"I can't sleep", Cassandra thought as she worked on her latest assignment.

Tap, tap, click and send. As she hit send, Cassandra felt relieved that she had successfully completed another task, she knew she was a workaholic but she was proud of it too, she wasn't like the other workaholic's out there who worked tirelessly and refused to admit it.

She never refused that she wasn't a workaholic and being a workaholic never bothered her, it made her excel at her job and she couldn't ask for more, it helped her succeed in life and she was happy with her workaholic lifestyle.

But recently it had started troubling her, she was up all night, trying to finish up all her pending tasks, she just couldn't rest until she had completed everything, it was part of her personality. The lack of sleep didn't bother her earlier but the exhaustion had gotten to her, she was unable to think clearly or focus.

She had started to worry that she would mess up her work and all the sleep she had sacrificed to succeed would go to waste, so she thought of ways to beat the exhaustion.

Coffee seemed like the best solution available to her, she thought maybe it would help her beat exhaustion but to her dismay, it failed to work, it did keep her awake but she was still exhausted in the morning.

She began to realize she just couldn't beat exhaustion and the only way to get over it was to get some actual sleep but that also meant she had to push aside her workaholic tendencies, she fell into a dilemma, that she found too hard to resolve.

Finally she decided to give her workaholic tendencies a rest and decided to sleep a bit, there was no substitute for sleep and she could try a lot of things to keep herself awake but eventually the exhaustion would get to her.

As she lay on her bed, she felt a sense of comfort overtake her but the comfort wasn't enough to make her drift into sleep. Her mind raced with all the pending tasks and how she wouldn't get any time in the day to complete them and she had to complete them before the deadline otherwise it won't impress her boss.

She tried to get rid of those thoughts and tried to focus on the present task of getting some sleep but her mind betrayed her, it refused to comply with her wishes and kept reminding her of how much work was pending, like a demon whispering in her ears.

She tossed and turned restlessly but it was of no use, she pulled the blanket higher, to cover herself more and block out all those intrusive thoughts but it didn't seem to work at all.

She couldn't sleep but the exhaustion wouldn't let her focus on anything else, she was caught between two traps that were killing her slowly and she saw no escape. She sighed in frustration and browsed on her phone to comfort herself.

She came across an advertisement online, it advertised about the benefits of soothing pills, a new launch in the market by a major pharmaceutical company, that guranteed a peaceful sleep without any disturbance.

Without thinking, she immediately ordered them. When it finally arrived, she was struck by the tiny blue pills, they seemed like the solution she was desperately searching for but at the same time, a part of her was anxious about the side effects.

She searched online, going through reviews and she found no one experienced any side effects, instead it helped cure their insomnia and other sleep related problems, it did seem like a wonderful solution!

So she started taking the pills as directed on the bottle, one per night before going to bed. She was still doubtful whether it would work but saw no harm in trying. As she drifted off to sleep, a sense of peace washed over her, she hadn't felt so comfortable in months.

She saw no dreams about work and the next morning as she woke up, she realized her exhaustion had disappeared entirely, the pills did seem to work and she felt it was a miracle that she came across that advertisement.

The pills became part of her daily routine, she was able to sleep well and focus on the tasks more clearly, the pills hadn't managed to get over her workaholic tendencies but at the same time her workaholic tendencies didn't bother with her sleep or ability to concentrate anymore.

She was running down the corridor of her house, anxiety tearing her down, there were still so many assignments pending and the deadline was just two hours away, she had slept through them and now there was no time left to complete all of the assignments!

The sound of the alarm woke her up, she awoke with a gasp, her body covered in sweat, it was her first nightmare in years, she had never had one even though she had stressed or worried about work.

As the days passed, the nightmares grew more intense, she saw a demon tear through her abdomen and rip out her insides, he dangled them, mocking her as she watched helplessly.

She no longer felt exhausted, she was terrified, the fear that had enveloped her mind refused to leave and it made it hard for her to concentrate on anything, she was so distracted that she cut her finger accidently while chopping carrots for dinner.

She was afraid to sleep but she couldn't resist it either, she would always drift off to sleep and wake up in the morning terrified and sweating. Sometimes the nightmares woke her up in the middle of the night and she found herself too weak to even get a glass of water from the kitchen.

Nightmares of her house burning down, flames engulfing her, waking up to discover her walls and floor covered in blood, being hunted down by a demon and realizing there is no place to hide, continued to torment her.

She saw no way out of it, the only thing she felt she needed to do was to stop using the pills, maybe her nightmares were caused by the pills, so she hesitantly threw the bottle of pills in the dustbin. She was able to sleep without any nightmare but woke up in the middle of the night and was unable to sleep. Her mind craved for those tiny blue pills and she found no respite from it, so she got up and dug them out of the trash.

She didn't want to take them, her body protested and fiercely resisted the idea of taking them again, her eyes hated their pale blue color and the round shape but her mind kept craving it, making her want to taste the slightly bitter powdery taste again. Eventually her mind won as she swallowed the pill with a glass of water, knowing deep inside she had to learn to live with the nightmares.

November 16, 2023 14:08

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Martin Ross
15:31 Nov 16, 2023

Absorbing story — insomnia is a nightmare I remember from the time I lived in a big city and watched 2 a.m. reruns. And the ease with which one nightmare can feed another! In the late ‘70s, I got some mild stimulants at a gas station to help get me through classes, and a very kind prof spotted them and gently suggested I not go down that road. All that to say how much your story resonated with me. You took the prompt and truly ran with it! Nicely done.


Sarah Saleem
16:13 Nov 16, 2023

Thanks!✨️ I wanted to depict the horrors of having a workaholic lifestyle and how workaholic tendencies are hard to get rid of.


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