the tale of the immortal who doesn't count sheep before he sleeps.
He counts dead people before he sleeps.
Every night, without fail, he drags their names and their faces from the depths of his faded memories. Sometimes he shouts each syllable inside his mind, in an attempt to clear the blurriness around the bits and pieces he barely remembers. Sometimes he whispers, for fear of drowning out the faintest sound of a memory's voice, almost recorded in his unreliable brain.
(So close, dammit.)
He doesn't let himself fall asleep until he is satisfied he can remember enough.
Sometimes he lies in bed and feverishly analyses every single minuscule action he remembers anyone doing, and breaks his own habits down bit-by-bit in hope of finding a pattern, a habit he might have subconsciously picked up from someone. Anyone.
He counts dead people before he sleeps, and clings to his memories of them.
It feels like an obsession.
He treasures what pieces of his memories he has left, even if they are as cracked as his own mind. Time is cold and uncaring as it erodes the joys and sorrows of yesterday's yesterday. It leaves everything horribly fragmented, jagged edges cutting into one another until they all break down and crumble into dust.
There is no satisfaction to be found in the effort he puts into remembering. No sense of tired accomplishment, either, when his fatigued mind finally loses its focus and lets him fall into empty, meaningless slumber.
(He rarely dreams, but when he does it's so sad and terrifying and beautiful all at the same time that he doesn't know what to do after he wakes up.
Aside from wishing that he hasn't.)
And one day he forgets to count, because he has just made a new friend, and it feels strangely okay to let the boy who seems so much like him in half a million ways take up a space in his mind. He has always feared that knowing new people would only erode his memories of his dead people faster, but...
...But it doesn't feel like he's losing anything when he talks and smiles to the boy, his maybe-friend. It feels refreshingly new and (perhaps-a-little-maybe-hedoesn'tknow) almost familiar. Nostalgic. He doesn't feel terrified of losing anything, or furious with himself for the risk he's taking, or wary of a tentative, half-day-old friendship.
It feels oddly comforting.
(He doesn't understand why. But that, too, feels strangely okay.)
Sort of intended to be part of a very long fic I'm slowly working on. But also a non-fanwork story on its own. (:
The original was written in about 5mins and then edited a little... ^^;; Maa, it's brief, but I hope you'll like it? (: I almost slipped with the tenses a few times, 'cause it's so easy to get used to writing all in past tense, y'know? But I prefer using the present tense for this one, it feels more natural. :3
A review would be nice? ^^;; Thanks a lot for reading!