by Matthew Jeffrey


I’ve suffered from insomnia for most of my life, except for a short period very recently. It’s a hard life being off the treatment, but I can live with myself again, for whatever sleepless life is worth.

It wasn’t the nature of the treatment that caused me to back out, though it was unusual. I received a course of high-powered strobe lights, white noise, and small doses of DMT every 48 hours. It was highly effective, and I slept soundly. Then the dreams came.

The dreams were by any account mundane, but they compensated in their startling vividness. They felt far more real than the slow, scraping existence of the insomniac.

In one, I was a shop girl, dancing naked on the checkout. In another, I was an accountant, shredding my client’s most important documents. The night before I stopped my treatment I dreamt I was piloting a private plane down the west coast. It was frightfully boring at first, but when I became lucid I decided to fly for real, hurtling myself from the cabin to the screams of my horrified passengers. In the end I forgot how to fly, but the rush of the fall was incredible.

When I woke that day, everything was fine. But as I drove up to the sleep clinic that afternoon the radio news broke in with a special report. A small charter flight had come down north of the city, killing everyone on board. Everyone—that is—except for the pilot.

They found his body a few miles further north, in a field. He had been shattered by the fall, but looked peaceful. Asleep, even.

About the author

Matthew Jeffrey is a British former writer of the month on Reddit’s r/shortscarystories and is flattered to be here years after passing into myth. These days he enjoys collecting paperback fantasy novels and running Dungeon Crawl Classics character funnels.

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