by Cecil Wilde
You know those horror stories that start out with a line something like ‘it was a dark and stormy night’? This isn’t one of those.
It’s actually a pretty average night. October’s a mild enough month anywhere in the world. In the Northern hemisphere, leaves are falling from the trees right now. Maybe you can hear a few of them pitter-pattering on your roof. Or perhaps that’s the sound of rain, a preview of the wet season and the baking summer ahead, if you’re on the other side of the world.
You’ve had a long day, and you deserve that beverage of choice beside your keyboard and some mindless catching up on your social media accounts. A friend had a computer issue, someone’s complaining about public transport, terrible things happened in the news today but you can’t bring yourself to care as much about them as you should.
Shit, did you hear that!?
I’m just messing with you. It’s pretty quiet, really. The low hum of electronics, the sounds of the outside world distant and unthreatening. Hypnotising, almost. You’ve got every right to be tired after the day you’ve had, and no one would blame you if you were thinking about an early night.
Your eyelids are already heavy, after all. You could just curl up on the sofa or in bed for a few minutes, even, and then start catching up with everything you should really be trying to get ahead on. Your to-do list isn’t about to get up and do itself, but a little nap won’t do you any harm.
Now that the idea’s in your head it’s hard to stop thinking about how good sleep would be. Your head’s getting heavy. You nod a few times before deciding, yeah, you deserve to take a nap. You’ll finish this one story and then close your eyes. Even just for a few minutes.
Is the story even coming to a point? Jesus. You might as well just stop reading it. Except.
It asks a question: how would it know you were tired?
Then, a little further down, it asks another:
How do you know your webcam is off?
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.