Sleepless Nights

I sit across from her, waiting for her to go to sleep. She doesn’t notice my presence at all. I am invisible and without a name; I am simply a manifestation of all her greatest fears. I haunt her from night until the early hours of morning, ensuring she gets no sleep. Tonight shall be another one of those nights. She shifts to get up. I follow.

My eyes are practically shut by the time I close my laptop for the night. I rub the sleep from my eyes  as I drag myself up the stairs. My brother and sister are asleep; my sister’s face scrunches unconsciously as I open the door to let a little bit of light into the dark room. Tripping over some clothes strewn across the floor, I stumble into my bed. It creaks as I twist and turn trying to get comfortable. Sleep is the only thing on my mind as I finally shut my eyes.

I slip into the room behind her, unnoticed. It is clear she is exhausted. Her movements are painfully slow. She stumbles around a bit, tripping on her sister’s sweater that was left on floor, before finally getting into her bed. Before her eyes fall shut, I crawl inside. It’s time for another sleepless night.

For some reason I can’t seem to sleep. I open my eyes and look around a bit. The room seems darker now. The small bit of light I let in earlier seems to have dulled. The darkness seems more vast and intimidating. I huddle into the depths of my bed, beginning to feel a bit uneasy.

I begin to make my way to her brain. My target destination is the frontal lobe. Once there, my attack can fully begin. The frontal lobe controls logic after all. Rationality will only get in my way. I need her as weak as possible.

As I make my way to her brain, I notice my surroundings turning black. My influence is spreading. She doesn’t seem to be fighting back, making my job all the easier. I reach the frontal lobe. I wait moment as the entire section turns black. I am completely in control now.

For some reason, I can’t seem to shake this feeling of restlessness. I sit up to stretch. The darkness seems to swallow me now. Because of the light, I can vaguely see the clothes strewn around the room. They seem to form distorted faces and hooded figures. I feel myself begin to panic. They’re just clothes. They’re just clothes. I repeat this to myself over and over, trying to make myself believe it is true. But it’s not working. I lay back down and pull my covers over me, hiding from the dark.

I can feel her beginning to panic. Good, everything’s going according to plan. With the frontal lobe under control I move onto  the amygdala, the center of emotions. It’s time to kick her emotions into overdrive.

I can’t calm down. The darkness around me seems suffocating now, trapping me. I try to take deep breaths. But somehow focusing on my breathings makes it harder to breathe. My chest feels tight. More than ever, I want to talk to someone, anyone. But I have no one. My siblings are sleeping soundly around me, unaware of my situation. I can feel my eyes prick with tears. I won’t let them fall though. My throat hurts as a result. I squeeze my pillow tightly. All I want is to sleep. But I can’t.

She is completely under my control now. I can feel her fear, her pain. She is shaking slightly and her breathing is laboured. Even if I left her now, I know she wouldn’t be sleeping anytime soon. But there is still more work to be done. I still need to reach her heart. Only then will I be satisfied.

I crawl down her spine, making my way to her heart. Upon arrival, I begin to look around. Love seems to pour out of her: love for friends, family, animals, etc. I allow myself to taint it slightly but that’s not what I want. I want her hope. I search and find it nestled deep within. There is hope for the future hidden here. I destroy it. In it’s place I plant doubt.

I force myself to think about other things. Anything to take my mind off of the darkness, the fear that consumes me. I try to think of happy memories. I think back to movie marathons and sleepovers with friends, immersing myself in the memories, trying to forget what’s happening to me now. But the memories don’t seem as happy now. Every word that came out of my mouth now seems stupid. I think of the passing looks I received that had been brushed off. Now those looks feel like a punch to the gut. I can feel their annoyance,  feel their disgust. And it hurts. I wish I had shut up, never spoken a word. Goddamit Olly when will you learn to keep your mouth shut. I curl into a tighter ball, wishing I could erase the past from my memory.

It’s nearly one a.m. now. I am almost done. There is still hope hidden in her heart. I must destroy all of it. But she has it nestled in places I cannot reach. So instead I plant doubt everywhere, regardless of there is hope there or not. I keep going until her heart has turned black. I have filled it with doubt, fear, and hate. There is no more love, no more hope. My work is complete.

I think ahead to the future, think of the summer and what awaits me. I have so many exciting opportunities coming up: Summer@Brown, Rustic Pathways, possibly a summer job. Surely those will be fun. Wrong. What if you make no friends? What is no one likes you? Do you really want to be the outcast, again? I try to push these thoughts out of my head, pray my brain will shut up just once. But the thoughts don’t stop. Why do you always get ahead of yourself? Why couldn’t you just do things with your friends? I am swimming in a sea of poisonous thoughts, on the edge of drowning.

She has completely fallen apart. Her heart is racing; she’s squeezing her pillow and shrouded in blankets. It’s her defense. She’s trying to block out the darkness, trying to block out the thoughts spinning around in her head. I watch her, savouring her pain. I see her pull back the blankets and sit up. She reaches for her phone. The sound of rain fills the room.

I focus on the sound of rain. I ignore the thoughts still swirling in my head and pay attention only to the rain. I can feel my heartbeat slow down. I can breath normally again. I am okay. I am okay. I repeat this to myself over and over again until it’s true. My grip on my pillow lessens. I untangle myself from my blankets. I am okay. I check the time. It’s just after three in the morning.

She has built herself back up. The doubt I planted disintegrates as she continues to calm down. I know my influence is lessening. But it’s okay. I’ll be back. This process will repeat. She can never get rid of me. I will always be with her, waiting for the right time to strike. Today’s attack has come to an end. I make my way back up her spine and crawl out her mouth.

Exhaustion washes over me. I drag myself out of bed and open the door, letting light flood the room. The clothes are just clothes. There are no faces, no hooded figures. My siblings are still sleeping. I like back down. My eyes shut and I listen to the rain. I know I will be tired when I wake up later. But that’s a problem to deal with then. I let sleep take me. I am okay.


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