A guest post by Ro Vigilante
The girl could not sleep. Would not sleep. Would will away slumber with all her might. If she allowed her eyes to close much beyond that of a blink, it would rise and move ever closer. She waited and watched because she knew it would inch its way to her window, the curtain of which would not close. A part of her thought that if she could just close the curtains, she could throw it off her scent. She hadn’t really wondered if it had a sense of scents, but she knew it was always watching. Watching her huddled deep beneath the covers. Watching for the moment she allowed herself to give in to sleep.
It was the shape of the face that told her it was up to no good. The eyes were in a constant state of menacing glare. The mouth always baring a toothy grimace. It was watching. Always watching. And waiting. She knew this. And she would not fall asleep.
On the rare occasion when she did doze off, she was sure it had uprooted and lumbered toward her. Just a bit. Enough that most would not notice. But she most certainly did.
She had no means of measurement. If she had, at age five, she wouldn’t have known what to do with it anyway. But she knew it was coming. She had the kind of certainty, inherent in her age group, of knowing, for sure, beyond any inkling of doubt, about exactly what was out there. Adults in the house tried to convince her otherwise. She knew better than to trust their platitudes.
She was in danger. Every night. Once the sun went down, it would rise, and it would come for her. If she stopped watching, she would allow it. She would be complicit in her own demise. Of this she was certain. After all, she was five.
So she would not rest. Instead she would stare. As long as she kept her eyes on it, it would leave her be. So, no. She would not sleep. She could not sleep.
Decades later she learned the name of the source of fear, her tireless fight against slumber. The thing that lived a literal stone’s throw from her window.
A transformer atop a telephone pole; the bolts holding it in place arranged just so. It formed the face of her electric fear.
Ro Vigilante does not like writing about herself. She does, otherwise, quite enjoy words. And pie.
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