Bogleech.com's 2016 Horror Write-off:
Thomas Nelson Gunderloy
Why is sleep so difficult?
One, two, three, four.
I worked hard today. I should be tired.
Five, six, seven, eight.
I'm not. I wish I didn't live with a roommate.
Nine, ten, eleven, twelve.
If I was alone, I could get up. Turn on a light. Read a book. Do something.
Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen.
Instead I'm stuck staring at either my eyelids or the ceiling of the dorm, hearing his snores. I can roll over to look at him, but his pale skin is no more comforting than the ceiling.
Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty.
My roommate sleeps contentedly, making no sound. At least my roommate isn't disruptive.
Twenty-one, four, pi, seventy-six.
I count his rolling limbs. I lose track, each arm rippling and falling into his flesh. Difficult.
Imaginary twenty-four, eleventeen, neyen, ichi.
I should tell my roommate. He's not supposed to be here, and I don't want my roommate to die this year. My roommate says the reviving isn't fun. But I'm not sure if that would mess anything up.
Ni, san, won, too.
I wish they would both stop counting. Sheep are boring.
Three, three, three, three.
There are only two in the room, anyway. My roommate and him.
"Tommy. Wake up."
Five, four three, twoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo-
"TOMMY! WE HAVE TO LEAVE! NOW!"
ooooooooooooooooooo, one and twenty-four hundredths, one and one millionnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn-
"THERE'S FOUR OF THEM! GET OUT, GET OUT! WE HAVE TO GET OUT, BLOW UP THE BUILDING, STOP THEM! TWO ARE COUNTING, THE OTHERS ARE SLEEPING, WAKE UP!"
I turn Tommy over and my blood runs cold as I see the string of numbers carved into the back of their neck. My screaming has awoken my roommate, whose tongues curl now around my leg, and him, whose legs encircle my tongue. They force me to turn all my heads upwards, to see the counters, long strands of saliva hanging from from their upside-down heads. They are true bugs, if large ones, though they have long since shed their exoskeletons, except for their skulls, which hang toward the ground as bizarre tails of some fiendish jester hats. A meaty slap echoes as they drop to the floor, standing up and speaking directly into my ears.
"nnnnnnth, one, zero!"