The first sleepless night was a horizontal mambo of tossing and turning across my bed. My head ached. My eyelids weighed a thousand pounds as the sun light pushed through the curtains.
After slogging through my morning routine, the commute to work was an exercise in futility. Every few miles, there was an accident on the side of the road. Police, ambulances, and tow trucks flew passed the stand-still traffic.
From fender benders to multi-car pileups, the roads were a disaster. Amidst the traffic on the roadways, I struggled with lightheadedness as I inched forward for miles in a feeble attempt to make it into work. It was a miracle that I was only two hours late.
The majority of my co-workers hadn’t made it in. Those that did show up, did so with ragged faces, slumped shoulders, and purple bags under their eyes. Staring into our computer screens all day was a misery. I was exhausted and could have fallen asleep but I didn’t. No one else did either. While waiting in line for coffee, the conversations I overheard were all about how no one slept a wink that night.
No one would for the next seven days.
The constant irritability, the chronic fatigue, and the hellish burning in my eyes were a minor inconvenience compared to the malaise, the pounding headaches, and the tremors in my hands.
After the third day, without so much as a microsecond of a catnap, my cognitive functions began to break down. Out of the corners of my eyes, there was a white haze floating. When I turned, it wouldn’t be there anymore. It would be just out of my vision again.
The ceiling fan in my bedroom spoke. I could hear it talking with unintelligible words. In a rage that left me even more exhausted, I ripped it down from the ceiling and threw it into the trash. The air conditioner came on but I had to suffer through the sounds of its chilling demonic growls.
By the fifth day, The President stuttered through addressing the nation with globs of smeared and uneven makeup unable to cover up the age and fatigue on his face. His focus waned with each word. The government declared martial law in the wake of riots from the ongoing “Sleep Crisis” that had consumed the world. Citizens were ordered to stay in their homes and rest.
I watched the collapse of civilization on television for the next forty-eight hours straight.
On the seventh day, the exhaustion was too much. Every thought and feeling, too overwhelming and unfocused. The tremors too constant. The anxiety, the stress, the constant haze of distorted consciousness, were driving me insane.
It was all too much. Then I found the solution.
Drawing up a warm bath, I laid back in the tub and dragged the blade of a knife deep into my wrist. It was pain at first but soon I was lightheaded and drifting off into beautiful eternal sleep.