Midnight was nothing but a distant memory, now. It was 3am and Pete was staring at the walls, willing shapes to form in the blue paint. After the fourth night without sleep, he got better at controlling and maybe even understanding the hallucinations that had once plagued him. They still frightened him, a bit, but he was not haunted by the visions, by the shapes and figures that would appear out of nowhere and without warning. He had grown to accept them as a part of his life. He visited them almost nightly and it was safe to say that they had become more reliable than anyone else in his life. He almost needed the comfort and security they provided. Almost.
Pete wanted to sleep, though. Even though he had to wake up at 6am, the three hours would be a welcome miracle. He couldn't remember the last time he had slept a night through completely. He'd get a couple of hours here and there, and maybe pick up twenty minutes in this class or another, but never a straight eight hours. He envied those he saw in school, wiping the sleep from their eyes in the early hours of morning. He wished he had sleep to wipe away. Hell, after being awake all night, he wasn't even tired. He was running on empty, running on the last traces of adrenaline he had left in his system. This made him look so awake.
The nights were so long.
There was nothing he could really do to pass the time. At 3am, you had to stay quiet because the rest of the house was sleeping. He looked over at the clock, again. 3:18am. Damnit. Pete got out of bed and looked in the mirror of his bathroom. Nothing looked right. He could see wounds and scars on his face that he flat out knew weren't there. His skin was paler than it should have been, and sickly. He hadn't slept in four nights and he looked like it. He frowned at the image in the mirror, but shuddered. The frown was over exaggerated and made into something much more negative and much more frightening.
He tore his eyes away and looked down into the sink. Water flowed freely from the faucet, splashing in startling ripples around the perimeter of the puddle in the center. He cringed, realizing exactly how analytical he got in these times. He noticed everything and spoke in the most complicated way possible. Unable to continue thinking about this any further, he shut off the water and exited the room, making his way downstairs.
Never did any one really pay much mind to the fact that he was just always awake. The family assumed he was an early bird, which they all encouraged very highly. This praise was often what prompted him to deprive himself of sleep on the off chance that he was able. In his altered state of mind, his reasoning wasn't too reliable and he felt himself weak if he actually gave into sleep. He wanted it. He wanted it more than anything. It was this pure and simple fact that meant he could not have it, no matter what.
The taste of apple stung at the corners of his mouth, but set fire to his throat. It was a good kind of flame, the sort that warmed you from the inside out. He smiled bitterly, enjoying every moment of the pain in a sort of masochistic bliss. He held the apple at arms distance, sitting on the floor against a row of cabinets. The checkered pattern in the linoleum hurt his eyes, with all the rigid lines intercrossing with one another. He wished some would branch off from their set paths and perhaps intertwine, instead. The lights were off, and only the dim light from the slightly open refrigerator lit the room.
The moon would have given its fair share of help, but the curtains were drawn and Pete didn't have the motivation to move them. Actually, he didn't have the motivation to move anything, including his own body. The hand that held the apple lay limp on his knee, while the long forgotten apple stays put on the ground. His eyes were empty and staring at nothing at all. His body jerked slightly, but this movement was not enough to stir him from his trance. He sat. And, that was all he did.
He couldn't quite remember the last time he slept a full night, but he couldn't remember much of anything. It was weird to say, considering he was only 16, but his whole childhood was a blur. He was beginning to get worried that his memory would be wiped completely clean by the time he reached adulthood. He would often walk around without any idea as to who he was, which made the first few days of school difficult, when they did roll call. He would answer to any name he found familiar, which earned him the title of 'class clown'. He wasn't trying to be funny. He was trying to be accounted for.
His eyes focused again and he looked at the clock. Somehow, it was now 5am. He had been sitting there for at least an hour and half, without moving. Shaking his head slightly, he rose from the spot, his muscles so stiff from not being used that he nearly groaned. He stretched out his arms and legs and looked down at the ground. The apple was still there, browned with oxidation. He threw it out and headed back upstairs, back to his room. He decided that this was late enough for someone to think he had just woken up and ran a shower for himself.
The water came hailing down on him like needles. He cringed and couldn't bring himself to look at it coming towards him. He faced away from the showerhead, his heart beating wildly in his chest. The water was so loud. It honestly terrified him. He washed quickly, his chest becoming pained, and got out, immediately shutting off the water. He wrapped a towel tightly around his body and closed his eyes. The silence was overwhelming, but in a good way. He needed this. It cleansed him.
There didn't seem to be a very high chance of this going away, any time soon. He figured that he would just always have hallucinations and always be afraid. He couldn't remember a time when he wasn't afraid, when his hands didn't tremble. He couldn't remember every being okay and couldn't see himself ever being okay. After a few moments, he packed his school books and headed out the door, not concerned at how early it was.
He was a creature of the night, a creature of habit, and was never one to stick to the natural order of things. To him, this was his natural order. This was his life and this was how it would stay. He would always see things in nothing and he would always be welcomed by the rested faces who slept more in one night than he slept in a week. It would be like this until he did something to fix it, but that was the coward's way out. He'd face this until the end, or die trying. He counted the bags under his eyes to see which would come first.
Sign up to rate and review this story