This is a flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig's blog, terribleminds. I hope you enjoy.
Insomnia. The word sears my brain like a hot iron. Insomnia. Insomnia. Insomnia. So very, very close to insane. Insanity. That is where I feel—where I fear—I am heading. Insomnia to insanity. Insanity to—I don’t know.
I’m not making sense, I think, as I write in my journal. I’m not making sense at all. I’m not making sense at all. I’m just writing words that are meaningless that mean nothing and saying the same thing over and over again and again trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with me. What the hell the man in the crisp black suit did to me.
I set the journal down beside me and glance over at the bedside clock. Bright red numbers stare back at me. 4:00 A.M. Four in the morning. The last time it was four in the morning I witnessed a murder.
I was walking down a dark alley late at night. Or early morning to some people, but for me, it was still night. I was walking down the alley and I saw a girl. She was pretty. She had long straw-blonde hair, and her eyes blazed an emerald green. But she was swaying a bit from side to side. Drunk, I thought, she’s drunk. She should be more careful, walking down dark alleys late at night. Then it happened. Some guy jumped out of nowhere and shot her. She didn’t even see it coming. There was no dramatic pause. No build up. No “what do you want?” Just dead. Over. Done. Her blood spraying against the wall was the most dramatic thing about it. Then she fell to the ground. Limp. Didn’t even utter a damn scream or make a noise. Just a soft “oof” as her body hit the ground.
The man in the suit hadn’t seen me yet. I wanted it to stay that way. I backed against the dirty wall and tried to press into the shadows. But he looked in my direction and we locked eyes. I ran. Maybe he didn’t see me clearly, I thought, maybe he would just let me go. I certainly hadn’t seen him very clearly. But even as I thought this I knew I was wrong. I could feel his eyes on me, chasing me down the street. I could almost hear his laboured breathing as he pursued me. I was a good runner, and there were no people around to get in my way, but there was also no crowd to get lost in.
I tripped. I caught myself on my hands and skinned them, blood seeping out in tiny drops, but I shook it off and kept running. Only I wasn’t fast enough. The man in the alley grabbed me and threw me against the wall. I didn’t speak and neither did he. I was scared. He was angry. I thought he was going to shoot me, but he shoved a needle in my neck and darkness closed over my eyes.
And now here I am. Back in my room. In bed. As if nothing happened. Only it’s been three days and I haven’t been able to sleep. Whatever that man did to me, it’s causing insomnia, and I think it might be causing me to lose my mind.
The phone rings. I jump. I stare at it. I’m not sure if I should answer it. I’m not sure of anything anymore. I tried to eat some take out the other night, but I couldn’t keep it down. I just threw it all up an hour after eating it. I haven’t been able to keep anything down since I was injected with that needle. But I no longer feel hungry anymore. Just tired.
I pick up the phone. To stop its incessant ringing if nothing else. I hold it to my ear and don’t say anything.
“How have you been feeling?” a cool, velvety voice says on the other end. I don’t trust that voice.
I say nothing.
“Hello?” it says, almost mockingly. “I know you’re there. I know you’re listening, dear. We have a job for you. A task. A lot of tasks, to be exact.”
I don’t want to listen. I hang up the phone. It’s quiet for five minutes and then it rings. And rings and rings. I think about unplugging it from the wall, but then decide not to. If whoever did this decides to take things further and come to my apartment, I want to be able to call 911. I doubt they’ll be able to help me, but at least they’ll know something was wrong. Maybe they could piece together what happened. Either way, the phone stays plugged in.
It stops again, and I go into the other room, into my office. It’s simply furnished with just a desk and chairs. The furniture is simple and plain. Utilitarian, not luxury. But it’s all I could afford. My job doesn’t make me a lot of money. Despite that fact, I like it. I like the simplicity of it. I sit down at the desk and sigh.
My hand hesitates over the right drawer of the desk. I’m not sure if I want to do this. The blasted phone is ringing again, but I try to tune it out the best I can. I feel as if there is no escaping and no way to really make things right. I open the drawer.
Inside is a gun. A hand gun. I pick it up. It feels heavy and solid in my hand. The metal gleams, even in the dark. Only a little light is coming in from outside. There’s a street lamp near the window. I bought the gun for protection. Against others. But I never thought I would have to use it to protect myself against me. I’ve written a note. Or tried to. What could I say? The phone has stopped ringing again. It’s quiet. A single tear slips from my eye. I cock the gun, hold it to my head, pull the trigger. Bang. I can’t see it but I can only imagine how my blood must splatter against the walls. I slump forward. I’m fading. There is nothing. I’m gone. Dead.
I hear the phone ring.