Counting Sheep Pills

Your bare foot taps absently against the cold tile floor, rapidly hitting it again and again as your toes involuntarily flirt back and forth with the frigid ground. You’re far too aware of the hardness of the old wooden chair you’re sitting in. The vertical rails of the backrest bite into your skin, cold and rigid as you shift restlessly in the uncomfortable relic. It creaks loudly with even the slightest movement you make, emitting the most unpleasant sound against the silent backdrop of the night.

Despite your discomfort, you stare straight ahead, gazing at the bottle on the small kitchen table in front of you. Your eyes adjust to the darkness surrounding you, the writing on the label only visible by the sparse moonlight trickling through the single window on the opposite end of the room.

Two pills and you’ll be asleep within the hour.

At least, that’s what it promises.

Considering you haven’t slept in almost two weeks—a reality you still can’t come to terms with—and the fact that your brain is still reeling from the grossly inexplicable, traumatizing episode at the diner this morning, you’re pretty skeptical that anything in a commercial bottle sold over the counter can put you out that quickly.

If it works at all, that is.

You normally wouldn’t even consider taking anything like this. You don’t do medicine of any kind. You don’t even take multivitamins because even those give you uncomfortable clinical vibes and remind you of things that are better off forgotten. You haven’t stepped foot into a hospital in years. And you have absolutely no intention of doing so.

Ever again.

Not after what happened the last time…

Today was the first time in a long, long time that you found yourself in a pharmacy aisle of a drugstore. And you only did it out of desperation; you’re tired of being exhausted, but not enough to actually fall asleep like a normal person. Then again, “normal” hasn’t exactly been the status quo lately.

For anyone.

You walk over to a small cabinet and grab a plastic tea cup. You vaguely register the sound of running water as you turn on the faucet, filling it up. Your mind is so burnt out and removed from what you’re doing. It’s as if your body is on autopilot, performing the actions on its own, without the knowledge or approval of your brain.

You go back to the table and resume staring at the tiny bottle of sleeping pills for a few more minutes, contemplating the effectiveness of the drug. The directions say to take two capsules. You breathe out a deep sigh, your body shuddering in exhaustion as you exhale.

Two probably isn’t going to cut it. At the same time, you don’t want to double the dosage and risk any adverse effects.

Maybe three pills will do?

Yeah. Three will probably work better. And one more pill than recommended isn’t exactly going overboard.

You stand restlessly as you convince yourself three is fine, and it doesn’t take long to do as your weariness and frustration gets the best of you. You quickly unscrew the cap, your impatience causing you to use far more force than necessary. The lid ends up flying across the table and skidding to the edge of it opposite you. You don’t bother going after it.

You quickly down the capsules, gulping one after the other in quick successions and silently shrieking at the awful after-taste; a funky mix of old onions and raw asparagus juice.

“This shit better fucking work,” you mutter to yourself. It wasn’t cheap and it tastes like crap.

You chug some more water, hoping it’ll get rid of some of the disgusting after-taste, but it does little to wash it away.

You sigh in resignation, tossing the cup into the sink before dragging yourself over to your bedroom. Your muscles ache and scream in protest, your calves and thighs sore and tense as though you’ve been running a cross-country marathon.

Another sigh escapes your lips as you enter your room. You briefly register the barely-there scent of the cheap Febreze knock-off spray you got a while back, its artificial tangerine smell a mere whisper in the frigid air.

You flop carelessly onto your bed, pulling your blanket over you as you wait in absolute, almost deafening silence for the pills to take effect.

You have no idea how long you lie there like that for, but it feels like an eternity. But eventually, you start to get really drowsy. A fleeting thought quickly passes through your mind as you continue to sink further and further into slumber:

The pills are working. Thank fucking God.

You’re almost there…but not quite.

You try to get more comfortable, slowly rolling over in your semi-asleep-semi-awake state, but instantly feel your body collide with something firm and solid on the other side. In your sleepy daze, you absently nudge against it, you’re met with surprising warmth.

Instinctively, you scurry closer to it; closer to the coziness, leaning your forehead against the source of gratifying heat and comfort.

It feels like a big, firm, heated pillow. Or some kind of hot, sturdy cushion.

As you get closer to it, you breathe in the smell of rich cedar and sandalwood.

It’s…distinct.

Distinct and…familiar.

You inhale again, vaguely aware of the slowly but surely increasing pressure between your thighs as you take in the titillating scent. You breathe it in once more, a lot deeper this time, and you can’t stop the involuntary smile forming on your face even as you fall deeper into your sleep.

It’s weird; knowing that you’re smiling even though you’re pretty much knocked out. It feels different than being half-asleep. It’s almost like being conscious within your subconscious; like dreaming while you know you’re dreaming, but not really dreaming at all.

Okay, you think you just confused the hell out of yourself, and you’re probably not making any sense, but you really don’t care right now.

You’re not going to let yourself get caught up in trying to understand it. Not tonight. Not while you finally have some peace of mind. Letting your mind go helter-skelter trying to make sense of everything as it usually does is only going to stress you out. You’ve been doing quite enough of that these last two weeks.

Right now, you just want to continue to snuggle in this amazing warmth and inhale this divine, gratifying scent.

Oddly, you notice that the woody fragrance has an unusual edge it. It smells out of this world. And for whatever reason, it makes you feel…safe.

And…kind of horny.

Your mouth curves into another smile, your voice threatening to spill out of it in a giggle at the silly thought of getting horny for a pillow.

To its credit, it smells really nice.

In fact, it smells sexy. Very sexy.

And strangely, very male, as well; like it belongs to a very sexy-smelling, manly-male.

Okay, you need to get a grip. These pills are obviously doing a number on you. You wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out they have some special mushroom extract in them.

Still, the scent remains. And you honestly don’t think you could ever get tired of it.

And it feels like it becomes more and more intense with every breath you take, increasingly arousing with each inhale. It’s almost like you’re smelling it for the very first time each time, surprising your nostrils again and again with every new draw of breath.

You can’t believe getting this turned on in your sleep—or whatever purgatory-ish version of sleep this is.

You are officially a weirdo.

Then again, you already know that.

You press your forehead further into the pillow, snuggling into it in your semi-conscious state as your hands reached out on their accord to steal some warmth for themselves. And they’re instantly rewarded with just that.

And, by God, they feel warm. So very warm.

Your entire body feels incredible; a hell of a lot warmer than you remembered going to sleep, too. Like you’re out at the beach on a sunny day instead of trapped inside your flimsy apartment in an old twin bed.

Even in your sleep you can tell that was unusual. It has to be the pills. You don’t recall the apartment ever being this nice and toasty.

Not even in the summer time.

And your sheets and comforter never feel this soft and plush, either—

Your thought process halts for several seconds as your mind registered an anomaly:

You don’t own a comforter.

***

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THIS CHAPTER MAKES ME FEEL...
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

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