Short Stories

Sleep deprivation

This is short story that I wrote for the course. Enjoy….

Sleep Deprivation

He looked at Sylvia’s face. Her snoring had woken him again. It was arrogant kind of snoring. Her face was soft still, not much lined but it made an appalling noise; the kind of noise which, in the dark of night made you consider mortality and the hopelessness of imagining it might mean anything. John rolled onto his side and jammed the pillow over one ear. It didn’t help. The snoring rumbled through the bed making him feel the vibration. “Jesus”, he mumbled into the mattress. There was no way he could take any more. “Sylvia, turn over,” he said looking over his shoulder at the hateful form. Dutifully she did and for a brief moment there was no snoring.

Perfect, he thought and started to settle. He could feel his limbs become leaden and his eyes started to close as sleep claimed him. As he started to slip into oblivion he heard a car pull up. In it was Sylvia, but not the woman lying next to him, no, instead he saw the girl he had fallen in love with. Her rich brown hair fell to her waist and was tangled and wind-blown, she was a sight to behold. “I’m going to marry you,” John cried and she smiled. Her sky blue eyes were so deep he felt them see into his very soul. Moving closer he touched her cheek. “I love you.” Again she smiled and he glimpsed the quick whiteness of her perfect teeth. He placed a hand on her waist and felt the familiar way she fit, her slimness and firmness a forgotten sensation. “I really do love you,” he whispered as he leaned in to kiss her plump youthful lips. Her mouth parted in expectation and just as he touched her a roar sounded. Startled he jumped back and looked around. He appeared to be in the local haunt he once took Sylvia to, the place they had first made out and where he had got to second base. The roar sounded again and he turned slowly to Sylvia. She was still sitting on the bench she had once sat on as he declared his love, but as he watched she opened her mouth. It continued to open until it had stretched to the point any human jaw could open, except it carried on, hollowing her cheeks and making her eyes stare widely. From her mouth came a noise that stopped his heart and froze the very blood in his body. “Sylvia?” he called but she didn’t respond. Instead the noise got louder and began to be overlaid with a scream, a high-pitched scream.

John threw himself out of bed still screaming and the noise was still there. Standing in nothing but a pair of boxers he looked at Sylvia, snoring and creating that noise. He shivered and wondered about going back to bed. “What’s the point?” he asked himself and hugged his arms around his chest, trying to get a little warmth as his sweat dried on his skin. There really was no point, it looked like he’d managed to get a massive half hour but Sylvia’s snoring could not be stopped. Turning from the bed he snatched his dressing-gown from the back of the door and walked out. Amazing really that she hadn’t woken from the scream, but then, once asleep nothing woke her. “Cow.”

He shuffled down the hall trying to think of anything but sleep, there was no way he was getting any more, not tonight. It wasn’t fair how she got a full night and yet he had to exist on barely two hours a night. It had been years since he’d had a good night sleep but lately she’d got worse. Sometimes John hoped that she had sleeep-apnea and then not wake up. “Please,” he whined into the cold empty kitchen.

A cup of coffee, that’s what he needed. Getting out the coffee he pulled open the drawer to get a small spoon and stopped. There, sitting next to the teaspoons, were the knives and in particular the large butcher knife. He could take that and one swipe of his arm and her throat would be cut. Then he could sleep and she wouldn’t make that noise. John stared at his hand and reached out to grasp the handle of the knife. It wouldn’t take long, but… he thought of the mess. There would be no way he could sleep in the bed, the blood would be everywhere. No if he was going to kill Sylvia it would have to be less messy. Replacing the knife he picked up a teaspoon and closed the drawer. If he was to go about planning the killing, then how could he do it? John made his coffee and stirred. Poison? No that would just take too long. Stabbing was out… What about strangulation? Except he would have to lift her head enough to slip a rope or tie or something around the back. His hands weren’t strong enough to just use them, so he would have to use something and that wouldn’t work as Sylvia would wake and hit him, probably thinking he wanted to do “that thing.” John sighed; he would have to think of something else.

Taking his coffee he walked to the kitchen table and sat down, wincing as the cold plastic hit the back of his legs. Honestly, it was like being back at school. He had wanted the wooden set but the darling wife had decided that plastic was more ‘in’ and anyway “it was wipe down so she could clean up silly mistakes.” Then she had tittered, no woman of her size and formidable character ought to titter. God, sometimes he truly hated her. So, stabbing, poisoning, and strangling were out… what else? John took a sip of coffee and thought. Then he had it. There was only one way left.

Smother, he would smother her with her favourite pillow in the nasty floral pattern. Not the nice plain patterning he wanted but some loud pink and purple flower affair, nasty. If he used the lounge cushion then he could put it back after. Perhaps he could tell them it was sleep-apnea. Perhaps they wouldn’t even ask. Taking a big gulp of coffee John wandered into the lounge, the nasty beige lounge with the nasty pink velour sofa. He would get leather, brown leather with real wood trimming. Smiling he picked up the ‘favourite’ cushion and walked toward the bedroom. In the back of his mind a small voice suggested that it wasn’t a good idea to kill his wife, but the louder voice told him of the sleepless nights and her loud aggressive voice calling him a “lazy shit”. No the cow had brought this on herself.

John moved into the bedroom and for a moment paused. Should he finish his coffee first? But then he looked at the sleeping form of his wife and a rage filled him completely. People say you see red if you become so angry that you lose all sense and for John it was the same but only for a moment. He came to his senses looking down at her with the pillow posed above her head. He must have moved quietly otherwise she would have woken.

John stopped and listened. Nothing. No sound. No snoring and if he listened hard… He couldn’t even hear her breathing. “No Shit!” John leaned over his wife and placed a hand on her neck feeling for a pulse. Nothing, but then was he feeling in the right place? Putting down the pillow he pinched her nose together and covered her mouth with his hand. She didn’t struggle or try to knock his hand away. Silently he counted in his head… he hit ten and removed his hand. Turning on the light next to the bed he jumped back as his wife suddenly snapped into focus. She lay on her back with her eyes open, staring at the ceiling. John grinned. “Sylvia… Sweetie? You okay?” He paused and shook her. Laughing he shook her harder. “Sweetie? You dead?”

Still laughing John went around the bed and got into the other side. Curling around his now cooling and obliging wife John closed his eyes. As sleep took him he laid a kiss on her neck. “Night, beautiful. I’ll get you help in the morning.”

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