Lost Chapters: Quietus

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Extracts torn from forgotten books


by David Bussell

Sleep was her favourite. She loved to sleep. Adored it. In fact, if she could have anything she wanted out of life, it would be to sleep through the whole damned business of it.

Fat chance. She was lucky if she caught a four hour stretch these days. Work stress. Early starts. Noisy neighbours with their talking and talking thrumming and thrumming against the bedroom wall, making her have to bang on it with both fists until they shut the hell up.

No. To get some decent rest she’d need more than sleep. To get some decent rest she’d need death, or at the very least a coma. Man, she could really use a coma. A coma would be just perfect.

Then, one day, she was passing by a block of flats when she was struck on the skull by a can of butter beans tossed from a third storey window. The resulting head wound knocked her flat and put her in a permanent state of unconsciousness. She’d finally gotten her wish. Achieved her ambition in life. A lifetime of sleep was hers for the taking.

For a while she could do nothing besides float weightlessly in the bottomless ink well of torpor. A stalled comet at the furthest reaches of outer space. All alone. Utterly isolated. A witness to no-one and no-thing. It was bliss.

Then came the voices – unwanted callers from the world she’d left behind. Friends and family visiting her hospital bedside, and with them came talking and talking and thrumming and thrumming. And they wouldn’t stop. They kept coming, handing off the bedlam baton. They were the noisy neighbours next door and there was no way to shut them up, no walls in this black hole to bang her fists against.


You can read 98 more of David’s short stories in his book, Bad Endings, available HERE.

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