It Started With Insomnia

I think something is wrong with me.  

This started about a week ago I think, and to be honest, I didn’t notice anything at first, not really.  Just a few small bruises on my legs and an inability to fall asleep.  Most people have bruises they can’t explain, so I thought nothing of it aside from noticing the oddity that there were three which formed a nearly perfect triangle – I honestly thought I’d run into a table or a counter and just didn’t remember it.  Hell, if I’m being honest that very well may be the case here, although I’m inclined to think for reasons beyond my own understanding that this is somehow connected.  

I’ve never been someone who slept really well, but this past week has been total hell.  I wake up feeling almost MORE tired than I’d been when I went to bed, and I’m drowsy throughout the day until maybe 7PM or so when I suddenly get a burst of energy so strong that I feel like if I don’t do something my heart will explode.

  I went to a doctor about that and he suggested I participate in a sleep study and he put me on a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication to help with my sudden explosive bursts of energy before bed.  The sleep study is still a few days away, but for some reason I’m starting to become afraid that they won’t be able to find anything.  

I stopped by the store on my way home from the doctor and a man approached me in the checkout line.  He was a large, burly man and he called me by name; and although I can’t remember seeing him before, he gave me a tight bear-hug that seemed distantly familiar.

  “I’m sorry,” I told him.  “I don’t think I’m the person you think I am.”

  “No way, man!” he said.  “You don’t remember me?  Tom Jarvis.  Everyone called me ‘Roach’ in high school.  Remember?”  

I didn’t remember – still don’t.  I knew with absolute certainty that I had not ever known a man named “Roach” in my life.

  The expression on my face gave me away before I could lie and pretend that I recognized him.  

“We ate lunch like every day together senior year,” he said.  “You dated my sister.”  

I shrugged.  “Sorry, I don’t think I even remember dating anyone my senior year.  I think you’ve got the wrong person.”  I began handing the cashier my groceries as my head began to subtly pound with my heartbeat which I then noticed was alarmingly fast.  Why was I so nervous?

  “Yeah,” he said awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck with his meat cleaver of a hand.  “I guess you’re right.”

  I bid him farewell and checked out with my milk and eggs, but the moment stuck with me the whole way home.  He was CERTAIN he knew me – he had called me by name after all – but I was equally as certain that I’d never known him.  

At least, I thought I was.  

After I got home, Roach was still skittering around in my mind like the insect he’d been nicknamed after. I couldn’t shake it.  

I searched Facebook and found him, but we had no mutual friends.  I ate dinner and went to the gym, but still I couldn’t shake this strange, almost distantly nostalgic, feeling.  

I knew that whatever sleep problems I’d had up to that point were only going to get worse if I couldn’t get this guy off my mind.  I called my mom and asked if I could come over to her house – I had a few boxes there in her basement from my “glory days” of high school and I wanted to check the yearbook.  Just one last stone to turn before I could say, in good faith, that I tried to remember him.  She asked if everything was all right and I told her things were just fine – I had no idea then that I was lying to her – and I went over.  

She lives ten minutes away, preferring to keep close to her only son since the passing of my father, and so fifteen minutes after our conversation on the phone I was sitting in a chair in the basement, flipping through the Hunter High School yearbook.  

I found myself - the gawky teenaged version of me with bad hair and acne that had just started to abate - and a few page-turns later I found the man who called himself Roach.  

It was unmistakable that the man I’d run into at the store was the same person – his striking features and larger-than-life personality came through the yearbook photo without any difficulty.  He wore glasses in this picture and his hair was much longer and thicker than it was on the man I’d just met, but that was undoubtedly him.  

My palms were wet with sweat and my head ached dully as I turned to the index at the back of the book where it listed all the pages with pictures of each student.  I found my name and next to it were four page numbers.  

I flipped to the first – a student body officer page - and found myself posing as the senior class secretary with the rest of the class officers.  THAT I remembered.  

I flipped to the next, a candid shot of the school lunchroom.  It took a moment to find myself, but when I did, I stared hard at the boy next to me.   

It was Roach – I could tell as clearly as I could see myself sitting there.  Just as he’d said, we were eating lunch together.  

I flipped to the other two and in both I was posed next to Roach – one of us in a class play of Julius Caesar and the other one with his arm over my shoulder at a school dance while two girls, our dates presumably, stood off to the side with cups of punch.   

Three of the four pictures had me posing with the man I had no memory of.  I stared at these for some time, trying hard to remember taking the pictures, let alone any memory of the kid who looked like my best friend, then boxed up the yearbook.  I thought about taking it with me, but something told me I’d be better off leaving it there.  

I asked my mom then as I walked out the door, as casually as I could, if she remembered me talking about anyone named Roach when I was in high school.  

“Oh yes!” she said at once, looking up from her nightly Family Feud episode.  “He was such a nice boy.  What happened to him?”  

“We had a falling out,” I guessed, shrugging.  “I ran into him at the store today though.”  

“Oh, that’s just perfect,” my mother said, clasping her hands together.  “Did he say anything about his sister still being single?”  

“No,” I said, realizing then that I’d forgotten to look her up as well, wondering briefly if perhaps she had been one of the girls in the last picture, but not wanting to go back downstairs to do so.  “I think she’s probably married.”  

“Oh poo,” my mother said – an expression she’d used since I was little and copied her “oh shit” remark at the store once.  “Well you should find out anyway.  She was a real cutie.”  

“Yeah,” I said dismissively giving her a hug and a peck on the cheek.  “I’ll do that.”  

I drove home in my car thinking about symptoms of selective amnesia.  I think I saw an episode about it on House or maybe some other doctor show, but I always thought it was something more common and likely on television than something actually experienced in real life.  

I entered my house with my brain completely enveloped in this thought.  I didn’t realize that, on auto pilot, I’d managed to dig the Men’s One-a-Day vitamins out of the back of the cupboard until I was shoving three of the yellow pills into my mouth.  I spat them out into my hand, then thought for a moment and popped one of them back in and swallowed it with a glass of water.  It’s been a while since I’ve regularly taken any sort of daily vitamin, but it really wouldn’t hurt, and might even help with my sleep.  

My head began to pound, so after I threw the soggy pills into the garbage can, wondering why in God’s name I’d bee-lined for the vitamins in the first place, I found a bottle of Tylenol and took some of that as well.  

I was exhausted mentally, but physically I still felt like I could win a cage match against a silverback gorilla.  I took one of the Xanax I had and went to bed, hoping maybe that and the television could lull me to sleep.  

I sat in bed for a few hours watching mindless television, but the longer I sat there the more my heart began to race.  I felt unnerved and uneasy – like I was being watched by somebody I couldn’t see.  

Now, like I said before, I’ve never been paranoid in my entire life, but I got the idea in my head that I actually WAS being watched.  The more I thought about it, the more likely it seemed - I knew it sounded crazy, but the thought was like an itch I just HAD to scratch.  

I got up out of bed.  My pit-bull, Dave, watched me lazily from his bed in the corner as I checked that the window was still closed and locked, then moved around the rest of the house to do the same.  Every door was still locked, every window was still closed, and the closets were empty.  Aside from Dave and the fern I kept next to the couch in the living room, I was the only living thing in the house.  

And yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t alone.  

I checked the outlets in my room for cameras.  I’d never thought to do this before and now it just seemed silly that the thought had never crossed my mind.  I checked the lightbulbs and took the battery out of my laptop and cellphone.  

Still I knew I was being watched.  It wasn’t just a thought anymore, it had transcended mere worry and had become inarguable fact, however unproveable.  I KNEW I wasn’t alone.  

I’m not sure what time I fell asleep, and I honestly don’t remember even going to bed, but I know it must have been early because I remember seeing the light from the sun begin to peek between the curtains.  

When I awoke, I was as exhausted as ever and was ashamed at what I’d done.  In the light of day, I saw the previous night for what it was – pathetic paranoia of a man whom couldn’t sleep.  

I put the battery back in my phone and put the lightbulbs back in their sockets, feeling silly as I did so even though the only witness to my temporary lapse of sanity was Dave, and he hardly cared what I did at all.  

As I busied myself around my house, going room to room putting everything back together, I found something that gave me pause.  It wasn’t much, not really, just an unlatched window.  I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, except I could have sworn on my mother’s life that I’d checked them all during my paranoid delusion the night before.  Especially because THAT one was my bedroom window – the one I’d checked both first and last.  

My stomach twisted as I tried to rationalize the window being unlocked.  Perhaps the wind had been exceptionally violent while I was asleep or maybe Dave had gotten up and been scratching at the window – I’d seen him do it at least once before.  

As I came to this conclusion, however thin, I turned around and found something even more alarming.  

It was a spot of blood on my pillow case about the size of a nickel.  

I ran to the bathroom to check my face, my nose, my ears, to see what part of me had bled on the pillow. Except I saw nothing but my own tired face, devoid of injury, staring back at me.  

I saw myself then, really SAW myself, and I felt even more insane.  My tired, wild eyes reflecting back at me, my unshaven face, my mouth turned down in the corners to form an expression of deep worry.  I was losing it.  

I AM losing it.  

It was then that I decided to seek help to see if I could find someone, anyone, who knew what might be going on with me.

***

I scheduled an appointment with a therapist.  It’s apparent that I need help and I feel like if I don’t get it soon, I’ll explode.

She asked that I not share her name, but for the sake of my writing I’ll refer to her as Doctor Waterson.  She’s about twenty years or so older than me and has laugh lines that trace her face, giving her a somewhat motherly disposition.  I’d never seen a therapist before her and was nervous about how I’d get around to what I had been feeling over the past five days, but I found that as soon as I was in her office the words came pouring out.

I told her everything.  From my sleepless nights to the paranoia of the night before.  It felt good to finally say it aloud because although I’d gotten the words written, saying them to another living person felt like I was finally putting down a weight I’d been carrying on my chest.

When I was finished, she looked at me over the rim of her glasses.

“I don’t think anything is wrong with you,” she said after a moment of thought.  “At least not to the degree you’re concerned about.”

She spoke slowly, but I still couldn’t comprehend what she was saying.  There was nothing wrong with me?  Of course there was something wrong!

Reading my expression, she continued.  “Now, that’s not to say that you’re not justified in your concerns – sleeplessness is something that plagues most people at one time or another, but I get the impression you’re worried about something far more sever than that.  Am I right?”

I nodded.  I’ve been worrying about everything from brain tumors to alien abduction, silly as it may sound.

“I believe that this sleep study you’re set to participate in will give you the answers you’re looking for.  That being said, I do think we should address this insomnia from another angle, don’t you?”

I agreed.

“So, let’s try a few exercises at night before going to bed to see if you can turn your brain off.  I think after a few nights of decent sleep, maybe even just one, you’ll feel much better.”

I again agreed with her.

I left her office feeling better, but not as great as I’d hoped.  She gave me some advice on turning my brain off before going to sleep – things like turning off all screens an hour before bed time, taking a long shower, drinking a glass of water or milk – but I still wasn’t completely convinced that any of this would help.  It seemed too easy.

I got home and carried my tired body up the stairs, fumbling for the door key.  I went to slide it in the knob, but found that the key didn’t want to go in.  It took only a second before I realized that the doorknob had been changed.

I stepped back.  This wasn’t even my door.

This wasn’t even my HOUSE.

I looked around and realized I’d pulled up to a vacant house in the middle of essentially nowhere.  There was a long dirt road that I surely must have driven up – the dust was still kicked up from where the tires of my truck had just been.  The house was surrounded by property, several acres I’m sure although I’ve never been good at judging that sort of thing, and down the road maybe a half mile or so I could see the road I must have turned off.  

I stumbled down the wooden porch steps, wondering vaguely why I hadn’t noticed that I was at the wrong place when I first approached them because my house doesn’t have any steps leading up to the door.

Where the hell was I?

I spun around madly, feeling my pulse race in my chest and wishing desperately for one of those Xanax that was sitting on the kitchen counter at home.

I hurried back to the truck, breathing heavily as if I’d just run a marathon.  I told myself not to panic, but that train left the station the moment I realized that the house I was at wasn’t my own.

I looked around again, searching for any sort of recognizable landmark.

In the distance I saw a water tower – a red and white obelisk that looks like an alien spacecraft from the War of the Worlds – and I was able to get my bearings.

Except, judging from the angle and the distance of the water tower, I had to have been at least fifteen or twenty miles from my house.  I’d gone the COMPLETE opposite direction when I’d left the therapist.  How had I not noticed before?

My head began to ache as I turned the key in the truck’s ignition, worried suddenly that the engine wouldn’t turn over and that I’d be trapped there in this place I didn’t know, but the engine caught without a hitch and I drove down the dirt road back toward my real house.

When I finally DID arrive home after what felt like an eternity, the first thing I did was another bee-line for the vitamins.  Obviously, I was deficient in something right?  Potassium, vitamin B, calcium – it had to be something.  I took two this time, not caring about over-working my kidneys and liver.  Evidently, I was sick, and my body NEEDED these vitamins or else I wouldn’t be craving them, right?

My hands shook and I realized then, to no surprise, just how sweaty they were as I popped the pills into my mouth and worked to fill a glass with water from the tap. 

The headache that started when I was pulling off of Topanga Drive – the name of the road the house was on as told to be by the rusted street sign – had not yet abated, and so with that same glass of water I also took a Tylenol and a few ibuprofen as well for good measure.

Dave sat in the corner of the kitchen, snorting like a hog as pugs often do, watching the whole scene with a sort of interest, just as he had during my episode the night before.  I called him over and he came without question, and I patted his huge head with the palm of my hand, thankful that I at least had him to keep me company if nobody else.

Eventually I calmed down, but for anyone who’s ever had a panic attack can tell you, I was completely and utterly exhausted.  I spent the rest of the day in front of the TV and surfing the internet.  I did my best to avoid the topic of my own health lest I find myself in the middle of another panic attack, but eventually I found myself searching through Web MD trying to self-diagnose.  By the end of that, I concluded I had one of several things including but not limited to: insomnia, a brain tumor, cancer of one variety or another or a rare parasite.  None of these helped my case, but curiously I didn’t find myself panicked by these things because none of them seemed to stick exactly – at least not in my mind.

When I fell asleep, it was on the couch during an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond with Dave at my side and an almost empty bag of Snyder’s pretzels in my lap.

I don’t recall taking myself to bed, but I awoke there all the same a few hours later to another excruciating headache.    My vision was blurred when I sat up and tried to make my way to the kitchen cabinet for the pain medicine.

Distantly, as if my ears were filled with cotton, I could hear Dave barking.  He probably needed to go out, but I couldn’t handle that right now.

My vision got blurrier and began to fade in and out as if a light were dimming and brightening in my mind.  I approached the kitchen and just as I reached up for the pain killers, thinking perhaps I should take some more vitamins as well while I’m at it, the lights completely shut off and the last sensation I had was of falling, except thankfully I think I was out by then because I don’t recall the pain of hitting the floor.

I awoke on my kitchen floor, completely naked.  My boxers and pajama pants were balled up in the corner and my head pounded.

I sat up gingerly, probing around my head for any injury I may have gotten from the fall.  When I was satisfied that I hadn’t cracked my skull, I slowly moved to my feet.

A small smear of blood covered a few tiles on the kitchen floor.  My hand went up to my face and I felt a sticky wetness on my upper lip.  I pulled my finger back, knowing already that I’d see the traces of drying blood on my fingertips.  

I went to the bathroom, trying not to bother my aching head with every step I took, and looked at myself in the mirror.

My face was a shadow of the man I was a week ago.  My eyes were heavy and bloodshot, and the blood smeared under my nose didn’t help the utterly pathetic image that stared back at me in the mirror.  I wanted sleep – I NEEDED sleep.

I washed the blood off my face and shuffled back to my bed, hoping that I could sleep off whatever ailment I had.

***

I just got home from the sleep study, and I have to say I feel better than I’ve felt in a long time, or at least I did.

A sleep study, or a polysomnography as the doctor called it, is a test which required I sleep over at a facility for the night.  They put me in a bed and hooked me up to a machine that sat on my chest and stuck some wires and tubes around my face and chest and such, making me feel more like a lab rat than a man suffering from insomnia.

I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to sleep, given my recent insomnia and the fact that now I was adding an unfamiliar location into the mix, but by nine o’ clock I was out like a light.

Of course, the first time in what feels like forever that I actually manage a good night’s sleep is during the study to diagnose why I wasn’t sleeping.  I would be more apt to complain if I wasn’t feeling so much better than I have been in days.

I considered the possibility that perhaps it wasn’t me at all, but my house.  I’ve lived there for years, but maybe there was a slow gas leak or something that’s been messing with my mind.  Maybe the house was haunted.  Maybe it’s my bed.

It was this line of thinking that I followed around all morning as I took myself out for breakfast, then busied myself in cleaning the house.

That is, until I got the call from Doctor Brown, the sleep specialist.

He asked forme by name, and I identified myself, then he proceeded with the results.

“Normally we send the results to your primary care physician or prescribing doctor, however in certain cases we choose to call the patient directly, as is the scenario here.”

He sounded clinical as he spoke, which set my heart into overdrive.  It was cancer – I knew it.  I don’t know how I knew it, but I did.  As the doctor spoke I popped two vitamins into my mouth ground them nervously between my teeth.

“Before I begin with the results, may I ask you if this was a typical night for you?”

I told him it wasn’t, that I slept better last night than I had in a while.

“I would have thought quite the opposite,” he said, not bothering to mask his surprise.  “You had quite the sleepless night last night, if you recall.”

“I don’t, actually,” I told him.  “What do you mean?”

“You woke up several times in the night.  I’ve never seen so much activity during a sleep study - at least not while a patient remains asleep.  Usually they wake up when we have to put them back to bed.”

I stopped chewing the vitamins.  “You had to put me back to bed?”

“Oh, yes.  Several times in fact.  You kept getting out of bed and going to the window. Are you sure you don’t remember any of this?”

“No, not at all.”

“Do you remember any dreams you had?”

I again said I didn’t.

He paused for a moment, then said “do you have time this afternoon?  I know you were just here this morning, but I would like to see if I can jog your memory of last night with the surveillance footage from the examination room.  I’d like to know where your mind was during these episodes.”

‘These episodes.’  He said it in a way that made my stomach twist – like I’d been smashing my head against the wall while reciting the pledge of allegiance.   I suppose for all I know though, I had.

“Yeah,” I said.  “I’ve got the day off, so I can come down right now if you want.”

“I’ve got a few appointments, but why don’t we get together after lunch, say around two?”

“Sure,” I agreed.  “I’ll see you then.”

I hung up the phone, not caring about pleasantries.

Doctor Brown’s office was small, not like the doctor offices you see in the movies with the big oak desks that the doctor leans over from his leather office chair to tell people the tumors are inoperable, and they only have a few weeks to live.  It was quaint, with a modest desk, a few Far Side comics on the walls and a framed picture of his wife and children sitting next to a fern against the window.  I liked it better I think than the alternative – it was quainter and more casual and gave me less of an impression that I was about to receive the worst news in my life, although I couldn’t be convinced I’d been called back for GOOD news.

Doctor Brown sat on the other end, typing into his computer.

“As you know, we took a video recording of the room as you slept,” he said.

I nodded.  The nurse had pointed it out to me while sticking me with all the wires and tubes, and it had been one of the disclosures I’d signed before beginning the study.

“I’m pulling that video up now.  I want to see if you remember any part of these episodes.  I’m not looking for an answer one way or the other – I just want you to be honest with me, all right?”

I nodded again.

He turned the computer screen to me, and I saw myself sleeping in the bed in grainy gray night vision.

“This is the first episode, at approximately 1:45AM,” Doctor Brown said.

I watched for a moment and was about to say something when I saw myself on the screen sit up.  It was quick and fast and smooth as if someone had pulled me up by invisible strings.  My eyes were wide open and in the night mode of the camera I looked unsettlingly like an animal caught in the dark with a flashlight beam.

I turned my body and got out of bed.  My feet slapped against the floor as I walked toward the window and put my hand on the glass.

I stood there for a few minutes until a nurse entered the room.

“Sir?” she said.  “Sir, is everything alright?”

I didn’t answer, but my open palm began to beat on the glass.

The nurse crossed the room and put her hand on my elbow.  I let her do so and lead me back to the bed without question.  I laid down and she tucked me in; I closed my eyes as if nothing had happened.

“I don’t remember any of that,” I said.  “Did that happen again?”

“Not exactly,” Doctor Brown said.  He sped the video up until 2:23AM where he stopped and let it play at normal pace.

I sat up again, this time more quickly.  I hurried to the window and began to bang on it, almost frantically.  The nurse, a different one this time, entered my room.

“Are you alright?” she asked, crossing the room.

The pounding against the glass was hard and fast, like I was trying to escape.

She put her hand on my shoulder and the second she did I whirled around, my mouth agape and my eyes wide and I began to scream a horrid, barely human scream.

She leapt back and screamed as well.  Two men, orderlies I imagine, burst into the room seconds later.

I hadn’t moved, hadn’t touched her nor either of the men, but just stood there screaming again and again and again.  Hearing the sound made me wonder why my throat didn’t hurt earlier this morning.

“Do you remember any dreams you had last night?” the doctor asked as I stopped screaming on the video screen and was again led to bed.

“No, I still don’t remember anything,” I answered distantly.  “Is that it?”

He shook his head.  “One more.”

I was petrified to find out what the last “episode” was.

3:33 AM.

I suddenly wake up and leap out of bed, throwing the sheets to the side with my legs and pulling at the equipment with my hands.  My face is a mask of raw terror as I scream at the top of my lungs and run to the door.

The nurse and two men from before burst into the room, and I knock the poor woman to the ground in what appears to be a mad dash for escape.  I’m screaming and I can tell then that this time it’s not mindless noise but that I’m actually SAYING something.  I listen closely to try to make it out, but I can’t tell what it is. 

I fight against the men who are working on restraining me, all while screaming in complete and unmistakable terror.

The scene goes on for what seems like hours, although it only lasted a few moments, before my body goes completely slack in the arms of the orderlies and I am back asleep.

I was afraid to ask, but I couldn’t help myself.  “What… what was I saying?”

“You don’t recall?” Doctor Brown asks.

“No, I don’t fucking recall,” I say, not able to help my fear masked in anger.  “I don’t remember a God damn bit of that happening last night.  Will you just tell me what’s going on?”

“To be quite honest, I don’t know what’s going on either.  I would like to run a few more tests to properly get a diagnosis out.  It’s probable that you have a combination of dream anxiety disorder and somnambulism, more commonly called ‘Nightmare Disorder’ and ‘Sleepwalking,’ respectively.  Alone, they’re both rather rare in adults, so together is even more uncommon, but the presence coupled with the severity of both as seen in the video here could mean there are underlying medical or psychological issues. 

“I would like to schedule you for another sleep study for further research, and suggest you continue seeing your therapist with these results in mind to determine the psychological aspects of this issue.”

I agreed to both – the other sleep study and the further psychological treatment.  “But what was I saying?” I asked again.

“You said quite a bit,” Doctor Brown said truthfully.  “And most of it can’t be heard on the recording, so we have to take the word of the nurse and the orderlies present that night.  But according to them, you were talking about ‘the owls.’”

“The owls?”

“Yes.  ‘The owls are coming through the window.  Don’t let them get me.  You have to hide me from the owls.  I don’t want the owls to hurt me anymore.’  Things like that.  I don’t suppose-.”

“No, I have no idea why I was talking about owls,” I said before he could finish the question.

“Didn’t think so,” he said.

I thanked him for his time and made an appointment with the desk secretary for my next sleep study on my way out.

I can’t remember for the life of me why I would have said those things, but to be honest, the more I think about ‘the owls’ the more uneasy I get.  There’s something there, something that terrifies me on a deep level I don’t really understand, and the fact that I know it’s there just below the surface but still just beyond my grasp bothers me even more.

But not more than the owls. 

Edit: Dave is barking at the door.

Something is in my house.

Please help me.

Oh God.

***

I think someone’s been drugging me.  That’s the most logical explanation I’ve got right now for what’s going on.  That or mental disorder, but I can’t think of anyone in my family that’s ever suffered from anything worse than seasonal depression, so I’m not sure that really fits the bill.  I thought about calling my mom, but I don’t think I even have her number anymore – we haven’t spoken in years and I don’t really want the first thing we talk about to be my mental health.

I just woke up maybe an hour ago, but I don’t remember really going to sleep.  I remember going to bed thinking about making a Costco run for more men’s one-a-day and I think it must have been around then that I finally drifted off, but when I woke up, I was curled up in the closet almost 24 hours after I went to bed.

The back of my neck hurts, probably from sleeping in the closet, and I’m INCREDIBLY thirsty, which is why I think someone’s been drugging me.  I read somewhere that people get really dehydrated after being roofied, and especially given that I don’t remember actually getting into the closet and I’m fairly certain that I slept the past 24 hours away, I think that’s a good indication that someone’s been dosing me with something.

I was about three pills in when I realized it was probably the vitamins.  Someone had seen me taking them and must have decided to slip something extra in them – that’s gotta be it.  Except for some water from the tap, I don’t think I’ve eaten or drank much else.

I think I’ll make the Costco run after all.

The more I think about it, the more I’m certain that someone’s been watching me.  They say to always trust your instinct, that it’s there for a reason, and I’ve felt like I’ve been under surveillance for at least the past week.  Maybe even my whole life.

That’s got me thinking about Roach again, and the more I think about it the more I’m convinced I really don’t know him.  Photoshop is a powerful tool, and I don’t think it’s out of the question at all that this man could have been photoshopped into my yearbook photos.  That probably wasn’t even my yearbook.

I went back into my basement to double check.  I figured that just about any kind of photoshop leaves clues, so I bet I could find a hint of tampering in the photos I saw of me and Roach.  Except when I got to the basement, the box was gone.  I distinctly remember putting it up on the shelf next to the window because I stumbled down off the chair and hit my side on the desk which is why I have those three bruises on my thigh, and now the box is nowhere to be seen, which tells me one undeniable fact.

Someone has been in my house.

It was this chain of thinking that has gotten me now thoroughly convinced that I’m being tested on – probably by the government. I think Roach is some sort of code name and that someone is watching me to see what I do in certain situations, which would be why they drugged me last night.

They probably have my whole house bugged.

There’s nobody outside, at least as far as I can see, but that doesn’t mean they’re not parked in some van around the corner, or even sitting in the house next door, listening to everything I do, watching every move I make.

I heard on the news somewhere that covering things in metal can scramble signals, so all I need to do is just cover whatever listening devices they have planted in my house with some aluminum foil and I should be in the clear.

I started out with the wall outlets and got about halfway done when I realized how ridiculous I was being.  

There was an easier solution.

I first heard about the Faraday cage in my high school science class, however I’ve seen it since then on movies and TV shows when a character is trying to avoid being detected.

As it turns out, the concept is incredibly simple.  In order to prevent wireless signals from getting in or out of a particular room, all I had to do is cover every inch of the room in a few layers of chicken wire.  That would stop whatever listening devices or cameras that are planted in my house from broadcasting to whomever is watching me.

A better solution would be covering everything in aluminum foil, but the more I thought about it the more I realized I probably wouldn’t be allowed to buy so much aluminum foil at one time – I’d have to go from store to store buying as much as I could without seeming suspicious, and I’d probably be followed the whole time anyway.  I needed to be in and out of the store with all my supplies as quickly as possible, so the chicken wire would have to do for now, then slowly I could acquire the aluminum foil.

I chose a room in the basement – the storage room.  The only way in or out is through the door, so if the people listening in on me find out what I’m doing, there’ll be no way for them to sneak up on me.

It took most of the day, but now I am in a fully covered Faraday cage.  Not even my cellphone works in it.  I moved my bed down there so I can start sleeping in the Faraday cage instead of my room, and I feel safer already.  

I think maybe if I got a dog I would feel even better – something big like a pit-bull maybe, but even something small would be fine too.  That way I could have something that could keep me company and maybe wake me up if someone came into the house.  

I think this is going to be the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a LONG time.

EDIT:

There are people in my house.

I can hear them moving around upstairs.

I think they’re looking for me.

I wish I had a gun.  I feel stupid for not thinking about it before.  I’ve got a crowbar though, so if anyone comes through that door, they’ll get a face full of iron.

I don’t think they’ve thought about coming down stairs yet because I can still hear them walking around the floor above me.  I count two, maybe three, pairs of feet, and they sound small.  I know it sounds odd, but it sounds almost like the light footsteps of children instead of the large men in suits I kept imagining while I was setting this room up.  

I can hear them talking I think, but I can’t make out any words – I don’t think it’s English though.  It sounds almost like those dialects from the African Bushman tribes where they speak with clicks from the backs of their throats.

I keep thinking I should go upstairs to see what they want, but I know it’s a bad idea.  I should just stay down here where it’s safe, where they can’t find me, where I can protect myself.

I wish I could call the police.  This Faraday cage was such a stupid idea.  Maybe if I cut just a small hole in it, I could get a signal out. 

But then that would mean they could get a signal too.

Would it really be all that bad though?  I mean, I don’t KNOW they’re using any sort of wireless devices.

What am I saying?  Of course, it would be bad.  It’s these thoughts… something about them…

The back of my neck itches.  I keep scratching it and the nape of my neck is wet – I’m sure it’s blood, but it just itches so BAD.  I should have had a doctor look at it.  Maybe I have a parasite.  I think I can feel it moving around the bottom of my skull… a slow sort of vibration, like a hornet trying to take flight.

Maybe the people upstairs could help me figure out what it is.

Why would they be able to know that?  God I’m losing it.

I don’t think these thoughts are mine.  I think someone or something is PUTTING these thoughts in my head.  They sound like me, but it feels like an imposter is trying to take the driver’s seat.  

They’re in my head.  That’s the only explanation.

The people upstairs are in my head.

They’re starting to move more quickly now.  The footsteps are running back and forth from the living room to my bedroom.  They know I’m not there.

God my head hurts.

I wish I had more vitamins.  Maybe they would help.

I need to go upstairs.  They’re waiting for me.

They’re never going to leave unless I make them leave.

Or go with them.

No, that’s crazy.  I need to fight.

It’s so dark in here.

I’m going to go upstairs, just to look.  I’ve got my crowbar if things get bad, but I think I can be quiet enough to sneak up without being noticed.  I just want to see how many there are and what I’m up against, then I’ll come back down.

I’ll be right back.

 

 

 

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