the blow, my mind reeled, and my arms flailed towards my clock.  Am I late?  Did I sleep through my alarm?

I pulled the clock towards my face, so I could read the time without putting on my glasses.  4:38…  My sleepy brain took a moment to do the math.  I still have 22 minutes I can sleep.

I heaved myself back into a sleeping position, pulled the blankets back up under my chin and sighed heavily.  And then I stayed there, awake, listening to the cats getting into trouble, until the alarm went off and I got up to start my (now even) long(er) day.