I yawned and Jason and Miriam followed the pattern. Amber was on her phone, stimulating her senses, Jason was watching an action movie, and Miriam was writing. I was drawing.
Being the rebellious teenagers that we were, we decided to challenge the socially enforced law that we can not stay awake for more than sixty hours or else “bad things will happen”. Except we know the law is no more than a story to tell to little kids to make them fall asleep at their bedtime. The consequences of disobeying are that you start to remember who you were in your past lives, like deja vu. The more tired you become, the stronger the memory gets.
Visions were coming and going between us four. It was Amber’s turn to become hallucinated with her past. It took almost five minutes this time, getting longer the closer we get to the sixtieth hour. She looked at me as the trance broke, confused. I couldn’t find the words to ask what happened, so I shoot an inquisitive look. She shakes her head. Sometimes, we weren’t able to explain it.
Collectively, we have been to medieval England, pre-colonial North America, in both World Wars, seen the assassination of John F. Kennedy, every decade between 1960 and 2020, the Civil War, to the moon, the birth of Abraham Lincoln, been around the world and back, and been other animals. Amber and I were talking about our last memory when Jason starts yelling from the other room.
“What is it?” I asked as we enter the room.
“Help!” Jason yelled, kneeling over Miriam, who is having a seizure on the floor. Amber and I dropped to the floor to try to do something.
Miriam gasped and sat up, choking. The cloud has gone from her eyes and we know she’s back. Fear is in her eyes. She teared up and threw herself into Amber’s arms. Jason and I sat back, hearing her sob. She had been a prisoner and was tortured for what seemed like months to her, even though she wasn’t gone for ten minutes.
We waited for the next victim, all silently wondering if we were friends with Miriam in the past, or if something worse was coming.
Jason was next to start shaking, foam coming out of his mouth. We all tried to turn him on his side, but he kept moving so wildly that we could only turn him for a few seconds before we were struggling again. After around fifteen minutes, his eyes closed, leading him into a deep sleep. We talked amongst ourselves and decided we should let him sleep. We knew that if he had another seizure like he did, we wouldn’t be able to save him. Miriam was still recovering from her last memory when she seized again. I had no time to react when Amber crashed to the floor and started to shake. I reached for her when my vision went black.
A room appeared in perfect view, the clearest vision that I had so far. It was like those dreams that leave you wondering if it happened when you woke up. Except, I was sure I wasn’t going to wake up this time. I blinked and looked around the room. There was a silence in the room, and it was deafening, like the sound when you’re underwater, only a million times more. I sat on a hospital bed, needles with tubes stuck in me like a voodoo doll. A piercing pain shot through my head as I tried to sit up, and I fell back on the pillow. I tried again, this time pulling on the handles of the bed. An alarm that sounded like a fire alarm went off all around the room. I clutched my ears, but the alarm went off as a womanly figure stood in the doorway. I squinted my eyes to see her face.
“Hello, my darling.” Her voice was cold but coated in fake sugar.
“What is this?” I pleaded.
“You don’t know? This is where you go when naughty little children like you go when you stay up past your bedtime.” She had on a nurses outfit, not the ones at the actual hospital, but the ones at the costume store. She had on rubber gloves and a needle in one hand.
“Your friends didn’t make it, but let’s see if you do.” She cleaned off my arm with a cold liquid. “Nighty night, love.” She said, sticking the large needle inside my vein. Then, I was falling down a well, cold and humid. I tried to grasp for anything of substance, but I couldn’t reach anything around me. It was pitch black where I was, but I did see some light at the bottom. I thought I was falling hard, but at the bottom, I landed gently on my feet. Before me was a room filled with children’s toys, giant teddy bears and colourful pillows lined the walls. A train track ran through the room. In the middle was a girl with pigtails and a pink dress on. The door closest to me opened and a lady peered in.
“Daddy and I are leaving now sweetie. Your babysitter just got here and will be up to play before your bedtime. Be good, okay? Mwah,” she said as she blew kisses. The girl hardly payed attention. As soon as her mother walked out, she pulled out a bottle of pills. She cracked open a pill and poured the powder into a teacup. Just then, the babysitter walked in, all smiles.
“Come have tea with me!” the little girl yelled excitedly from across the room.
“Okay Jazzy!” She drank the tea and soon crashed to the floor.
“Nighty night,” Jazzy replied to the body.
In shock, I realized this was the child who grew into the nurse. I stumbled backward, and tripped over something. The girl heard me and smiled. I knew this was the end.