Sleepless Nights (short fiction)

imagesCAF4ZF1EDaily Prompt: Fright Night

Do you like being scared by books, films, and surprises? Describe the sensation of being scared, and why you love it — or don’t.

Dusty sat on the steps of his house. He looked tired. He hadn’t slept in days. His buddy, Chucky, rode by on his bike.

“Let’s go to the park,” Chucky said.

Without a word Dusty got on his bike and they peddled toward the park together.

“What’s wrong, Dusty?” Chucky said. “You look terrible. It looks like you’re gonna fall asleep on your bike.”

“I can’t sleep,” Dusty said.

“Everybody sleeps,” Chucky said. “Eventually you will get tired and just fall over, but you’ll sleep. It’s like trying to hold your breath. You can’t do it. If you can do it long enough you pass out and you start breathing again.”

“How do you know?” Dusty said.

“A doctor told me,” Chucky said.

“What doctor?” Dusty said.

“Big Mike’s doctor,” Chucky said. “Big Mike’s doctor told him and Big Mike told me.”

“When did he tell you that?” Dusty said.

“When he was choking me,” Chucky said. “He said he’d let go as soon as I passed out.”

“He could have killed you,” Dusty said.

“Nah,” Chucky said. “I put a curse on him just before I let him do it; if I die I’d come back to haunt him.”

“That’s stupid,” Dusty said.

“What’s stupid is not sleeping,” Chucky said. “How long have you not slept?”

“Three days,” Dusty said. “Since we saw Invasion of The Body-Snatchers. If I fall a sleep they’re going to take my body and replace me with a some soulless creature that looks just like me.”

“That’s a movie,” Chucky said. “It’s make believe. It’s not going to happen.”

“It has to be based on a true story,” Dusty said. “You can’t make-up stuff like that. I just can’t sleep,” Dusty said. “For all I know you could have already been taken over by the body-snatchers.”

“No, not me,” Chucky said. “Big Mike told me a long time ago if I walk around with garlic in my pocket it will keep vampires away from me and he said the stuff works on body-snatchers too.”

“If it’s just a movie and made-up, why do you need it?” Dusty said.

“There’ nothing wrong with being cautious,” Chucky said.

“Now that’s stupid,” Dusty said.

“Than why do I sleep at night and you don’t,” Chucky said.

Dusty paused for a moment. “Do you have any garlic with you?”

“Just a little bit in my pocket. I never go anyplace without it.” Chucky said. “But we’re heading past Big Mike’s, he’ll sell you a weeks worth for a quarter.”

“Are you sure it works?” Dusty said.

“Sure it works!” Chucky said.

“Is there any guarantee?” Dusty said.

“Big Mike guaranteed it,” Chucky said. “But the guarantee won’t go into effect unless you put a curse on Big Mike.”

After the visit to Big Mike’s, payment of a quarter, and a curse on Big Mike, Dusty and Chucky rode to the park on their bikes.

The next day Dusty was on the steps of his house again. He looked tired. He hadn’t slept in days. His buddy, Chucky, rode by on his bike.

“You look terrible,” Chucky said. “Didn’t you sleep last night?”

“No,” Dusty said. “The smell of garlic kept me awake.”

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