For this writing activity, I asked the wonderful people from my ‘Melissa Black’ Facebook group to help me out. I requested they supply me with the following; a phobia, music genre, day of the week, kitchen utensil and Australian animal. I chose one of each randomly from the answers I got. We had hypnophobia (fear of sleep), rock music, Tuesday, measuring cup and kookaburra. Then I got them to choose between the words ‘and’ and ‘the’, one of which I could not use in the story. We landed on ‘the’. Following is the story I came up with, please feel free to comment or write your own along the same guidelines! Let me know if you see the word ‘the’ anywhere!
Not many people understand why I am how I am. I don’t like it, this fear of sleep that I possess, it’s debilitating and frustrating, and most certainly not purposeful. I get a few hours a night – awful broken sleep patterns full of terror and paranoia – this is my rotten routine.
It all started on a Tuesday, that fateful horrible Tuesday afternoon, and every night I’m dragged back to what I can describe only as ‘Freddy Kruger Land’. Enter sandman? Enter mind screw more like it. I fight as hard as possible, I don’t want to sleep, but apparently humans need it to survive.
That Tuesday, I stood in my kitchen gazing outside, measuring cup in hand full of breadcrumbs. I was about to tip it into a red silicone bowl, ready to mix up a stuffing for some tiny roast quails. ACDC was blasting away in my iPad dock, and I stared dreamily out at my backyard, admiring a beautiful kookaburra who had decided to land on my clothesline. Quite a mix, loud rock music, cooking and nature, but it made me feel calm and at ease, appreciative of life.
Then, shit got real.
I’m not sure what happened exactly. I began to tip my hand, when a flurry of loud tapping noises and squawks frightened me into looking up. My kookaburra friend was now right there, going absolutely crazy. He smashed his thick, stout body into my window time after time at my face height. There was fury in his beady eyes as his wings beat frantically, a sound that most certainly was not laughing coming from his pointy beak.
Without thinking I waved my hand in a panicky fashion to frighten him away. Breadcrumbs flew everywhere, over my face and clothes, dishes and window, a fair amount unfortunately zooming up my nose. ACDC got louder and angrier in my ears, reaching a crescendo. I rapped hard back at him, using my measuring cup as a tool, but being plastic it didn’t do much. I coughed and fought for breath through crumbs in my throat. He was giving me no respite, if anything his attack became more fevered. As I wiped bread residue from my face, he abruptly disappeared.
In a state of absolute panic I ran around my house, ensuring all windows, doors and other spaces outside were shut tight. Breadcrumbs were still up my nose and tears mixed with it on my face making a gluey paste as I hid in my dark hallway, wishing this wasn’t happening. I’d never heard of a bloodthirsty kookaburra in my life, why did he choose me? ACDC screeched about being thunderstruck, and I certainly was.
For two hours this hell went on, sounds of his beak tapping petering out like microwave pop-corn. ACDC had long finished, leaving me in a petrified silence. Even after each window was silent, I still didn’t move from my frightened ball for what felt like forever . I was sorry when I did. How I do not understand, but there on my kitchen bench was a small message written in breadcrumbs. It looked suspiciously like it had been brushed on by feathers.
The message was short and simple. ‘You’d better sleep with one eye open, bird killer.’ What?
I eyed my tiny bare quail carcasses, then shoved them hastily in a rubbish bag.
So, now I don’t sleep, because when I do, I have nightmares. I’d do anything to avoid these, they are awful, terrifying life-like nightmares where a very large, very cross kookaburra pecks me and beats me with his bread crumb covered wings, and a naked, headless bird comes at me from behind with a measuring cup full of stuffing…