- Sleep Tight - part oneby giraffmang
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part one
Sleep Tight - part one by giraffmang


Sean Flynn sat on the edge of the unmade bed in his squalid studio apartment, staring at the mould on the wall. This wasn’t how life was supposed to be. He’d had it all - a beautiful wife, two children, and an idyllic house in a quiet area of town. And then he’d gotten greedy. Greedy for his colleagues’ single lives. Greedy for the barely legal office girl. Greedy for the huge houses his bosses had.

It had all seemed so easy. Just skim a little money here, squirrel away a little there and no one would notice. Until they did. Eight years inside of Her Majesty’s prison service was bad enough. But he also lost everything else. At least he had the single life he’d craved but he was beginning to realise some dreams were just not worth achieving.

Easing himself off the bed, the mattress didn’t recover, holding hostage the depression his ass had made. He made his way into the small bathroom and relieved himself into the murky water of a perpetually stained toilet. The sink taps clanked and gurgled before spurting out something resembling water in fitful bursts. Sean ran his hands under the water whilst staring at himself in the age-dappled mirror. He raised his wet fingers to examine a reddish weal on his right temple which he was sure hadn’t been there the previous day. He winced as his finger brushed across it. Never mind.

Back in the main room, Sean retrieved his shoes from under the bed and slipped them on. Sod the restraining order, I want to see the kids. He grabbed his jacket and within four strides was at the door. The knob rattled at he exited. Bloody dump.

As he pulled the door to, the door opposite opened revealing an elderly gentleman cloaked in a mangy robe peppered with cigarette burns. The man eyed Sean, coughed phlegm up from his throat, and said, “You know the last guy in there-” he waved his hand in the general direction of Sean’s new home, “just up and disappeared… in the middle of the night.”

Sean held the old man’s gaze. “Really? I can’t imagine why.”

The man smiled a toothless grin, his entire frame convulsing as he laughed. When he recovered, he added, “Yep. Bloody strange fella, though. Never slept. Just stayed up all night screaming. Left behind all his stuff. Sheets had to be burned, they were so stained. Never seen again.”

Sean closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “It’s a mystery all right.”

The old man squinted, made a huffing sound, and retreated back into his hovel.

Sean bustled on down the corridor, taking the stairs to ground level as the lift looked in worse shape than his accommodation. The rain thundered down outside giving Sean only brief pause before he rushed headlong into the deluge. The tube station was only two blocks away and he would not be deterred.

The tube journey lasted around twenty minutes and was completely uneventful save for the attempted mugging, the three young lads sniffing glue from a plastic bag at the end of carriage and the tramp who pissed himself in the corner.

Fifteen minutes after exiting the underground, Sean stood on the street looking up the driveway of his ex-wife’s (formerly his) house. The bushes were perfectly tended. New tarmac graced the entrance and a warm glow emanated from the light in the hall through the arched window on the front door.

Movement in the living room window drew Sean’s attention. Bastard. David, Sean’s ex-best mate stopped by the huge fireplace, beer in hand. He was shortly joined by Sean’s ex-wife, Susan, who gave David a kiss on the cheek before disappearing from view.

Sean pulled his drenched jacket tight and stormed up the driveway. At the door, he began rooting around in the plant pots on either side until he found the spare key which they’d always secreted there. Susan may have changed the locks, but old habits die hard. He inserted the key and turned. The door opened about six inches before it caught on the security chain.

No. No. No! Undeterred, Sean hammered the door with his shoulder and a flurry of kicks, but no joy.

“Sean! What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Susan’s voice pulled him up short. He glared through the gap into the fuming eyes of his ex-wife. “I want to see the girls.”

Sean watched as David’s hand clutched Susan’s shoulder.

“You can’t be here, Sean.” The sound of David’s voice infuriated Sean even more.

“I want to see the girls. I want to put them to bed.” Sean began hammering the door again.

Susan’s voice, unwavering, rang out. “For God’s sake, Sean. They’re teenagers, not little kids anymore. Eight years, Sean!” She sighed, “They’re not even here.”

Sean rested his head against the door, water coursing over his face, his breathing returning to normal. “Okay… I’m--”

“Just go,” Susan said, softer this time. And then the door closed.

Dejected, Sean trudged down the driveway and caught the tube back home.




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