3:14 AM

Flash Fiction Challenge 100 – Day 98

Photo by Johny Goerend on UNSPLASH.

Days later, I will remember this was the night I first peered inside the SUV, the flashing blue lights.

My sleep patterns are not nearly as satisfying as they once were. I used to adore my sleep. Now, it seems the fairy has grown stingy with her sand. I sleep only fitfully, sporadically. Usually, I wake in the middle of the night.

I wake. I pick up my phone, praying it’s at least 5:00 AM so that it won’t be so sharply sad when I open my notebook and begin writing.

3:14 AM. Isn’t that the witching hour? There are some folkloric, mythic associations with some time in the fourth hour of each new day. I make a mental note to research this later while knowing I won’t.

I lay back among tonight’s unique constellation of pillows. I sleep with nine pillows. I’m a huggy sleeper, and I live alone. At least my arms get a manufactured sense of intimacy with the assortment of pillows I have. None of them match, and it’s perfect that way. As I shift from position to position, I become a genius at sleepily reconstructing them into the shifting, optimally comfortable position. The small buckwheat pillow wedged slightly under my hips when I’m on my side. My body pillow I hug with my arms and legs. When I’m on my back the two firmest ones are stacked beneath my knees.

I arrange the pillows for sleeping on my side, but a few minutes later, I realize that sleep has again abandoned me for the night. I sigh in frustration as I kick away my carefully constructed structure of pillows and sheets.

Witching hour or not, it looks like I’m up, and if I’m up, especially at this hour, it means I’m writing.

I should stretch, I think as I walk to my kitchen. I want to make coffee, but I have no creamer. I ought to learn to drink it black again. I have done so at different times, but for now, I like it pretty white.

I remember the convenience store on the corner, so I slip on my gray shorts and shoes, let myself out of my apartment, lock the door behind me.

The air on the stairs is already warm and muggy. Once I’m away from the building, walking through the parking lot, the air seems cooler and dryer. It’s pleasant, and I’m grateful for my health and this time and this weather and,

Oh My God, this moon!

The moon is a rotund, fat butterball tonight. It’s a lovely light, pregnant with possibilities and creativity. I’m no longer frustrated that I’m awake and about to be writing; I’m grateful.

Rather than disgust that I couldn’t sleep, I find things to appreciate in this quiet time in the middle, the moon, the familiar ache and creak of my joints as I walk to the corner store.

I wander through the refrigerated section until I find the creamer. I add to that an oversized banana walnut muffin that I don’t need.

“That’ll be $4.57,” the clerk says as he smiles at me.

These less-traveled hours somehow bring out the best (or the worst) in people. Or is it that the middle of the night people, those working tirelessly through the night in the convenience stores and other such places for the perpetually sleepless folks like myself.

Later, I will remember this night and wonder if the clerk somehow hypnotized me into doing what they said I did. But then I will hear the blue light voice, and I will laugh at the absurdity of that idea.

The SUV is backed into a spot in the corner of the parking lot. A soft blue pulsating light is coming from inside. I’m guessing it’s some indicator of an alarm system doing its thing.

the flashing blue lights,

bashing flue nights,

I take a few steps towards the vehicle; the moonlight is doing wonders for its complexion. I feel mesmerized, captured by Sirene’s song as I make my way home.

Then I stop, arrested by some thought about seeing some frightful figure sitting up inside the car crashes through my mind. Maybe a wraith with impossibly long bone-white fingers might appear inside the SUV. Or perhaps someone restrained, bound, and gagged, leaning forward to the limits of her ropes, pleading for help with her eyes impossibly wide.

I take several deep breaths to calm my nerves. I step to the SUV.

I hear something from within.

Some shrill voice in my head is advising me to walk away. Just go home, make your silky-sweet coffee write your silly stories, and then do what you can to get back to sleep, but GO!

I don’t go. The voice I hear from within the SUV syncopates with the flashing blue lights,

the bashing flue blights,

dashing glue fights,

on and on it goes. It speaks in rhyme without reason or a narrative to which my mind can attach. It is words and images and a nonsensical stream of consciousness from some soothing alien presence within the car.

the slashing crew bites,

gnashing dew mites,

I go away without leaving. I stand there for I have no idea how long.

I turn to make my way home, but then I go away again. I intend to go only to my apartment, but clearly, this is what the police tell me, that I stopped at an unlocked apartment first.

The two detectives showed me the pictures.

the crashing shrew nights,

dashing new kites,

They were hoping to shock me into a confession. And I would confess, but I don’t remember a thing.

They showed me the bloody clothes. The black ‘This Is My Writing Shirt’ with its annoying all caps pretentious message looks smeared in red wine. They tell me it’s not wine.

I’m sleeping much better now. I can still hear the bashing flue light’s voice from within the SUV. It’s speaking to me.

It tells me things. It is showing me what is coming within the next two days. It’s going over and over about something that will happen at 12:47 PM on Wednesday. They will be transporting me back to my cell then after my outdoor time. The officer will stop, chest pains. Then I will have a moment, but it will be enough. If I bring my forehead down rapidly, as the voice has shown me, that guard won’t be a problem anymore.

Then I can run.

the dashing new sights,

The voice has told me exactly what will happen, where I will be able to hide.

It tells me I’ve proven myself as a worthy partner and that we have a lot of work to do. I only have one pillow here, but still, I sleep well as I’m serenaded to dreamland by the shimmery, blue light voice from the SUV that is parked miles away. I can hardly wait until I can again stand beside it in the light of the full moon and listen to its monstrous rhymes of mayhem and madness.


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