Staying Awake

The edges of the TV fuzz and then bleed. The black from the TV mixes with the off-white background of the wall to form a grayish puddle that oozes vertically up the wall. The screen inside, no longer constrained, develops odd neon patterns that move and pulse in time to the beat of some hidden drum. The room tilts and sways. I know that it’s actually my head that’s moving, but I can’t actually feel it or control it. The contents of the room all seem to float up, including the coffee table, the floor, and the couch that I’m sitting on.

A creature with a hundred eyes, each burning with some unknowable red energy, it’s open mouth filled with rows and rows of teeth, more than should ever be able to fit inside, each tooth pointed and long, if it tried to close it’s mouth it would impale itself with those impossible teeth, lunges at me, leading with a claw the size of my forearm, causing me to jump in my seat, my eyes jolting open. I retreat from the monster, but it’s no longer visible. I look around in terror at my living room, all of its lines returned to their crisp familiarity.

I consider hanging myself from the ceiling by my ankles in the hope that the constant pull of gravity on my eyelids will work for me instead of against me. I dismiss the possibility, not because the idea seems poorly thought out, but because of logistical concerns; I do not have the rope that would be required, nor the acumen necessary to securely fasten it to ceiling. I fear that I would fall, and in some ironic twist, end up trapped inside whatever world the creatures belong to. That my attempt at escape would be the final straw towards my capture.

So instead I stumble to the kitchen, with its cold tile floor and sharp implements. I pour cold coffee from the coffee maker I was forced to buy. I don’t heat it in the microwave, that would do nothing but hamper my ability to drink it quickly. Besides, the taste of it is unimportant, only its stimulating effects. I drink it in one long chug. I imagine that I can feel the caffeine surging through my body, reviving tired limbs, defogging my eyes, although I know that it will be several minutes before it actually has any effect.

I should eat something, if only to give the coffee some company while it makes its way through my digestive tract. But when I think of chewing, I imagine all of those long teeth skewering my flesh and ripping it apart. All I can think to do at this point is lie down. It’s a calculated risk of sorts, the rest gained is done so at the expense of increased impulse to sleep. The truth, though, is that it’s very difficult to calculate anything at this point, and it’s a mistake to say that I’m actually thinking; I am now a slave to my impulses, too tired to make any real choices. And my body is telling me that I need to lie down, so I do.

I wonder, as I lay buoyed by the cushions on the couch, if I will have the strength to get up.

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