A slamming door snatched me awake. I’m still unused to the new flat, so naturally I’m a little shaken. The bedroom window is open, and I think I might have forgotten to close the one in the kitchen, so I assume that a draft is the culprit. I’ll check all the doors in the morning.
Note: (morning) All the doors are open.
03:03 Night Two
Sleep seems impossible tonight. My boyfriend’s beside me, softly snoring, but his presence does little to relax me. In fact, the gentle rise and fall of his chest aggravates me, because I’m envious of his ability to fall asleep instantly and sleep right through. I was just drifting off when he murmured something in his sleep: something in a low, creaking voice that wasn’t his own. I didn’t quite catch what it was, but now I’m wide awake.
03:03 Night Three
After the restlessness of last night, I clocked out quite easily tonight. I was in one of those deep, seemingly impenetrable sleeps that have you feeling as if you’re suspended in syrup. The dream I was dreaming was nonsensical; I was a patient and there was a nurse looking down at me. Her lips were moving but her words sounded far away, as if we were under water. My boyfriend dragged me from the depths of my slumber by starting awake and exclaiming, “What the HELL was that?” My dream bled into reality and for a split second, I thought I saw the nurse standing in the shadowed corner of the room. I was doused in the kind of confusion that only comes when one is woken abruptly, and I could tell he was suffering the same. Alarmed, I asked him what was wrong, to which he replied, “It sounded like someone was spilling water,” before rolling over and returning to sleep. Now I’m wide awake again.
03:03 Night Four
Isn’t it funny how our eyes are always drawn to things that are out of place? Things that shouldn’t be where we find them. A glint of copper or silver on the pavement or a spider scaling a wall in our house. I think of this as my eyes are drawn to that shadow in the corner of my room. My co-workers noticed how tired I was today, so I told them about the last few nights, but assured them I was still settling into a new home and that I’d be fine soon. I wish I hadn’t told them about last night’s dream, though. According to them, the presence of a nurse is significant because the building I live in used to be a maternity hospital. I didn’t believe them at first; I thought they were just trying to frighten me, but it’s true, I looked it up. The estate agent never mentioned it when they let us the place, for some reason. It’s obviously just a coincidence, but nonetheless, I wish I didn’t know. My boyfriend’s working tonight; I wish I weren’t alone. I woke up at 03:03 on the dot again. I’m trying not to look too deeply into the shadows.
03:03 Night Five
I can hear someone crying, a woman. She’s nearby, too near for it to be a neighbour. My boyfriend is asleep, and I can’t wake him. Someone must have gotten into the flat, there’s no other explanation, it’s too clear to be anything else, but I can’t move. I’m not dreaming; at least, I don’t think I am… Her sobs are staring to warp, like they’re being played on a melting tape. My lungs ache as if I’m holding my breath. It feels like I’m drowning. The room is starting to spin – I think I might be dreaming. I swear the shadows are bigger tonight.
Note: (morning) I have a fever. It explains the bizarre dreams and hallucinations I’ve been experiencing since moving in here. I’m uncomfortable, but I feel like I might rest a little easier now.
03:03 Night Nine
I thought it was over, but it’s started again. She came to me in a dream, the whimpering woman. I knew it was her because of those disturbingly distorted sobs that echoed down the hospital hallway I found myself in. A door glowed in the distance and I made my way towards it. The only sound other than the woman’s moans was the clap of my bare feet against the cool clinical flooring and the dull roar of blood in my ears. I didn’t want to go in, but a voice in my head told me that I needed to, that the truth must be known. Shadows spilled into the hallway behind me and flooded threateningly forwards like a tidal wave. I could have sworn I caught a glimpse of a cap-donned silhouette in the gushing darkness. Grappling for the handle, I flung myself into the room. But it wasn’t a room, as such. It was a ward. All the beds were empty and washed in a cold grey light. I had almost forgotten about the sobs, but they persisted still, only now they sounded as if they were submerged in water. My eyes found themselves drawn to the far corner of the room. She was there, stood with her arms outstretched, cradling something that looked like a bundle of wet rags. Oversaturated, the rags dripped onto the floor, forming a puddle at the woman’s pruning feet. Her sobs were inaudible now, but her shoulders continued to heave and her faced was wrinkled in a permanent expression of horrified grief. Her lips moved as if she were attempting to speak, but still, no sound escaped her. I squinted hard and was just able to make out what she was saying based on the movement of her mouth. It looked like… She took him. That’s when a cool hand clamped onto my shoulder and tore me from the dream. I can still feel it there.
Tyler Turner (she/her) is a writer and student based in Sheffield, UK. Recently, she graduated with a first class degree in English and History and is currently studying for a Master's in Creative Writing. Find her recent works in perhappened (Carnival), Serotonin and The Daily Drunk. Twitter: @cartilagexfluid and @TETurner96.