Robin de Voh
writer, developer, nerd

Nanoprep 2020 Day 19: Loud Insomnia

By Robin de Voh on 2020-10-29

I haven't slept in about a month. I'm not sure exactly when it started or what caused it, but I simply haven't been able to sleep. I'll get into bed, but I'm not even tired. I can close my eyes, but it feels unnatural. Like when you're fully awake, but unlike when you're sleepy and your eyes naturally want to close. The only bit of calm I get is when I pass out for whatever reason. But that doesn't leave you rested either.

And recently, I've started seeing things. One thing in specific. I call him Loud. Because not only is he actually loud when he speaks, but his fur is all the possible colors that have ever been turned into neon. And the pattern of his fur shifts over time.

Loud appeared about a week ago. He didn't say anything, there would just be something brightly colored right at the edge of my vision, like he was consistently just out of view. I didn't think too much of it at first, I was too busy being worried about what my lack of sleep would do to me.

But then he'd started becoming less shy and eventually I managed to look at him straight on.

"HI.", he shouted a bit too loudly.

I looked away, closed my eyes and shook my head. He couldn't be real. Those tails weren't natural, and even if he was a real animal, why was he standing on his legs like a human would? I counted to 10 and vowed to finally get over my fear of sleeping pills if this neon-colored frankenfreak was still there. I opened my eyes again.

"HI." he shouted just as loudly.
"Who are you?" I said, already sounding almost defeated.
"I'M ME." he said, making an odd stance as if to present himself. His two tails were flicking about.
"No, what's your name?"
"I DON'T HAVE ONE."
"Okay, fine," I said, not caring enough, "What are you?"
"I'M ME."
"No, what... You know what animals are?"
"YEAH! LIKE DOGS! CATS! PLATYPUSES!"
"Okay, and you know what humans are?"
"YOU!"
"And what are you? Animal?"
"I'M ME."

I sighed and my shoulders sagged. I couldn't deal with it. It was too much. Once your sleep deprivation reaches a certain point, your energy level just gets so low you don't have any margin for any kind of stress. But even stressing out is too much, so I found that I would just accept things and try to move away from whatever it was that trying to stress me out.

I ignored Loud and went about my days for a while. Went to work, was marginally productive, just enough that nobody noticed I wasn't fully there, and did the minimal amount of social things so people wouldn't start asking questions. That was something I learned very quickly. Worried people do not let go easily.

And I drank a lot.

And it wasn't because of him, but he certainly didn't help.

One night I was at home, not sleeping, as usual.

"WHAT'S THAT."
"Beer."
"WHY DO YOU LIKE IT."
"Because eventually I black out and it gives me some time away from being awake."
"WHY DO YOU NOT SLEEP."
"I don't know. Believe me, if I knew I'd try to do something about whatever caused it."
"WHEN DID IT START."

I looked at Loud, something I usually strongly avoided doing.

"What did you just ask?"
"WHEN DID IT START."
"I..."

I tried to think back, and I couldn't quite remember. Memories longer than 2 weeks ago were all a blur to me.

"I can't remember, to be honest."
"YOU HAVE TO."
"Why do you care? I still don't know who, what, or why you are."
"I'M ME. BUT IT'S IMPORTANT. REMEMBER."

Loud hadn't been this eloquent before. His booming voice usually stuck to nonsensical questions and statements. Basically a child pointing out things as they walked past them, or asking questions that, again, a child would ask. Never this coherent, though.

"I don't know how, my mind is unclear."
"THEN CHECK OUTSIDE OF YOUR MIND."

I looked at him and considered his words. And suddenly I had a single clear thought. Check things that have a history. Phone calls, text messages, search history, snail mail. That could work.

I started going through it all and most of it seemed completely unrelated.

But then a text message scrolled into view and I stopped. It was about a month ago, it could be about when it started.

"Beck. I'm sorry. I had to. I can't let you see Ewan again, not after what you did. I have filed a temporary restraining order against you and it's been granted, so you're not allowed near me or Ewan for a while. This is necessary right now. You took him to a bar, Beck! You left him there, because you were too drunk to remember you even had a son! Clean your shit up. We can talk in a month if you want, unless you break the restraining order. I hope you don't. I can't promise anything but, please, clean your shit up."

It had been sent by Megan. I remembered her. I then also remembered Ewan. I soon also remembered what I had done and how much of an asshole I had been.

I remembered the night I received that message. The night I stopped sleeping.

I had been sad. Angry. Disappointed in myself. I had started drinking, and I hadn't stopped for multiple days. I had called in sick to work and continued on a massive bender.

I put the phone down and slumped back into my chair.

"YOU REMEMBER."
"I remember now."
"MONTH OVER."

I looked at Loud and raised an eyebrow.

"Month over," I repeated softly, "You're right!"

Loud smiled and said nothing.

I grabbed my phone again, and yawned. This made me stop. I smiled as I realized what had just happened.

"Actually, I'll call in the morning. I'm actually sleepy now, and I think it would be best to talk to Megan more rested than this."

I turned my head back to Loud but he wasn't there anymore. I looked around, but found no proof he'd ever been there at all.

I grin.

I put the phone down and go to bed. As I turn the light off I can feel my eyes close, and it feels natural. I can feel the sleep wash over me as, for the first time in months, I can feel all the stress flow away.

I'll be better this time.