posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 03:05 PM
The only sound that could be heard in the tiny apartment was the slow, repetitive drip of the bathroom faucet and the occasional cough and grunt
emanating from the haggard man standing over the sink, peering into the scum-flecked mirror.
Yellow incandescent light gave his drawn face a jaundiced appearance, casting shadows under his deep-set eyes that emphasized the bags that were under
them. Hal Tenant had gotten used to looking as though he never got more than a token amount of sleep on a regular basis, but today the look was
extremely unflattering; the nightmares were getting worse, and he knew that there was only one way to make them stop, at least for a little while;
he'd put it off for far too long this time.
His haunted eyes seemed to be begging him to grant them respite from the storm of torment that had been assaulting them for weeks. Another drip from
the faucet echoed in the small, yet acoustically gifted bathroom as Hal spit the remaining toothpaste from his mouth and splashed his face with the
pooled water that had been in the basin.
The graying, dark brown hair on his head was beginning to recede, only adding to his less-than-youthful appearance.
"God. I look like crap." He muttered while studying the contents of the mirror's reflection. "I need to get some sleep tonight!"
Sleep; the one thing that he desired, yet also the one thing that he constantly allowed himself to be deprived of, would have to be allowed to
come soon, but his conscience would have to bear the burden of that luxury.
It was the screams that haunted him the most. The nightmares were permeated by them, along with plenty of gore, but it was the screams that caused him
to wake repeatedly during the long, unforgiving nights. Could he bear another night of it? He wasn't sure that he could, and that would mean heeding
the call of the images in his subconscious mind; he would have to kill if he truly wanted to be able to sleep tonight.
As he sat, half-dressed, on the edge of his bed, Hal tried to justify his thoughts to himself. If I just have a couple energy shots, I could get
through the day, but tonight, he thought, that would be a horse of a different color. He shook his head in disgust.
It didn't seem to matter how many pills he took, how much booze he drank, or how much reading he did; if he ignored the demands of the dreams, he
didn't sleep; it really was that simple.
His hands were shaking as he buttoned his shirt and put on his tie; I can't fight it much longer. he reasoned. It can't be helped.
With a flick of his finger, Hal extinguished the lights of the small domicile and stood in the darkened doorway.
"I'm sorry." he told himself. "Someone will die tonight, and I'm truly sorry."
Closing the front door behind him, Hal made his way to where his car was parked.
The jingling of his keys in his front pocket suddenly ceased, and Hal became transfixed as a woman walked past where he was standing; he couldn't
tell if she was attractive or not, but the over-sized headphones that adorned her head told him that she was perfect.
With a speed that denied his slouchy, out-of-shape physique, Hal lunged at her.
The struggle had been brief and futile on the woman's behalf, as Hal had gained the initiative due to her hearing being compromised; he had knocked
her down from behind and pummeled her out of consciousness.
As he dragged her prone form back toward his front door, Hal stopped to regain his breath and to fumble for his cellphone; with one arm, he managed to
half-drag the woman and with the other, he dialed a number.
"Yes, Sally? This is Hal Tenant. I'm feeling under the weather, so I don't think I'll be making it in today."
There was a short beep as the call ended and Hal continued dragging the nameless woman to her destiny. Hal knew that this was only a temporary
solution to his problem and that the cycle would restart itself soon enough, but it was a fact that he'd become accustomed to, almost as accustomed
as he'd become to losing sleep for long periods of time.
But tonight, Hal was going to get some well-deserved sleep.