The Long Sleep of Harold Brown
Updated and Edited for 1000 View Celebration — Up All Night Write-Athon
Authors note: I just don’t have it in me, too tired to come up with an all new, original, and quality fiction piece right now. The all night write-athon challenge has beaten me fair and square. My postings ended at nine. I am going to leave the contest with an edit, update and repost of one of my all time favorite creepy pasta style shorts. Enjoy.
Authors note 2: I made these changes and published this last night but I guess because it was in my saved/archived stories it did not publish as a new post but reverted to the orginal date.
Harold Brown couldn’t sleep. He could never sleep. Year after year he struggled but sleep refused to come. He had tried all of the conventional treatments; soothing music, counting sheep, self-hypnosis, drugs. All proved futile. He had visited every sleep clinic and sleep researcher in the world and still he found no relief. “It’s all in your mind” the therapists told him. “Just relax, breathe deep, think calming thoughts, and sleep will come,” but it never did.
Harold was a genius, arguably the greatest engineer to ever live; his inventions had changed the world but the acclaim mattered little to him. All he wanted was one night of uninterrupted slumber. To slip down his head and drift off in peace like a normal man. There came a night as he lay in bed tossing and turning, grumbling at his misfortune, that he made a decision. If sleep will not come by will of nature alone I will make it come.
One full year he researched the intricacies of sleep and its mechanisms. He learned of the patterns of the brain at rest, the state of the body when conscious thought ends, and when sleep steels over the mind unbidden. Finally he began to build. The machine took shape slowly. It was a ghastly thing, all wires and circuits, silicon, and metal. When complete it fit about his head like a helmet, one wire ran from the attachment point near the temporal lobe to the power source. All he had to do was put it over his head, flip the switch and instantly sleep would come. Nothing could wake him once the machine was engaged. It could be programmed to initiate sleep at any given time and grant wakefulness at any other. He input the data, sleep at 10:00 pm awake at 9:00 am. The helmet slipped over his head and the switch was flipped. Instantly he was dreaming and then suddenly he was awake. He looked at the clock near his bed, 9:00 A.M. it read. I’ve done it, he thought, I have mastered sleep.
A year passed and it was the greatest of his life. His prior scientific achievements paled to what he accomplished during that time. Always in the background was the machine. The machine had made it all possible, it was his greatest achievement. Every night it comforted him bringing him instantly to the world of dreams and then waking him again refreshed and alive ready to tackle the world.
Eventually however things began to change. Slowly life began to lose its color. The change was so subtle Harold dismissed it at first. I’m just getting older he thought. Eventually though he could deny it no longer, he had lost the ability to perceive color. Everything had become black and white. Soon even black and white began to fade and Harold thought, I am going blind. At the same time as he lost his sight, his others senses were also affected. He would touch an object and it seemed that the solidness of the material was diminished. I can barely feel thought Harry. His hearing too was fading, sounds lost their cohesiveness. The blaring of car horn to him sounded as a dull thud. Then, sound was gone completely. sight soon after. Then to his horror his sense of touch was completely lost.
In the bedroom of his apartment Harry sat in a plain wooden chair attached to his sleep machine. It was the same chair he had slept in every night since he had used it for the first time. His eyes were wide open, staring at nothing for there was nothing he could see. If he were still capable of having sensations he might have felt a soft tapping at his shins as a long tail lashed back and forth. A large rat was at his feet chewing through the power cord of his sleep machine. One wire at a time was lost and so too was Harold Brown.