I wake up with a breathless gasp and kick my blanket off. My legs roll off the side of the bed as I grab a handful of my sheets. Breathable Egyptian cotton, 1000-thread count, soaked with cold sweat.
“One good night of sleep. Please,” I mumble between shallow pants.
There wasn’t any hope of going back to bed now. I knew the routine. It’s been going on for over two months now. Ever since I moved to this stupid town. The dark bags under my bloodshot eyes said it all.
I’m just glad I didn’t scream this time.
I’m sick of the therapy. Sick of that pretentious Dr. Hetvick acting like he understands what’s going on with me. The way he constantly bobs his head and squints, I swear the guy’s doing some messed up Robert De Niro impression.
“John’s been through a lot. -insert generic pseudomedical b.s.- He’s going to take some time to get used to his new surroundings…but he’s getting there.”
Some time. Probably just enough time to pocket another few grand from my parents.
No. I’ve put in too much work, faked too many smiles for another night terror to set me back to square one.
I glance over at the clock. 1:11 a.m. Awesome. Three hours of sleep. That must be a new record.
I lay back down and stifle in a violent yawn. Outside my frosted window, dark clouds had rolled in to hide a moon that never seemed to want to shine. Its light was quiet. Mute even. As if to say, “I don’t want to be seen. I’m afraid to be seen.”
There isn’t a single thing I don’t hate about this God-forsaken town. Petre, Newfoundland. A 6,000 acre peninsula bordered by steep coves. Population: 3,500. Motto: “Tene Et Consta.”
But how could I be angry? Moving meant my family could stay together. Dad’s doing his best to provide for me and Mom. Even if it means taking a job on the other side of the continent as an oil-rig dive tech, I’m in no position to complain.
The job pays well, but I’ve never been very fond of the ocean. And that was the shimmering Pacific of grand-old California.
Newfoundland. It’s something else entirely. No warm, sunny skies or buzzing piers. No beach-goers tanning along the shore. No loud, squawking seagulls.
The birds here silently run from the waves as if they’re afraid it’ll snatch them up. The 15 mph winds keep them on the ground, only able to take short, frantic steps. The waves trail close behind – erasing the prints in the grey sand – promising to do the same to any bird not quick enough.
Didn’t trust the ocean then, definitely not starting now. Even those obnoxious surf dudes would be a welcomed sight in this dead town. But it’s best I forget about that life and focus on the things at hand. Like the literal zombie climbing in through my window right now. How’s that to start a day off?
My name is John Sonner, and I hate this stupid town.
For a complete list of the chapters I have out so far, click here.