Walls

“Stupid wall.” Paul inhaled deeply, bags dark under his eyes. He hadn’t even noticed until he was in front of a mirror. The darkness just crept up and suddenly it was nearly as large as his eyes.

He put a hand on his face and sat down, burying his head in his knees. “I’m supposed to be sleeping better. Dreaming better. I can’t do this.”

The wall was tall, brick, thick mortar, and seemingly impossible to scale. He had been there some time trying to think of what he could do to get around it, including kicking it. His shin and knee still hurt from the impact. “Dig?” He looked at his hands then at the base of the wall. Anything sounded like a good idea at that point. He sniffled and closed his eyes. They were so heavy, but it didn’t matter. The fatigue, the weight of his eyelids, none of it mattered, because the moment he drifted off to sleep he would wake up. Even the sleep medications couldn’t stop him. He wrote for three hours after having laid in bed for an hour after taking Zzzquil. “Damn it,” he muttered.

His fingers ran through his short beard multiple times until something made sense. He itched at it and sniffed again, then walked to the wall and leaned his head against it. The rough texture ripped at his hair. He put the palm of his hand against the red structure. “Damn you.” A fist weakly pounded on it once, then twice, and finally a third time before Paul gave up. “Why can’t I sleep? Why won’t you go away? Why do I have to dream.”

A voice from behind him caused him to pause. The voice was smooth, a man’s voice, “What if I had the cure.”

Paul Turned around, leaning his shoulders against the wall and slowly slipping down the brick. It lifted his shirt. “Cure?” He pressed his thumb against his right nostril and blew out hard on his left, snot flying out and onto the grass. “What cure?”

“To your sleep. To your dreams. You will have neither.” The man was short, perhaps four foot. He wore a black suit and tie with a red shirt. Black hair was slicked back into a duck tail and his eyes seemed to glow yellow.

With a sigh, he stood and approached the short man. “I’m not sure I like where this is going.”

“You don’t like where anything is going. What is it you told your friend? If your path isn’t working try something new.”

He laughed. “True. So true.” In front of the short man, he fell to his knees, staring at the grass as best he could. Nothing wanted to focus. “So damned true.”

“You seem dismayed.” He pulled out a needle and looked through the cylinder, filled with a clear liquid. He pushed the plunger and some of the liquid squirted out. “Here is the solution.”

“Morphine? Vicodin?” Paul ran a hand through his hair. “Is it worth it?”

“There are better things. You could feel alive. You could conquer the world.”

“I could die in a ditch.” Paul stood up. “It’s just a stupid wall.”

“It’s just your health, your care, your needs. Can you put a price on that? Without sleep, you’ll go insane.”

Paul smirked and started walking away from the wall. “To be insane? I’ve been a little bit insane for a good long while. Why half ass it?” He shambled off and the little man turned to smoke.

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