Sleep

Fuck, fuck, fuck!

An electric ceiling fan.

An electric ceiling fan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mark rolled onto his back… where he’d already been, along with his stomach and both sides.  He slammed a fist down onto the mattress in frustration and looked up at the ceiling.  It was dark except for a rectangle of orange running across it and partially down the opposing wall, pumped in through the window from the streetlight outside. That light turned the slowly spreading stain in the corner into a Halloween mask of mirthful horror. Mark stared at it in mute fascination for several seconds, picking out there the oval of its eye, the slash of its leering mouth. He thought it might be winking at him and looked away.

The ceiling fan above him turned lazily.  Black insectile shadows radiated away from the fan, crawling across the strip of light on the ceiling and wall before slinking into the blackness where the light ended.  The fan sounded sick, struggling under the strain of its own rotations with a low grinding noise.  He wondered how many more nights it would be before it gave up its fight.

His back was sweaty. He rolled over onto his side. The clock next to his bed stared at him, proclaiming in brilliant red numbers that it was nearing midnight. Mark willed his eyelids to grow heavy. When they didn’t, he forced them closed. Behind his eyelids, dim red and purple flowers blossomed over the top of each other in unending succession. Those blossoms should have been soothing and hypnotic, lulling him to sleep, but they did not. It was too damn hot… and loud. Somewhere close by, a truck rumbled along.  And someone shouted.  There were always voices, in the light, in the dark, it didn’t matter the time of day or day of week, the voices never slept.  Always shouting somewhere.  He thought about closing the window but didn’t think he’d be able to stand the stifling heat if he did so.  Although it would be quieter.  Maybe.  He opened his eyes again. The clock finished tallying the minutes of the previous day and started in on a new one.  All those zeroes.  And then there was a one.  And then a two.

Fuck!  Sleep, you miserly bitch, when are you going to come for me?

This was what, the fifth night of this shit?  With maybe as many hours of rest to divide between them.  He’d taken a sleeping pill before bed, one of those little gelcaps in that comforting shade of blue, but still he was awake.  Maybe he should take another?  Maybe he should take several.

Hell, why not the whole bottle? That would do the trick.

A loud whoop followed by raucous laughter drifted in from outside.  Mark sat up and glanced at the open window.  He knew what else would do the trick, what would bring the sleep.  It was time to stop denying it.  He opened the drawer of the ratty nightstand upon which perched his red-faced clock and reached inside.  When his hand withdrew, it held a slim, black object. Mark held it up to the light.  Upon its side, a chrome button gleamed, soft orange against the sleek black.  He pressed the button, and a blade snicked out.  Perfectly edged, elegantly tapered, flawless.  He could have licked it it was so beautiful.  As he turned it in his hands, he caught the reflection of his own weary eyes, heavy darkness swelling below them.  He looked for a moment, staring back at himself, and then folded the blade back into its handle.

He picked up his pants from the floor where he’d dropped them earlier that night and slid into them.  He slipped the knife into a back pocket.  Out in the dark, more voices yelled and laughed.  He’d find one of those voices, maybe more than one, and he’d silence them.  Elation and peace washed over him. He smiled. Soon, the sleep would come.

Updates over on the Main Site

The bridge over the Haast River, north of the ...

The bridge over the Haast River, north of the Haast township. At 737m it is the longest one-way road bridge in New Zealand, and the 7th longest New Zealand bridge overall. Transit New Zealand Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved on . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a bit late relaying this over here, but there have been a couple of updates over on the main site that I thought might be of interest to D Lee Warren fans.

  • There is now a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section that’s live.  We’ll try to keep that up-to-date with the questions that we get asked most often.
  • We’ve also added a Works-in-Progress section to the Library.  I (Brian) have been getting asked repeatedly how I’m coming along with the next Derrick and Max book (and also about the next D Lee Warren book).  Well, now you’ll be able to tell where I am with the projects that are actively being worked on.  If it doesn’t seem like they’re going up very quickly, that would be because I work at a snail’s pace.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?  Maybe?
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