Sleeping Techniques for Insomniacs

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I took a deep breath and gently closed my eyes.


One sheep, two sheep, three sheep…

I sighed. I didn’t know how much time passed, but I must’ve counted eight hundred and twenty six sheep before I finally decided to give up.

I frowned. So much for "Sleeping Techniques for Insomniacs." I could’ve spent that money on some decent drugstore makeup. I mean, I probably look like a dead (undead?) zombie right now with the major dark circles under my eyes. I’m pretty darn sure the zombie chic style isn’t very popular. At least not now. Heck, maybe not ever. I groaned. That’s what I get for being sleep deprived.

I stopped thinking long enough to hear the soft rhythmic ticking of the clock on my desk. What time is it? I quickly sat up and turned to glance at the clock. It was approximately 2 in the morning.

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock…

Seconds felt like minutes and minutes felt like hours. I figured I wasn’t tired enough to fall asleep. With one swift motion, I slipped into my fuzzy bunny slippers and threw a blanket over my shoulders. I walked away from my bed and stared out the window.

I decided to look for stars, but the night sky appeared empty and unwelcoming, varying from shades of deep eggplant to pitch black. I listened, but the night was silent except for the rustling wind that sent shivers across my shoulders and chills down my spine. I quickly shut the window and held the blanket tighter around my body. The beautiful bright moon that once shone was now concealed by the dark gray clouds. I squinted, but there was not a single star in sight. All I could see was the faint silhouettes of tall pine trees.

I lived in this house for as long as I could remember. It was an old house, built across the woods.

In second grade, I envied the girl with the pretty brown hair tied in a silk ribbon. When she decided to be my friend, I was overly excited. Imagine the kid-version of me hopping up and down. My parents arranged a play date, but as soon as she got out of the car, her eyes widened and she refused to enter the house. Eventually, she left and I was disappointed.

“Mommy, daddy, how come she doesn’t want to play here?” I asked quietly.

My mother and father exchanged an amused glance and chuckled.

“Sweetie, it’s the same fear you get when you meet a new person or try a new food. She must feel nervous about a place she’s unfamiliar with.” My mother smiled as she gently gestured for me to sit next to her.

I sat down, preparing for story time when I asked, “Were you nervous when you moved here?”

My mother smiled again. “Yes, I was, but we were drawn in by the peculiar charm of the house. Even though it was old, we fell in love with it. We just had a feeling; it was perfect. This is where we agreed to settle down and start a family. That’s where you come in.”

My father placed his hand over my mother’s and she slowly closed her eyes and sighed. When she opened her eyes again, she stared far into the distance. A moment of nostalgia swept across her face as she reminisced about her younger days when she fell in love. My mother smiled at my father and my father smiled back.

A few years ago, trees were cut down to provide an area for the new park.

I remember my dad taking me to the park on Sunday afternoons. I recall the sweet scent of freshly cut grass, the joyous laughter of young children, and the taste of a melting popsicle on a sunny day. I used to wonder if the trees hurt when they were cut down. They must be ancient because their height never failed to amaze me. I would tilt my head and stare at the trees that seemed to dance with the clouds. Sometimes, I don’t even notice that I’m holding my breath until the back of my neck starts to hurt and then I stop to rest, but in my head, I’m still in awe, wondering what it’s like to be so old and tall. If wisdom comes with age, then those trees must be really dang smart.

But other people disagree. They’re afraid of the woods. No one stays after dark. They say that the woods are haunted. There are stories they tell. They say that when the night falls, there are terrifying creatures lurking among the trees, hungry and bloodthirsty. Some say that once you enter the night of the woods, you can never leave. There have been news reports of people gone missing. Witnesses claim that they were last seen by the woods, before the sun sets. A man was once rescued, but he had scratches on his face and strange carvings all over his body. The police questioned him, but all he could do was tremor and speak nonsense. His family suspected that the horrifying experience may have traumatized him and sent him to a mental hospital to receive help. Others simply just said that he turned crazy. Three weeks later, he committed suicide and-

I shivered again. Probably not the best idea to think about this at night. I stared out the window again and clutched onto the wrap of the blanket. I yawned and I felt my eyelids getting heavy. I must be feeling tired. I hurried back to my bed and crawled under the covers. Then I fell asleep.

Sigh. Did I wake up again? Well, everything’s still dark. How many hours did I sleep?

I tried to sit up and look at my clock. But I couldn’t. I tried to turn to my left. I tried to turn to my right. I couldn’t move.

What the heck? Am I dreaming or something? Of course it’s not a dream, this is exactly how my room looks. That’s the ceiling, that’s the paint on the wall chipping, that’s the window my dad couldn’t fix and that’s the ugly green sweater that my aunt got me last Christmas. I know I should be thankful, but it’s all bulky and ragged. Even the thought of it makes me itch. And it’s not even a traditional festive green. It’s like a cross between olive and-

I winced as a terrible stinging sensation paralyzed my entire body. I tried to move my pinky finger, but it started burning even more. I tried to kick with my left leg, but it wasn’t responding. It reminded me of competitive cheerleading in seventh grade, when I tried to do a flip but ending up spraining my ankle. It hurt back then when I tried to move it, but at this moment, everything felt painful to the touch.

What the heck is going on? Is this real or am I just-

There was something lurking over me. I felt it before I saw it. It was larger than a small child, but no larger than a man. It was heavy too. I felt as though a ton of jagged rocks were crushing my legs. The pressure increased until it reached my stomach. Then I saw it and I gasped.

I wanted to kick and punch, but my body was paralyzed and I couldn’t move. I wanted to scream, but I opened my mouth and no sound came out.

It was dark and ugly and had no face. It was a black hooded figure with no definite structure or shape. All I could see was its gleaming white eyes, reminding me of a dead person. Unlike human eyes, they had no irises. Their eyes were utterly white, except for the splotches of scarlet blood and the small black pupil in the center of each eye, blazing with hatred and desire. It was a monster.

Adrenaline rushed through my blood as my heart pounded with superhuman speed. Thoughts raced through my mind and I felt like I was driven to the state of insanity. A cold shiver ran down my spine, but my skin was burning on fire! I could hear my heart thumping with such intensity that my eardrums hurt. I smelled fear. My fear. My mouth felt dry, but all I could taste was my own fear.

Please, anyone! Help me! Make it go away! Anyone! Help me, please!

As it came closer, it pushed down hard on my chest. I could hardly breathe. There was a sick numbness that I couldn’t fight. It felt like I was dying. I started gasping for air and I became lightheaded. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pierce into my stomach and my eyes widened. It was like a pointed dagger jabbed into my stomach, cut through my skin, and ripped my organs out! I wanted to yelp, I wanted to scream, I wanted to cry. It was the most excruciating pain in my body and at that moment, I really wanted to die.

I opened my eyes again and it was gone. There was only the darkness of the night and the cool wind that blew across my forehead. I quickly sat up, gasping for air, choking and coughing. Sweat trickled from my forehead down to my neck. My palms were sweaty and shaky and I couldn’t manage to hold still. It was like I could still feel its presence, burned into the back of my mind. I didn’t realize I was crying until I tasted the salty tears running down my cheeks.

I jumped out of bed and ran across the hall. I clutched the blanket with one hand and gently knocked with the other.

“Mom? Dad? I can’t sleep,” my voice came out in a hoarse whisper.

No response. I pressed my right ear against the door. I heard maniacal laughter.

“Mom? Dad?” I called again. I twisted the door knob and pushed the door open.

The horrifying sight made my knees tremble and my stomach churn. I noticed that the carpeted floors were soaked with blood as I caught a glimpse of a lifeless body. Limbs were pulled apart and fingers were missing from the corpse’s pale hands. I gawked and quickly clamped my hand over my mouth. Their heads slowly turned around, glaring at me with their ghastly eyes that pierced into my soul. My father snapped the corpse’s head and bit into the flesh beneath the chin. My mother’s bloody lips curved into a wicked smirk.

“Would you like to join, sweetie?” Her sharp teeth snarled.





Join the Discussion

This article has 21 comments. Post your own now!

SandyC said...
Feb. 3, 2011 at 6:14 pm

wow. i literally have goosebumps...this story is amazingly terrifying

i also love the endingit was so unexpected

great job, the descriptions were also great, the image you gave me of the monster will probably give me nightmares for months

keep writing !

 
Annerdy replied...
Feb. 3, 2011 at 8:23 pm
Ha! I'm glad you enjoyed it, but now I'm feeling a little guilty because nightmares aren't exactly good things. (: I've been experimenting with different genres, seeing which one I like best. Take care and don't get too scared! D: 
 
koolwords said...
Feb. 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I liked the story. It had a nice flow and I didn't expect the ending at all. The one thing I would suggest is getting rid of unecessary discription, because sometimes it does add to the character and the situation but other times it makes a story drag. So, just be careful beucase it's a very fine line between description and over kill.

But on the whole I thought it was a pretty decent story.

 
Annerdy replied...
Feb. 3, 2011 at 8:20 pm
I see what you mean. It starts rambling off after a while, huh? I've been debating whether or not I should change it, but some people think the rambling is adding humor to the story. I guess there's no way I can make everybody happy, but I'd definitely take your suggestion into consideration. Thanks for your critique! I really appreciate it. :]
 
charmiypiggy said...
Feb. 1, 2011 at 5:07 am
Please go to the forum to get the edited story; it won't fit in this one.
 
charmiypiggy said...
Feb. 1, 2011 at 2:47 am
I really liked the last bit. It was awesome, and pretty unexpected. Though you could have used somewhat better words for some parts of it. Your descriptions are good, though maybe you should add a bit more for the scary bits. I think you should change some parts, though. They don't quite sound right, somehow. If you want me to edit it, just let me know.
 
Annerdy replied...
Feb. 1, 2011 at 2:58 am
Thanks for your critique! Sure, I'd be grateful if you helped me edit it. There are probably many things that I could've done better, but sometimes it's hard to notice those flaws in our own writing unless readers point them out. I really appreciate your honesty. :] It would be great to improve my writing. Is there anything you would like me to read?
 
KK2013 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 31, 2011 at 8:45 pm

LOLOLOL! that was awesome.. not what I was expecting from the title.... this is like, Area 51 kind of writing. I kinda had a feeling that the person would end up being an alien, something about your tone gave it away.

you had a wonderful sense of your own style, however, I would have liked it more if the sentences were more varied in lengths.

Great one!

 
Annerdy replied...
Feb. 1, 2011 at 3:01 am
Something about my tone gave it away? Ha, I must be getting predictable now. :] Actually, that might not be too much of a good thing. Thanks for your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'll take your suggestions into consideration. :)
 
KatWolf said...
Jan. 17, 2011 at 6:37 pm
Oh...my....god. I did NOT see that coming. I'm usually not one for horror, but this was really interesting. But I do feel that there are a few random bits in there. I liked the bit about the zombie eyes, I thought that was funny, but I'm wondering why you titled it "Sleeping Techniques for Insomniacs" because it really had nothing to do with sleeping (in my opinion) and usually I like reminiscing in stories, but make sure all the memories are put to use, for example, I wondered why the character... (more »)
 
Annerdy replied...
Jan. 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm
Thanks for your feedback! That was really helpful. (: Honestly, I'm not really sure I named it "Sleeping Techniques for Insomniacs" but it was the only thing that came to mind. I think the story would be a lot clearer if I could get it to italicize correctly. I'm no good with html codes, so I decided to just leave it the way it is before I humiliate myself in a failed attempt. :] You're right; details are important parts of stories. I will definitely revise my work. Thank you again. (:
 
AgnotTheOdd said...
Jan. 16, 2011 at 12:44 am
I liked the style of it, I even enjoyed the humorous tangents (but that's just cuz im that sort of person [with this shortcoming too], in a technical sense, it might be a good idea to stay on task).  The twist at the end was bizarre, in a good way.  I do however, feel a little lost in some of it, though maybe that was your intent.  Like the twist seemed to come out of nowhere - or maybe im just overlooking something.  In either case, this was very enjoyable.
 
xxSlimShadyxx said...
Jan. 14, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Wow, dude, frightening.

I actually kind of love how she rambled about the sweater, no writing is complete without a little comedy.

 

Anyway, I really liked this. Very creepy :)

 
AEAluvsanimals said...
Jan. 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Wow, scary.

 This was a really great , and dark peice.

However, she kind of rambled on and on about her zombie eyes thing and the green sweater

Very good, though!

 

 
Annerdy replied...
Jan. 14, 2011 at 2:20 am
Thanks! I really appreciate your feedback(:
 
NiftyChristyyy said...
Jan. 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm
My friend linked me to this story and I was too lazy to read because it looked really long but it was sooo worth it. I LOVED THIS
 
goofygoober said...
Jan. 11, 2011 at 11:58 pm

woahh that was scary 

is sleep paralysis or w/e real though

 
Annerdy replied...
Jan. 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm
Umm...you could totally Google it. My experiences would be different from yours, so I really can't say for sure, ya know what I mean? But there's a wikipedia page on that topic and it's really interesting to read if you have some time on your hands. If you're easily scared, then I wouldn't recommend that, because reading that stuff freaked me out for a couple of days, haha. :]
 
Jennifer123 said...
Jan. 11, 2011 at 11:54 pm
wow, this made it hard for me to sleep at night! i really like the twist in the ending. the imagery was amazing. i could feel everything that happened to the main characters.
 
youngpilot replied...
Jan. 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm

i feel so stupid, but what does insomniacs mean? i know right, the medical nerd doesnt know a medical term.

It was soo good! the twist at teh end was creeepy. thats why i generally tend to hang with guys, even though im a girl. hahaha. its really good.

i love reading other peoples work and commenting on it, something i really have never been able to do, so if youd like i will try and read your work, but i dont really do poetry and it will prob take a bit for a novel.

&nbs... (more »)

 
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