Mart generally liked the night, the darkness. It was lonely and quiet, but he didn’t mind. He was starting to mind that he had seen so much of it lately. He looked over at the calendar.

Eight days.

He had not slept for eight days now – not a nap, not a nod, not so much as a slow blink.

There was no rationale for it. He went through the routine he followed for years every night for the last eight nights the same way he had every night for the last ten years. He turned off the television at 11:15, drank a half a glass of milk, went up stairs, changed, brushed his teeth, set his alarm and climbed into bed. Nine days ago, he slept for the last time.

For the last eight nights, Mart stayed in bed and stared at the ceiling until he decided to get up an watch the moon make its journey across the sky until the sun came to chase it away.

He liked watching the morning rise up. The long shadows shifting and hiding with the onset of the new day’s light left him with an odd feeling of renewal. Not as refreshing as sleep, but it was likely the thing that kept him going, at least for the first six days.

He never feared the night, at least not until night number seven. He knew the days and nights were slaves to the motion of the sun and the moon. It was planned, purposeful and ordinary. Nevertheless, on night seven, be it a lack of real rest and rejuvenation, or a true shift in his awareness, Mart started to see things. Very small things that lurked in the shadows pretending to be figments of the imagination, but as real as his cat Buttons used to be.

He noticed the eyes first, small and beady, they were as black as night itself when caught in the glimmer of light. In the dark, they glowed softly, red and bloody.

Then he noticed the whispers. Not words so much. The whispers came in short bursts of snarls and guttural giggles. Too soft to hear sometimes and easily confused with the sound of the wind or the heat turning on.

Then he noticed the grins…and the teeth…the very sharp looking teeth.

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