Black Petals Issue #96, Summer, 2021

Sleeping Again
Editor's Page
BP Artists' Page
BP Guidelines
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Dark Resurrection-Fiction by Michael Hopkins
A Dip in the Pool-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Far Down in the Credits-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Guilt Trip-Fiction by James Flynn
Ky'thagra's Big Day-Fiction by Devin Marcus
Larger Prey-Fiction by Richard Brown
Lover-Fiction by N. G. Leonetti
Sail Away-Fiction by Chris Allyne
Sleeping Again-Fiction by Russ Bickerstaff
The Poison Doorway-Fiction by Dionosio Traverso Jr.
The Tick Bite-Fiction by Robb T. White
Bake Sale Inspiration-Flash Fiction by Samantha Carr
Hotel with Full Amenities-Flash Fiction by William Kitcher
Reincarnation Jeopardy-Flash Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Sex Fiend-Flash Fiction by Karen Bayly
Witches' Sabbath-Poem by Mike Collins
Blood-Poem by Mike Collins
Death's Pornography-Poem by Mike Collins
Temptation-Poem by Mike Collins
Painting Light-Poem by Mike Collins
Dark Waltz-Poem by Marilyn Lou Berry
The Last Victim of Vlad the Impaler-Poem by Mehmet Akgonul
The Bravest Ant-Poem by Mehmet Akgonul
Ain't Alien Spores-Poem by Richard Stevenson
Giant Goldfish-Poem by Richard Stevenson
Igopogo-Poem by Richard Stevenson
Megamouth Has Cavities-Poem by Richard Stevenson

Art by KJ Hannah Greenberg 2021

Sleeping Again

By Russ Bickerstaff


I believe that Im going to re-examine this whole sleeping thing once Im awake again. Im not saying that Im never going to sleep again. Im just saying that it might not be the best idea. I dont think its for everybody. I think its generally a good idea. But I dont think it something that everybody needs to engage in. Ive seen what it can do to people. I know what its doing to me. And I really dont like it.

So Im just going to assume that everyone knows what Im talking about. Even though Im sleeping. And Im not actually talking to anyone. But I feel like no I probably should. I feel like no I probably should talk to everybody. Im in, as long as Im sleeping I might as well, right? Theres really no other option for it at this stage. Just talk to every won the way they would all talk to me if they were sleeping. And so long as I am in a position to be able to grant people to respond, I might as well, right? It feels good. It feels good to address everyone even though Im not really conscious while Im doing so. And it seems to me that Im in a really unique place to be able to offer up some bits of wisdom from the realm of the unconscious.

Theres a problem with being unconscious, though. Its the fact that I cant seem to remember what it was that I was going to say. And I have access to nearly infinite wisdom being completely asleep, I dont know how to articulate it that to anyone else with also sleeping right now. And theyre all asleep so I cant talk to them. And I wouldnt wanna wake them up anyway. Theyre sleeping. Its a very sacred state of being. But one that no one should really have to engage in. In fact most people probably just avoid sleep altogether. Thats what Im saying.

And having thought about it call off time, Im beginning to realize that I really should probably be in a position to fall even deeper asleep. And the only way but Im going to do that is by no longer making an effort to actually say anything. Because Im losing touch. Im losing track of my own consciousness. Im losing track of my own cleaning of thought. All I seem to be thinking about is the fact that Im sleeping that I probably shouldnt be. But is that what Im really doing? I dont think so. I think sleep might not be the word for it. Im not sure what it is that Im doing. I know whatever it is but Im doing I need to stop. Because its not right. Its morally long for some reason. And its morally wrong for some reason but I dont understand right now because Im sleeping. But thats not what it is. Thats not what it is but Im doing right now. Theres something in the distance. And it might be screaming. It might be blood. And it might be fire. Im not sure what it is. But whatever it is is not in the immediate for me right now. Any immediate for me right now is the sleep. And my own thoughts. In my own thoughts that are bringing me closer and closer to the consciousness that will make me aware of what it is that Im doing right now. But I shouldnt be doing what Im doing right now because its wrong. And the more that I wake up the closer I come to understanding what it is but Im doing.

But I simply cant do it anymore. I cant do what Im doing anymore. Because thats wrong. Its wrong to be doing what Im doing. I know this watch. I know that I cant continue to do what Im doing because its wrong. So I need to wake up. I need to keep telling myself that I need to wake up. Because clearly I need to take responsibility for what it is Im doing. Whatever the hell it is that Im doing is wrong. I need to wake up from it. So that I can fully acknowledge whats going on I need to wake up.

There is, however, something about what it is that Im doing that doesnt feel right. Waking up. I really shouldnt be waking up. Its wrong. Because the more I wake up the more I end up doing what it is but Im doing which is wrong. So I really need to die further into sleep. Because if I sleep further. If I actually totally. Am I not motionless? Am I not doing nothing? If Im truly sleeping but Im not doing whatever it is that Im doing thats wrong. Aside from sleeping which is definitely wrong and I shouldnt be doing it. No one should be doing it. No one should be sleeping. Because when youre sleeping or doing things that you dont know. Youre doing something youre not aware of. The world is dying. And youre not doing anything to say that because youre sleeping. Or maybe youre causing things to fall apart.

And everything is burning. And everything screaming. And everything seems to be at a loss to react to whatever it is that Im reacting you feel. I cant be here. I cant be here doing that. I need to wake up. And the only way I can wake up from what Im doing is to fall asleep even further. But Im like someone in the middle. Cant really seem to do one or the other. So I just need the drift. I just need to relax. I will find my own level. Maybe the screaming will stop. And that may be the scent of blood will vanish. And may be the last anger is a fire and we all went out into nonexistent. Its all I can hope for.

Russ Bickerstaff is a professional theatre critic and aspiring author living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his wife and two daughters.

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