The Deadline (fiction)

They say lack of sleep can be as dangerous as drinking or drugs. Okay, fine, I said. I won’t drive or operate heavy machinery, but I had a deadline and sleep was a luxury I couldn’t afford.

After a week of little more than daytime catnaps and restless nights of tossing and turning after staying up way too late, my eyeballs dried out like prunes and my mind itched like the cotton in a bottle of aspirin. A constant stream of high-test coffee flowed from pot, to mug, to mouth. My stomach rumbled in protest and my head drooped more and more frequently. Still, I was close. Almost completed, I only needed a couple of hours to finish, and my deadline… just a couple of hours away.

You made me tea. I remember that much. I could smell the honey wafting from the mug as you set it beside my stack of binders and books in the one clear spot on my desk. I thought you had retreated to the den after that. Your hand landing on my shoulder, meant to comfort and relax, startled my fuzzy, exhausted mind. My body, reacting to my mind’s misinterpretations, spun around.

I don’t remember striking out. I am sorry.

They say I sunk my pen into your chest forty-two times. I don’t remember one. I am forty-two times sorry, my love.

Lack of sleep does do strange things to a person. I made my deadline, but my project was covered in your blood. I have plenty of time, now, to remember. They showed me the photos and I don’t want those memories. I only want to remember you, your love and passion. Yet, I see your blood on those pages every time I close my eyes. Every moment I’m awake, I hear your words whisper, “Why, baby? Why?”

Whoever said it was right. The pen IS mightier than the sword. That was the fancy pen that you gave me on our anniversary. I hope they give it back once they stick that needle in my vein.

Then, finally, I will sleep.

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6 responses to “The Deadline (fiction)

  • christel42

    Oh awesome! The pen is mightier than the sword. This is classic.

  • Joanie

    Nicely done. I love the line, “I’m fourty-two times sorry, my love.” It really lingered in my head when I was done reading. Some people say writers are pansies, but I say never mess with a writer who’s had no sleep. :\

  • asthemoonclimbs

    Creepy! But cool. Commercials tell me that after a certain amount of time, an insomniac will start to fall asleep on their feet and experience hallucinations and such. Don’t mess with them, I say, and here’s why.

  • John Wiswell

    I wonder what made him attack her. He seems so fond of her in hindsight. Is his acute agitated madness recent, or something old that swallowed up the motive? Only the pen and the needle will know.

  • Gracie

    As a total coffee-holic who had very little sleep last night, I can relate to that startle reflex. 🙂

    Very well written and totally creepy. “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Priceless.

  • shadowsinstone

    Deadlines suck, fortunately I can’t stab someone with a netbook. 😉

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