Cyberpunk: A subgenre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that tends to focus on "a combination of low life and high tech" featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order. Basics: Posts should include something both *cyber* and *punk*.
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Alright so, I took the default database from there https://skribbliohints.github.io/
and with the help of html, I extracted the words to a list separated by commas. It's useful when you want to translate those words into your native language. Word of advice
, when using google translate, do not put all words at once there, it can rapidly worsen the translation.
(And there is a last thing
. Their algorithm of picking only custom words is not working really good, at least for me. Meaning that I often get duplicates, despite having a list this big and without duplicates. I'm still trying to find some solution to this, so if somebody is experiencing this as well, share the knowledge please, I will do the same.) SOLUTION:
Thanks for the reply from PepegaWR
who identified the cause. I also tested it and there seems to be a custom words limit of 5000 characters. The easiest way in my opinion is to shuffle the words before each session to minimize the impact. Also thanks to the flynger
who had the same idea before me :)
Finally, here it is, enjoy the scribbling ^^ :
ABBA, AC/DC, Abraham Lincoln, Adidas, Africa, Aladdin, America, Amsterdam, Android, Angelina Jolie, Angry Birds, Antarctica, Anubis, Apple, Argentina, Asia, Asterix, Atlantis, Audi, Australia, BMW, BMX, Bambi, Band-Aid, Barack Obama, Bart Simpson, Batman, Beethoven, Bible, Big Ben, Bill Gates, Bitcoin, Black Friday, Bomberman, Brazil, Bruce Lee, Bugs Bunny, Canada, Capricorn, Captain America, Cat Woman, Cerberus, Charlie Chaplin, Chewbacca, China, Chinatown, Christmas, Chrome, Chuck Norris, Colosseum, Cookie Monster, Crash Bandicoot, Creeper, Croatia, Cuba, Cupid, DNA, Daffy Duck, Darwin, Darwin Watterson, Deadpool, Dexter, Discord, Donald Duck, Donald Trump, Dora, Doritos, Dracula, Dumbo, Earth, Easter, Easter Bunny, Egypt, Eiffel tower, Einstein, Elmo, Elon Musk, Elsa, Eminem, England, Europe, Excalibur, Facebook, Family Guy, Fanta, Ferrari, Finn, Finn and Jake, Flash, Florida, France, Frankenstein, Fred Flintstone, Gandalf, Gandhi, Garfield, Germany, God, Goofy, Google, Great Wall, Greece, Green Lantern, Grinch, Gru, Gumball, Happy Meal, Harry Potter, Hawaii, Hello Kitty, Hercules, Hollywood, Home Alone, Homer Simpson, Hula Hoop, Hulk, Ikea, India, Intel, Ireland, Iron Giant, Iron Man, Israel, Italy, Jack-o-lantern, Jackie Chan, James Bond, Japan, JayZ, Jenga, Jesus Christ, Jimmy Neutron, John Cena, Johnny Bravo, KFC, Katy Perry, Kermit, Kim Jong-un, King Kong, Kirby, Kung Fu, Lady Gaga, Las Vegas, Lasagna, Lego, Leonardo DiCaprio, Leonardo da Vinci, Lion King, London, London Eye, Luigi, MTV, Madagascar, Mario, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars, McDonalds, Medusa, Mercedes, Mercury, Mexico, Michael Jackson, Mickey Mouse, Microsoft, Milky Way, Minecraft, Miniclip, Minion, Minotaur, Mona Lisa, Monday, Monster, Mont Blanc, Morgan Freeman, Morse code, Morty, Mount Everest, Mount Rushmore, Mozart, Mr. Bean, Mr. Meeseeks, Mr Bean, Mr Meeseeks, Mummy, NASCAR, Nasa, Nemo, Neptune, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nike, Nintendo Switch, North Korea, Northern Lights, Norway, Notch, Nutella, Obelix, Olaf, Oreo, Pac-Man, Paris, Patrick, Paypal, Peppa Pig, Pepsi, Phineas and Ferb, Photoshop, Picasso, Pikachu, Pink Panther, Pinocchio, Playstation, Pluto, Pokemon, Popeye, Popsicle, Porky Pig, Portugal, Poseidon, Pringles, Pumba, Reddit, Rick, Robbie Rotten, Robin Hood, Romania, Rome, Russia, Samsung, Santa, Saturn, Scooby Doo, Scotland, Segway, Sherlock Holmes, Shrek, Singapore, Skittles, Skrillex, Skype, Slinky, Solar System, Sonic, Spain, Spartacus, Spiderman, SpongeBob, Squidward, Star Wars, Statue of Liberty, Steam, Stegosaurus, Steve Jobs, Stone Age, Sudoku, Suez Canal, Superman, Susan Wojcicki, Sydney Opera House, T-rex, Tails, Tarzan, Teletubby, Terminator, Tetris, The Beatles, Thor, Titanic, Tooth Fairy, Tower Bridge, Tower of Pisa, Tweety, Twitter, UFO, USB, Uranus, Usain Bolt, Vatican, Vault boy, Velociraptor, Venus, Vin Diesel, W-LAN, Wall-e, WhatsApp, William Shakespeare, William Wallace, Winnie the Pooh, Wolverine, Wonder Woman, Xbox, Xerox, Yin and Yang, Yoda, Yoshi, Youtube, Zelda, Zeus, Zorro, Zuma, abstract, abyss, accident, accordion, ace, acid, acne, acorn, action, actor, addiction, addition, adorable, adult, advertisement, afro, afterlife, air conditioner, airbag, aircraft, airplane, airport, alarm, albatross, alcohol, alien, allergy, alley, alligator, almond, alpaca, ambulance, anaconda, anchor, angel, anglerfish, angry, animation, anime, ant, anteater, antelope, antenna, anthill, antivirus, anvil, apartment, apocalypse, applause, apple, apple pie, apple seed, apricot, aquarium, arch, archaeologist, archer, architect, aristocrat, arm, armadillo, armor, armpit, arrow, ash, assassin, assault, asteroid, astronaut, asymmetry, athlete, atom, attic, audience, autograph, avocado, axe, baboon, baby, back pain, backbone, backflip, backpack, bacon, bad, badger, bag, bagel, bagpipes, baguette, bait, bakery, baklava, balance, balcony, bald, ball, ballerina, ballet, balloon, bamboo, banana, bandage, bandana, banjo, bank, banker, bar, barbarian, barbecue, barbed wire, barber, barcode, bark, barn, barrel, bartender, base, basement, basket, basketball, bat, bathroom, bathtub, battery, battle, battleship, bayonet, bazooka, beach, beak, bean, bean bag, beanie, beanstalk, bear, bear trap, beatbox, beaver, bed, bed bug, bed sheet, bedtime, bee, beef, beer, beet, beetle, bell, bell pepper, bellow, belly, belly button, below, belt, bench, betray, bicycle, bill, billiards, bingo, binoculars, biology, birch, bird, bird bath, birthday, biscuit, bite, black, black hole, blackberry, blacksmith, blanket, bleach, blender, blimp, blind, blindfold, blizzard, blood, blowfish, blue, blueberry, blush, boar, board, boat, bobsled, bodyguard, boil, bomb, booger, book, bookmark, bookshelf, boomerang, boots, border, bottle, bottle flip, bounce, bouncer, bow, bowl, bowling, box, boy, bracelet, braces, brain, brainwash, branch, brand, bread, breakfast, breath, brick, bricklayer, bride, bridge, broadcast, broccoli, broken heart, bronze, broom, broomstick, brownie, bruise, brunette, brush, bubble, bubble gum, bucket, building, bulge, bull, bulldozer, bullet, bumper, bungee jumping, bunk bed, bunny, burglar, burp, burrito, bus, bus driver, bus stop, butcher, butler, butt cheeks, butter, butterfly, button, cab driver, cabin, cabinet, cactus, cage, cake, calendar, camel, camera, campfire, camping, can, can opener, canary, candle, canister, cannon, canyon, cap, cape, cappuccino, captain, car wash, cardboard, carnival, carnivore, carpenter, carpet, carrot, cartoon, cash, casino, cast, cat, catalog, catapult, caterpillar, catfish, cathedral, cauldron, cauliflower, cave, caveman, caviar, ceiling, ceiling fan, celebrate, celebrity, cell, cell phone, cello, cement, centaur, centipede, chain, chainsaw, chair, chalk, chameleon, champagne, champion, chandelier, charger, cheek, cheeks, cheerleader, cheese, cheeseburger, cheesecake, cheetah, chef, chemical, cherry, cherry blossom, chess, chest, chest hair, chestnut, chestplate, chew, chicken, chihuahua, child, chime, chimney, chimpanzee, chin, chinchilla, chocolate, chopsticks, church, cicada cigarette, cinema, circle, circus, clap, clarinet, classroom, claw, clay, clean, clickbait, cliff, climb, cloak, clock, cloth, clothes hanger, cloud, clover, clown, clownfish, coach, coal, coast, coast guard, coaster, coat, cobra, cockroach, cocktail, coconut, cocoon, coffee, coffee shop, coffin, coin, cola, cold, collapse, collar, color-blind, comb, comedian, comedy, comet, comfortable, comic book, commander, commercial, communism, community, compass, complete, computer, concert, condiment, cone, confused, console, continent, controller, conversation, cookie, cookie jar, copper, copy, coral, coral reef, cord, cork, corkscrew, corn, corn dog, corner, cornfield, corpse, cotton, cotton candy, country, cousin, cow, cowbell, cowboy, coyote, crab, crack, crate, crawl space, crayon, cream, credit, credit card, cricket, cringe, crocodile, croissant, crossbow, crow, crowbar, crucible, cruise, crust, crystal, cube, cuckoo, cucumber, cup, cupboard, cupcake, curry, curtain, cushion, customer, cut, cute, cyborg, cylinder, cymbal, dagger, daisy, dalmatian, dance, dandelion, dandruff, darts, dashboard, daughter, day, dead, deaf, deep, deer, defense, delivery, demon, demonstration, dent, dentist, deodorant, depressed, derp, desert, desk, desperate, dessert, detective, detonate, dew, diagonal, diagram, diamond, diaper, dice, dictionary, die, diet, dig, dinner, dinosaur, diploma, dirty, disaster, disease, dishrag, dispenser, display, diss track, distance, diva, divorce, dizzy, dock, doctor, dog, doghouse, doll, dollar, dollhouse, dolphin, dome, dominoes, donkey, door, doorknob, dots, double, dough, download, dragon, dragonfly, drain, drama, drawer, dream, dress, drink, drip, drive, driver, drool, droplet, drought, drum, drum kit, duck, duct tape, duel, dwarf, dynamite, eagle, ear, earbuds, earthquake, earwax, east, eat, echo, eclipse, eel, egg, eggplant, elbow, elder, election, electric car, electric guitar, electrician, electricity, elephant, elevator, embers, emerald, emoji, employer, emu, end, engine, engineer, equator, eraser, error, eskimo, espresso, evaporate, evening, evolution, exam, excavator, exercise, explosion, eye, eyebrow, eyelash, eye shadow, fabric, fabulous, facade, face, face paint, factory, failure, fairy, fake teeth, fall, family, farm, farmer, fashion designer, fast, fast food, fast forward, father, faucet, feather, fence, fencing, fern, festival, fidget spinner, field, figurine, filmmaker, filter, finger, fingernail, fingertip, fire alarm, fire hydrant, fire truck, fireball, firecracker, firefighter, firefly, firehouse, fireman, fireplace, fireproof, fireside, firework, fish, fish bowl, fisherman, fist fight, fitness trainer, fizz, flag, flagpole, flamethrower, flamingo, flashlight, flask, flea, flight attendant, flock, floodlight, floppy disk, florist, flower, flu, fluid, flush, flute, fly, fly swatter, flying pig, fog, foil, folder, food, forehead, forest, forest fire, fork, fort, fortress, fortune, fossil, fountain, fox, frame, freckles, freezer, fridge, fries, frog, frostbite, frosting, frown, fruit, full, full moon, funeral, funny, fur, furniture, galaxy, gang, gangster, garage, garbage, garden, gardener, garlic, gas, gas mask, gasoline, gasp, gate, gem, gender, generator, genie, gentle, gentleman, geography, germ, geyser, ghost, giant, gift, giraffe, girl, gladiator, glass, glasses, glitter, globe, gloss, glove, glow, glowstick, glue, glue stick, gnome, goal, goat, goatee, goblin, godfather, gold, gold chain, golden apple, golden egg, goldfish, golf, golf cart, good, goose, gorilla, graduation, graffiti, grandmother, grapefruit, grapes, graph, grass, grasshopper, grave, gravedigger, gravel, graveyard, gravity, greed, grenade, grid, grill, grin, groom, grumpy, guillotine, guinea pig, guitar, gumball, gummy, gummy bear, gummy worm, hacker, hair, hair roller, hairbrush, haircut, hairspray, hairy, half, halo, ham, hamburger, hammer, hammock, hamster, hand, handicap, handle, handshake, hanger, happy, harbor, hard, hard hat, harmonica, harp, harpoon, hashtag, hat, hazard, hazelnut, head, headache, headband, headboard, heading, headphones, health, heart, heat, hedgehog, heel, heist, helicopter, hell, helmet, hen, hermit, hero, hexagon, hibernate, hieroglyph, high five, high heels, high score, highway, hilarious, hill, hip hop, hippie, hippo, hitchhiker, hive, hobbit, hockey, holiday, homeless, honey, honeycomb, hoof, hook, hop, hopscotch, horizon, horn, horse, horsewhip, hose, hospital, hot, hot chocolate, hot dog, hot sauce, hotel, hourglass, house, hovercraft, hug, hummingbird, hunger, hunter, hurdle, hurt, husband, hut, hyena, hypnotize, iPad, iPhone, ice, ice cream, ice cream truck, iceberg, icicle, idea, imagination, impact, incognito, industry, infinite, injection, insect, inside, insomnia, internet, intersection, interview, invasion, invention, invisible, iron, island, ivy, jacket, jackhammer, jaguar, jail, jalapeno, janitor, jaw, jazz, jeans, jeep, jello, jelly, jellyfish, jester, jet ski, joker, journalist, journey, judge, juggle, juice, jump rope, jungle, junk food, kangaroo, karaoke, karate, katana, kazoo, kebab, keg, kendama, ketchup, kettle, key, keyboard, kidney, kindergarten, king, kiss, kitchen, kite, kitten, kiwi, knee, kneel, knife, knight, knot, knuckle, koala, kraken, label, laboratory, ladder, lady, ladybug, lake, lamb, lamp, landlord, landscape, lane, language, lantern, lap, laptop, laser, lasso, laundry, lava, lava lamp, lawn mower, lawyer, leader, leaf, leak, leash, leather, leave, leech, legs, lemon, lemonade, lemur, lens, leprechaun, lettuce, levitate, librarian, library, licorice, lid, light bulb, lighter, lighthouse, lightning, lightsaber, lily, lilypad, limbo, lime, limousine, line, link, lion, lips, lipstick, litter box, lizard, llama, loading, loaf, lobster, lock, log, logo, lollipop, loot, loser, lotion, lottery, lounge, love, low, luck, luggage, lumberjack, lung, lynx, lyrics, macaroni, machine, macho, mafia, magazine, magic, magic trick, magic wand, magician, magma, magnet, magnifier, maid, mailbox, mailman, makeup, mall, mammoth, manatee, manhole, manicure, mannequin, mansion, mantis, map, maracas, marathon, marble, margarine, marigold, market, marmalade, marmot, marshmallow, mascot, mask, massage, match, matchbox, mattress, mayonnaise, mayor, maze, meal, meat, meatball, meatloaf, mechanic, meerkat, megaphone, melon, melt, meme, mermaid, message, messy, metal, meteorite, microphone, microscope, microwave, midnight, military, milk, milkman, milkshake, mime, miner, minigolf, minivan, mint, minute, mirror, missile, model, mohawk, mold, mole, money, monk, monkey, monster, moon, moose, mop, morning, mosquito, moss, moth, mothball, mother, motherboard, motorbike, motorcycle, mountain, mouse, mousetrap, mouth, movie, mud, muffin, mug, murderer, muscle, museum, mushroom, musket, mustache, mustard, nachos, nail, nail file, nail polish, napkin, narwhal, nature, navy, neck, needle, neighbor, neighborhood, nerd, nest, network, newspaper, nickel, night, nightclub, nightmare, ninja, noob, noodle, north, nose, nose hair, nose ring, nosebleed, nostrils, notebook, notepad, nothing, notification, novel, nugget, nuke, nun, nurse, nut, nutcracker, nutmeg, nutshell, oar, observatory, ocean, octagon, octopus, office, oil, old, omelet, onion, open, opera, orange, orangutan, orbit, orca, orchestra, orchid, organ, origami, ostrich, otter, outside, oval, overweight, owl, oxygen, oyster, paddle, page, pain, paint, paintball, pajamas, palace, palette, palm, palm tree, pan, pancake, panda, panpipes, panther, pants, papaya, paper, paper bag, parachute, parade, parakeet, parents, park, parking, parrot, party, password, pasta, pastry, path, patient, patio, patriot, pause, pavement, paw, peace, peach, peacock, peanut, pear, peas, peasant, pedal, pelican, pencil, pencil case, pencil sharpener, pendulum, penguin, peninsula, penny, pensioner, pepper, pepperoni, perfume, periscope, person, pet food, pet shop, petal, pharmacist, photo frame, photograph, photographer, piano, pickaxe, pickle, picnic, pie, pig, pigeon, piggy bank, pigsty, pike, pill, pillar, pillow, pillow fight, pilot, pimple, pin, pinball, pine, pine cone, pineapple, pink, pinky, pinwheel, pipe, pirate, pirate ship, pistachio, pistol, pitchfork, pizza, plague, planet, plank, plate, platypus, player, playground, plow, plug, plumber, plunger, pocket, pogo stick, point, poison, poisonous, poke, polar bear, policeman, pollution, polo, pond, pony, ponytail, poodle, poop, poor, popcorn, pope, poppy, popular, porch, porcupine, portal, portrait, positive, postcard, poster, pot, pot of gold, potato, potion, pound, powder, prawn, pray, preach, pregnant, present, president, pretzel, price tag, priest, prince, princess, printer, prism, prison, pro, procrastination, professor, programmer, promotion, protest, provoke, prune, pub, pudding, puddle, puffin, puma, pumpkin, punishment, punk, puppet, purity, purse, puzzle, pyramid, quarter, queen, queue, quicksand, quill, quilt, quokka, raccoon, race, racecar, radar, radiation, radio, radish, raft, rail, rain, rainbow, raincoat, raindrop, rainforest, raisin, rake, ram, ramp, rapper, raspberry, rat, ravioli, razor, razorblade, read, reality, reception, receptionist, record, rectangle, recycling, red, red carpet, reeds, referee, reflection, reindeer, relationship, religion, remote, repeat, reptile, rest, restaurant, retail, revolver, rewind, rhinoceros, rib, ribbon, rice, ring, ringtone, risk, river, roadblock, robber, robin, robot, rock, rocket, rockstar, roll, roof, room, rooster, root, rose, royal, rubber, ruby, rug, ruler, run, rune, sad, saddle, safari, safe, sailboat, salad, sale, saliva, salmon, salt, saltwater, sand, sand castle, sandbox, sandstorm, sandwich, satellite, sauce, sauna, sausage, saxophone, scar, scarecrow, scarf, scary, scent, school, science, scientist, scissors, scoop, score, scream, screen, screw, scribble, scuba, sculpture, scythe, sea, sea lion, seafood, seagull, seahorse, seal, search, seashell, seasick, season, seat belt, seaweed, second, security, seed, seesaw, semicircle, sensei, server, sew, sewing machine, shadow, shake, shallow, shampoo, shape, shark, shaving cream, sheep, shelf, shell, shipwreck, shirt, shock, shoe, shoebox, shoelace, shop, shopping, shopping cart, short, shotgun, shoulder, shout, shovel, shower, shrew, shrub, shy, sick, signature, silence, silo, silver, silverware, sing, sink, sit, six pack, skateboard, skateboarder, skates, skeleton, ski, ski jump, skin, skinny, skribbl.io, skull, skunk, sky, skydiving, skyline, skyscraper, slam, sledge, sledgehammer, sleep, sleeve, slide, slime, slingshot, slippery, slope, sloth, slow, slump, smell, smile, smoke, snail, snake, sneeze, sniper, snow, snowball, snowball fight, snowboard, snowflake, snowman, soap, soccer, social media, socket, socks, soda, soil, soldier, sombrero, son, sound, soup, south, space, space suit, spaceship, spade, spaghetti, spark, sparkles, spatula, speaker, spear, spelunker, sphinx, spider, spin, spinach, spine, spiral, spit, spoiler, sponge, spool, spoon, spore, sports, spray paint, spring, sprinkler, spy, square, squid, squirrel, stab, stadium, stage, stamp, stand, stapler, star, starfish, starfruit, statue, steam, step, stereo, sting, stingray, stomach, stone, stoned, stop sign, stork, storm, stove, straw, strawberry, streamer, street, stress, strong, student, studio, study, stylus, submarine, subway, sugar, suitcase, summer, sun, sunburn, sunflower, sunglasses, sunrise, sunshade, supermarket, superpower, surface, surfboard, surgeon, survivor, sushi, swag, swamp, swan, swarm, sweat, sweater, swimming pool, swimsuit, swing, switch, sword, swordfish, symphony, table, table tennis, tablecloth, tablet, tabletop, taco, tadpole, tail, tailor, take off, talent show, tampon, tangerine, tank, tape, tarantula, target, taser, tattoo, taxi, taxi driver, tea, teacher, teapot, tear, teaspoon, teddy bear, telephone, telescope, television, temperature, tennis, tennis racket, tent, tentacle, text, thermometer, thief, thin, think, thirst, throat, throne, thug, thumb, thunder, thunderstorm, ticket, tickle, tie, tiger, time machine, timpani, tiny, tip, tiramisu, tire, tired, tissue, tissue box, toad, toast, toaster, toe, toenail, toilet, tomato, tomb, tombstone, tongue, toolbox, tooth, toothbrush, toothpaste, toothpick, top hat, torch, tornado, torpedo, tortoise, totem, toucan, touch, tourist, tow truck, towel, tower, toy, tractor, traffic, traffic light, trailer, train, translate, trap, trapdoor, trash can, traveler, treadmill, treasure, tree, treehouse, trend, triangle, trick shot, tricycle, trigger, triplets, tripod, trombone, trophy, tropical, truck, truck driver, trumpet, tuba, tug, tumor, tuna, tunnel, turd, turkey, turnip, turtle, tuxedo, twig, type, udder, ukulele, umbrella, uncle, underground, underweight, undo, unibrow, unicorn, unicycle, uniform, universe, upgrade, vacation, vaccine, vacuum, valley, vampire, vanilla, vanish, vault, vegetable, vegetarian, vein, vent, vertical, veterinarian, victim, victory, video, video game, village, villain, vine, vinegar, viola, violence, violin, virtual reality, virus, vise, vision, vitamin, vlogger, vodka, volcano, volleyball, volume, vomit, voodoo, vortex, vote, vulture, vuvuzela, waffle, waist, waiter, wake up, walk, wall, wallpaper, walnut, walrus, warehouse, warm, wart, wasp, watch, water, water cycle, water gun, waterfall, wave, wax, weak, wealth, weapon, weasel, weather, web, website, wedding, welder, well, werewolf, west, western, whale, wheel, wheelbarrow, whisk, whisper, whistle, white, wife, wig, wiggle, willow, wind, windmill, window, windshield, wine, wine glass, wing, wingnut, winner, winter, wire, wireless, witch, witness, wizard, wolf, wonderland, woodpecker, wool, work, workplace, world, worm, wound, wrapping, wreath, wrench, wrestler, wrestling, wrinkle, wrist, writer, x-ray, xylophone, yacht, yardstick, yawn, yearbook, yellow, yeti, yo-yo, yogurt, yolk, young, youtuber, zebra, zeppelin, zigzag, zipline, zipper, zombie, zoo, zoom,
NoSleep. Ironically, I am posting this to NoSleep. You are here to read stories so scary that they will keep you up all night, I am here because I can’t go to sleep. I haven’t slept in 3 days, and I can’t even remember the last time I got real sleep. The kind where you go to sleep and stay asleep. The kind where you naturally drift off to a relaxing sleep and not your body forcibly shutting itself down against its own will. So I am sorry if I ramble some, but I can’t help but laugh at the irony of this being on no sleep. Is that funny to you too, or just to me because I am too tired to be rational? submitted by
Every teenager thinks they have insomnia because they stayed up too long playing video games 2 nights in a row and fell asleep in class, then they sleep for 15 hours straight on the weekend. I was like that once. Life must be tough with that sort of insomnia.
I have real insomnia. The kind where people think you are insane, and to be honest, they aren’t wrong. I have had it since I was in college, but it has only gotten worse and worse. I can't even remember the last time I slept. Wait? I told you that already.
I’ve been to a sleep specialist. I’ve been on every sleeping pill you can think of. Melatonin, no caffeine, no naps, Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta, silenor, antidepressants, Seroquel, Ativan, benzos, you name it, I have taken more than they recommended. Still no relief or sleep.
I know, you are not reading this to read the ramblings of a madman who hasn’t slept in days. You are here because you want a scary story. I’ve got one for you. I think it is real. To be honest, when you haven’t had a real night's sleep in months, dreams and reality start to become one big blur. The truth is, when you are as desperate for sleep as I am, you will do almost anything to get even 1 night of real sleep, no matter how crazy it is.
The story starts about 6 months ago, maybe? It was still winter and the virus was not a big deal yet. I remember that much for sure.
At this time, my insomnia was at the worst it had been in a few years. I remember I had been up for 4 days straight. When you hit this point, you become jittery. You know when someone has had too much caffeine and they sort of shake uncontrollably. Eventually, lack of sleep does the same thing, my whole body feels like it is trembling, my teeth feel like they are chattering even though they are resting as normal, my hands can’t even hold my phone still.
Then there is your mind. You get Brain Fog. At first, it feels like you have been driving on the interstate for 10 hours and can't see or think straight, then you get a second burst of energy and feel great. Most people crash at this point. If you stay up, things that don’t make sense start to make sense. Last is paranoia and anxiety. Every shadow has something lurking in it, ready to jump out and take you. TV or Radio starts to talk to you. You go on Reddit but every story is the same, like god playing a trick on you. You get anxious, praying for sleep, knowing the anxiety is keeping you up even longer. You start to ramble like I am doing again right now.
Okay. I am gathering myself now.
I had been up for days when a commercial came on for an over the phone psychic reading. If a doctor couldn’t help, maybe a spiritual advisor could. No, I didn’t need a psychic, what I needed was a hypnotist. You have seen them before, they can just snap their fingers and you fall asleep instantly! This is the answer to all of my prayers.
It was a scam. They had me lay down and close my eyes, then they softly started talking while I tuned out. When I woke up, she said when I go to sleep at night to relax and listen to a youtube channel that softly plays music and tells you to relax. It didn’t work at all except that every time I listen to soft background music I get the strong urge to make a grilled cheese sandwich, which is weird because I had not had one since I was maybe 9. I think she just hypnotized me to crave grilled cheese. She probably invests in the Big Cheese Industry and makes money by making people crave grilled cheese. What a waste of money.
So much for that idea. The next night I still couldn’t sleep. I decided to watch my feel-good movie: Back to the Future. During the movie, Marty goes back in time to 1955 and there is a part where a song comes on, you hear the unmistakable BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUMMMMMMM! MR. SANDMAN! BRING ME A DREAM! (That song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. I’m not sorry.)
When I heard the song, I started to boil over in rage. Maybe it was from the lack of sleep, or maybe I am just insane, but I picked up the remote and threw it into the LED screen breaking the tv. I screamed, “THAT IS THE MOTHER FUCKER WHO HAS CURSED ME! THE FUCKING SANDMAN! I AM GOING TO FIND HIM AND KILL HIM!”
This went on for longer than I am willing to admit, but you get the point. The Sandman was my enemy. The one who is supposed to deliver us into sleep every night had decided to stop visiting me. What had I ever done to him to make him skip me every night not allowing me to sleep? The Sandman was to blame.
The Sandman was going to have to answer for these wrongs. I was determined to find a way to confront him and give him a piece of my mind. I just had to figure out how the hell you could find or trap it. At this point, I don't care if The Sandman is God himself, I was going to find him..
I thought about it for a while and decided based on movies and books, the way to call a god to you is to summon it. Sounds simple enough, Let’s do it.
Another long story short, putting candles in a circle and yelling I SUMMON YOU SANDMAN! Doesn’t work.
Again, I was back on the internet looking for someone to help me. After talking to someone I was given the email of an African Witch Doctor named Mrs. Fatima. I emailed her and she agreed to help me if I send her bitcoin. She even offered to come out for more money, but screw that, I can do it myself. Why the hell does everything have to be so difficult? Can’t people just take a credit card like the rest of the world? Always extra steps for some weird-ass digital currency crap.
Screw it, I am willing to try anything at this point. I sent her the bitcoin. Whatever the hell that is. It is expensive, I can tell you that much.
After she got the money, she replied to my email with detailed instructions and a warning. She could help me summon The Sandman, but advised against it. Summoning a dead person is dangerous, summoning a demon is disastrous, summing a God is deadly. I thought about it for less than a moment and decided to do it. What is the worst that can happen? I die and am in an endless uninterrupted sleep for eternity? Sounds like heaven to me.
Under her instructions, I waited until 2 am the following night. You can do it anytime, but the barrier between the spirit realm and the mortal world is the thinnest in the early morning hours when people are sleeping. She advised to go somewhere secluded like in the middle of the woods since it would be desolated and more likely to work. I am doing it in my bedroom, it gets the same amount of girls in it as a desolated forest. Lucky for me, I also need the blood of a virgin, so I got that covered too! Just joking, I don’t need blood.
The first thing I needed to do was draw a large circle in chalk. The circle had to be complete and above all else, not broken. The circle is the doorway between realms, if it was not complete it would not work. It also acts as an invisible wall to keep the spirit contained once you summon it. Keep the circle complete at all times. I drew a circle on my hardwood floor. Easy.
The next step was to light 5 red candles drawing a pentagram star. They have to be red because the devil is red and we are practicing devil magic, that’s my explanation, not hers.
Inside the circle, I was to fill it with sand. If you are summoning The Sandman, you need sand?
That was all I needed. Some chalk, candles, a secluded spot, and sand. I was closer than I thought earlier.
Next, the hard part, summoning a god.
The first step is to clear your mind and meditate. Most people have a hard time with this, but I have been meditating for years. They said it would help me sleep, it doesn’t. Don’t waste your time.
The next step is to concentrate on the circle, opening the pathway in your mind. Like imagining it disappearing or opening it like a door?
When your mind is clear, envision the one you are summoning. Do I just imagine what I think he looks like in my head? It’ll have to work.
When you feel the energy start to peak, only then can you summon the spirit into the realm. Call out to the spirit you desire and demand it’s presence. Do not ask. Demand it. This is your world and you must stay in control at all times. If you give up control, the spirit will be able to take control and possibly hurt or kill you.
If you do everything right, you will have summoned the spirit.
Let’s do this. I have a bone to pick with that asshole Sandman.
The circle is drawn, the candles are lit, and sand is in the circle. I turned off the lights for good measure, it wasn’t in the instructions, but it makes for a better dramatic effect.
I closed my eyes and cleared my mind. I imagined the circle in my mind as an empty white space, a void, a door, then I imagined a portal like in the video game with a blue glowing loop.
Next, I imagined The Sandman. Was he a human figure who carried sand, or a God made of sand? I kept trying back and forth, and everything in between before I finally settled on a spirit outlined in the sand.
I held my concentration on The Sandman and the opening of the portal. It felt like nothing was happening when suddenly everything changed. My eyes were shut but I could feel the energy start to build in the room. It felt like a strong storm was blowing on the outside of the house. I couldn’t physically feel the force, but I could feel the pressure growing and growing. Finally, I felt the energy reach its crescendo like something was trying to push itself through the circle into my room.
It’s time to open the gate.
“I OPEN THE PATHWAY AND DEMAND YOUR PRESENCE SANDMAN! THE DOOR IS OPEN AND I ORDER YOU TO APPEAR BEFORE ME!
I felt resistance trying to pull energy back from the door, not wanting to obey.
“SANDMAN! APPEAR BEFORE ME NOW!”
The energy in the room seemed to explode out of the circle. I opened my eyes to see the sand turning in a tornado inside the circle high above my head. I gasped in shock, wondering if I was dreaming. This couldn’t be real. Suddenly the tornado dissolved and the sand formed into a figure with red eyes staring down at me.
“WHAT MORTAL DARES TO SUMMON ME!” He roared. “WHO HAS MADE SUCH THE MISTAKE TO SUMMON A GOD!”
I may have made a mistake. The thing is, spirits and especially Gods, do not like it when mortals summon them. They have to come if you summon them, and that pisses them off. They are over there doing ghost and god stuff and get interrupted by people who can’t even walk through a wall. So if you do ever try this, just expect the ghost or demon or god to be in a pissy mood when they come. It is understandable when you think about it.
I looked up at the god, not backing down, and responded “I did.”
Sand swirled around The Sandman as he looked at me in disbelief.
“You are The Sandman, right?” I yelled at him. “You are the god of sleep, the god of dreams, right?”
“I am,” it growled.
“Then why the fuck can I not sleep?” I said. “It has been years and I am stuck awake for days at a time. Why have you done this to me?”
A deep laugh came from the circle. “You think I care about you, mortal? Do you think I waste my time on someone as insignificant as you or your kind? I am a god. A GOD! I don’t have time to waste being here talking to you. Release me!”
“I am not going to release you until you give me what I want.”
The sand settled down and it was quiet. I waited for it to respond.
“You want something from a God? What do I get out of the deal? What do you have that I could possibly want?”
“Give you something?” I asked. “You are the asshole who won’t let me sleep.”
“I am feeling generous. We can make a deal,” it said. “I will give you the ability to sleep anytime you want”
“What is the catch?”
“Ahhh! The catch. Smarter than you look.” He said. “I am the God of Sleep and Dreams. You can sleep, but I will control your dreams.”
”Can’t you do that anyway?” You are the God of Dreams”
“Do we have a deal or no? Answer me before I change my mind.”
Damn it. I know he is playing me as a fool. Fuck it, I’ll solve my sleep problem now and worry about the catch later.
“We have a deal, Sandman.”
“A deal it is” he laughed. “Anytime you wish to sleep just say Mr. Sandman, Give me a dream.’ And you will be asleep in less than a minute.”
“You gotta be kidding me.”
“My game. My rules.” He said. “Now release me.”
“You are released.”
“See you in your dreams!”
The energy that had filled the room evaporated into thin air, the sand fell back into the circle, the candles went dark, and The Sandman was gone.
Was that real or am I hallucinating again? And damn! What even happened there? I was ready to cuss him out and he somehow took control of the encounter. Shit! Mrs. Fatima warned me it could be deadly if he took control. Then again, he made a deal and I can finally sleep.
What is done is done. I blew out the candles and decided to put our deal to the test. He will allow me to sleep anytime I want, real sleep, he will just be controlling my dreams. I’ve had nightmares, what happens in the dream world is all a dream. Nothing can hurt me there. Right?
It was 4:15 am. I turned off the lights, turned the fan on high, and put on some calming music and prepared to lay in bed awake for hours on end. I said the magic words As soon as I closed my eyes, I was out like a rock.
The dream started. I was back five minutes earlier saying “What happened in the dream world is all a dream. Nothing can hurt me there, right?” There was an echo repeating the same phrase back to me. That isn’t a good start.
I laid down in bed, just like before and closed my eyes trying to sleep but this time no sleep came, like always. I sat there for hours trying to sleep. I meditated, listened to calm music making me crave grilled cheese, and tried to will myself to sleep. My dream self was exhausted and on the verge of tears from being unable to sleep.
The Sandman’s idea of a joke is to give me insomnia in my dreams so I couldn’t escape it. Funny joke, but as long as I wake up refreshed I don’t care.
I looked at the clock and it was 7:45 and the sun was up or would be if I didn’t have the windows blacked out. Too exhausted to get up I laid in bed and prayed for sleep.
A moment later, the red candles flickered to life in a star pattern, the room went cold, then the sand started to swirl up into the air. The Sandman appeared in the circle.
My body stiffened, I couldn’t move a muscle, not even to close my eyes. Is this what sleep paralysis feels like? I thought back to my email with Mrs. Fatima and remembered as long as the circle was complete he would be stuck inside.
“That is only true when you’re awake. You’re in my world now,” he laughed as he floated across the circle to my bedside. “You brought me to your world, now I have you in mine. A deal is a deal.”
Ah shit. I knew taking his deal was a bad idea. Never negotiate with a god. You will never come out ahead. I tried to answer him but I was still paralyzed.
“Do you know the legend of The Sandman? The original story? The real story?” He stood over me.
Everyone knows the legend. He comes at night, sprinkles sand in your eyes so you will sleep well and have good dreams. You wake up with sand in your eyelashes.
“Wrong!” He yelled. “That is a story told much later after I left the mortal world to stop people from fearing me. You are about to find out the real legend of The Sandman.
I laid in bed unable to move, my eyes held open by some imaginary force, staring at him in fear.
He held out his hand in front of my face and blew. I felt the wind on my face followed by the sand. The awful awful sand. Unable to close my eyes the sand blanketed my eyes. I could feel every grain of sand stick to my eyes.
Finally, I had control of my eyes again and started to blink uncontrollably. Each blink the sand grinded deeper and deeper into my eyeballs and eye socket. Each blink felt like shards of glass cutting my eyes. My eyes became watery and started to tear up but it wasn’t tears but blood leaking down my face. The pain engulfed my face but I couldn’t move, only involuntary blinking trying to clear the sand from my eyes. Each blink the sand cut farther and farther into my eyes. The pain became excruciating like someone had stuck a red hot fire poker in each eye. I wanted to scream out but nothing else worked on my body. Then the pain disappeared.
I assumed I had blacked out or went unconscious but that doesn’t happen in dreams and I wasn’t that lucky. Instead, I felt a weird sensation on my eyeballs then the feeling of water being poured into my eye. When it stopped, my vision started to appear again, blurry at first but clearing. I could see a sandy palm and fingers like I was being carried in The Sandman’s hand.
“The legend of The Sandman isn’t that he comes to put sand in your eyes to help you sleep, he comes to put sand in your eyes to steal eyeballs of kids who stay up too late.” He said. “I’m making an exception for you.”
He opened his palm and I could see my lifeless body, still in bed, not moving, the face covered in blood with empty holes as eye sockets. I am seeing myself from my own eyeballs. What the fuck, even for a dream this is fucked up. Luckily the pain had stopped, for now.
“Do you know what happens next in the legend? Do you know what I do with the eyeballs I steal” He asked like I could to respond. I didn’t know the answer but I knew I was about to find out.
“Right you are. Close your eyes, It’’s a surprise.” He laughed. “Get it? You can’t! You have no eyelids. Hahaha”
Excuse me for not thinking the joke is funny, being the butt of the joke.
“He pointed my eyes toward the moon and asked, “Do you like The Dark Side of the Moon?”
What the hell does the Pink Floyd album have to do with anything? Who doesn’t like it?
“Great. Let’s take a trip there. You’re dreaming so we can be there in, what would you say, a blink of an eye?”
Fucking funny. A moment later, we were on the dark side of the moon. It looked like the moon, but dark. He walked into a crater and I started to hear cries. Not like human cries, more like an animal cry. Not just one animal but a bunch. The cries got louder and louder. Even in a dream, I knew something bad was about to happen.
We finally arrived at what I would call a nest. Not your typical earth nest, but an enclosure that held a bunch of giant ugly bird-like featherless babies. Not dinosaur big, but big enough. Each bird-like creature was lifting its beak up in the air crying for its parents to bring it back food. What the fuck kind of food was available on the moon or in space is beyond my understanding, but that’s exactly what my eyes were seeing.
“After I steal the eyeballs, I bring them back here and feed them to the birds. In your world, you may throw bread out to the birds for a treat. In my world, I feed them your eyes.”
Fuck. Can I wake up now? I really don’t feel like being eaten by a giant alien baby bird thing.
“The legend says I fed them to my children, but that is the part they got wrong.” He said. “Sweet dreams, prince.”
He tossed my eyes into the air into the waiting mouth of one of these creatures. I saw it’s beak close as my eyeballs exploded into a gooey mess.
The dream ended and I woke up in a panic. I tried to open my eyes but they were sealed shut. I lifted my hands, happy I could move again, and felt my eyelids crusted over with sand. I cleared them the best I could but needed a warm compress to clean all the salt out. When I finally opened my eyes, they hurt. Everything had happened in the dream, but somehow my eyes felt sore.
I thought back to what I said and heard in my dream, “It is just a dream, nothing can hurt me there.” It is true, I wasn’t really hurt, but I’ve never woken up feeling pain I got from a dream. What is going on?
Still, If I dreamed, that means I slept! A nightmare isn’t so bad if I get real sleep. The dream felt like it lasted hours, a few more nights of this and I will have a somewhat normal sleep schedule and feel rested. I looked at the clock to see it was 4:30. I slept 12 hours and 15 minutes. Amazing!
I opened the door to my room and walked into the kitchen and it was still dark. That can’t be right. It should be 4:30 pm, the middle of the afternoon. Did I sleep for 24 hours straight? I looked at my phone and saw the date. My heart dropped. I had only slept for 15 minutes. It is like dreams take place in another dimension where time doesn’t exist. The Sandman was able to torture me for hours in dream time while allowing me to sleep for a few minutes. I cried. Seriously, I cried like a baby.
He held up his end of the bargain, I can fall asleep any time I want to, except now I am afraid to go to sleep. Everytime I fall asleep, he takes me away to his realm and gives me nightmare after nightmare. Every dream is one where he does something horrible to me and my dream self feels every bit of excruciating pain. And he never allows me to sleep more than an hour at the most.
I eventually accepted my fate. He is going to torture me, but it is all a dream. I will wake up feeling mostly normal. Then things changed. It is like he knew I had stopped fighting, so he found a new way to hurt me. Instead of hurting me in my dreams, he started to make me watch him hurt people I loved in their dreams. I didn’t think it was real until I heard from my sister about how my niece has been having terrible nightmares and refusing to go to sleep. When she described her dreams, I already knew, because I was there too.
That has been my life for the past however many months. Instead of trying to take medicine or listen to music or having The Sandman put me to sleep, I try to use my insomnia to stay awake for as long as my body will withstand it. I drink coffee and energy drinks, I take adderall, but eventually sleep always comes, even if for short periods. No matter how hard you fight it, your body will always sleep, and the Sandman will be there waiting on me.
Part 1 submitted by
“Huh, they’re really going at it, aren’t they?” Saale said, looking towards the bedroom. Karl and Maarja were rustling around in there, too drunk to contain the volume of their passion. The two of us sat around and tried to do anything but listen.
Saale and me started off as strangers that night, but we ended up being the last people standing. It was the biggest party of the summer and we were the only lucid survivors. We were holding hands.
“Heh, yeah,” I replied. She squeezed my hand. I squeezed back. We started off the night rambling about everything and anything under the sun, but now conversation had run out. All we had was nervous eye contact and hand squeezing; both of us were too scared to take the next step.
“I am very drunk,” I said, giving myself plausible deniability.
“Me too,” she said. Her hazel eyes held on to mine; C’mon, you’re the guy, make the first move
“Want to dance?” I suddenly blurted out.
Saale cocked her head to the side, “Do you have music?” She squeezed my hand again, hard, a look of mischief spread across her face. Maarja howled in the other room.
“Yeah, definitely,” I fished out my Sony Erickson and searched through the fourteen-song library for something that wasn’t ska music. I found that one Rolling Stones song. We got off the couch and wrapped our arms around each other. The music came out of the flip phone with the orchestral quality of a potato and the sounds from the bedroom were considerably louder, but we didn’t care. We just wanted an excuse to hold each other.
It wasn’t really dancing. We were just hugging each other while stepping from side to side. The anticipation was electric. She whispered something in my ear. I pretended not to hear and moved closer to her. Our lips brushed against each other. We kissed.
It wasn’t the booze, it wasn’t the dope, it wasn’t the hormones. There was something else in my blood in that moment. A surge of electricity so powerful that to taste it for just a single second made life worth living. The universe focused all of its attention, all of its beauty and washed it over our moment. We laid down on the couch.
Scratching. Suddenly the soft sounds of her breath were overpowered by scratching. I pulled back. Saale looked at me with those heart-melting eyes, “What’s wrong?” The scratching grew louder, more furious. Claws, I could hear claws. She said something else, but I couldn’t hear her by then, the scratching had grown deafening. Saale looked up in horror. Fabric ripped. I woke up.
Fritz was right by my head, his long tail resting inches from my face. I watched him in a daze. He was furiously digging at the upholstery. There was a sizable hole there; the rat must have worked at it for the whole night. His little body dug with desperate energy, trying to make the opening as big as possible, yet after a couple of seconds he stopped. Fritz shoved his head into the hole and his whole body went limp. His furry frame rose and fell with effort as Fritz breathed in as much of the couch as he could. I grabbed him by the nape and took him out of the couch.
The creature was nothing like the animal I held the night before. Fritz’s head had lost most of its fur; all that was left was tufts of gray fur that splashed over his irritated skin. He snapped at me, or at least tried to. His jaw was heavy, his eyes barely stayed open. I placed him on the floor. As soon as he was on his own feet he fell over. After a couple lethargic seconds he stumbled to his paws and crawled beneath the wardrobe.
Karl walked out of the bedroom. He stopped when he noticed I was awake. “James, which tie seems more formal?” Karl looked like a madman; he was wearing superman underwear and a fancy white dress shirt that barely fit around his paunch. In each hand he held a black tie. I was too disoriented to tell the difference.
“I don’t know Karl, they both look pretty similar to me.” I said.
Karl looked down on the ties. He raised each one of them to his face for a closer examination. Finally, after some thought he nodded, “I think you are right James. These ties do look identical.” He retreated back to the bedroom and emerged with only one tie that he started putting on. “Oh, also, good morning friend,” Karl added as an afterthought.
“Good morning Karl,” I replied.
“James! Don’t enable him! He’s just being nervous about meeting my parents,” Maarja yelled from the kitchen. “Nothing to be scared of Karl. You know my parents are cool.”
“Your parents are most definitely not cool. Your father is a very scary man and your mother is a very angry woman.” Karl protested. He looked over at me, “Right James?” Maarja peeked out of the kitchen.
I had only seen Maarja’s father once. It was during Maarja’s high-school graduation. She had managed to sneak me in so I could attend the after party. I remembered seeing him across the hall, watching his daughter get her diploma with that emotionless scowl that fathers raised behind the iron curtain have perfected. Her dad bore a striking resemblance to Karl, he was a big dude, but where Karl carried a lumberjack beard Maarja’s father had a simple moustache. Maarja’s father also had scars. Even at a distance you could see them, a face covered in splotches of red as if he had experienced some great horror at a young age. “Your mother is a pretty angry woman Maarja,” I said.
Maarja scoffed. “If you piss her off she is. Point is: Karl shouldn’t be scared. My parents like him.”
“No they don’t,” Karl protested. Maarja rolled her eyes.
“You want coffee James?” she yelled from the kitchen.
“Sure,” I said. I tried sitting up, hoping to lose a bit of my drowsiness but something was wrong. I fished my left hand from under the couch. Somehow, as I slept, I clawed my index finger into the stuffing of the couch. It took effort to take it out; it was as if the upholstery had wrapped itself around the finger.
Maarja brought me my coffee and said something about how they were going to a nearby restaurant for the lunch but her words fell on deaf ears. I was completely focused on my pointer. The skin around it was an unhealthy red. It was cold to the touch. All the feeling in the finger was gone. I could move it, but the movements were sluggish, it was as if the finger was in a deep sleep. As Maarja and Karl got ready I tried to assess how damaged the finger was. I didn’t snap out of the mystery until I heard the front door slam shut.
I wasn’t alone though. ‘Quit worrying about your finger Tiger, you just slept funny. Think about more pleasant things.’
The voice in my head slithered back, ‘Remember how soft Saale’s skin was? How sweet her perfume smelled as you two made love?’
I laid back down and ran my hand across the couch. For something so old it was so remarkably smooth.
Fritz was suddenly back by my head. He ran towards the hole that he had worked on prior and started clawing at it again. He tore at the threading frantically. He wanted to be back inside of the couch, he needed to be back inside of the couch. I reached out to pick him up but reconsidered. ‘Leave him be Tiger, he’s just enjoying himself.’
My hand fell back to the firm cushioning of the couch. ‘That’s a good boy,’
the voice said, ‘Now where were we? Ah yes, Saale, what a girl, huh? Remember how good it felt to wake up next to her?’
I did. I remembered.
It was, after all, on that very same couch that I woke up next to Saale for the first time. It was the day after the party, when I woke up I nearly jumped out of my skin. It took me a second to realize where I was, that there was a beautiful woman on my arm, that I had made love to a alluring the stranger the night before, yet when the thought set in a wave of bliss washed over me. A gentle morning light was coming in through the blinds, the birds outside chirped peacefully and Saale snored. ‘Her half open mouth, those tiny sounds, so vulnerable, so romantic.’
Then the door opened. ‘Oh Tiger, you don’t have to think about that part.’
Then the door opened and Maarja’s mother came in.
The woman did not like me to begin with, the couple of times that we had met she regarded me with absolute disdain. Maarja even admitted it; her mother didn’t want her daughter hanging around with strange foreigners. As soon as Maarja’s mom saw us she started screaming. ‘Oh come on Tiger, you don’t have to think about arguments right now, think about the good times-‘
Her yelling woke everyone up. As me and Saale were frantically putting on our clothes the bedroom door flew open and Maarja started yelling at her mom. I didn’t understand a word to it, but Maarja’s mom seemed to have it really out for me. She kept on pointing. She kept on screaming and pointing at me… or was she pointing at the couch? ‘Oh come on Tiger, there’s other memories to go back to, remember the first time that you and Saale-‘
We ran out as soon as we had enough clothes to be decent. Salle and me left the argument behind.
Maarja’s mom didn’t chase us, but we ran for a couple of blocks anyway. We moved through the morning streets, giggling. After Saale nearly got hit by a tram we finally stopped. For a second we stood there, slightly hung-over and out of breath. We kissed.
“She seemed really angry, what was she saying?” I asked.
“This is not a whorehouse, my daughter will be no madam
!” Saale yelled, mimicking Maarja’s mother’s voice. We laughed, but then Saale frowned. She was beautiful even when she was confused. “To be honest though, she seemed a bit more angry about that couch being in the room. She kept on pointing at it asking where they had gotten it, saying that it was meant to be burnt years ago-“ ‘STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS TIGER’
the voice thundered through my skull, ‘IF YOU EVER WANT TO BE HAPPY AGAIN, STOP THINKING ABOUT IT!’
The voice was no longer flirty. Darkness loomed within it. My mind cleared in fear.
I looked to the side; Fritz had made progress with the hole. He was hallway inside and still digging. His tail and hind legs stuck out of the hole, his enflamed testacles pressed against the side of the couch. With a couple more frantic movements he squeezed himself inside. The rat was gone. ‘Wondering what he’s doing Tiger?’
The couch asked gingerly, ‘He’s floating in ecstasy, oh yes, he’s experiencing pleasure you couldn’t even begin to comprehend, unless…’
Fabric groaned as the hole that Fritz had dug expanded. I could see the stuffing, it heaved up and down as if the couch was breathing. The hole was big enough to fit my hand. ‘C’mon Tiger, you know you want to try.’
I extended my hand; there was something from the couch that called to me, something stronger than me. Beads of perspiration streamed down my forehead. My clothes were soaked with sweat. As my fingers approached the gaping hole I could feel a glint of electricity in the air. The universe turned its eyes on me and beckoned me towards the maw. VRRRR! VRRRR!
I snapped out of it. My phone was ringing. It was Maarja.
“James, goddamn it, why don’t you pick up your phone? I’ve been calling you for like five minutes,” she talked in an angry whisper, “Look, my parents decided that they wanted to come over to the apartment. My mom would flip if she knew you were staying with us. I need you out of the house right now.”
I jumped to my feet. The last person I wanted to see right now was Maarja’s mom. “Okay, I’ll be out in five.”
“Not good enough! James! We’re almost there. Just get out! Please James, the lunch went really well, please don’t let her turn today into an argument,” Maarja pleaded.
I quickly put on my shoes and dashed towards the door. I didn’t realize I forgot my coat until I was outside. The cold wind blew through my sweaty t-shirt. “Are you outside?” Maarja whispered.
“Yeah, right at the front door.”
“Okay, get out. Right now. We’re almost there. I’ll call you when the coast is clear. Sorry. Love ya!” click.
As I reached the end of the block I could see the four of them walking towards the apartment. Karl and Maarja’s dad were engaged in a passionate conversation. Maarja and her mom followed them, quietly smoking. I sped out of sight.
I was freezing, a wet t-shirt in the Estonian winter felt like a death sentence. In my attempt to find a semblance of warmth I went over to the bus station and got onto the first bus that stopped. I nestled up next to the heaters and immediately felt better. The plan was to warm up, maybe dry off and then go find a mall to kill time in. That plan fell apart very quickly. The bus drove for a bit before I realized where it was going. For a second I considered getting off, but it was too cold for me to be roaming the streets, or at least that’s what I told myself. I took out my iPod and scrolled over to the Rolling Stones. The bus rode out to Saale’s neighborhood.
I returned back to Maarja’s apartment way after sundown. The day was a blur. I remembered running out of Maarja’s apartment. I remembered getting on the bus and riding over to Saale’s place. I remembered what happened at Saale’s but everything else was covered in a thick mental fog. The vodka helped with that. I had spent my last remaining cash on a bottle of good old 79% memory wipe. It helped me cope. It also made the Estonian winter more bearable.
“James! Honey! Where were you?” Maarja was outside having a cigarette when I stumbled to the house, “I’ve been trying to call you all day. Are you okay?” there was a hint of a drunken slur to her voice.
“Phone’s out of battery,” I mumbled as I walked up.
“Are you okay?” she repeated her question.
I shrugged. “I think I need a hug.”
“Ah darling, come here,” Maarja said as she wrapped her arms around me. She was wearing one of Karl’s huge jackets. It wasn’t until I was embraced in its warmth that I realized how cold I was. “Want to talk about it?”
“No.” I didn’t. All I wanted was to just be blindly told everything was going to be okay. I wanted assurances that I wouldn’t feel like this forever. I needed to know that I would get over Saale. Yet Maarja just sighed.
“I know it’s hard James. When you’re ready to talk about it I’m here for you.” she sighed again, I could smell the booze on her breath, “Thank you for leaving the house when you did. Things… didn’t go very well.”
She let go. I was back in the cold. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
Maarja took a long drag of her cigarette. Her voice grew heavy, “My dad was really interested in Karl’s Bitcoin stuff and he wanted to see his computer. Me and my mom were finishing off our cigarette outside and…” Maarja’s eyes drifted towards the night sky and fluttered. She was trying not to cry.
“Maarja? What’s wrong?” I asked.
She cleared her throat and composed herself. “My mom found out about the couch and she got really pissed. She thought I burnt it after that one house party. I just didn’t want to throw away a perfectly good couch but... Yeah. We have to burn it.” “Burn the couch!? Why?”
“There’s some ugly history behind it,” her voice grew faint, “I don’t really want to talk about it.”
It felt like the final bit of stability in my life had crumbled away. I had to drunkenly hold myself up against a lawn chair, “When?”
Maarja shrugged. “Now is a good time as any I guess, we can just drag it out into the backyard, grab some lighter fluid and torch it. Don’t think anyone is going to mind.” She was wrong. I would mind. My fists tightened. An inarticulate rage boiled in my blood. I wanted to hit her so bad,
but instead I begged.
“One more night,”
I said, “Just one more night with the couch. We can burn it tomorrow; it’s New Years right? What a way to end off the year. We could have a little bonfire in the evening.”
“James,” Maarja sighed, “Honey, you can stay here, at least for a couple of days. We’ll move some pillows around and you can sleep on the floor. We’ll hang out tomorrow and it’s going to be great but my mom was really insistent on the couch. I promised her I would-“ “Please, please, don’t get rid of the couch,”
I begged, “Just one more night. Just one more night on the couch where I can think back to my memories of Saale. I’m desperate Maarja. While your parents were visiting I went over to Saale’s place. I got into her apartment block. I knocked on the door. I knew she was there Maarja, I could hear her walking up after I knocked. When she looked through the peephole she completely ignored me. She just stood there like I didn’t exist. I called her Maarja, I called her phone and I could hear it ringing in the other room, I called until my goddamn battery ran out, but she never picked up. I traveled half way across the continent on my last dime and she wants nothing to do with me Maarja. The love of my goddamn life won’t even answer her phone. All I have left is that couch. All I have left are those memories of that first night. Please, Maarja, one more night on the couch.”
The words came out with chest-tightening force. Each sentence made me grow weaker until I was barely able to talk. My face was streaked in tears, my nose was running all over my face; I looked like a complete mess. Maarja wrapped her arms around me just as tight as she had in the airport.
“Okay James, one more night,” Maarja said, “I am sorry you’re going through this. I wish we could help.” We stayed in the hug for what felt like an eternity. I wanted to let go, to pull back and be cool about everything. But I couldn’t. The warmth under that jacket, Maarja’s arms around me, it all just felt safer than the world outside. “We both need some sleep,” Maarja finally whispered.
Karl barely noticed us when we walked into the apartment. He was sitting on the couch stuck in deep thought. When I saw him an unexplainable pang of jealousy ran through my body. Me and that couch had something special going on
. I cleared my throat. Karl jumped up in surprise.
“James! You’re back. Where were you? We were worried about you!” Karl said.
“I went to Saale’s.”
“Oh,” He dropped his eyes away from me, not knowing what to say. He looked over at Maarja, “You have told James about what happened with your dad?”
“Something happened with your dad?” I asked. The question seemed stupid
Maarja stared daggers back at Karl. She spoke slowly, with a hidden force beneath her words, “I have told James that my mother was very angry about the couch. We have decided that he will sleep on the couch for one more night and then we will burn it tomorrow. Does that sound okay?”
Karl furrowed his brow. “Yes,” he finally said. He stood in the doorway of their bedroom, leaning forward, as if he was about to say something else but then Maarja cut him off.
“We should all get some sleep.”
“Yeah,” I said, sprawling out onto the couch. ‘Welcome back Tiger,’
it whispered to me ‘Did someone have a rough day?’
The voice soothed the pain in my chest, the world started to become more manageable. Karl and Maarja went off to bed without saying much. There was something up, something that they were in disagreement about but it was none of my business
. The couch kept me company. ‘It’s all going to be okay, you’ll see’
The couch whispered to me in its silky voice, ‘You’ll get over her, you’ll find someone better than Saale and in a couple of months you won’t even remember her. You’ll forget all about the relationship all together. But you know who’ll remember? She’ll remember Tiger, oh yes, Saale will be thinking about what an idiot she was to let you go-‘
The light in the bedroom was off, but I could hear Maarja walking around calling out for Fritz. She peeked her head into the living room and asked me if I saw him. I told her I didn’t. She gave up and went to sleep. ‘Don’t think about the rat.’
The hole that Fritz made into the upholstery was gone; there wasn’t even any sign of scratches. The whole couch, in fact, looked to be in better shape. The stains had completely disappeared from the couch, loose threads were nowhere to be seen, the floral print had taken on a colorful shine. ‘STOP IT.’
The voice hit my mind like a blunt object. A fog covered my thoughts, everything felt so impossibly distant. But beneath that fog was a gentle tone of sweetness, ‘Come on Tiger, let’s just enjoy this night together, huh? Lay here with me and let’s just bathe in each other’s company.’
The couch gently shuddered like a tantric massage chair. I heard the groaning of fabric. The place where Fritz had been digging spread apart to reveal a hole; beyond the upholstery was stuffing, it pulsed with fleshy energy. The couch trembled with anticipation. ‘Touch me Tiger, you know you want to.’
I reached out as electricity flowed through my body. The universe turned all of its spotlights on me. The mind fog thickened into a blanket of ecstasy and wrapped me up. All other thoughts disappeared. My soul danced to the chaotic tune of life. I was trapped in a wave of orgasmic rapture. ‘Doesn’t that feel so good Tiger? Isn’t this just exhilarating? Well don’t you worry. We can do this every night. Don’t listen to anyone else. Nothing will get between us, it’s you and me Tiger, it’s you and me and no one is going to stop us. We’ll make sure of that.’
For a split second it felt as if my finger brushed against something rough. I pinched at the object. It felt like a tail. Yet then, as if the gentle stuffing of the couch were a throat, the tail got swallowed deeper into its innards. ‘I love you,’
the couch whispered.
The room smelt like floral perfume. I could hear a dog barking outside. I was covered in sweat. “I love you too,” I whispered back. I drifted off to a deep sleep
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