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An Open Letter to Those Deprived of Sleep



Estimated reading time — 4 minutes

I can’t fall asleep. Not for the reason you may think. This isn’t “I ate too much before bed, and now I can’t stop trying to try to fall asleep”- no. I am incapable of sleep. I have chosen to reject sleep. This is not my life spiraling into chaos. I know what you’re thinking, because I’ve thought it before. Grease seeps down my skin as I write this. My broken eyes scream for relief, but I know I can’t.

I’ve elected to sleep in shifts. Scheduled intervals of timed sleep. A psychological study showed that the average human can last up to fourteen days before they drop dead. It takes the average human fifteen minutes to fall asleep, and roughly one and a half hours to slip into rem sleep. So, every thirteen days (just to be safe) you must schedule a three-hour long sleep.

Just enough to survive.

As little time to dream as possible.

I can’t fall asleep. And now, presumably, neither can you.

To whoever reads this, you are the reason I have elected not to commit suicide. Letter has given my torment purpose. Knowing that somewhere, sometime, someone will suffer as I have suffered, and search high and low for answers and come up with nothing but patronizing diagnoses and babbling madmen- someone will think, as I have, that they are alone in their suffering. But you, reader, please take solace in knowing that I have felt your disillusionment and I share your fear.

I’m no longer able to enjoy my life for myself. Activities alone feel like feverish bouts of amnesia. Activities with loved ones feels like an exercise in schizophrenia. I know what they’re thinking. I FEEL what they’re thinking. But unlike the bums, downers, and mad, I cannot allow myself to sleep for fear of what lies beyond the empty veil of dreams.

I sleep, and then wake to the same beginning. An empty hotel of some sort. Its design is as vibrant and flawless as it is unsettling and oppressive. I walk forwards as I always have. Because I know what lies behind. I can’t recall the first time I found out, but I’ve always known.

Do not alert it to your presence.

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Do not stay put.

I’ve tried doing such and suffered the infinite consequences many times. Walk forward down the seemingly infinite stretch of corridors. Each one bending to a different direction. Don’t try to memorize the layout, as it seems to change every time. The doors are just as infinite as they are pointless. All are locked, and the ones that aren’t just lead to more hallway.

Now this next step will frighten you, but I can’t stress it enough.

When the chimes toll, turn around and run as fast as you can in the other direction.

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Don’t be swayed by anything it may say. Sometimes the thoughts in your mind will betray you, don’t be fooled. Run in the other direction. It may try to sway you with voices of people you know. It may come in the form of a parent singing a childhood lullaby, it may claim to be a spouse or loved one being violently assaulted, and sometimes it doesn’t say anything at all.

The silence becomes so much, you begin to hear your intestines churning as clockwork. The sound of blood being pumped through your veins becomes as loud as a sawmill. Sometimes the air you breathe sounds as a lamb as it’s crushed into a meat processor.

Do not turn around.

Once you endure your three hours, you can return to waking life.

I have failed these instructions too many times to count. I’ve turned around and seen it.

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I’ve seen its fleshy fiery form. Its coagulated muscles flexing and contorting around a blinding center. and I’ve seen the shapeless hell that awaits you. The closer it gets to you, tearing and erasing its way through the corridors, seemingly in the blink of an eye, every cell populating your body becomes torn apart. Separated, it begins twisting and contorting around every bone, every vein, every nerve- snapping, bending, tearing, ripping. It rearranges your shape and structure, and you feel every bit of it.

Once it tires of your predictable agony, it begins drawing you into itself. It forms its tendrils to hook itself into you- your disembodied screams becoming deafening- as it weaves its way into its searing core. Barbs upon prongs upon bristles upon membranes puncturing into what once was considered a part of you. Every inch of the flesh consumed, but still aware. Crushing you into paste only to be fully assimilated into itself as it continues to stalk other victims. It uses your mouth to form voices, in tongues and words you’ve never thought to speak. It violates of you at once, only to use your pain as momentum to move it forwards. You have no ability to move, no ability to speak, no ability to breathe and no capacity to comprehend. You’ve only the torment of knowing and feeling what is happening to you and watching as it uses you to do the same to others.

Others will think you’re a depraved soul begging for attention. Or a madman who’s in need of a doctor. And maybe you’ll start to believe them. I know what you’re thinking I KNOW what you’re thinking. But you are not like them.
With them, they let their illness speak for themselves. It’s a tumorous line of thinking hell-bent on its own preservation, even at the behest of its host.

But with you… oh you. My poor suffering cohort, hopefully I can help you.

Perhaps this letter will arrive before the hellscape has come to you. But it will. And you must spend every waking moment preparing for it. We are different from the rest, my friend. Our nightly chases have set us apart from the rest.
We are pioneers. We may be the first who’ve peeked beyond the curtain of the great beyond and seen the indescribable visions waiting before us; but rest assured, we will not be the last.

Credit : Edwin H. Staten

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