Never Sleep, Never Wake

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“Y’know, they say this city, it never sleeps.”

She tapped the ashes off her cigarette and gazed up at the neon lights.

“But I’m just prayin’ one day I’ll wake up.”

I looked her over. Watched her adjust the shoulder strap of her dirty tank top, watched her shift her weight to the other high heel. She couldn’t have been older than 17. When she had asked me for a cigarette outside the gas station, I had reluctantly obliged, but now she stood beside my car as I filled the tank.

“Where ya headed?” she asked softly.

“Upstate,” I lied. I closed the gas cap. “Gotta get going though. You be safe now.”

“Can I bum a ride?” she asked. I hesitated, trying to think up the most polite way to reject her. “Just up the street, not far from here.” Eyes wide. “Please?”

Something about the desperation in her voice, the fear in her eyes, made it impossible to say no.

Five minutes later, I’m driving down the highway, this young girl in the passenger seat. She stares out the window as the city lights fly by. Awkward silence.

“Are you ok?” I ask.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see her glance my way. After a moment, she turns to face out the window again. “Yes,” she says simply.

Okay, then, I think.

It begins to rain.

The water pouring down the windshield looks like blood in the red glow of a stop light. Silence. The windshield wipers squeak.

The girl stirs. “This is my turn. It’s a right here.”

I oblige. I’m now driving down a dark street, over a railroad track, past dark warehouses with broken windows.

I’m beginning to worry a bit. “How much further? I need to get on my way….”

“It’s right up there, see? See that light?”

She’s pointing out the window now. I don’t see a light. Just more dark warehouses.

The girl is shifting in her seat, looking around out the windows. “We’re almost there, I promise!”

“I don’t know about this,” I say, getting frustrated and nervous. “I think I should take you back to the gas station…”

“No! See! There it is!” She’s pointing again.

This time, she’s right though. Sure enough, there’s a light in the distance. I begin to feel a little less paranoid. We draw closer to the light. It’s a neon sign. A large red inverted triangle, attached high on an otherwise dark warehouse. Some kind of nightclub maybe?

We finally pull up beside the building on the right. She gives me a mumbled, “Thanks,” and slams the car door behind her. She runs in the rain to the front of the warehouse. She knocks, the doors open, and darkness swallows her. The red neon light flickers and goes out, leaving the building indistinguishable from the others on the street.

Whew, I think. My ordeal is over and I can go home. Now to just turn the car around and get back to the main road.

So I drive down the street a little further until I find an intersection, where I pull a U turn.

I finish the U-turn and get the car straightened out. Suddenly my headlights fall on something further down the road. In front of the warehouse the girl entered before.

A mass of dark figures standing in the street.

Dark, hooded figures standing still in the rain. Then, slowly, they begin to move towards me.

Terror rising like vomit in my throat, I reverse the car and turn around to go the other way. My headlights fall on another mass of robed figures. What is happening?

Something smashes through my back window. Thats when I first hear the chanting…a low grumble coming from all directions. It gets louder as the passenger side window smashes open, the second mass surrounding the front of the car. All I see is the glint of metal and the glow of white eyes with no pupils from beneath hoods.

I think for a second I recognize one hooded face….the girl from the gas station. Only now her eyes are blank white orbs.

Then, something smashes the headlights. Total darkness.

“We never sleep. We never wake. We never sleep. We never wake.”

I’m screaming and arms are grabbing me, pulling me out of the car. Rain is drenching me, my legs are dragging the ground. I kick and scream and fight but it does no good. No one could ever hear me over the chanting;

“We never sleep. We never wake. We never sleep. We never wake.”

I look up toward the rain. The red neon triangle, looking like a pyramid in the sky, flickers to light again. And the warehouse doors open. And blackness swallows me.

* * *

“Hey…can I borrow a smoke?” I lean against the gas pump.

You hand me a Marlboro, reluctantly, politely.

“Y’know,” I say, “they say this city never sleeps…me, I’m just wishin I could wake up.”

You strain a smile, nod, try to leave. You know you can’t leave.

“Can I bum a ride?” I ask. “Just up the road…please?”

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4 Comments on 'Never Sleep, Never Wake'

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  • Commented on March 3, 2014 at 6:11 am

    Why are never ending chains so fucking popular??!?!?!?!?!?!

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  • Commented on October 1, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    I really liked it, I like how you included the reader into the end

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  • Commented on November 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    8o
    This is cool. This had a creepyish vibe, but it didn’t really creep me out in the way I’d hoped.
    But all in all, it was really good!

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  • GFY
    Commented on November 18, 2016 at 11:59 am

    What hell is this really your in a fucking car and you didn’t run them over come the hell on man I mean seriously forget turning around just smash right through them hoes this is your typical white girl moment in all scary movies don’t leave the house and scream for help instead run upstairs and lock yourself in a room .5 of 5 from me on this one and anyone who doesn’t like it can GFY

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