For as long as I can remember, at the same time each night a flickering light has passed by my window. The light has always been followed by a shadow at precisely 11:59pm. It has been like a game, trying to catch them with my eyes before they disappeared into the night. I can never quite make them out and so couldn’t be sure but a million and one dreams have floated up about who or what they were and where they were headed. Whenever Winter has come I would be certain it was an old, homeless man trudging through the cold and wet cradling a grumbling stomach, however, by Springtime it was a young woman flying to or from her lover’s bed. In Summer, a dodgey teenager shuffled by carrying a six pack of beers under arm (and another six already fermenting in his belly) however by Autumn, a young girl, who had lost her way playing beneath the blanket of joyful leaves by day, now crept passed with wide, scared eyes surrounded by dark, looming skies.
I became accustomed to waiting for them before dropping off to sleep each night. But this is where my problem arises: last night they didn’t come. In fact, the previous night they hadn’t come either, or the night before that. Come to think of it, it had been a whole week since the last time I’d seen them. I haven’t so much as slept even a wink. No sleep has fallen. No dreams have come. No flickering lights have passed by. Day and night my mind is plagued by thoughts of them – where have they gone? Why aren’t they coming back? What if something terrible has happened? Could that poor man have died of starvation? Or the young woman strangled by a jealous lover? Perhaps the drunk teen was stabbed in a service station stealing a Mars Bar or that poor little girl has been snatched away by a drooling pedophile, never to be seen again…
Wherever they are, they have stolen my sleep and dragged it off to wherever they have ended up. My poor sleep: never to be seen again? My delicate sanity: snatched away from me?! I can’t go on like this! I’ll spend my life tossing and turning through the night and drooping in dark circles through the day. I’ll go mad! How long can a person go without sleep before the crazies sink in? Or worse – until the body just gives up and crawls into death’s cave hollering ‘I didn’t sign up for this shit!’ over it’s decaying shoulder?
In my opinion, not long enough. I have no choice. I have to find out what has happened to them. I have to fix this. I have to save them, to rescue my sleep, to free myself.
Tonight. It begins. Tonight I will venture outside my window. I will pass by beneath it and move off in the exact same direction I myself have witnessed countless times before. I’ll spend the day making preparations: gathering food scraps for the old man, a knife for the young woman, cash for the teenager, a mobile phone for the little girl, a bucket of grit for me…
And then all that will be left to do is wait.
Candle ~ The Daily Post ~ Daily Prompt