The following pages are excerpted from a journal admitted into evidence during a particularly memorable investigation of mine. Author John Doe was found deceased in his apartment in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on December 14, 2012 at 10:34 am by landlord name redacted when a check of his room was made to collect a few late rent payments. The cause of death is still under review. He was found beneath the covers of his bed, laying prone and undisturbed. A blank, hardcover book which served as a journal was procured from the nightstand beside the headboard. Its contents were, at first glance, pedestrian; entries ranged from daily grind, to small artwork, to occasional dream analysis. Upon further review, the record left a more haunting impression. The excerpts below were selected, transposed, and abridged by myself, shared with an intention of awareness.
* * *
November 8th, 2012
I'm writing under the light of daybreak at the moment. Last night was another sleepless one; I watched every second of the moon rise and fall, gauging its progress through the slits of the blinds. I'm beginning to wonder if my restlessness comes from a subconscious stress of trying to fall asleep. There's a vague memory behind me where I seem to recall a desire to vault my head into or through a wall, possibly breaking this spell of insomnia. It's wearing me down, in the simplest of terms.
[The shade of the pencil strokes change at this point, indicating a lapse in time. He possibly returned to this entry at a later moment.]
I've decided on going back to bed to give a new vigorous effort. I will not be broken so easily! Pity, my vehement drive to work is astonishingly usurped by my biological need for sleep. Or at least, that's how I'll explain it tomorrow. The sheets are beckoning, seducing me. Or something like that. To write from within this fog is hopeless. Abandon hope all ye who enter here. It smells like peanut butter in my room.
[The phrase “Stop eating peanut butter sandwiches.” is scrawled in the margin below the date.]
* * *
November 10th, 2012
Three calls; three days entirely sleepless. Aside from a small headache and the obvious drowsiness, I feel completely fine. Work is hell, so I didn't go today. My manager keeps calling—that's four calls now. Rather than actually listening to any of the messages, I find it vastly more enthralling to dream up the soliloquy he's left on my machine. One of great fury, gilded with the valor of war with rude patrons and insufferable bathroom cleanup duty. The moon's rising, finally. It's cloudy. Thought: am I the only person who perceives the mysticism in the way that the moonlight illuminates the clouds? Surely this sight had to have driven at least a few tall tales. Tarot. Or werewolves. Certainly tarot. Or astrology.
When one finally breaks from the concessions of sleep, as I seem to have done effortlessly, the night grows infinitely fascinating. Such beauty in a primordial state. The complete absence of human influence. Exceptionally paranormal. I am most definitely intoxicated in some manner.
* * *
November 11th, 2012
I had a particularly captivating conversation with a customer this morning. She was a lovely, young college student who frequented our shoppe often. In five days, she was the first to recognize my restlessness. We discussed sleep. And time. Time is, after all, just perception, no? Think of the duration of so-called “time” we spend asleep, and how quickly it eludes us. In a flash of a second, our consciousness escapes from the stream only to reenter at its own convenience.
I wonder if sleep would be more enjoyable if experienced in real-time. I will shake the man's hand who explains to me how “eight hours of sleep” that pass in moments could rival or be anymore fulfilling than experiencing true sleep. If we could feel our bodies recuperating. Then again, if our minds naturally anesthetize us for the process, it must be one hell of an operation.
I shook the young woman's hand and bid her adieu after our discourse. A black canine pranced behind her feet as she left.
Did the dog enter with her?
The sun is up.
* * *
November 12th, 2012
At first my lack of rest irked me. I think I'm growing fond of it. Accustomed to it.
[The remainder of the page is filled with pencil sketches of a dog. Possibly all variations of the same one. I'm assuming it's the one from the previous night's entry.]
* * *
November 15th, 2012
God hates me. He doesn't want me to sleep. I'm grateful for that. I have never seen such beauty in the night before. The woman arrived at my door this afternoon. She asked why I haven't been working lately. I had to explain my conditions. The beginning of a storm is foreboding. Ominous. The steady rise in drizzle is far too suspenseful for my taste. Cloudy is nice. I don't prefer rain all that much. The woman never left, but she's not here. I'm creating explanations for things in my head that are impossible to lay out on paper. This can be frustrating at times. Rain smells terrible. Like wet dog.
* * *
[Following the previous entry, several pages were torn from the binding. A small in-tact fragment of one of these pages appears to show another pencil sketch. It is impossible to reason its depiction.]
* * *
November 19th, 2012
[Three consecutive pages are filled from corner to corner, including margins, with the word “sleep” repeated indefinitely.]
* * *
November 20th, 2012
The black dog is outside my door. He blocked the hallway when I tried to leave this morning. I think he bit me, I'm not sure. He's been whining for a couple hours. He's not coming into my room. The door is locked. He can stop scratching. He's not coming into my room. No, not coming into my room. He's not coming into my room. Please stop scratching. The moon rose hours ago but there's no sign of the sun. I forget what sleep feels like. Am I crazy? No, I'm tired. Please stop scratching.
* * *
November 24st, 2012
The sun never rose from the other night. Why won't the sun rise? It's too dark in my room. The lights don't work. The woman stopped by again. I think she's looking for her dog. He got into my room yesterday. It's too dark to see him. I haven't read any books lately. Where do prayers go when you say them? The moon's behind the clouds.
* * *
November 30th, 2012
[The handwriting is noticeably different. Thick strokes, almost manuscript-like.]
Time is the creator of all things. Systems. Memories. Our present is defined in time. Time is a monster. It consumes us. Because we let it. We want it to. Unless we forbid it to do so. If you escape time, you can escape fate. Fate is not sleep. Sleep is precious. Serene. I think I'm ready to sleep now. Sleep is good.
* * *
The remaining two weeks until his discovery are still unaccounted for. There are no later entries, nor explanations from the journal. No dates on any document within his home exceeds November 30th, the date of the final entry. An investigation into his personal life shows no record of employment. Next-of-kin are nonexistent. Bank records show that the checks for his rent came directly from his savings account, otherwise no source of income was established to correlate to the job described in the journal. Needless to say, no trace of a canine was found inside or outside the apartment.
Part of me wants to believe he found what we're all secretly hoping for: a way out of time and finality. Perhaps the body we found is just what he left behind. Maybe he still exists in a place outside of our conscious “stream”. But at what price? I may be hired to ask questions, but these are lines I will not cross. However, my hope is that by sharing this with the select few who read this, you walk away with a thought. Go where your mind hasn't. Ask questions. Find answers. That is, if you want to know.
© Copyright 2016 Kean Flynn. All rights reserved.
Short Story / War and Military
Poem / Poetry
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