The following is a transcript of a recorded conversation.
I have been waking up at six in the morning for the last two years, no matter when I go to bed and how little sleep I have had. I have gone to numerous doctors in the hope that they could explain to me what is happening, and what could be done about it. Their best explanation is that the trauma I experienced all those years ago has caused me to become attached to that time of night. We have tried therapy, and we have tried sleeping pills, but in the end no matter what they do I still manage to wake up, my heart racing, my sheets soaked in sweat.
I try hard to just put that night out of my mind. The doctors say that it won't help in the long run. They say that by denying it I am simply fixating on it, and in the end it will just make it harder to get over. But I need to function during my day. I can't just let it keep running over and over in my head. I did that for the first year. I lost a lot that year, and I know if I had simply tried to put the memories away I might have been able to hold onto some of those things.
The doctors say that I should talk to people about it, people I trust. But the sleep issues have made it hard for me to connect to people. I start to get close, and then I start to get a little aggressive, especially when my long work hours keep me from consistently getting enough sleep. Then they tell me to let them know what is wrong. I tell them I can't talk about it, and in the end the lack of trust pushes them away, though I try to tell them I have no choice.
Sometimes I am still awake when the hour arrives. This only makes it worse. Instead of simply waking up like one would from a nightmare, instead a flood of images plunge into my mind. Inside of five minutes I am a crying mess, and I have begun taking medicine to help calm me down. It never helps completely, but it takes the edge off.
It has been two years since I told anyone about that night. The urge to tell someone, anyone, just keeps getting worse, like some terrible itch at the base of my skull. Maybe...maybe if I tell you. Maybe if I tell you about that night, knowing that I may never see you again. Maybe then it will go away. I want so bad to sleep. Maybe then I can sleep
They were all quite beautiful. I tried for a long time to mar them in my mind, to make them hideous and distorted so that it would match the feelings I have attached to them. But thinking back on them now, I can admit to that. They were rather close in age, no more than three years apart. No matter what parents tell you, they always have a favorite. For me it was the youngest child, my son. He was so good for me. Where as my daughter was very much taking after her mother; as my boy got older, he continued to come to me for advice on what to do, and how to be.
I tried to give him guidance, without forcing a clear choice. I think that was my mistake.
Three years ago, my children began to have nightmares. They were very violent, usually involving strange images that they struggled to describe to me. Only one of the dreams were they able to describe in any detail. It was a small, dwarf like creature, clothed in old rags. It had long, stringy hair, and deep set, red beady eyes. Its teeth were rotten away in its mouth, and its skin was cracked and thick. They said it would play them music on a oddly shaped instrument, like a flute if you were to twist it in a spiral. They could not describe the sound, but every night they awake with pounding headaches, which got worse day after day.
After a week I decided to take them to a doctor. After describing what had been going on, the doctor suggested we get they brains scanned during sleep, to see what was happening. The night before their visit I was instructed to keep them awake. This made them agitated, but they complied. We stayed up and watched some of our favorite films. Looking back, I cannot remember a single one.
That morning I brought them in, and they were attached to a variety of sensors. I was asked to wait in the waiting room for the tests to complete. The test itself was supposed to take a hour, but after fifteen minutes I saw a rush of nurses heading towards the room with my kids.
After a half hour, a doctor brought me in to talk about what had happened. About ten minutes in, they began to show distress, like they were having a nightmare. Five minutes later their bodies suddenly...began to shudder and contort. By the time the doctors entered to room they were screaming, my youngest shaking so violently that he fell to the floor. Despite their best efforts, it took them a full twenty minutes to wake them up.
They kept my boys overnight for observation, while the doctors went over the scans. For the first time in weeks of restless sleeping, my kids managed to sleep soundly that night. While they slept, the doctors went over the results with me. The tests showed that the kids sleep was heavily disjointed, and determined that they were suffering from night terrors. They assigned them some pain medication as well as some sleep aids in the hope that it would help balance out their sleep pattens. In the morning we were sent home, and after a week the medicine seemed to have been working.
At six in the morning the following Sunday, I awoke in a cold sweat. I could not figure out why, but I knew that something was wrong. I went to the boys room and opened the door, only to find the room empty, the windows open, a line of bedsheets running to the ground.
I rushed down the stairs and out the front door, my heart thundering in my chest. I looked down the street and immediately saw them running down the road. I ran after them, and...and I thought I was going to catch them. They stopped by the local bridge, and I felt relief entering me. Then I noticed where they were moving, on the edge of the bridge, with a twenty foot drop below them.
They in unison turned and looked at me.
“Do you hear the music daddy?” said my youngest.
Before I could reach them...they jumped, into the water. I went to the edge, only to see them slip under the bridge and into the sewage tunnel that ran underneath. I tried to fit inside, but the drain was too small.
By the time the police managed to get someone down there they were already dead...I have tried so hard to recover from that night, but every night since then I wake at the same time. My wife and family no longer talk to me. Even family has its limits. I thought that maybe it would get better with time. But I haven't been sleeping well. And I keep hearing strange music...in my dreams...and sometimes when I am awake.
The man would not speak to me after that. A couple of days later I checked in with him at a local restaurant. He looked like he hadn't slept in days, and he refused to even recognize I was there. I have tried to contact him since then. Neighbors told me he had been put up at the local mental asylum, after his screams in the night had awoken them.