Go to Sleep, Go to Sleep
The smell of damp, decaying wood and mildew proliferates the air; the stale, malodorous stench wafting unpleasantly throughout the entire building, permeating every inch and corner of the two-tier with its foul, obnoxious presence. It’s even more pungent than usual, amplified by the relentless rain and fog—that and perhaps the late hour of the night.
Thunder roars in the sky above, rolling and clashing amidst the heavy storm, the acute sound booming in your ears as if it’s coming from just a few feet away instead of thousands of miles outside. The sequence of loud cracks aren’t even slightly muffled, thanks to paper-thin walls and a faulty foundation.
Several droplets permeate the questionable roofing, trickling through the low ceiling and falling on to the unfinished floors, creating muddy streaks in their wake.
The pitter-patter sound of rain against a lone window clashes with your footsteps. Constant wet splatters hit the cracked glass that’s now caked in precipitation, drenching its disintegrating pane.
The incessant downpour is broken up by bright flashes of lightning, irregular fluorescent strips glowing intermittently against the backdrop of the blue-black night just before their accompanying bouts of thunder interject like the chorus of a lullaby.
You stumble up creaky, termite-eaten stairs, placing one tired foot in front of the other up way too many steps until you finally reach the top. You walk past several doors, coming to stand in front of the one you’ve called yours for the last three months.
Your shoulders slump and the muscles beneath them deflate, barely able to bear the weight of your bag. You bring your forehead against the chipped barrier, leaning against it in exhaustion. You sluggishly fish for your keys in your pocket, bringing them up to dangle between your cold, rigid fingers as you fumble to find the one for the old, rusty lock staring back at you. The small cluster of metal jingles noisily as various keys clash against each other, distorting the stark, almost eerie quiet of the night. You finally find the right one, placing it in the lock and turning it with the last remnants of energy left in your body.
The lock gives with an audible click and you absently push the door open, almost tripping over your own feet as you stagger ungracefully into your tiny studio apartment.
Darkness engulfs you as soon as you step inside, but you don’t reach for the light switch. Tiny, sparse streaks of moonlight make their way through the single window at the opposite end of the room, allowing you some vision of the familiar space.
You lock the door behind you as your eyes slowly adjust to the faint, subdued light. It doesn’t help that your eyelids feel exceptionally heavy tonight, as if they each have a dozen anvils resting on them. Your eyes are already half-way closed, and you can barely manage to keep them open; something that’s proving to be a Herculean task in itself.
You practically crawl to your bedroom, feeling like you’re competing in a cross-country walk-a-thon even though it’s only a few feet away. Your mind is foggy, as if you’re in a drug-induced haze. You’re way too tired to deal with any more crap.
Tonight’s shift at Rubies was the most hectic and draining it’s ever been since you started working there. It’s a good thing it pays as well as it does.
Your stomach growls loudly, like a hungry bull on steroids, reminding you that you haven’t put any food in it for several hours. But you don’t even have the energy to so much as think about eating right now. You seriously can’t remember the last time you’ve been this sleepy. All you want to do right now is pass out.
“I so need a fucking raise,” you mutter to yourself, the words leaving your lips in a lethargic slur.
You suppose talking to yourself is something you do quite often. Even at times like this. you have to keep yourself entertained somehow. But, man, you sound totally beat—even to your own ears.
God…I’m at my limit.
As if concurring with your thoughts, your eyelids become even more droopy, falling as if they’re being dragged down by invisible weights attached to each of your lashes.
You just want to jump in your kid-sized bed and put an end to this exhausting night.
You can’t even be bothered to change out of your work clothes. You feel—and probably look—gross, but whatever.
You shrug off your bag, sighing as the pressure of the strap leaves your shoulder. It falls to the floor with a small thud. You absently kick off your sneakers, as if your legs are on auto-pilot, leaving the worn pair of shoes right next to it.
You plummet into the stiff mattress without hesitation, falling head-first into your pillow with a satisfied groan. You reach for the covers, tugging at the fabric impatiently before pulling it all the way up to your ears—not that the thin blanket can do much to keep you warm.
But it doesn’t matter, because before you know it, your eyes are completely shut and you’re out.