Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sleepless - Final Edit

Remember when I used to post writing? I haven't written anything for a very long time except this short story I wrote last year. I've suddenly been inspired (finally, gah) so I've given this another edit and I've also started editing my NaNo 2009 (for real this time XP). I want to see that story finished. I've got three novel/novella type stories ready to be finished and I'm gonna damn well see them to the end. But for now, a final edit of Sleepless. I won't post any more versions of this story.

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 so 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; the heat has already dried the blood on my face. I can’t resist now, it's too damn hot and besides, the glass has already made more of a disturbance than I ever will. I peel off my sweat-drenched blankets and shove them to my ankles. 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. I peer over the edge of my 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 silent and still 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 the 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 towards me just as the glass did. They screech 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 roasting and I don’t want to hide under these blankets for much longer. The weight lifts from my bed. The screams fade. Thank God. I push the covers down to my waist and try to give myself to Sleep, but now I hear music. A deep, booming sound shakes my bed with every note. Chopin’s Funeral March, played upon an organ. The sound is octaves lower than any I have ever heard before, beyond any frequency human ears can detect, but somehow I hear it. I sit up. The sound resonates within me, rattling my bones and my heart and my soul. I reach a hand to 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 pull again. As the song swells and fades and pounds on, I clutch strands of hair, bigger clumps, and continue to yank them out. The music ends. My hair covers me and my bed. I feel slightly cooler without that layer upon my head. A drop of water falls on my forehead...water? I dab the drop with my finger and place it in my mouth. Not water. Blood. My eyes are drawn upwards. The ceiling no longer looms above me - now it is so close I could scrape it with an outstretched hand. Darkness still strangles the room but I can make out strange shapes above me. A bent elbow, a crooked knee. Limbs, nailed to the ceiling. I shut my eyes. Droplets of bloods sprinkle down, moistening my skin and blanket. Soon they fall like rain in a thunderstorm. It is not long before my blanket is soaked through. I toss it to the floor. The blood makes me feel sticky. I am still hot. My skin burns. The heat will give me no relief. I feel the moisture leaving my skin. I try to move my fingers. They stick together and crackle. My mouth is so dry. I can’t move my tongue. Feels like I stand at the centre of a fire, yet I do not see flames...but I can hear them, now. Painful pops and snaps, sounds that represent a hunger for a taste of my body. I dare to lean over the edge of my bed. I see wisps of flames licking the air. The heat kills me, but I must look. I gaze under the bed, my hands gripping the edge. Beneath me, flames as bright as the sun 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 can’t look away, can’t blink. I see demons dancing among the coals. They sing in a dark language, their voices full of joyous glee. Their music hypnotizes me as the fire does. I can’t think why the heat bothered me so earlier. Why should I fight such a wondrous thing? I want to dance among the demons in their glorious fire. I see no reason to resist this desire. I roll off my bed and curl up beneath it. Let the fire take me.

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