In the middle of the night, I wake up screaming. I don't remember the why, how or when of my terrors just those terrible, haunted eyes. They flick open like Venetian blinds, quick and bright, then stare into my soul. I hate them. I really do. They're just like mine.
After my wife having read my last Night Flights story, I can say I haven't been flying so high. The engine noises have been replaced by some sort of low growl, my stretching out restricted by knees in my back. I hope to fly again, but maybe by charter instead.
When I can't sleep, I like to fly. That's right, I said fly. I stretch my legs, sticking my toes out from under the duvet, reach out my arms like wings, and pretend to be a plane. My wife's my co-pilot. She provides the engine noises. Every single night!
Sleep that oldest of adversaries has climbed in to disrupt my day. A ridiculously large coffee revives me in a way the fresh air has not, but not fully. I’m somewhere in between alive and not. There’s music playing in the coffee shop; I think it’s on repeat. I’m so tired I even contemplate posting a selfie to prove it. Not that tired though. I wonder when this zombielike state will disperse or if I’ll be treading the grey frontiers all bank holiday? Super market shopping is next. I’m dreading it! You may find me sleeping in the deep freeze with the peas and carrots, if so, please do not disturb. Or is it peas do not disturb? I’ll sleep on it.
Twisted nocturnal visions
Sleep an unwelcome friend
Midnight came in restless huffs and the hoots of a bored owl. Too lazy to fly, the bird shrieked at halfhearted intervals rendering my sheep counting pointless. "T-wit!" it called. "T-wit!" It wasn't until I woke with a mouthful of pillow that I realised it had been taking the ****.
The ghosts and the goblins, the witches and the hags, they hide in the dungeons, graveyards and sewers. You won't see them, but you'll feel them massing like an evil tide.
What to do? your lips tremble.
Go to sleep, my boy, and pray you don't hear the midnight tolling.
Her eyes veined red, wide with the mania only insomniacs know, she stumbles through another hazy morning. A pale vampire, a demoness of the dark, she snarls in a rabid baring of incisors. I back away.
"Morning, love," I try.
"Where's my coffee?"
I open the curtains, whilst I can.
The Unsleeping — A Christmas Tale
I called myself one of the unsleeping it sounded so much more dramatic than insomniac. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t fall asleep. If I didn’t try, it was even worse. Yet there were advantages to my unsleeping self and Christmas was almost upon us.
I sat at my window watching the barn owls flit across the moonlight meadow like nighttime phantoms. A clear sky and silver moon made for an idyllic winter scene; snow would have made it Christmas, but there was none.
I dragged my eye from the Christmas Eve skies to the meadow and back again just in case. He couldn’t avoid me forever. He wouldn’t, would he?
When the village church struck midnight, I became more attentive. I allowed the barn owls to go unobserved as I hunted out far larger prey.
Twice I thought I saw him, but it was just stray wafts of cloud. Three times I thought I heard him, but it was the sleeping snores of the parents to an unsleeping son. Time dragged on and still I waited.
When I awoke to a stiff neck and cold everything still propped against the window ledge, I turned with a crack to see a note sticking out of my Christmas stocking. It read:
Hope you enjoyed your sleep.
It was the best Christmas present I’d ever received.