I am not just thinking thoughts; my thoughts are thinking too. My hands are behind my head, against my pillow, my fingers forming a deck of cards, and I gaze up at the ceiling, and hope that there aren’t any daddy-longlegs up there. The darkness may look black to others, but it seems ultramarine to me. The golden orange lamplight from outside seeps in around the royal blue curtains and my mind’s eye clickiters away like it’s an ancient cinema projector, now there’s a vast IMAX screen before me.

I hear singing from outside — tonight it’s Bohemian Rhapsody. I smile, and whisper-sing that operatic note, and lightly head bang to the guitar solo, though it comes out more like the bobbing of a pigeon’s head. The multi-faceted smell of vegetable soup still lingers from when I brought it up to my room for lunch. My left foot sticks out over the edge of my bed, while the rest of my leg lays beneath the turquoise duvet.

I lie with my eyes open for a little while longer. And then some indeterminate time later, I see sunflowers. I’m standing in the middle of Van Gogh’s wind-rippled cornfield, and now there are some reeds swaying in it as well, and I look down, and I’m standing upon a lilypad, and then I see that the wheat-field has gone, and I am sailing down a river, and now the water’s turned choppy, and it makes me jolt, and I get down on one knee as the wind shrieks against my face, and suddenly the shriek bursts. A shocked squeal erupts. I jolt up in bed.

My eyelids flicker. The wail echoes inside my mind like it’s the crying of a cathedral choir. I roll over and reach for the light switch. The fluorescent tube positioned parallel to my mirror blinks once, and then blares on full power. I swing my legs round and sit at the edge of my bed, and with an exasperated mutter of ‘Fuck sake,’ I press my hands against my cheeks and stare down at the green carpeted floor.

It’s 1:30AM. And I am not liking the thoughts I’m having at the moment. I have to sleep. I have to sleep. I have to sleep. This is when I get to feel self-loathing; it’s when it gets harder to separate the irrational thoughts from the ones that make sense— because the weird, nonsensical thoughts, when you are tired, make absolute perfect sense.

I kinda wish I was outside with those karaoke singers. But I am just too tired. I rest my head against the pillow, and stare straight up. ‘God sake.’ I remove the crutches keeping my eyelids open, and I feel them descend like automatic shutters. I reach out and turn the light off again. I roll onto my opposite side, and hug my legs.

‘Hurgh.’

I never notice the transition into unconsciousness. I don’t understand why I can’t see it. It’s just so annoying that I don’t get to witness my mind granting me access into my imagination.

If I keep on thinking like this, I think, then I am never gonna get to sleep. So stop thinking!

But I can’t. Because all that goes on inside my mind is unstoppable. It’s called stream of consciousness for a reason, I think.

Now how would that look like? I wonder. I imagine there being like a trickle of water seeping down a Welsh valley, through the Brecon Beacons, and it hits a damn made of brains, pumping and quivering, coloured pink and brown, and now the camera’s zooming out, and a fountain of water has suddenly jetted through a crack that was growing beneath one of the brains, and it cascades out and down into a pit below, and so now there is a waterfall, and the camera glides through the fluid wall, and I see a mermaid. Her hair is red, and her face of some strange girl I don’t recognise, and yet I do know who she is, and she has a dog’s tail wagging, and now she’s licking my face, and there are windscreen wipers swiping back and forth infront of my eyes, and I’m in the

passenger seat of a car, and my Dad is driving me somewhere. He drops me off, and I see it’s my secondary school, but he’s dropped me off at a canyon, and I’m standing in the middle of it, and I’m screaming, and calling, and howling, and now I’m growing a tail, fangs burrowing out like electric screwdrivers, and fur is rustling against my clothes, and I see that delicious looking mermaid over there, and I snarl, and I pounce at her—

I awake. I lie shivering beneath my duvet, my legs having twisted it into a rat’s tail, and my brown teddy bear lies face down upon the floor. I blink twice, and I sit up, and I thump the mattress with my fist. I stay seated for five seconds, and then I lie back down. Just a dream, just a dream, just a dream. I take my teddy bear by the arm and lay it down beside me. ‘Sorry,’ I say.

I close my eyes. The memory of the nightmare has almost faded. I watch the stitches twirling and fuzzing behind my eyes. I imagine they’re knitting a jumper, and now I’m holding the ends of the sleeves with my fingers. I put it on over me, and now I’m walking around a lake, and there are people jogging past me, and I’m taking my time, and I walk onto a jetty, and I see the green fields of England far below me, and I am standing above it all, and nobody’s looking up at me. Now I’m flying, and I’m soaring upwards with eagle’s wings. Flames erupt from my feet, and my nose is now a cone. I am a rocket in space.

I’m free!