It’s a problem for me.
This is not like normal drowsiness, it’s not a sirens call beckoning one to a soft and fluffy land a favorite destination we are all too eager to return too. It’s not the kind of sleep that oozes up from your brain like quicksand. Dragging you blissfully away.
I still get that, but this new kind of sleep is brutal, forceful, unrelenting… Cold. I can only think to describe it as an attack.
It starts small, barely a hug hardly noticeable, but it keeps coming, wave after wave, each one getting stronger.
A-inky black darkness wraps itself around my brain and begins to squeeze like a python.
Time slows down, the world collapses to this singular moment. A life or death battle against a mighty giant of a foe. The darkness closes around me as I struggle to resist pushing me ever closer to sleep.
Sometimes I have the strength to survive the attack. The monster gets tired of pounding me and goes away. It is physically exhausting to resist it wears me out and saps my strength.
If I don’t fight, or I lose, I fall asleep… It’s embarrassing, and it never seems to happen at a good time.
Lately, there have been these dreams… Strangely real dreams.
I don’t know how to describe them. Like I’m obviously doing stuff that isn’t real. Like flying, but everything thing looks and feels real, smells real. Is that crazy?
I don’t know what to think.
Shavacado_in_chains: You want to know if that sounds crazy? I’ll tell you. Yes! That is some crazy a** sh*t right there! Just another snowflake crying for attention. “I can’t sleep boo hoo…” NOBODY GETS GOOD SLEEP! Take some F*cking Ambien and get a job loser!
– Thetostoftexas: Dude! Did you not read the post? He’s having trouble staying awake, not falling asleep.
– Shavacado_in_chains: Does not matter they got meds for that too. He probably stays up late playing Pokemon or some sh*t.
-Read 97 more comments?
“Ugh…” said Shadow Somnus. “Why is this site so toxic?” This social media site was going downhill, once it was popular amongst some of the internets smartest people, but now they’ve moved on to greener pastures. Still, Shadow hoped beyond hope that maybe someone here might have something. Something tangible. An answer, or an idea, he was desperate for answers, but he would settle for one person who would confirm for him that he wasn’t crazy. That this plight was not some weird bubble of his imagination, and he was just making it all up. He kept scrolling.
Most of the internet doctors were coming up with the same diagnosis. Narcolepsy. Sure that made sense but was it didn’t seem that cut and dry.
Abettermoustrap: What does your doctor say?
That was a fair question. Maybe this person had some idea of what they were talking about. They just posted, so he wrote back.
-Morpheus_zzz: The doctors don’t know, they want to start me on a C-Pap. I just got tested for sleep apnea, and they want to see how that goes.
-Abettermoustrap: That sounds about right, the state of sleep science is in its infancy, so the strategy is often to throw stuff at you and see what sticks. Any insomnia?
-Morpheus_zzz: Sometimes, I’ve never had good sleeping habits. Do you have any ideas?
-Abettermoustrap: Nothing so grandiose, I’m just in the field so to speak, and this is an interesting case. Can you do me a favor?
-Abettermoustrap: The next time you have one of these dreams can you write it down for me?
-I’m_Just_Saiyan: What about us?! I want to know about these dreams too! Don’t hold out on the community man.
-Morpheus_zzz: I’ll post it as an update. That okay?
-Abettermoustrap: Works for me. I’ll subscribe so I know when you posted.
Well, that was something. Shadow didn’t know why it was so important that he get some kind of validation for his unusual illness. It wasn’t like this was new to him, being disabled. He had been that way since he was a baby. He was born in a refugee camp and the pore conditions resulted in an infection in his lower spine. The cleared it up, but not before it nerve damage set in and he lost the use of his legs.
They were located in Justice City, his mother got IT training and a position at a large tech firm. His father was a teacher and after leaning enough English he returned to that profession. They didn’t believe in treating Shadow differently, they made time for him and they helped him, but they wanted him to be independent.
That was the problem, he never expected to get worse. He couldn’t use his legs but everything else was working. Suddenly he was losing something, and that was unnerving him. Worse it was interfering with his job. He hadn’t worked in over a year. Money wasn’t a problem. He had plenty to keep him going, but he needed his work.
It’s what kept him sain. He made apps. Just stupid games, but it kept his mind occupied. But this sleep thing was interfering. He had to be in the zone to get stuff done, and the sleep attacks kept him from doing that, he had good days, but he never knew when they would come. Worse sometimes he was too busy on the good days to work. He felt like he was wasting them. He was just miserable.
The phone rang. He recognized the song. Re: Your Brains by Jonathan Coltin. His chair had a convenient pouch on the side for his phone he pulled it out.
“Hello,” he said Flatly.
“Get your Greek-Arabic ass downstairs right now!” demanded his closest and oldest friend. Tess.
“I’m sorry Tess, I can’t go out tonight. My chair is at twenty percent power.”
“I built that chair!” said Tess. “I know you’re lying.”
“I don’t know what you’re seeing on your end but…” Shadow was answering when his chair began to move. “Are you hacking my chair?”
“It’s called a back door. I don’t have to ‘hack’ anything.” Said Tess.
“This is kidnapping,” Shadow said as his chair moved him to the exit. In a panic, Shadow began to lie. “I’m not even dressed if you do this my balls are going to be on display all night long.”
“Kinky!” cried, Tess. “I can’t wait to see.”
“I’ll tell everyone we meet your birthname!” Said shadow as his chair entered his elevator.
“You wouldn’t dare!” cried Tess.
“Try me!” Shadow bluffed as the elevator lurched into motion. “Dammit, Tess!”
The elevator reached the ground floor and the doors opened. A tall black woman was standing on the other side. She was dressed to the nines. A sleek dress with sequins. It shimmered as she moved. “I’m sorry for brutishly kidnaping you, but I just had a major breakthrough, and I want to celebrate.” Tess was an inventor and owned the premier tech company in Justice City. Faraday Tech. Shadows mother was the current C.E.O. She couldn’t stay in IT forever.
“Okay, what crazy thing are you building for mom now?” asked Shadow.
“Not yet!” said Tess. “These things must be done properly. First, we drink!” Tess’s limo pulled up. And we were off. Tess looking like a million bucks, and me like a shabby hobo in an electric wheelchair. I was unshaven, my hair was long and messy and I was overdue for a shower. I was wearing dirty jeans and a T-shirt.
Tess was crazy but she always knew what she was doing. She had a privet room at the club scheduled. It was just the two of us. “What is the point of dragging me out if we are going to stay in here?” I inquired.
“The music and the booze of course. You know I don’t like to mingle.” Tess replied. “You want to dance with me?”
“I thought we were friends,” Shadow said.
“Friends can dance.” She said stepping onto the floor.
Shadow rolled his chair out. He pressed a button, and the chair went from sitting to standing. The chair had a dance algorithm that detected others on the floor and moved Shadow rhythmically to the music. One of Tess’s special features. Shadow did little more than move his arms a bit, but it worked.
“You seem so different,” Shadow noted. “What happen to you?”
“You remember how we met?” asked Tess.
“Of course I do.” Said Shadow. “It was just after nine eleven those kids in school, they decided they didn’t like my face or my chair.”
“One of them was my brother,” Said Tess. “You don’t have to leave that part out.”
“You stood up for me.” Said Shadow. “I never forgot that.”
“I took a pounding.” Said Tess. “Eddie was just so big and so strong.”
“Why do you bring up that old nonsense?” asked Shadow.
“I think I found my true calling!” Said Tess excitedly.
“You mean other than inventer?” asked Shadow. “You’ve always been an inventer like your father.”
“Yes!” said Tess, positively giddy. “And know I know exactly how to use it!”
“You’re scaring me, Tess,” said Shadow. “Tell me what is this thing you’ve made.”
“I have to show you!” said Tess excitedly. “Let’s go.” They were in the limo and on the way to Tess’s lab. Shadow was really confused. Tess was always a free spirit, but tonight she seemed more off her hinges than normal. Shadow wanted to chalk it up to post-invention euphoria, but he was worried. On the way over he began to feel a familiar problem. Darkness was forcing its way into his mind. Tess was too excited to notice, but he was not having an easy time staying awake.
The rolled up to the lab, He followed her inside. This was just not fair, he wanted to be there for his friend and he was bearly aware of what she was saying.
“Are you ready?” She asked. Standing in front of a tarp. Did inventors just keep them around for things like this?
“Yes.” Said Shadow fighting the sleep attack with all his might. If he could stay awake for the reveal. Maybe that would be enough. Tess pulled the sheet but all went black, it was too late. Darkness came. He awoke. (If that could be accurate.) He was flying over the city. The sent of a fresh rain was on the air. When did it rain? The city seemed tranquil but busy. This was not the first time Shadow had a birds-eye view of the city, but it was so quiet outside of a helicopter.
A scream broke the tranquility, Shadow was drawn to it. He immediately was drawn to it. Simply willing himself towards the sound sent him rocketing off in that direction. It wasn’t long before he found the source of the scream, a strangely dressed man was jumping across the rooftops caring a woman in his arms. The man was wearing some kind of body armor, not military more like a superhero. He even had some kind of robotic hand. He set her down on the ground.
Shadow didn’t move in not at first he just kept watching. “This is bad,” He kept saying. “I need to get back. Back to what? I can’t remember!”
The woman had nowhere to go she cowered in a corner. “Help me!” she screamed.
“Lady!” Said the agitated man. “I’m having a really hard time right now. I have to think, I don’t want to hurt you, but if you scream like that again…” His robot hand morphed into a gun. “I’ll fucking kill you! Understand.”
That was it, Shadow had to do something, he moved in and said. “Excuse me.”
Started by Shadows voice the man who looked more like a shabby hobo than Shadow ever did. The man turned and blasted Shadow in the face without question. The energy weapon. Bounced off of Shadow without a scratch. The sight of Shadow filled the man with terror. He removed his goggles revealing eyes that shown brightly in the dark, with a neon green glow. “Braineater!” He cried.
“Me?” Asked Shadow.
“Braineater!” Cried the man. “Leave me alone! I don’t want my brain eaten!”
“I’m not going to eat your brain!” said Shadow.
The man yelped and he began running away leaving his hostage? “Braineater! Braineater! Hide in the deep! The Dark will save us!” He kept crying.
Shadow turned to the hostage, who was hiding her face. “You okay?” he asked. She looked at him and began screaming again. “No no no! Lady, I’m a good guy! I’m…”
“Help me!” she cried.
“Get away from her!” cried a booming female voice.
Shadow turned around to see a genuine superhero. This was Justice City, superheroes were a dime a dozen. This one was new. A woman clad in a metal suit. It crackled with electricity. She hovered above the ground just like him. “Who are you?” he asked.
“I am Tess…” Said the female Superhero. “la! Tesla! Tesla coil. Get away from her or feel my electric Vengeance.”
“Electric vengeance?” Asked Shadow. “Are you knew at this?”
“Why?” Asked Tesla Coil. “is it obvious?”
“No,” said Shadow. “Not at all.”
“Great, can we do this?” Asked Tesla.
“Sure,” said Shadow. “But I have to tell you…” Tesla’s fist rammed into his face and he went flying. He landed on the street he felt that. It didn’t hurt, more like someone touching his face. He could feel the solid surface of the ground give ways as he skidded to a stop.
“Face me you faceless brain-eating freak!” Cried Tesla as she landed in front of him.
“Faceless?” asked Shadow confused. He then caught his reflection in the glass of a storefront. He turned suddenly his arm bumping into Tesla, she flew back as if struck by a truck. She crashed into the building behind her.
He ignored it and went to the glass, his face was completely gone replaced by white marble? Stone? He looked at his body for the first time, it was just a sexless white statue. As if reacting to his thoughts it began to change. His body his clothes his face seemed to be molded by the material. “What is happening?” he cried.
“Shadow?” Asked Tesla He spun to see her crawling out of the rubble. Even with the distortion, he could hear her voice.
“Tess?” he asked.
Shadow panicked. Instinctively he flew into the air like a rocket. He had to get away from her. Tess followed. Launching lightning bolts after him. The crack of the thunder shook through his body. He was not going to fight his friend how did he even get into this mess? A dream! That’s right. He was dreaming. “Wake up!” He commanded to no avail.
Tesla scored a strike. The lighting racked his body and for the first time, he felt pain. That’s when he got the idea. He stopped. Tess never gave up, and she never stopped trying. “You’ll never stop me!” he proclaimed. If he was going to be the villain in this dream he was going to do it right.
“Wana bet!” She didn’t even slow down. Her fist was clenched with rage and electricity was jumping everywhere. If anything was going wake him up it was going to be this. He sat calmly as she flew closer, he knew it was a dream, nothing to be scared of. Right? Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. He winced as her fist came closer. Ka-Pow!
Electricity flowed through his mind he couldn’t think. It hurt like hell! But he was right, that punch woke him up. He was sitting alone in Tess’s lab. Was she mad? Did she think he didn’t care? He felt like a heal, no wonder he was dreaming about her kicking his ass. He deserved it. He left the lab, and the limo driver was waiting. “I have instructions to take you home.” said the limo driver.
Shadow went home all the while his heart was burning a hole in his chest. He may have lost his oldest and only friend. Now this sleep thing had truly taken everything from him.