Voices from the Inbetween

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I wrote a short story based on something that happened to me this week.

What messages are trying to getting through?

Photo by Bastian Riccardi from Pexels

Sleep is a funny thing. Going to bed requires a special table to lie on and special clothes to wear. You close your eyes and eventually fall into a form of stasis… at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. Sometimes sleep can sneak up on you when you least expect it.

I was reading a bunch of policies and comparing them to existing literature, searching deeply for formatting issues and grammatical errors. This is such satisfying work – looking for small things to be fixed. They are much easier to fix than the problems that exist within me.

But it is hard work to stay laser-focused on finding those issues. And this exertion of effort begins to take its toll. My eyes start to wander, losing focus of the words on the screen. I try to read the same sentence over and over, losing my place closer and closer to the start each time. My eyelids feel heavy, my head wants to nod, but I desperately fight against it.

No! You need to finish this! Just a couple more pages…

I enter a series of short, internal battles – each one weakening me more than the last. Trying to make me succumb to seductive wiles of slumber. I find myself stuck somewhere between wakefulness and sleep, hearing voices that aren’t there, but feel so real. Half- realised conversations and random snippets of memories being made, but I have no idea who these people are.

Sometimes it feels like I’m watching a movie or listening to a podcast. Other times it feel likes I’m right there in the moment.

In the conversation.

Part of the discourse for a split second… but not really.

By the power of spontaneity, these voices can shock me back to reality. It must be their way of saying, “How dare you fall asleep? You still have work to do.”

Even at night, I’m accosted by voices of unknown origin. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. Why are you talking to me, or rather, around me? Disturbing my natural descent into the realm of dreams with your inane conversations of what you might have for dinner or asking if someone watched the news last night.

I’m not involved with you in any way and you rob me of peace during my designated time of rest? Shame on you, random voices. Shame on you for existing at the most inopportune times.

Where are you to accompany me when I am laying in bed, eyes wide open, unable to close the chapter of the day just gone and prepare for the day ahead? Stuck in my own mind, all alone and riddled with anxious thoughts. Wondering why my brain won’t just shut off. Please let me sleep! I don’t want to be awake and know I exist in a world as bad as this – even if it’s just for a few hours.

It would be nice to have a distraction from it all, even if it is a boring conversation about an email you need to send, or your search for the right pair of earrings to wear to a dinner party. But you just leave me there. Vulnerable to my own attacks, disturbed by my own worries and drowned by my own misery.


Thanks for reading!

Also, hearing voices before falling asleep and other types of auditory hypnagogic hallucinations are a common occurrence and have at least occurred once for about a third of the population in the UK. It is not indicative of psychosis, but it may mean that I need to sort out several issues including stress, anxiety, my terrible sleep schedule and subsequent insomnia. No pressure, I guess.


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By Ade

An aspiring creator in way too many areas, Ade loves to try something new, as long as it doesn't interfere with the balance of the universe too much. Trying to take each day as it comes, Ade edits videos for YouTube, occasionally records podcasts, and writes with strange mannerisms to entertain the world.