The Urge. Short Story.

My weekend went pretty well. Went to the cinema, saw Catching Fire. It was really enjoyable, I’d definitely recommend it. Though someone seemed to have brought a baby, or at least a young toddler, along with them. I really don’t understand why they thought it was a good idea, the movie didn’t start until about 9. What would possess someone to do that?

There was also the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. I enjoyed it, but I’m still not entirely sure of what I thought.

Beyond that I didn’t get up to much, lots of reading, which was nice.
On with the show!

______________________________________________________________________________

It was so cold. Why was it cold? He opened his eyes slowly, damn. He’d have to get out of bed and go all the way to the hot press to get another duvet and then he’d have to- His eyes widened as a cold breeze pressed his pyjamas to his body. He looked around, bewildered, he was on the roof. He looked down, then gasped. He was at the edge of the roof. He stood still, trying to keep his balance, how they hell did he even get up here? The road was empty, it was still dark, streetlights illuminating the road. He looked around, trying to find a way down. Finally he settled on the drain pipe. Carefully he made his way towards it, hoping nothing would dislodge and that he wouldn’t fall. When he reached it, he carefully sat down and crawled backwards until his foot found something to stand on. He gently rested it on the drainpipe, then added more weight slowly. It creaked slightly and he stopped, tense and waiting for it to break. Slowly he eased some more weight onto it, it was holding so far. He was shivering in the cold, he had to get down quickly, his hands were already started to lose feeling. He climbed down slowly, trying to move carefully but as fast as possible. When he reached the ground, he stood for a moment, panting. His hands and feet hurt, no doubt they had been cut from his climb down. The front door was open, swinging in the breeze. He reached it before it managed to build enough momentum to slam shut. He closed the door and leaned against it. What the hell? How had that even happened? He had never sleep walked before in his life. He turned on the hall light and looked at his hands and feet, they were scratched, but not deeply cut. That was something at least. He climbed the stairs slowly and went into the bathroom, there he stripped out of his pyjamas and sat on the edge of the bath. Carefully he washed both his feet, then his hands. He’d have to keep an eye on them, make sure they didn’t get infected. Once that was done, he went back to his bedroom, wondering what to do if it happened again. How did he even get up there in the first place? There was no ladder, maybe he had climbed the drain pipe to get up too. He felt sick. Luckily it was able to hold his weight. It could have collapsed at any moment. He lay down under the covers, trying to get warm again. He didn’t think he’d fall asleep, but after a short while, he was out, snoring gently.

He woke the next morning hoping it had all been a strange dream, but the scratches on his hands and feet remained. It had definitely happened, there was no doubt about that, but why? He wasn’t stressed, he didn’t have any bad dreams that he could remember. There was no history of mental illness in his family. There was no explanation for it that he could see. He considered going to a therapist, then dismissed it. It was probably a once off thing. Work had been a bit stressful, maybe that triggered it? He didn’t think he had done anything unusual before going to bed, but maybe he had eaten something that didn’t agree with him. Like how cheese was supposed to give you nightmares. Had he eaten cheese before bed? He didn’t think so, but it was possible.

The day passed normally enough, though he spent most of it distracted. He went to work, went out to lunch with co-workers and, when it was all over, he returned home. He was tired when he let himself into the house, he though about what he was going to do for the evening and decided to just watch some TV before bed. If he read something while he was feeling like this he probably wouldn’t remember most of it anyway. He ate dinner, a pizza that was hastily shoved into the oven and, after a short period, he decided to go to bed. He felt slightly nervous, but there was nothing else to do. He was tired and he needed a good nights sleep. Obviously what ever had happened yesterday was just a strange dream gone wrong. He would be fine tonight. He had to be.

He stripped out of his clothes, brushed his teeth and got into bed, sighing gently as he pulled the duvet over himself. He was so tired and the bed was so comfortable. He took a moment to toss and turn, then darkness.

He woke slowly, groggily, surely it couldn’t be morning already. He opened his eyes. It was still dark. Awesome, more time to sleep, he closed his eyes again, planning on rolling over, then opened them. Something wasn’t right. He wasn’t in bed, he was in the study. A small room with a short desk. He was sitting behind the desk now in his boxers, he hadn’t put on pyjamas before bed. Something was digging into his head. Something cold. His hand was heavy. He brought it down, bringing the heaviness into view. It was a gun. He felt sick. As he put it down on the table, his finger released the trigger. He hadn’t noticed he had pulled it. Mouth suddenly dry and hands shaking, he stood from the desk and went to the kitchen. He needed water.

The gun had been a gift from his sister, years ago. She wanted him to be safe, so she had decided a gun was the right thing to give him. He had always hated guns, but unable to get rid of something his sister had given him, he settled for keeping it in a safe, bullets hidden god only knew where. It might not be the safest thing ever, but if anyone broke in, he’d probably shoot himself accidently before hitting any intruders. He shuddered. He had intended to go to shooting lessons, but it was always pushed back. He took a sip of water, trying to stop shaking. What if it hadn’t been unloaded? What if his subconscious had remembered where the bullets were?

Once he was calm enough to stop shivering, he went back to the office and checked to make sure the gun was unloaded and, after confirming it was, he brought it back to the safe. He looked at it for a moment, then he closed it over gently, before locking it. He’d have to give the key to someone to mind, at least for a short while. He stood and went back to his bedroom. He got under the covered, realising how cold he was. He tried to calm himself, slow his breathing. He was safe, at least for the rest of the night, it had been the same yesterday.

He fell asleep two hours later. He woke in the morning long enough to ring work and tell them he was sick, before he went asleep again. It was noon when he woke up properly. He got out of bed feeling refreshed, but jittery, and dressed. He went downstairs and made a cup of coffee, then he went back to the office and grabbed his laptop. He wanted to do some research, find out if this was some mental illness or sickness. If someone else had ever gotten this, he needed to know, especially if he was going to search for help.

He found nothing. Absolutely nothing. There were people who sleep walked, there were people who killed other people while sleep walking, but there seemed to be nothing about people killing themselves while sleep walking. He sat back in his chair, rubbing his face. Of course, how was anyone going to know? There would be no way to tell if someone was asleep before they killed themselves.  It was time for dinner, but he didn’t feel hungry. He was too worried and nervous to eat. He needed to call someone, let them know what was going on, but how could he explain it? He didn’t want to die, but he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life trapped in some mental house. He took a deep breath, he had to remain calm, he couldn’t get worked up about this. He picked up his mobile and dialled his sister, there was no answer. Damn. He’d ring her again later. She’d know what to do, who to call. She had experience with this kind of stuff.

He rang her twice more that evening, both times there was no answer. He’d try again in the morning and if that didn’t work, he’d Google the best places and just go and turn himself in somewhere. He looked at his bed distrustfully. He was tired, but was it safe to sleep? He considered just turning himself in now, save himself any trouble. No he’d spend one last night here. He might never be back. He changed into his pyjamas slowly, then he scoured the room for anything that could be used to injure himself, he removed most of what he could, wires, a few glasses, until there was nothing he could really do. He locked the door to his room and threw the key onto the top shelf of his wardrobe, it would be difficult to get to there. He got into bed and lay there in silence before drifting off. He would be fine.

He woke suddenly. It was cold, where the hell was he? Outside. Orange light spilled from streetlamps, he looked around confusedly for a second, eyes going wide as he saw the car barrelling towards him. He finally heard the cars horn blaring. He started to run as the car hit him, there was no pain, just brief, strange pressure on his hip. He was in the air, almost floating. He started to land, more pressure, on his arm, his side. He bounced over the roof of the car and landed on the road, his head landing with a sickening thud. The car was stopped, the world was silent.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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