Fiction: ‘Perpetual Motion’

32 - Perpetual Motion

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I can hear it ticking, amplified by the silence of the room.

Tick Tick Tick.

Every hour, on the hour, the tempo increases and it ticks a little faster.

Tick Tick Tick.

It sounds so much louder at night as all the fleshy valves and gears move inside my body, almost buzzing as my heart ticks away inside my chest. I stare up at the ceiling and the wedge of light that spills through the gap above the door. It’s nice sleeping with a light on in the house. It gives me something to focus on while I lie awake, listening to my body tick away as it refuses to shut down for the night.

I try and will it to go to sleep.

I imagine my eyelids growing heavy and my limbs aching with exhaustion. I picture that sweet dreamless sleep I used to fall into when things weren’t so loud and obnoxious. Instead my eyes grow wider. I can see all the knots in the wood on the wardrobe doors. I can see that one large cobweb in the corner of the ceiling where I can’t reach with the vacuum cleaner. If only there was a breeze outside. Or a storm. Anything to cover the sound of my body working on overdrive in the late hours of the night.

Tick Tick Tick.

I try to slow my breathing. Count slowly to a hundred. And then back down to one again. Please just let that infernal ticking stop! But it doesn’t. It becomes heavier until it’s practically thumping. It stirs up my thoughts like a giant carp stirring up the bottom of a river until the water is cloudy with mud. I grip the sheets with my fingers. I start to grind my teeth, but when I realise what I’m doing I quickly stop.

Tick Tick Tick.

How many hours until my alarm goes off? It won’t be many. I know that because of the way the darkness changes ever so slightly. I’ve watched it change enough times now to know exactly what it means; dawn is coming and I haven’t shut my eyes yet. I lie awake, listening to my heart ticking away and wishing it would stop, just for a moment, just long enough to let me drop away into sleep.

The nights have become so lucid.

And all day I dream of blackouts I can’t have.

Tick Tick Tick.

~ Ekaterina

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