You know, you may not miss something until it’s gone. Then you are grateful for what you had and would do almost anything to get it back.
Frank knew this all too well. The thing he missed was his sleep. He sat at his kitchen table with his second cup of coffee this morning, the morning which started extra earlier than normal. They usually did most days; in fact, if he was being honest, he can’t remember the last decent night of sleep he had. With these early mornings, he only had the energy to use his imagination of a solid night’s rest.
It wasn’t always this way. It has been happing for over a month now. It started with taking longer and longer to fall sleep. Something he didn’t really catch onto until it got to the hour mark. Then came the waking up in the middle of the night. They were scattered when it came to the times. Never before 12 A.M. and never after 5 in the morning. The past week he has had the fond time for the 3 o clock hour when nobody should be awake. It would usually end with him staring wide-eyed at the ceiling until he decided he was tired of that and got up for coffee.
That leads him back to what is slowly becoming his new morning routine. He realizes it and hates it, he’s trying to not think about too much. He wasn’t much for overthinking things, but this had gone for some time now and had gotten worse by the week. He thought of everything that could have been messing with his sleep. He had many conversations with his wife, Stacy.
Stacy was a nurse at the local hospital, she had a few ideas of what could be doing it. It was the same thing everybody knew. Work is stressful, eating late, and things like that. Of course, he had thought of these things in his new morning routine. The thing was work was fine, it was better than it had ever been. He just finished law school almost six months ago and recently got a job in a small lawyer’s office in an even smaller town. He was quite surprised that they even had a law office, let alone hire somebody. Frank didn’t ask too many questions. He was very grateful for his job. It made it even better because the hospital Stacy worked in was in the same town. You couldn’t ask for a better job placement. As for the eating before bed. He and Stacy had gotten into fitness when they were dating and stuck with pretty good. They didn’t even drink coffee often enough to own a coffee machine. Frank had bought one about two weeks ago and walked in with it after work. It was one of those Keurig coffee makers. The ones with the single pod of coffee. Stacy drank tea. She wasn’t one coffee either. She always said it was society’s acceptable addiction.
His thoughts about new coffee habits were broken when he heard the faint footsteps of his wife walk into the kitchen. Even though he was a little grumpy from lack of sleep, she always managed to bring a smile to his face whenever she walked into the room. He saw her slim figure walk into the room, her messy blonde hair shined off the light.
“Good morning, babe,” she said. Her voice was soft and light, like her footsteps walking into the room. She was very concerned about Frank. She could tell how tired and out of energy he was. She walked over and gave him a forehead kiss.
“Good morning, hun,” Frank replied. “I see you sleep pretty good.” He stood up and brushed through her messy hair. All the early morning thinking was worth it just to see her wake every morning.
She picked up his cup of coffee and took a drink.” You know I could get used to this with a little sugar.” She would be okay with anything he tried that was trying to fix his sleep problem. She had thought about talking to him about going to a sleep doctor. She didn’t know the exact name, so they were just sleeping doctors to her. “Rough night again,” she said.
“Yeah, like the night before.”
“I’m sorry, I can start getting up when you do so you don’t have to sit here alone.”
“No way, there’s no sense in you losing sleep, too,” he said.
“I know, it just makes me feel awful I can’t help you, but it’s the least I can do.”
“That’s sweet, but I would rather you sleep. You need all the beauty sleep you can get.” He still managed to look on the bright side of things despite the lack of sleep.
Her mouth dropped then gave a small laugh. “Oh, whatever.” She gave him a little smack on the shoulder. “I’m going to go get ready for work.”
Frank went over the coffee maker, threw out the old pod, and replaced and made another cup.
After finishing his second cup of coffee, Stacy walked back into the kitchen, wearing her navy scrubs.
“I’m about to leave, hun.”
Frank stood up and hugged her. “Have a good day.” He gave her a kiss on the forehead and handed her her purse. “Be careful, drive safe.”
“You too, see you this evening.” She then walked out of the door and left.
Frank then got into the routine of getting ready. He showered, and when he was done, he stood in front of the sink to brush his teeth. Looking into the mirror, he noticed that his eyes were looking a little baggy. He wasn’t very surprised; in fact, he thought that they were pretty good considering the little sleep he was getting recently. He hoped that nobody would notice and finished getting ready.
After making one final tie adjustment, he grabbed his keys and briefcase and headed to the door. Locking the door behind him, he climbed into his truck. He did drive a truck, a nice F-150. Of course, Stacy put an argument about how bad they can be for the environment. Even though Frank had told her that only the big trucks were bad for the environment. However, they compromised on him getting the eco boost model of the truck. He thought it wasn’t such a bad thing, better gas milage saving some money. Besides, he wasn’t someone who worked out of their truck, he was just a city boy with a country itch that came in the form of a new truck.
They lived in a small town, and he and Stacy both had to drive to the next town over for their Jobs. It was only a twenty or twenty-five-minute drive. Even though the town they worked in was small to it was just slightly bigger than the one they lived in. Almost to the point where Frank noticed the exact same time cars going work every morning at the same and the same place on the road.
He did kind of like this, he used to live close to Atlanta and traffic was a nightmare, so this huge changed was kind of nice. No sitting at a standstill for forty- five minutes, but now moving at fifty miles an hour on a normal road compared to two six-plus lanes of traffic. They call that kind of thing a cultural shock. This was something he heard about in college from a few friends he had made. Frank went to his local college, then moving away for law school. Stacy, however, had lived in Florida and had moved up to the local Atlanta college Frank had gone to, which is where they meet each other. They didn’t marry until they had settled into the small town. Frank did enjoy the way of relaxed life that came with the small town.
Frank’s drive to work was very peaceful. On the way, he was able to see the sunrise over the Appalachian Mountains. It was so beautiful; he never got a view like this in the city. The only views he knew where those of parking lots and roadways. He loved the change of scenery. He was also trying to fight the constant yawns from the lack of sleep he got last night. Just like passing the same cars on the road had become normal, fighting the urge to close his eyes while driving also felt like it was becoming normal. He found himself Turing up the radio more and more every morning.
After countless yawns, Frank finally made it to work. He worked in a small lawyer’s office.
“Mornin’, Frank,” the receptionist said. Her name was Lesia. She was an older lady. She wore leopard print glasses, which sat low on the edge of her nose and had slightly graying hair.
“Morning,” Frank said as he walked by. Lesia was a really nice lady. When he first moved into town on slow days in the office, they had some good conversations. One of the first things they had talked about was how she said, “pop.” Because he didn’t call it pop back home. Most of the time they just called it Coke. Even if it wasn’t Coke, you were drinking. Compared to what they call it here, it’s pop. They had many conversations about the cultural differences from the big city to the rural areas.
After their morning ritual, Frank headed to his desk. There were only two other attorneys there at the office, the owner of the firm, so he had is own office to himself, and we only saw him a handful of times throughout the day. His name was Rhett Jones. He was a good enough boss. In his mid-fifties with thinning black hair that was losing color as time went on in a job that can be stressful at times. That was something that he had told him when he had first started. Frank wasn’t sure that in a town as small as this could be stressful. He assumed most cases were over land disputes or drugs, nothing too crazy. Frank told James that, and he said he was right most of the time, that was the case, but maybe a few times a year, something will happen that just shocks the town. He gave me an example.
He said last year sometime in April there was a triple murder in town. And that did surprise Frank, a place where everybody knew each other, and something like that happened, but he continued from there. It was a family of four. Mother, father, and two daughters. The oldest just starting college and was home for the weekend. The other just started high school. James gave a small pause to think about what to say next. He said the mother of the family just snapped. She had shot her whole family one night. Still, yet James continued. How could there be more to the story, how could things get worse from here? Frank thought. However, things did, in fact, get worse. When police arrived, not only did she shoot at one of the officers hitting his car. But when she was finally arrested, the police had found that she had forced the kids into bed and covered them up before shooting them in the head. He could not believe such a crime could even be possible in a small place like this. Hopefully, this town doesn’t drive you insane.
Frank was glad he didn’t have any cases like that yet. Frank has had the stuff I would call normal compared to that story James told him. He said it was one of the worst crimes the town has ever seen.
The other person Frank worked with was another attorney. So his desk was on the other side of the room. They had a lot of space, so it didn’t feel like he was cramped in a cubicle. A lot of times when no clients was in the office we would just talk about anything while we was doing paperwork or working on the computer. His name was Stephen Bridges. When Frank first meet him he said just call him Steve and stuck out his hand for a shake. He was quite a tall man with a full head of jet-black hair and thin beard professional looking beard. We instantly got along with each other. We were pretty good friends at this point and we worked well together. We often would do things outside of work to. He had a girlfriend and sometimes he would asked if me and Stacy would like get dinner together. Since we had just moved to town we both thought it would be a good idea to get to know some new people. Even Stacy and Steves girlfriend hit it off too and they became friends. It was a regular thing for all four of us to go see the new movie out in the theater or recently he invited over to his house to play poker. He had a poker set and after him beating me a couple of times Frank had shook the rust off and was able to call his bluffs. Stacy and his girlfriend didn’t know much, so basically, it was just the two men seeing who was better at poker.
Frank looked over at his desk and saw he wasn’t there. Steve was always pushing when it came to coming in for work. James stayed the latest in the day and he would usually find stuff that was for Frank or Steve and throw it on their desk for the next day. Frank went over to his desk; he saw just a few things that James had left. One of them being a note that a recent client had rescheduled her appointment with him. This told him that James didn’t stay long after because of the amount of work he left.
He unpacked a few things from his bag and sat down at his desk. He turned on his computer and as the machine booted up and the loading bar was being filled. He was able to see himself in the abyss that was the screen. The only thing is something else was there with him.
He made eye contact with the thing behind him through the reflection of the computer screen. He quickly turned around to confront it.
“Gosh, Steve!” Frank said, “Jesus, man.”
“We’ll good morning,” Steve said smiling and giving a small laugh.
He had got Frank pretty good. They both enjoyed scaring each other whenever possible. Not only did Steve arrive at the office before Frank, but he took the opportunity to pull a fast one on Frank, and it was a good one. Staying in the break room and standing behind him until Frank noticed. Now he would spend the rest of the day thinking on how to out due him.
“Not bad, huh? Gotcha pretty good.”
“The fact that you showed up to work before me is what surprises me the most,” he said.
“But don’t worry. I’ll get you back.”
And they went to work just as normal. Frank only had the pleasure of diving into what seemed a mountain of paperwork. Steve had a meeting with a client, and from what he could tell a woman was looking to file a divorce and when she left Steves’s small cubicle she lowered her sunglasses. This told Frank everything he needed to know because it was turning out to be a very cloudy day.
About half an hour after she left, Steve poked his head out cubicle leaning back in his chair.
“Hey, you know what time it is?” He asked.
Frank looked up and adjusted his eyes, he was in a zone with his paperwork. When he got in his zone and was focused on something, he could go for hours on end on that task. That is just what he had done for the past few hours. “Ummmm…. Let me check,” he replied.
“Nope, don’t it’s lunchtime, let’s get out of here,” Steve said, getting up from his desk.
Frank yawned and stood up. “I won’t argue with you there. You’re driving.”
The place they ate at least two times a week sometimes three if they were really feeling it. It was a small, locally-owned Mexican restaurant. They went here because it was the closest to the firm, so they didn’t have to rush to get back for work. Also it was a really good Mexican restaurant. Steve always said, “If there is anything that Kentucky won’t ever run out of is Mexican restaurants.” He was indeed right about that you could always find one or two on every exit. It was a relativity new restaurant that, according to Steve, opened up just two or three months before Frank started working at the firm. The family that owned the restaurant was from Mexico, they didn’t speak the best English, but they were the nicest people. Steve and Frank had frequented the place so much that they had become friends with the owners. They had a little daughter just a few years old, Frank didn’t know how old, but he guessed maybe three or four. She was as cute as a kid could be. She was friends with everyone and especially to the two well dressed white guys that came in here a couple times a week.
We also learned from our talks with the owners that for them the process of immigrating to the country was a grueling process. After hearing these horror stories, Frank had decided that these good people had been through hell, but they keep such a good attitude about everything. They said they wanted to move to America because they lived in a part of Mexico that had a big influence of the drug cartel. The tipping point that put the talks of immigrating into action was when El Chapo’s son was arrested and everything went hell real quick. Riots broke out and there were shootings from the cartel making it so that they didn’t dare to leave the house for days. The only thing that made things calm down was the the authorities released El Chapo’s son from custody. Frank couldn’t believe that part of the story. Stacy had told him that parts of Mexico were in chaos because of the cartel. Stacy caught a lot of news throughout the day coming and going patients’ rooms that had the news on.
Both men walked in and saw a few other people on lunch from work. They know this because they had seen these people before. This little family-owned restaurant was mainly kept up by the locals and regulars that have been there since day one. They sat down and the mother of the family walked up pretty quick and greeted them in Spanish. She always likes to try and teach a little bit of Spanish other than just the food names on the menu. She asked if they wanted the regular, and they both said yes. For Steve a Sprite and Frank a diet Coke. The owners would always give the guys the lunch specials with a ten percent discount and that is what they usually stick to, unless one of them is feeling adventurous.
Right now, however, Frank is just feeling tired, but he usually is most days. He didn’t tell Steve about his sleep problem, but they had become good friends he didn’t have to tell Steve anything, he had guessed it pretty quick.
“Last night not much better, I guess?” Steve asked.
“You’d be right,” Frank replied. “I don’t know what I’m going to do about it. ”
The mother brought their drinks, chips, salsa, and guacamole. The Guac was some of the best Frank had ever had. They make it fresh every time and is unrelieved by any other.
“Have you thought about going to one of those sleep doctors?” Steve asked.
Frank had thought about going to see a doctor about it. He had been googling them off and on. He found their proper name, a Somnologist. “yeah, I considered it, but I don’t know if it’s worth going to them over this.
“It might be worth checking out, since this is being a repeated thing,” he said.
“Yeah, I mean it’s pretty much every night thing. “frank said.
Frank changed the subject. He didn’t want to keep talking about it. He did give going to the doctors some serious thought. He didn’t really talk to Stacy about it. He didn’t want her to worry more than she already did. That’s what he loved about Stacy, she offered to get up the same time as Frank, so he didn’t have to stay up by himself. He would never want her to do that, though, no reason for here to go through all of the sleep deprivation with him.
The conversation changed to football first college with Alabama losing to LSU. And losing isn’t something Alabama does a lot. Frank being Georgia fan and Steve being a Florida gator could both agree that they did not like Bama. That eventually lead to the NFL, Frank wasn’t into that as much as college, but Steve was. He was a big Steelers fan. He quickly went to the Miles Garnet incident where he took off the quarterbacks helmet and knocked him over the head with it. Steve said as long as he has watched football he has never seen anything like that before. Frank thought about it, and he couldn’t think of anything like that either.
The conversation was ended by the smell of authentic Mexican food and the father walking up to the table with two plates in his hand. He sat them down. They both said “thank you” in unison.
“Que?” He replied and gave a smile, he was always trying to get them to speak a little bit of Spanish also.
“Gracias,” Steve said followed by Frank saying it.
They ate their lunch and kept talking other current events happening. Like always the conversation ended up political somehow. This didn’t bother Frank; he enjoyed talking politics with Steve. He was a great person to hold a good conversation with. This week in the White House, to no one’s surprise, it’s a mess.
They finished, paid, and said goodbye to the owners and the little girl that had woken up from her nap and was coloring as they were leaving. After the short drive back to the firm, they settled in for the rest of the workday. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, Frank mainly fighting to stay awake through the day. However, he made it though, and he yawned as he was walking to the truck. He was extremely tired sitting down at his desk all day.
He climbed in his truck and started it up. He turned up the radio really loud, it was the only thing he thought he could do to stay awake for the drive home. He had never fallen asleep at the wheel, and he didn’t think he would. He was never one for falling asleep in the middle of the day, and at that in a place that wasn’t his bed. He could never nap good unless he was sick with the flu or something like that. Steve had walked out a minute later and heard his radio blaring. “Heck yeah, man !” He yelled, throwing a fist in the air. Frank gave him and rock on hand gesture and smiled at him. They both waved bye as Frank pulled out onto the road.
Frank usually took the same road he took to work to go back home, but he was even more exhausted today than he normally was so he decided to hit the interstate to get home quickly because he thought as soon as he got to the couch, he would be out like a light. He merged onto the interstate, the traffic wasn’t too bad it was just really more people getting off of work and heading home, but still, this was nothing compared to rush hour back home he was used to, he was really starting to enjoy the small town traffic.
Frank was going a steady 77 MPH in the slow lane. He wanted to get home quick, but not speeding because he was so tired. He always drove extra safe when he was tired or if there was bad weather. Back when he and Stacy were dating in college, she was always the person to say “drive safe.” And “let me know when you get home.” That had always meant a lot to Frank having someone that was concern about your well being.
This thought was broken as the song changed from a country song talking about bottoms up on a Friday night to just silence. Frank thought that was weird for it to cut out all of a sudden. He gave it a minute and thought it would come back in on its own, but it never did. He looked down for a brief second to change stations and realized he couldn’t reach for the radio.
He couldn’t move his arms; they were somehow locked on the wheel. He struggled to move his arms, but they had became like statue and did not move no matter how much he tried. He then tried to move other things, but he couldn’t. The only thing he could do is turn his head, nothing else. He could not even take his foot off the pedal. It was as they were glued to floor and were like his arms and did not move at all. Looking down at the speedometer he saw his speed slowly increasing. There was no cars in front of him, but one had just passed on the other lane maybe thirty seconds ago. A million thoughts went through his head.” What if I can’t brake?” He would surely hit a car if he could not slow down.
That’s when things got worse. Frank didn’t think that things could get worse, but yet still something worse happened that was many times worse than the mysteries paralysis that had overtaken him suddenly.
It was there.
His eyes were the only thing that could be moved, and he was looking all over the place, and his eyes meet the review mirror. And there it was. The Thing. The thing that was following him, no haunting him, terrorizing him at night. The thing that poked its head our of the closest. The thing at the foot of his bed that would stare in the silence at Frank for hours on end and scare him half to death.
The burning red eyes. Eyes so fiery that they might be from the devil himself.
Later that night, Frank would consider the idea that this entity could be the devil, and that scared him even more.
The eyes, he saw them in the mirror. They were close, very close. Frank quickly realized that they were coming from the back seat. It was in the truck with him. For the first time ever, the thing was behind him and Frank had no idea what it was capable of being this close. It turns out it did the same thing it always did. It just started at him, never blinking or breaking eye contact. Frank couldn’t stop looking at it either. Not because of shock, but because his eyes joined the rest of his body and stopped functioning all together. He didn’t have to look down at the speedometer to know that he was going even faster now. He had to guess he was pushing at least 90 MPH. He also didn’t know if he was staying in his lane either, just figuring that his locked arms would keep him in the lane. He thought for sure it would be a miracle if he didn’t cause an accident. Not looking in front of him and the thing taking up the back mirror, he saw no others cars and prayed that there was nothing there.
As his mind panicked with his current situation, he wondered how is this even happening. He didn’t really know if he was dreaming or if this is all real. He knew that it felt very real, the fear was the only thing he knew that was real at this point. If he was dreaming that meant that he fell asleep while driving means that in real life the truck is still moving. Frank was expecting to be ripped out of this nightmare by the smash of two cars colliding. It had to be a dream. He couldn’t move just like the dreams he has at night. Only this was worse, this dream could be fatal.
He came back into focus still Frank’s eyes and the things locked together. He could hear the engine of the truck starting to scream as he was going faster and faster, not being able to do anything about it. He didn’t know how fast, but it had to be 100 mph easy and probably even more than that. Those are really dangerous speeds that Frank had never gotten to before, and now he didn’t have a choice. He was at the mercy of this thing, demon, or the devil himself.
Frank was desperately searching his brain for a way to escape this nightmare but came up with nothing at all. Then as soon he lost focus on the thing, he realized that he was looking at his dash. He could move his eyes. He looked up to the road.
What he realized was that there wasn’t any road in front of him. He was more confused than ever. He was looking at his front door. The truck was parked in his driveway. He jerked his head to the backseat to check if the thing was still there.
Nothing there. No were to be seen at all. He sat back in his seat. Shaking and sweating things profusely became clear that it was a nightmare he had while driving. In his nightmare, he was still driving 100 mph on the highway to hell, but in reality, he needs up here at his own house. Had he hit anyone. Did he commit a hit and run. On just one person or a whole crowd. These were the thoughts that had raced through his mind as he sat in disbelief.
He was shaking very badly, but he had made himself get out of the truck. He was didn’t want to, afraid that there would be blood dripping from the front. He could picture it now. However he forced himself out and with shaking knees about to buckle he got out and leaned on the truck to support him as he stumbled around the the corner preparing himself to see the red mess that would be in the front. But there was nothing. Frank had never been more thankful. He felt better that there was no blood, but he still felt like he could have hit something. He drove twenty-five minutes and doesn’t remember any of it. He found it hard to believe that he made it the whole time without an accident. He didn’t see any dents in the truck either, so he must have not hitting any cars while sleep-driving.
He went straight into the house and took his clothes off and showered. He was sweating like he had just got done with one of his workouts. When he got out, he got in some comfy clothes and grabbed a beer from the fridge. He normally saved the drinks for after dinner while watching tv, but he was still shaky after all that had happened. He dropped into his chair. And popped open the beer and took a drink. He wasn’t tired anymore. Somehow he came out of that nightmare with more energy than he had in days. He took another drink and realized that it was time for him to make a call.
Stacy came home a little while later and found that the tv in the living room was on, but nobody in there. She found Frank in the kitchen sitting at the table with his computer.
“Hey hun, have a good day at work?” She asked.
“Definitely interesting,” he replied. He knew he had to tell her what had happened on his way home from work. That was something that he couldn’t keep hidden. He also had to tell her that he made an appointment with a Somnologist. “Sit down a minute I got something to explain to you. ”
He explained everything that happened. She had a look of mixed confusion and fear. That was the same thing that Frank had felt. She was probably wondering how does something like this even happen. She knew that it was possible that people could fall asleep while driving, but what Frank had told her was just something that she had never heard of before. She always telling Frank to be careful when he went to work. They would be separated for a good portion of the day so you wouldn’t know what could happen. She had a close friend pass away unexpectedly in a car crash, ever since then she always told every-body she cared about to drive safe and text her when he got home. And when Frank was on a trip home to visit his parents, she didn’t go to sleep until she got that text that he had made it to his parents’ house.
Frank also told her that he had made an appointment with a Somnologist. That seemed to ease her a little bit. She was very tense and holding his hand tightly across the table. “Good,” she said. “I’m glad that you got here safe, and there was no accident. But Frank you know what you told me scares me.” She said.
“I know, it scares me to death because I don’t know how to explain to what happened.” He said.
“When is your appointment?” She asked.
“Friday at one in Lexington,” he answered. It was Wednesday and Frank had thought that he would just take off tomorrow. One to rest up, ( if that is even possible at this point.) and second because he didn’t want to drive again. This incident had scared him pretty bad. It was one of the most terrifying moments he had ever experienced in his life. He felt like he had no control anymore.
By the time Friday morning had come around, he actually had a decent night’s sleep on Wednesday after the driving incident. Frank thought that maybe the monster was showing a little mercy on him. Although he was beyond exhausted and got a good night’s sleep, he felt better, but still not great. He had a lot of sleep to makeup, and he didn’t think he could have two good nights in a row. And he was right about that the Thing returned on Thursday night and scared him again. It wasn’t too bad, he had been scared by the Thing worse. It only stuck its head from the closet door and stared at him. Still, during the moment he was scared shitless, but sitting at the kitchen table at four in the morning, he was glad it was only at the closet door and not right beside him like it has been before. Still, the fact that he was slowly accepting that this might become a part of his life permanently unsettled him.
Stacy was up a little after 8:30 and greeted him in the kitchen. Frank was on his second cup of coffee.
“Good morning,” she said. “I guess it was rough last night.”
“Yeah, not as good as the night before.” Frank was tired, but not exhausted like earlier through the week. He was excited to get to the doctors and see if they could help him. Just the thought of him being able to get a full night’s sleep gave him hope and keep him positive through this odd and strange time. He threw around the idea of whether he should tell the doctors about what happened on the way home from work. He thought that he would, but maybe not the fact that he drove himself home and doesn’t remember it at all. They would probably think he was crazy for saying something like that. At times he felt like he was going crazy. I mean, how many people have a sleep demon that haunted you every time you go to sleep.
Stacy had made them breakfast of eggs, bacon, and pancakes. She knew that Frank really liked pancakes, but didn’t eat them a lot because they were both obsessed with health and pancakes really weren’t the best for you., she thought that this was a special occasion, however. She was really hoping that Frank could get some help. She felt hopeless during this whole time. She became a nurse because she cared about everyone, always wanting to help people any way she could. But this situation is different. She has never seen anything like this, and what really bothered her was that she could do nothing about it. That is the main thing that she hates about this whole thing. Not being able to help the person you care about the most is an awful feeling. That feeling can be both of hopelessness and frustration, but she hoped more than ever that this would finally put an end to this ordeal.
Frank walked back into the kitchen from the bathroom. He had showered and shaved. He felt fresher. Not refreshed because he was still tired from lack of sleep.
“Did you make pancakes, hun?” He asked.
He walked over to her and gave a quick kiss on the cheek. He was glad that Stacy was so supportive through this whole thing. He tried to be as nice as he could, but everyone knows how your attitude can be when you don’t get enough sleep. And Frank woke up on the wrong side of the bed almost every day for weeks now and she has been so helpful through the whole thing.
He helped Stacy finish fixing breakfast, and they sat down and ate together. He always liked it when they got to sit down in the morning for breakfast, it has been a while since they have got to do that. Through the week, they didn’t have the time before work to cook breakfast, and on the weekends, they would sleep in so late that it was almost lunchtime. Now it was really Stacy that sleep that late he would be up and sometimes he would fix her breakfast and bring it to her in bed. But it was nice to sit down and enjoy time face to face together, no electronics or anything like that. They both thought that it was good to disconnect from all of the devices for a few hours each week. He was glad that he adopted this habit of disconnecting because when you think about it every day we are on electronic devices a lot. Whether it’s for work or just for fun with phones and tv. Normally if it was pretty outside, they both would go for a walk or run, but Frank was way too tired for a run. He has tried to keep with a little bit of exercise because that was a good way to get the blood moving and give you a little bit of energy, but he could only do so much on just a few hours of sleep.
They finished their breakfast, and Stacy had went go shower and get ready. Frank was reading through the newspaper( yes, the disconnecting included the ancient form on the news the newspaper). He enjoyed the newspaper; it was a way more positive form of news than the local news. Because it’s a small town and there really isn’t a lot of negative news going on when you get past the first page, you get to other events that has happened around town like any public projects being funded. Or new shops or restaurants that have opened up in and around neighboring towns. There are usually are articles and pictures of school projects and maybe community services events held by the school to help the community. This was the news he liked to hear about. He thought a lot of big news was way too negative. He always thought of them telling you that everything was bad for you and would hurt you and your kids in some way. Frank had always been skeptical of what the news says and usually takes it with a grain of salt.
Stacy walked back in ready to go. They had an about an hour and a half drive ahead of them to get to Lexington. Leaving a little early just in case of traffic. They haven’t really talked about it, but they didn’t have to, Stacy would probably be driving because well he didn’t know what would happen. He hasn’t driven since the incident. He was a little afraid to because so much could have happened when he was sleep-driving. It was a miracle that he didn’t hurt himself or anyone else on the road, and he didn’t want to take that chance again until he could fix whatever was going on.
“You ready?” He asked.
“You know you’re driving right,” he said.
“Duh,” she said with a smile.
The drive down there wasn’t too bad. Not a lot of traffic, Frank hated traffic, growing up in a big city he got used to all the traffic, but still despised it all the same. He had only in be Lexington a few times. Mainly to go shopping for Christmas or for a Kentucky basketball game. Stacy is a huge UK fan, she has Kentucky stuff all over the house. She had kind of converted Frank over to a fan as-well because the games at Rupp arena are some of the most fun sporting events Frank has ever been to in his life. The fan base for Kentucky basketball was immense, and they were very dedicated. Even when they go to the game in person, Stacy would always watch it on tv, and every home game was nearly full.
They got to the doctor’s office with little problem. It was located in the middle of small strip mall like setup full of nothing, but doctor offices. Frank and Stacy both went in, and it was a small office with just one other older woman sitting and waiting. After talking to the lady at the front desk and took care of filling out all the papers he was given. After a short wait, he was called back, and a nurse took his blood pressure, weight, temperature, etc. It was a male in light blue scrubs, he had shorter brown hair and thin beard to go with it. He looked on the younger side, but Frank couldn’t guess the age, he was terrible at that. But he guessed that he was fresh out of college.
After getting his vitals, he went behind a small desk and sat behind a laptop. “So, what’s going on?” He asked softly.
“Well…..” Frank hesitated. It was weird to tell someone he had never meet this person before about all of this stuff. It was an odd feeling letting someone know other than Stacy or Steve. “I’ve not been sleeping hardly any the past few weeks.” After a brief pause, he continued.” And I’ve been having these nightmares in the middle of the night. The ones where I see something scary, and I can’t move anything, only watch whatever is happening.”
The nurse was typing things on the computer as Frank went through his story. He finished typing a few things and clicked a few things on the mouse pad. Frank felt like people would think he was crazy for saying things like that. It sounded even crazier when he said it out loud to someone. The printer beside the nurse printed off what Frank guessed was the madness he told the nurse, and he wrote down to give to the doctor. He grabbed the paper and stood up.
“Okay, I think we might be to help. I know it’s kind of hard to talk about because it’s some of the normal stuff people go to the doctor for.”
This made Frank feel so much better about everything because he knew that he couldn’t be the only one to have this kind of problem. Well, the sleep demon part maybe, but the falling asleep and it showing up in your vehicle, now that was something he thought that was only him.
“Follow me, and we’ll get you to a room,” he said.
Frank followed him out of the room and down a small dimly light hallway. He was taken to the end of the hall where there was a small sign that had the number four on it. Only four patient rooms, this was a very small doctor’s office he thought, maybe even a private practice and there was only one doctor.
“The doctor will be with you shortly,” he said and walk back down the hall.
The room looked like any other doctor’s office room you have ever been in before. A long seat that leaned back and the thin tear away paper on top it. A rolling stool where the doctor would sit when they came in. Just the average medical room stuff.
Maybe five to ten minutes later, there was a knock on the door and someone entered. The doctor, a young woman in a white coat with long straight jet black hair walked in. “Hi Frank, it’s good to meet you.” She stuck out her hand.
Frank shook it and gave and nice to meet you too. In the other hand, he noticed she had a clipboard and probably had the read the paper the nurse had typed up in the other room.
“So, I have an understanding of your problems with sleeping,” she said sitting down on the stool. “Would you like to go into more detail about it? Like maybe what is the thing you see in your nightmares?”
Frank bit his lip, it was his nervous habit that has done for as long as he could remember. Stacy always pointed it out when she was with him, and he had gotten better about it, but having to go into detail about his issue made him very nervous. He barley gave any detail to Stacy and almost none to Steve. Not that he didn’t trust them, but afraid of the reaction. Because typically only crazy people see things that other people can’t.
“It’s okay,” she said. “No one is going to lock you up in the looney bin.” She said, trying to joke a little. “From what I can tell from the paper what you have is normal, I just need a bit more detail to best help you. ”
And with that Frank went into it. He told her everything about the past few weeks. What the thing looked like. How it acted in the dreams. He even told her about the driving incident. Not the part of him driving and not remembering doing it. He told her that he pulled off to the side of the road to nap, and the dream had happened then. Which was wasn’t a lie. He did fall asleep in the truck, just he was still driving. See not a lie he told himself, but not the whole truth he also told himself. Just withholding information, his mother told him as a kid when he asked her a question, and she didn’t want to answer.
As he went through his story, the doctor was writing things down as he spoke. When he was finished, she was still writing things down. “Well, I think you just have a normal yet terrifying case of sleep paralysis,” she said. “I don’t think your sleep problems are very complex, so I don’t want to have tests done just yet, but I have written out a prescription for a medicine that should help put you in a deep sleep, so deep that it would be very hard for you to dream at all. I’ll set an appointment in about to weeks, but you can call before then if there are any issues like it not working like it should, or any bad side effects. It is possible you could have some normal side effects like headache, upset stomach, and dizziness. Nothing too serious, but make sure to not drive after taking it also.”
After going over a few more things, the doctor had sent his pharmacy a prescription for his new medicine. She handed him a paper to give to the lady at the front desk. He said goodbye to her and walked back down the hallway to the front waiting room where Stacy was. She was playing on her phone and looked up when she saw Frank walk out and gave him a smile. He smiled back and walked to the front and gave the paper to the lady. After making an appointment in two weeks, he turned to Stacy, who was starting to stand up to meet him. Leaving the building and headed to the truck. When they got in, she asked, “So, how did it go in there?”
“She said it sounded pretty normal and that it happens to other people. She gave me a medicine for me to try out that should help make me sleep.”
“Yay!” She said and softy clapped her hands quickly. “I’m so happy for you. Hopefully, you can finally sleep good tonight.”
“Yeah, you and me both.” He leaned over and kissed her quickly. After a nice dinner at Olive Garden, they headed home, making sure to have enough time to get his new medicine.
After driving home and picking the new medicine, they went home took it easy the rest of the evening. The doctor said that he should take the medicine at least one hour before bed just to make sure it had enough time to work. So he did and tried to stay off electronic screens because he believed that they could keep you awake. He didn’t eat late or have any caffeine in the evening, he was going to give himself the best chance possible to get some sleep.
By the time he brushed his teeth and joined Stacy in bed, he could feel his eyes getting heavy. It was the best feeling in the world to have his head hit the pillow. Stacy leaned over and kissed him goodnight, but he felt like he couldn’t do the same he was so tired. He just said, “night, love you.” And within probably less than five minutes, he was out.
And he stayed out. Not waking up at the usual three in the morning to the Thing looking at him, slowly waking up to turn his head to see Stacy lying next to him. Frank couldn’t believe it. He had slept all night with no issue. He couldn’t help but just smile while staring up at the ceiling the next morning. The medicine had actually worked and he felt great.
He got up and showered and put fresh clothes on and went into the kitchen. He didn’t make a cup of coffee because he didn’t need it. The sleep was so good last night that he felt like he didn’t need a cup to get through the morning. He started breakfast, a little more healthy this time of eggs and fruit instead of pancakes. Maybe half an hour later, Stacy woke up and walked into the kitchen and greeted Frank.
“Wow, up and making breakfast, and the house isn’t burnt down. I’m impressed,” she said jokingly.
“Ah, whatever, you know I make the better eggs between us.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot you specialize in the one food anyone in the world can make,” she replied with an eye roll. “How did you sleep?”
“The best in a long while. The medicine worked great! I feel like a new person.”
“Oh, thank God. That’s so relieving to hear. I was so worried.”
“I know me too. I’m so glad it’s fixed now.” He brought her into a big hug and kissed her on the forehead.
They sat down and ate breakfast together for the second time in a row. That hasn’t happened in a long time, and they both enjoyed it a lot. Frank was feeling so good that he got the idea to do something he enjoyed doing, but hasn’t done in the past few weeks. “Do you want to go for a run?” He asked. He hadn’t got to exercise because he hadn’t had the energy to do so. Stacy had been exercising less too because they always did it together, and she didn’t like doing it without him.
She thought for a second because she hasn’t even heard frank talk about running in weeks.” If you feel like you can do it, I guess you really did sleep good if you think you want to run.”
“Oh yeah, I feel great, and I miss going on our runs together.”
“Okay, we can go for a run, that sounds really nice.”
They both finished breakfast, and Stacy went to change clothes. Frank had already changed and was out on the front porch waiting on her. The weather was perfect out a crisp and cool morning. Perfect for a run. God, how he had missed running. He would run for a lot of things if he was stressed about something he would go on another run later that day. Exercising was the way he dealt with a lot of things. It was a pretty healthy way of dealing with stress too. There was a lot of other bad ways he could deal with it, but he always enjoyed just going for a run to clear his head, it always made him feel better. Now standing here on his porch about to go on a run for the first time in weeks was the best feeling ever.
A minute later, Stacy came out in a long sleeve shirt and leggings. “You ready?” He asked.
“Yep, just so you know, I’m not going to wait on you.”
“What you think you’re going to outrun me or something.”
“Of course, have you forgot you haven’t run in weeks. I’m going to smoke you.”
“Ha, we will see about that.” And he took off.
“Cheater!” She yelled, running right behind them.
Frank didn’t run too hard because well, Stacy was right. He hadn’t run in weeks, but it still felt natural to get out and run. She got up beside him and they went at a good pace for a while. There was a wooded area behind the house and a little trail went through woods. They had run through there so many times that a little trail was paved out. They didn’t have to say where to go. They both knew already where they wanted to go. Getting to the tree line, they could see the opening they took. It was a little grown up because of the lack of running through it. Frank thought that their path wouldn’t grow up anymore. He was so glad to be back doing what he loved. He had missed it.
They jumped into the tree line and flowed their same path. It was also a little overgrown, but they could still see where to go. The woods was a great place to clear your head. Almost silent. No technology, no people, just nature. Frank always thought it was hard to explain, but it was something that always helped him.
They ran through and came out the other side and made their way back to the house. Frank could feel those few weeks was catching up with him. He didn’t run the hardest and he would normally go longer, but he didn’t want to overdo it on the first run. They got back to the front porch, and Frank plopped down on the steps and started catching his breath. “Wow, it’s been a while,” he said between breaths.
“Yeah, I can tell,” Stacy said. She was huffing a little bit, but not near as bad as he was.
After taking it easy for a little while after his run, he was still feeling pretty good. He could still feel he had missed out on a lot of sleep, but still had the most energy he had in weeks. He did a few things around that anyone one does on the weekend, cleaned the house for a start. It was a thing that he and Stacy both cleaned together. He didn’t like the idea of it being a one-sided job. Frank always liked to cook and clean with her because it makes it more fun to do when you have someone with you.
The rest of the day went good. Later that evening, they both went to the local grocery store to get a few things. By the time they got back, and both fixed a nice dinner together, they settled in for the rest of the night in the living room watching movies.
When it was time for them to head to bed, Frank had made sure he took his medicine. He could his eyes getting pretty heavy. He was ready the hit the pillow again. He went through the same night time ritual and climbed into bed, kissing Stacy goodnight and turning off the lamp on his nightstand. Just like the night before he out before he knew it.
It was Sunday, which meant no alarms for Stacy. She always hated the same sound going off every morning at the same time, jolting you awake. She had made each alarm sound different throughout the week on her phone. But on Sundays, the only alarm she needed was the birds chirping outside.
She woke naturally, sat up in bed, and stretched; she always got really stiff through the night because she always sleeps in funny positions, according to Frank. She noticed that he wasn’t beside her, but that was normal. Whether he got a good night’s sleep or not, he was almost always up before her. She went to the bathroom and peed because she had a small bladder and was lucky to make it through the night without having to get up at least two times.
After getting done in the bathroom and heading to the kitchen, she smelled something she would hope she didn’t have to smell again.
Had he just became a coffee addict. It had to be, just like everyone else in the country, a coffee addict. She walked into the kitchen and saw he was sitting there at the table with a cup and he was going through the newspaper. “Oh God, it didn’t happen again, did it?”
“Afraid so,” he said softly. It had happened again. He had no clue how because the medicine worked. He was out like a light and stayed that way until ( you guessed it.) three in the morning. It wasn’t the worst encounter he had with the thing, but still, he was tired of it. However, he was extremely tired from the lack of sleep. Whether he was getting used to it or the hours he did sleep, he was in a very deep sleep. Still, he knew one thing for sure: this thing wasn’t a normal thing that people felt with. It was different. It was like the Thing knew he was trying to avoid him, and so the next night, the Thing had to try harder to torment him.
Frank also didn’t know what to do at this point. It was Sunday, so the doctors were closed, and even tomorrow, if he called, he would most likely not get an appointment until later that week if he was lucky. Besides, what would medicine do when this thing would always comeback harder the before? Sure he might have peace one night, but then it would turn around and come back. At this point, he thought he should call a priest to have an exorcism or bless the house or whatever they did. He saw it in movies, and it seemed to work, so it was probably worth a shot, he thought. He was out of ideas.
“I’m sorry, hun,” she said and came around behind the chair and hugged him. “What are we going to do?”
“I don’t know, we will figure something out,” he said, without a lot of confidence. “I’m not going to give up that easy.”
“I know, you’re too suborn,” she joked.
“Yeah, I’m the suborn one,” he said and smiled at her.
In all honesty, he had no idea what he was going to do. He felt like he was running out of options and ways to fix this. He had spent the morning searching the web to see if anyone else in the world had this happen to him. Even just one person just know he wasn’t the only person out of billions to have this person. He came up with nothing. He did find that people have predicted or foreseen things in their dreams, but none where nightmares featuring an abnormal demon. It was things like a natural disaster or some other event in the real world.
There was one thing that he had came across that caught his eye, it didn’t apply to him, but thought it was weird all the same. They started keeping track in the nineties of people reporting to doctors of seeing a man in their dreams. Now, these dreams were normal dreams taking place in everyday places and crazy places, but that man would be there in some way. He wouldn’t do anything, but he was just there. Now people would have these dreams only a few times and may not see the man for years or even ever again in some cases. But people from multiple countries reported the same man, same facial features, and everything, and they could not find a person matching these features in real life. Still do this day a few people still see the man, but nobody knows who this guy is. Weird for sure, but not what is happening to me. He thought to himself.
Other than that, nothing that could help him. He thought he might have a deal with this Thing for the rest of his life. That scared him pretty bad, he didn’t want this Thing to become a part of his life. He wasn’t about to give up, though. He had gotten his life back to normal for one day, and he wasn’t about to let it go that easy. He didn’t know what he was going to do, but he would try anything that would try and help get rid of this thing.
It was Sunday, and neither of them had anything to do. And to be honest, he didn’t want to do anything because he was tired, not exhausted, but still tired all the same. He was really just tired of being tired. He hated not having the energy for anything. He knew there was no chance he was going to be able to go on a run today, he didn’t have it in him at all. So pretty much Frank had considered that today would pretty much be a waste of a day. He always hated that feeling of wasting time, but it is nice to just sit back and enjoy the day he guessed, so he and Stacy had watched movies and other things on tv most of the day. They were talking about what they wanted for dinner, and they thought they would try their hand making steak themselves. Stacy didn’t really want to go to the store because she said her hair looked bad. He said that it didn’t, but she didn’t listen, so that left him to go to the store which he didn’t mind.
He got into his truck and started to head to the store. He was heading across town, it only took a few minutes because it was a small town and as he was stopped at a red light in downtown. Something caught his eye. There was a row of buildings going down the street. He knew that there were just a few things in that row of buildings. He did see a library on the end of the street and beside it a hardware store, but he hadn’t looked too much at the things on the other side of the street.
He noticed something. There was a small building between the laundry mate and the closed video rental store, it looked like a locally-owned shop of just random stuff. Frank didn’t think about this too much and went on when the light turned green. He went to the store and got what he needed for dinner that night. But he couldn’t help, but think about that little shop he saw going through town. He thought that he saw something that looked familiar in the window.
So not in any rush to get home, he stopped his truck across the road in the little parking lot in the downtown area and walked across the street to the shop. There were no logos on anything, just some old looking Native American objects in the window. And the thing he saw he had only seen them in pictures and in movies.
It was a dreamcatcher.
Stacy had talked about these things because coming from the city, Frank had never known about these things from tv. She told him that they were kind of a legend from Native Americans that helped with dreaming. She said that the dreamcatcher would allow for only the good dreams to pass through and not let any bad ones in while you sleep. Frank had thought this was crazy talk. He ended up seeing them in different places around town, and after talking to some people, he saw that there was some belief in it.
There was an older Native American man behind and counter that was working on a blanket with different symbols. “I’ll give you five for it.” He said without looking up from his work.
“Excuse me,” Frank said.
“The dreamcatcher I’ll take five dollars for it, and it’s yours.”
Frank was super confused at how he knew that he was thinking about the dreamcatcher. Yes, he was looking at to for a little bit, but still was confused on how he knew. The man had said it so calmly too, like he was expecting Frank to come by. “Say, do the dreamcatchers actually work?” Frank asked.
“Depends, how much do you want it to work.”
Frank thought, oh, great. This guy is just giving some cryptic crap saying, trying to sell me something.
He continued. “I can tell you need it, take it. Trust me. It will help you, you just have to believe in it. ”
Frank thought, what the heck. I’ve got nothing to lose. “Okay, I’ll take it, how much did you say?” Frank asked.
“You know what? Don’t worry about payment. You will know what to do with it after it has done its job.”
Frank had decided that he must talk in riddles all of the time, but he was willing to go on with it just to see if this thing really worked. “Okay, thank you so much.”
“I hope it works for you,” he said, and for the first time, he looked up from his blanket and gave a faint smile.
Frank grabbed the small brown circler object with a small design of twin in the middle, it also had three feathers hanging from the bottom. As he got into his truck, the thought came to him. What in the world am I doing? He thought he must have lost it at this point because he knows it has some ancient form of Native American technology that was based on what the mysterious man said worked on faith and nothing else. But then he thought well it’s not going to hurt anything and at the end of the day it would be a nice decoration to put somewhere around the house.
He drove home with a newfound feeling of hope. Somehow this little piece of twin and feathers did give a little bit hope. Hope that things will get better, and he really believed that they would this time. He couldn’t explain the new feeling, but it was just there.
He went home, and he and Stacy cooked a nice steak dinner. He wasn’t super good at fixing steak, but he was going to try it again because he wanted to get good at it. Wasn’t many good places to get steak around town. You would actually have to travel out of town to get one and even farther to get a good one, some places Frank had decided that ordering steak wasn’t the best idea. While they were in the kitchen, he had got everything out of the bags and brought the dreamcatcher out as-well, and Stacy had noticed.
“Well, what do you have here?” She asked.
“Nothing really, just one of those dreamcatcher things you talked about before, I meet some guy downtown, and he gave it to me.”
“And what do you expect to do with it?”
“I guess hang it up beside the bed. That’s how one of these things work, right?”
“Yes, but they have no proof of working, it’s just an old legend type of thing, you know.”
“Yeah, but no harm in trying.”
“Yeah, that’s true,” she said and gave a small laugh. Frank guessed that going to the store and coming back with a native American artifact was a little odd, and he supposed that it was indeed odd.
They finished up dinner and sat down together and ate. The steaks turned out pretty nice, Frank thought. Better than the last time he tried his hand at it. He thought that cooking meat such as steak was an art form of sorts. He watched those shows where guys have big firewood smokers for meat and enter a contest and try to win big. He thought that would be cool to do. But those smokers costed a ton of money.
When they were done with dinner, they went and finished the movie they had started earlier. Frank had made sure to take his medicine an hour before bed to make sure it had enough time to kick in. He also hung the dreamcatcher on a little part of his headboard a few feet above him. A little over an hour and the rest of the movie later, he was getting tired. After not sleeping good last night and the medicine working, his eyes were practically closed by the time he climbed into bed. Stacy leaned over him and kissed goodnight.
She was hoping that last night was a fluke and it would be better tonight. Whether it was the medicine or by some chance the dreamcatcher thing he had brought home, she just prayed that anything would work. She could tell that Frank was over this whole and wanted to move on from it. She also wanted the Frank from 2 months ago. The more energetic and active Frank. The always moving and wanting to go, go all time. She knew that he couldn’t help what was going on and she knew that he really hate this happening, but she really wanted to help as much as she could, but what could you do in this situation. This brought back that feeling of not being in control and not being to help the person she cared about. But she trusted that everything would be okay and work out, even if it wasn’t right away, she knew that everything would be okay. And with that thought, she saw that Frank had already drifted off into sleep, and she soon followed.
She woke up the next morning to something unusual. Frank was still asleep. He hadn’t gotten up yet. Which was a good sign he had made it through the whole night asleep. She got up and got ready for work. She had gotten ready and put on her scrubs and made her way to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. She was big into a tea kick right now and was really liking green tea. It had a lot of benefits to it over coffee that everybody else drank.
About twenty minutes later, Frank woke up. He was feeling good. Rested and overall better. It had worked, he went the whole night without a problem. He thanked whatever worked the medicine or the dreamcatcher, he didn’t care, he was just thankful that it worked. He went into the kitchen to find Stacy dressed and about to leave the house for work. He couldn’t remember the last time that had happened, he was almost always up hours before her, but he had even slept late. He realized that if he had slept thirty minutes later, he would have been late to work. He had turned off his alarm because, for the past few weeks, he was up hours before it even went off. He didn’t even hear Stacy’s alarm go off, was it possible that he could have slept through an alarm. He said good morning to Stacy and gave her a big long hug.
She didn’t have to ask if he slept good. She could tell. There was a certain glow he gave off that was overall more happy and positive. This made her beyond happy to see. She wanted to see a smile like that for weeks now, and she was able to get it, and she hoped it stayed that way. “I have to leave here in a minute,” she said.
“I know, I almost missed you I sleep so late.”
“I know, right? How crazy! Didn’t expect that, did you?”
“No, not at all, but you be safe driving to work.”
“Always hun.” She gave him a kiss, grabbed her stuff, and headed to the door.
Frank was feeling good, really good, and he saw that it made Stacy happy too. He knew she had been worried about everything as-well. He just hoped he could finally beat this thing for good and move on with his life. And with that, he went to get ready for work.
He was dressed and felt even better the usual in his casual business attire. He didn’t need a cup of coffee, no boost of energy needed. And he didn’t feel afraid or nervous to drive again. He wasn’t worried about driving long distances anymore. He grabbed his stuff and head to his truck and took off to work.
Even on the drive down there, he could tell that he was much happy. Little things didn’t bother him as much. He would be a little cranky, he knew he was, but still, he tried and not snap at anyone just because he was tired. Now he had nothing to complain about.
When he got to work, he gave a cheerful good morning to Lesia. He had guessed that she had noticed the low energy he had been walking around with, and she was a little taken back, not expecting such an energetic response. She gave an equally cheerful good morning. Frank didn’t have the time for one of their morning talks; the extra sleep made him right on time and not early, which was becoming the normal. Steve had gotten here before him as well, but not by much because he hadn’t sat down to start work yet. Frank saw his stuff at his desk, but no Steve with it. He must have been in the break room, getting himself a cup of coffee. The thought himself jumping when Steve came up behind him last week, could only imagine how high he must have jumped. A moment later, he walked out, mug in hand. “Mornin.”
“Did you ever go to that doctor?”
Frank had remembered that he didn’t tell Steve the wild ride that he had been on for the past few days. “Yeah, I did actually. I think I got everything lined out.”
“That’s good man, I’m glad you’re feeling better.”
“Yeah, me too, already feel like a new person.”
Frank looked down at his desk, which had a mountain of papers spread across it. He did miss a day or two last week, but he didn’t care he would catch up on it. “I see I was left a present.”
“Yeah, definitely, it might take you two or three days to catch up.”
Frank was over halfway done with everything by lunchtime.
“Holy crap, man. Are you even human at this point?” Steve asked.
“I don’t know man, it’s crazy what you can get done when you’re feeling good,” Frank replied. Frank had not just been feeling good, but insanely good, even great. He felt like he could take on the world at this point. He wasn’t able to work this fast in what felt like forever. He had brought lunch from home this time. It was leftovers from last night’s dinner. Steve had brought his leftovers too. They usually saved the Mexican restaurant for later in the week. He and Steve could finally eat together and not have to talk about Franks sleeping problems. Life was feeling like it was going back to normal after going through what seemed like hell for weeks.
The rest of the day was equally as good and productive. He was able to get so much done and pretty much catch up on the work that he fell behind on last week. He couldn’t find the words to put how he felt. It was like none of that stuff happened. There was some kind of second wind in him, the workday was about ever, and instead of almost falling asleep in his chair, he felt like going on a run when he got home.
And that’s exactly what he did. He finished out the day and drove home and waited on Stacy to get home. He quickly asked her if she was up for a run. Delighted, she agreed and changed clothes. Frank was able to run longer this time, and it hurt less too. He was finally blowing off rust and back to the exercise routine that he was used to, and it felt amazing. After the run, they both made and ate dinner with the usual same weekday evening routine. Also, not forgetting to take his medicine at the same time. Before going to bed, he felt less anxious about going he had a good feeling this night was going to be a good night.
He was right. Another good night. He slept like a baby all through the night. He made sure and set the alarm, so he didn’t, by some chance, oversleep. The thought of sleeping too much was such a foreign idea to him but was slowly being more normal now that he had two nights of well rest.
The whole day was even better than yesterday. Frank had seemed to find even more energy than he did the day before. But he did and got even more done than yesterday. Yesterday he went from two days behind at work to know slightly ahead of everything. And he was feeling good too. He couldn’t remember a time he felt better physically and mentally. Feeling this good, he, of course, went another run, this time without Stacy because he knew she probably wouldn’t feel up to it. And plus if she wanted to, he would go on another run because well he had the energy for it and he had to make up for lost time.
Stacy had gotten home before Frank was done with his run, and she knew where he was at because she saw the clothes he had worn earlier that day thrown on the bed, and she figures he went out on a run. She didn’t blame him for just going for it every chance he had. He woke up feeling good again and had just gotten up as she was leaving this morning. She changed her clothes and sat down in the living room. A little while Frank had come in the house sweaty and short of breath. “Good run?” She asked.
“Yeah, pretty good,” he said between breaths. It reminds him how out of shape he was, and it was a good run. It was a lot longer than the previous ones he went on. “We can go on another one if you want to go.”
“Nah, I’m alright. Think you have more energy than me today, huh?”
“Wow, so I guess I’m outrunning you then?”
“Don’t get ahead of yourself, you know I can leave you looking at my behind.”
“Ha, if you say so.”
They had decided to get take out food since neither of them felt like cooking anything. They had ordered a pizza from the local pizza place in town, and Frank had gone had picked it up. They turned on a movie and ate together in the living room. Though they were huge health fanatics, they both couldn’t say no to a pizza and a movie on the couch together. As the evening went on, Frank had made sure to take his medicine again at the suggested time and as the previous nights. As he settled in for another night’s sleep, he didn’t expect things would go back to the torment of the dark figure. What happened through the night was much worse than any nightmare.
Frank didn’t feel any anxiety before going to bed. He wasn’t afraid of what might happen because he had the feeling that he had beat this thing, and everything would go as normal. Or back to normal; he thought normal was becoming normal again for him. Slowly, but still, he couldn’t be happier with the past few days. That was his last thought before he drifted off into a deep sleep again. He felt the heaviness of his eyes. He was out before he knew it.
Until he was jolted awake. He was startled a little bit because of his previous nights of peace. He was on lying on his back face up to the ceiling, he thought that it was morning time and a loud noise outside woke him up. After he blinked a few times and adjusting his eyes to the darkness. He stopped a minute, and thought darkness. It’s not morning, oh God, please not this again. The thing he loathed the most, it was happening again. The nightmare happening again. He was incredibly tense. He felt like he couldn’t move, he was afraid to try and move. And if this was a nightmare, that means that the thing was back. The demon, monster, or whatever the hell it was. He moved his eyes down and didn’t see it at the foot of his bed or his closet. The moment of relief was taken away by the shine of the moonlight threw the window, it had caught something in the doorway. He couldn’t tell what it was something or someone. Whatever this thing was, it was different. The eyes, they weren’t red like they usually were. You could tell they were normal from the moonlight. He turned his head to the left and saw that Stacy was still there. Panic went all throughout his body if Stacy was in bed then what or who is at the door.
Then Frank realized something. He could usually only move his eyes, but he has already moved his entire head multiple times between the window, door, and Stacy. He realized that things weren’t adding up like they should. He tried to just move his fingers, and to his surprise, he did. He wanted to move them, and they moved. And so did his foot when he tried to shake it. He quickly sat up, knowing he had control of his body. The thing saw this and jolted back out of the doorway. It suddenly hit him the this wasn’t a nightmare, this wasn’t even a dream. This was real. Frank jumped out of bed, knowing this was real life. And that thing he thought was a demon was a person who had snuck in. He shakes Stacy, “Quick, wake up! Call the police. Someone’s in the house!”
She woke confused and equally as startled “What?” She said, rubbing her eyes.
“Call the police now!” He repeated. Frank threw off the covers and jumped out of bed to go after the figure. He raced down the hall and into the living room. He was meet with the front door, it had been forcefully broken into, and the screen door had been slashed. He pushed through the mess that used to be the front door and ran outside into the night. Whoever the person was is really quick because all that Frank saw was a dark figure running down the street and then turning at the end of it. He knew there was no way he could catch him. He didn’t have anything on but boxers and was barefoot he thought it would just be best for the police to handle it. He stood standing there in the cool night air, not feeling it. The adrenaline going through him was immense, he wanted more than ever to chase after whoever it was, but he gave it short thought and decided that he wouldn’t know what he would do if he caught the person.
He heard from behind him. He spun around to see Stacy standing in the broken doorway. He went over to her and hugged her. “Are you okay?” He asked.
“Yeah, just scared. I called the police. They will be here in a minute. Did you see who it was?”
“No, I just saw someone run down the street is all,” he said, still in a hug. “Let’s go sit until the police get here.”
They sat in the living room on the couch right next to each other. Pretty much silent, neither of them knowing what to say. Just feeling the cool air coming in the house through the slashed screen door. Frank had thought how did he wake up. He realized that he was just woken up and wasn’t having a nightmare like he had thought. Which means whether it was medicine or the dreamcatcher worked. Although he had a feeling, he knew which one it was that helped him. He thought, how could it be? Did the dreamcatcher actually work? Was there some truth to this ancient technology. This thought was broken by the faint sound of sirens in the distance from the incoming cop cars.
“You should probably put pants on,” Stacy said.
Frank looked down and saw that he was still in his boxers. He gave a small laugh. “Yeah, I guess you’re right, probably should.” And he did go get a pair of shorts he had worn the day before and came back into the living room. He could see the police walking to the house, and he got ready for a long rest of the night.
They let the police in the house, and they looked at what damage had been done to the door. They asked if they’d noticed anything had been stolen. Neither of them had thought to look and see, but from what they could tell, nothing was taken from the house. They then asked if we could describe what the person looked like the best we could. Frank was the only person who got a good look, and all he could see was blue Jeans and a gray hoodie. He could tell them anything about his face. Frank had told them what direction he saw them run in, and that’s really all they could give the police. They quickly called it back to the station and went in the direction the person was last seen. They said they would leave a patrol car in their driveway for the rest of the night and tomorrow, and they would contact us if they found anything at all.
And that was it. It seemed that it was over as quickly as it started. It was only a few hours until daylight, and there was no way either of them felt like they could go back to sleep if they tried. So they stayed up and just turned on the tv. They had fixed the door the best they could just taking off the screen door and closing the front one and putting a chair in the front of it to keep it closed.
Morning eventually came and went. And by midday they heard a car pull up and knock on the rigged up door. It was the police officer they talked to last night. They came with good news. They had caught the guy that broke into their house. They found him a few miles away earlier this morning hiding in someone’s barn. They didn’t find any valuables with him, so nothing was stolen, they were glad about that. But it’s the next part that scared them. With the man, they found rope, zip ties, duct tape, and a huge hunting knife. They both were taken back by this news. Stacy giving a small gasp at what they told them.
They both thanked the police for the help, and they left. They felt so much better knowing the guy had been caught. But more unnerved when they figured out his toolset. They could only imagine what his intentions were. Overall they felt better about everything and felt like they could sleep at least a little bit tonight.
However, Frank knew he would be sleeping good because he knew that somehow the dreamcatcher had helped him. He went to bed that night without taking his medicine, and after tonight’s good night’s sleep, he would take the dreamcatcher back to the old man. He had a feeling he was expecting it back soon.
Ethan Rose is a sophomore at the University of the Cumberlands. He plans to pursue a English degree with emphasis in creative writing. He was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys reading, writing, and fishing.