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Awake. At 3:15 in the morning…how convenient. I sat up on my bed, all hope of dozing off now distant. This was really a first time thing for me, so I really didn’t know what to do, but it never ended well for insomniac people like me in horrors. I had to force myself to sleep……..nothing.
I decided to read a book boring enough to get me to sleep, but with my anti-reading policy, all I could find was a newspaper. Ah, why not? It might help anyway. The first few pages were all about politics and disasters and calamities here and there; none of my concern for now. The sports section wasn’t as interesting as I remember it being, and neither was the entertainment section. I normally couldn’t put away anything with words until I got the gist of it, so I found myself in the obituary section. None of the faces there triggered any emotional sympathy from me, except for one of a 3-year old who was sick and succumbed…sad. I went on and on, and just as I was about to finish, one of them caught my attention. It was of a man, a Dr. William Rouell, whose picture was blurred to the point of non-recognition. All I could pick was that he wore glasses and had a huge smile.
However reluctant I was to it, curiosity got the better of me and I just had to know how he died. After searching for him online in the local town website, to my shock and disgust, I learned that he was stabbed multiple times in his chest and face, but according to the report given, he died of the shock. Probably because of who he saw commit the offence. The site also said that he died near his home, on the roadside. Hmm, must have been an attack by a thug or two…how sad, really. I tried to imagine how he felt in his dying moments; searing pain, shock, unable to come to terms with your very last breath escaping your lungs…scary.
Somehow, that got me drowsy, and I could feel the sleep coming in hot, hotter, even hotter…then, a cold breeze swept past me, keeping me alert.
“How is that even possible? I closed all the windows in this house,” I said to myself, getting out of bed to make sure the one in my room was sealed shut. Apparently it wasn’t. As I closed it, an interesting sight caught my eye. On the pavement, just next to the street lamp, lay a small notebook. From my room, all I could see was that it was black, and more of diary-looking. The flickering of the yellow illumination on the book, and the cold breeze outside all served to fuel my curiosity. I just couldn’t help myself. I donned a robe, made my way slowly and quietly to the front door and to the biting cold outside. I walked to the lamp, feeling excited and all, almost as if I were escaping prison. On reaching the lamp, I landed straight from cloud nine to rock bottom on discovering that the book wasn’t there. It made no sense. It was just there! I was not seeing my own things.
“Ah, whatever,” I muttered, walking away. Just then, in genuine fear this time, a shadowy figure running off froze me in my tracks. I couldn’t even breathe properly. I wanted to scream, but no voice came out. I closed my eyes for a second, and on opening, I saw nothing. Not needing a second warning, I ran into the house, straight to my room and into bed, forcing myself to sleep.
The next morning, I went straight to my parents, the people reliable when the internet is just not enough.
“Mum, Dad, how did William Rouell die?” The strange nature of that question and its straightforward inquirer did not seem to bother them at all.
“Good morning to you too, son,” my dad said, shaking his head.
“I slept great too. How did you?” my mum added, a slight sign of surprise on her face.
“Sorry. Good morning. Now how did he die?” Not wanting to keep me waiting for reasons best known to them, my father sat up, looked at me and with a sad expression, said:
“Well son, I didn’t want to tell you this now, because I didn’t know how to say it, or how you would take it, but…”
“He was a leprechaun, and I stole his gold. That’s how he died,” my father said, bursting into loud shameless laughter to the point of tearing. My eye was twitching in disbelief. Wasn’t I supposed to be the child here?
“Ignore your father. Why do you want to know so much about this guy anyway?”
“I, I just want to know…that’s all. Curiosity, I’m sure you can understand.” I wanted to explain more, but she stopped me to take her medicine, 3 pills every morning. Of what, only God knew, or I simply didn’t understand it when she was explaining it.
“On a serious note,” my father started, wiping his tears, “he was on his way home from work when he was attacked by someone. The official story didn’t say who it was or he or she was ever caught, but we know it wasn’t a thug.”
“It wasn’t? So it was a hate crime or something like that?”
“That’s what we wanted to believe, but he was kind of new to town and was a very nice guy, so we couldn’t imagine anyone who would want him dead.”
“That’s enough,” my mother cut in, “you don’t need to know any more.”
“But I just want to…”
“I said that’s enough!” she yelled, anger clearly visible on her face. I didn’t need to ask any more from the way she looked at me, so I slowly turned and left the room. I heard them talking, loudly, about the topic, with my mother saying that she didn’t want my father to say anything, while my father was of the idea that it was just an honest question that needed an honest answer. I didn’t want to cause any more trouble, so I dropped the topic, somehow.
Over the course of the day, my mum apologized for her outburst, saying that she just didn’t want her ‘little boy being scared by the world around him’, and she also did the same to my dad for the way she reacted to the topic. All said and done, she went to take her medicine again.
“Hey, dad. What’s the medicine mum’s taking for?” I asked my father.
“Stress relief, and a bunch of other ‘lady stuff’. But you don’t need to worry about it,” he said, removing my worrying. Well, at least she’s okay.
Days passed, and I didn’t bother to find out more about Mr. Rouell, or my overnight activities. After all, it was best if I let it go…but why? The guy was practically innocent. Who would do such a thing? Why him of all people? Was he a home wrecker or something? I thought more about this while I was walking around the house, ensuring all windows were locked and the curtains drawn. I passed by one of them when something dropped onto the floor, right next to me. I couldn’t believe it was right there, after all this time. The black book I saw the other night was right there, in front of me. I went straight to my room and began reading the entries made:
“My patient was a unique one. She exhibited aggressive and destructive behavior when confronted; the type to hurt someone. She insisted she was fine and just needed some stress relievers, but I had to give her more than that. Something to help calm her nerves. I even recommended anger management, but she said she’d never fought with her husband. Yes, like I was going to believe that.
I like this guy, I thought as I continued reading.
“I saw her again today, before I left for home. She was angry, very angry. She wanted to know why I had given her a different prescription from what she asked. Aside from her clear ignorance, I explained that it was for her own good, but she wouldn’t listen, so she stormed out, crying as she did so. She’ll thank me later, I thought.”
That was the latest entry made, three weeks ago….. Hmm, that date looked familiar. Too familiar. I didn’t want to believe it, but after I searched the website again, again and again, it was all clear. He was a doctor, and one of his patients killed him.
“Oh my God,” was all I could say. Just then, I heard footsteps downstairs. Quick footsteps, as if someone were rushing somewhere. At this moment, no words could explain the fear that had overwhelmed me. I couldn’t literally move, my heart was at the verge of ripping out of my chest, cold shivers went down my spine and breathing was becoming a problem. I listened as the footsteps got louder, as if there was some kind of struggle, then I heard a loud thumping.
Fearing the worst had happened, I got over my fear and rushed downstairs to see my father lying motionless on the floor, blood spurting out of his chest and face. My mother knelt beside him, crying uncontrollably.
“What…what happened mum?” I asked, tears welling up in my eyes.
“A burglar came, he and your father fought, but….he…” she started, but couldn’t hold back her grief and continued sobbing, but stopped suddenly when she saw what was in my hands. It didn’t occur to me that I still had the diary in my hands. She then started coming towards me, as if she wanted to….oh no.
I ran up to my room and locked the door, my mother close behind, banging and demanding that I open it. I couldn’t believe it was her. All this time. She was the one who did everything. It was all clear, but so hard to believe.
Suddenly, the door swung open, and there she was, looking vengeful and ready to hurt me. I tried running past her, but she caught me and threw me across the room. Unsatisfied, she came up to me and wrapped her hand around my neck.
“Sweetheart, you shouldn’t have stayed awake that night. Had you gone back to sleep, none of this would be happening,” she said in a twisted, serial-killer manner. Her grip tightened as I struggled to breathe, kicking and hitting her, but she didn’t budge. A weird smile spread on her face as her eyes widened.
“insomnia is a terrible thing, especially for a boy your age. Don’t you worry; I’ll make sure you get all the sleep you deserve”. Those were the last words I ever heard. My vision blurred by the second, my heart slowed down and my lungs were giving in. Now I know how Mr. Rouell died, how he felt as he breathed his very last breath, knowing his time was up.
Insomnia is a terrible thing. I had watched enough horror movies to know that it never ended well for people like me, but not like this…not like this…