Fantasy Fiction Thriller

Every night it’s the same thing. I go to bed exhausted but toss and turn all night long. It feels like my eyes are burning out of my head but have forgotten how to close. My legs are fidgety and jumpy.  Maybe I’ll sleep a little by daybreak, but this is usually filled with nightmares, so I wake up unrefreshed.

It all started after the car accident. I hit a small child that had run out into traffic between two parked cars. He was running away from his friends. I slammed on my brakes immediately, but it all happened too quickly, and I hit him. I still hear his mother’s high-pitched scream of terror as she runs toward her baby. I get out of my car and try dialing 911, but my hands shake so badly that I drop my phone, which breaks. I look around and start calling for help. I am quaking so severely that I am weaving in place and hear someone say,” Look. He’s drunk!” That’s not true. I’m just in shock, that’s all. The insurance investigation proved I wasn’t to blame, but now I’m afraid to drive down sideroads and go way too slow when passing parked cars.

I work as an editor for an advertising company, so I need to be able to concentrate, but it’s a real struggle. So what I do instead is set the alarm on my iPhone and nap through my two fifteen-minute breaks. At lunch I’ll wolf down a sandwich or piece of fruit and again set the alarm for the remainder of my break. As a result, I have dark circles around my eyes and am constantly yawning. I don’t have the energy to keep up appearances, so my clothes are wrinkled and my hair’s a mess.

This particular night I can’t stand the feel of the bedspread on my legs and decide to go for a walk. It’s already one thirty in the morning, but it’s still seventy degrees outside. The streets are vacant. Not another soul around. I walk to the small park on the common and sit on a bench with my legs stretched out in front of me. I tilt my head back. There’s a full moon directly overhead and, as I watch it, my eyes start to feel heavy. I don’t fight it but let it happen. A little sleep here is better than no sleep at all. Just as I’m starting to drift away, my whole body jumps and I’m wide awake again. “Damn! It’s as if my body is fighting to stay awake!” I mutter to myself.

“What’s the matter? Can’t sleep?” At the sound of the woman’s voice, I bolt straight up. “I thought I was alone.” I stammer while trying to locate where the voice is coming from. To my left is the sound of dry leaves and twigs snapping as she slowly emerges from the shadow of the trees.

“I was passing by when I noticed you stretched out over there, seemingly falling asleep when I saw your body convulse, and then you were awake again.”  Her voice is very soothing, and even though shadows hide her face, her eyes seem disturbingly prominent. As she sashays into the moonlight, I can tell she is about five feet tall and has wavy shoulder-length hair. She looks oddly dressed in a black silk and lace dress.  She glances up at the full moon, and I realize she has high cheekbones and full lips.  She returns her gaze to me and smiles demurely. My face flushes, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to stare.”

“That’s okay,” she coos and proceeds to sit beside me. “I’m curious as to what brings you out here at this time of night?”

“I can’t sleep. I have insomnia. Tonight my bedsheets were too itchy and clingy, plus the room had come to feel as though I was suffocating, so I had to get out of there.” I stifle a yawn. She places her elbow on the back of the bench and rests her cheek in her hand. She crosses her legs at the ankles. “Hmm, I can see you are exhausted just by looking at you in the moonlight. Your cheeks are sunken, and your skin is ashen. What do you think is causing this?”

“Oh, I know exactly what brought it on. A while ago, I had a car accident where I hit a kid. Now I can’t get it out of my head. Every night as I start falling asleep, I see his little blonde head run in front of my car and hear the sickening thump of hitting him.”

Cocking her eyebrow over her half-hooded eye, she asks, “Did you kill him?”

“No, thank God. I only broke his arm, but the experience has left me scared to the bone to drive. I jump at every shadow I see from the corners of my eyes. I’m going to cause another accident if I keep this up!” Not wanting to talk about it anymore, I ask her, “So what brings you out ?”

“Me? I’ve been a night owl most of my life. I prefer the quiet of the night. It envelops me and makes me feel safe.”

Raising my eyebrows, “Safe? Most people that I know are afraid of the dark.”

“Not at all. You’ll be fine if you stay aware of your surroundings and keep out of the wrong sections of the city. Take this place, for instance. It’s quiet and well-lit, removed far from the center of town. I enjoy strolling around the neighborhood though sometimes I might hear a drunken argument or a cat screaming. She raises her eyebrow again and gives me a little half-smile. “ That is if it is a cat.” She chuckles. “Plus, on nights like this, when the moon is full, I can see many different creatures of the night at work. Foxes, raccoons, mice, and owls are all out hunting for prey or avoiding predators. Which is why sometimes I hear cats screaming.”

Rubbing my forehead, I’m aware that I’m starting to feel drowsy. “Do you live around here?”

“I’ve lived in many places, but yes, I live here now. My family were aristocrats in Hungry before the war but came to America to escape it. My father was very wealthy, and when he died, I inherited it all and can live comfortably wherever I like.”

A frown furrows my forehead. “Did you say your parents moved to America just before World War II? Did you move with them, or were you born here? Either way, it still makes you close to seventy years old!”

“Yes,” she chuckles. “I’ve been blessed with a rather youthful appearance. “However, (sliding closer to me) would you kiss me if I asked you?” She slowly blinks as she looks into my eyes, and I into hers. They seem almost hypnotic. Shaking myself from this spell, I blush. She runs her nails down my jawline to my chin. “Oh, come now. It’s not as shameful as that.” I feel her breath on my face, and my head feels woozy.

She says, “You look tired. Let me rub your temples and help you to relax.” She turns so that she is facing me and begins rubbing my temples. It feels so good that I'm soon starting to fall asleep but, before I do, I open my eyes a bit to see her full red lips part to reveal her pearl-white teeth.

I awake the following day just as the sun breaks on the horizon. My muscles are sore from sleeping on the park bench. And there’s a pain in the side of my neck as well.  Nonetheless, I feel quite refreshed. I’m beginning to think the mysterious lady was just a dream until I stand up, and a slip of paper flutters to the ground.

“My dear friend," it reads, "I enjoyed our meeting last night and would love to talk to you again. Come tonight. I’ll be waiting for you on this same bench. Til then, Countess Agoston.”

My first reaction is not to go, but for some strange reason, I feel compelled to. So I think I will, no, I know I will, at least one more time.”

May 23, 2023 05:38

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Anouar Amali
17:27 Jun 02, 2023

Is there another part to this? it's great.


Ralph Aldrich
23:09 Jun 16, 2023

Dear Anouar Amali if you see this message, please reply. I'm going to write a second half of Insomniac just for you. I really appreciate your liking it so much Ralph Aldrich


Anouar Amali
14:42 Jul 02, 2023

That would be wonderful and kind from you. Please contact me on my email anouaar0202@gmail.com


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Graham Kinross
00:27 May 29, 2023

There is power to compel a person in a vampire’s writing? I like that touch, subtle and I hadn’t thought of something like that.


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Mary Bendickson
14:24 May 23, 2023

Me thinks this is a spooky vampire trick.🦇 'Tale this place for instants' = instance?


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