There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man, and when we close our eyes and breach the walls of sleep, it is that dimension which greets our drifting minds. Or so the poet writes. For I, sitting here, find my eyes bound open by bands as strong as iron. Hark! It stirs!
It’s only a cockroach, judging by the frantic step; I know it well. Under my bed it lurks, farthest from my reach, but much too close for comfort.
Though I could banish the darkness in which it conducts its sinister operations with the flick of a switch, I dare not. For then I could see the vile creature as well as hear it.
Why does the night instil me with such terror? The poet was mistaken when he spoke of that fifth dimension as waiting beyond the gates of sleep. The moment that the lights dim and our eyesight falters, that is the moment when the fifth dimension is upon us and our reality is altered.
But give me a candle against this darkness, and all the legions of cockroaches would fall before my Mortein and broom like so much chaff, but this single black-hearted bug, cloaked in this darkened room, leaves me weak; shaken; defeated.
Worse, by far, is knowing that I am trapped in this state of torment until morning comes. For if, in a mad dash to safety, I were to tread upon a brittle body and feel it goosh out upon the floor – why, I should never recover. Such an escape would come at much too high a price, and so I am trapped.
Listen! It taunts me. All is silent as the unbroken grave, and a newcomer might counsel me to push the fiend’s unseen presence from my mind, and slump into sleep’s welcome embrace. But I know better; I know the monster’s sly game. It is patient, and clever, and here is what it will do. It will wait in stillness until my head is upon the pillow, motionless as a statue until my bloodshot eyes are closed and my consciousness hangs by a single thread, thinking myself safe, and then! Then it will spring its cunning trap, bursting into furious, rustling motion that will be all the more unsettling for the false peace that it has allowed me.
No, there is nothing to be done but to sit, and to wait, until exhaustion claims me.