Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sleepless - Complete Draft

I last posted about this story towards the end of February (click here). I wrote a lot more and finished it up on March 22 and 29 but never got around to posting it (oh, exams) so here it is! It needs one final edit and I'll probably do that some time this summer, i.e. in the next four months...I'm pleased I finished it at least, though.

My eyes are watering again. I crush them with the heel of my hand, trying to press back the tears but they keep coming. Ignoring my burning eyes, I brush strands of hair from my forehead. Too hot, too hot. There is a glass of water on my bedside table. If I want to reach it I will have to roll over. I do not want to turn around. But it's too hot. I close my eyes, even though darkness already blinds me. I roll over slowly, trying not to shift the blankets. The silence, the stillness, makes me nervous. I reach my hand out, guiding it towards where I believe the glass is but I am shaking and my hand jerks and I hit the glass, the crystal glass, and it falls to the floor, smashing into a hundred pieces. The water that touches the floor vanishes with a sizzle. Shards of glass fly up towards me and bury themselves in my ears. I clutch at my ears but I am too slow, they are bleeding already. Blood trickles down the side of my face, drips onto my lips and into my mouth. Even now I can still hear the ringing echoes of the crystal shattering. It’s so warm. I can’t resist now, it's too damn hot and besides, the glass already made more of a disturbance than I ever will. I pull off my blankets and toss them to the ground. Stagnant air reaches my skin. It does not provide the cool relief I had hoped for. What’s that sound? Hissing. I can hear them moving. [The sound, the rhythm of movement is hypnotic.] I look over the edge of the bed. Snakes, masses of snakes, cover the floor, some twisted together in knots but most writhing over the others. The broken glass must have woken them. I am still and silent but then I blink and every creature stops moving and stares at me. Their heads are disproportionately large for their slender bodies, those heads that are oddly shaped like that of a human newborn. My stomach churns as the tiny mouths on these human-snakes open simultaneously and begin to wail. I clutch at my blankets and tug them over my head and bury my face in the pillow. The snakes leap up, launching themselves towards me just as the glass did. They scream and cry and howl as they land on the bed. I can feel them ripping the blankets. I push my face deeper into the pillow. Go away, go away, go away. My body is [heating] up and I do not want to hide under these blankets for long. The weight lifts from my bed. The screams fade. Thank God. I peel back the covers and try to give myself to Sleep, but now I hear music. A deep, booming sound that shakes the bed with every not. A song I know all too well: [Bach’s Toccata & Fugue], coming from an organ. The sound is octaves lower than any I have ever heard before, beyond any frequency human ears can detect, but I hear the song. I sit up. The sound resonates within me, rattling my bones and heart and soul. I reach my hand to the top of my head. The music drives me to this. I hold a strand of hair between two fingers and tug. My scalp stings for a moment where the hair comes out. I grab another strand and I [yank] again. As the song swells and fades and pounds on, I clutch more strands of hair, bigger clumps, and continue to pull. The music stops. My hair lies on the blankets around me. I feel a touch cooler now that I do not have [that weight upon] my head. A drop of water falls on my forehead. Water? In this heat? I gently touch the drop with my finger and place it in my mouth. Not water. Blood. My eyes are drawn upwards. The ceiling is no [longer miles above me. Now it is so close I could reach it if I stood and raised my hand. It is still dark] but I can make out strange shapes above me...a bent elbow, a crooked knee. Limbs, nailed to the ceiling. I shut my eyes. The droplets of bloods [fall faster now], splashing my skin and my [cover]s. It is not long before [the thin blanket] that covers me is soaked through. I toss it to the floor. I feel sticky from the blood. And hot. My skin burns. The heat refuses to give way. I can feel the moisture leaving my skin. I move my fingers. They crackle. My mouth is so dry, I cannot move my tongue. It is as though I stand at the centre of a fire, yet I do not see flames...but now I can hear them. [The sounds of fire reach my ears: Painful pops and snaps, a slight breeze coming up from the sides of my bed]. I lean over the edge and see wisps of flames licking the air. The heat is even more unbearable (how can that be?), but I must look. I gaze under the bed, my hands gripping the edge. Beneath me, violently bright flames dance towards the wood bed frame. Embers glow white-hot. Now that I can see the fire, the subtle sounds it creates seem magnified a thousand times. I am hypnotized by the sight. The light and the heat make my eyes water, but I cannot look away, I cannot blink. I see the demons dancing among the coals. They sing in their dark language of terrible deeds with a joyous glee. Their music is a hypnotizing as the visual sight of the inferno. I cannot fathom why the heat had bothered me so earlier. Why should I fight such a glorious thing? The fire and the demons call to my soul and I see no reason to resist them. I roll off the bed and curl up beneath it. Let the fire take me.

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