writing exercise, the perfectly normal and mediocre

The toaster threw my toast at me. No. It just made the hot piece of bread pop out and that jumpscared me. This was how my morning started. I sent my cup flying from the counter. Of course, it was filled to the brim with coffee as it exploded on the floor tiles. I yelped cause it burnt my foot and didn’t catch the toast, which promptly landed in the dark puddle. This was going to be a weird day.

I stood there for a moment, feeling the weight of the situation and wanted nothing to do with it. Muffled laughter came from the bedroom. Before I let the day keep this attitude, I went back to bed. The lights flickered. Great! In rapid succession, it was dark, bright, dark, bright, and dark again. If I had paid attention or have had any coffee, I would have recognized the Morse code. Probably. But I wasn’t a morning person and the flickering didn’t stop for ten minutes, so I blindfolded myself, to be able to sleep and dozed off almost instantly.

I must’ve had some weird dream because I screamed laughed when I woke up. Tears ran down my face, my belly ached, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what had been so funny. I wheezed and laughed one of those involuntary belly laughs, that kept going silent but still vibrated throughout my body. The blindfold was around my neck and I felt a big grin settle on my face, an autonomous snarl that I couldn’t control. I would have sworn, but my teeth were locked on one another, my lips retracted until it hurt. This never happened before.

A baby started crying somewhere on the next floor. I had been home alone and I didn’t have any children. So the weirdness decided to dawn on me. I knew sleep paralysis and my brain liked to play tricks on me, adding to the strangeness my home was capable of. The grin plastered on my face felt hot and cold at the same time. My breath fogged up. The crying got louder and more urgent. The sound of panicking birds filled the room. As if there had been some small birds desperately trying to escape my bedroom. Sounded like doves, with that high pitched whistle between wing beats. Then crying babies multiplied and escalated to sobbing and hickupping. Or did their voices converge into amused laughter? Their echoes bounced around in the darkness creating a loudness I would have never believed to be possible. They laughed and I shook, grinning like an idiot. I tried to block out the noise, pulled the cover over my head, protected my ears, pressing my palms against them. And then. It all stopped. As suddenly as it had started, it all dissolved into menacing silence.

Heaviness reached around me and breathing got hard. That was the point when I’ve had enough. The snarl I had plastered on my face turned to a snarl of my own will. Anger grew to a growl. “Sleep paralysis got fancy, huh?” The flickering started again. “Fuck off!” I shot out of the bed and I went into the kitchen to grab some salt. Eyes rested on me, I could feel them heavy and burning on the back of my head, neck, and shoulders. There wasn’t enough coffee to un-ruin this day. It had a mean attitude and I was pissed off.

I dissolved a handful of coarse salt in tepid water and washed my face, hands, and the soles of my feet with it, as well as exposed skin. I ran my wet fingers through my hair. The remaining water had some work to do. My grandma had taught me how to handle these things. I sprinkled it on the doors, the thresholds, the windows I passed, the bed, and under the bed, mumbling few chosen words of an ancient prayer. “Such a kill-joy!” It sounded from under there. I snorted and opened the windows and let in the late morning light and chirping birds.

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