Side Effects May Include…

by Emma-Sunshine Mackereth

Side Effects May Include

It was past 3AM, and I couldn’t sleep. I was sitting on the couch in my living room, the TV passively playing in the background, waiting for even the slightest wave of exhaustion to hit me. I had to be up for 7! Yet, no matter how hard I tried, sleep never came.

My eyes were closed, trying to find a comfortable thought to drift off to, when I heard an ad on my TV: “Are you struggling with insomnia?” Something about that simple phrase caught my attention, and I bolted straight up, staring at the television.

“If you’re tired of agonizing, sleepless nights, try Periazipam!” Even though I knew this was just a generic sleep aid commercial, it felt strangely targeted to me.

“Side effects may include paranoia…” What if it actually was targeted to me? The screen showed a man making coffee, but it felt like he was actually watching me.

“…headaches…” Seeing the man on the screen hurt now. His stare felt like it was burning my brain. I closed my eyes, which soothed the pain a little bit.

“…disorientation…” The darkness felt like it was consuming me. I was dizzy and nauseous. I wanted to open my eyes, but I didn’t even know if I could.

“…auditory hallucinations…” The man was now whispering my name, over and over. I wished he would stop. I wanted to tear out my ear drums, anything for a moment of silence.

“…and memory loss.” I just needed to sleep. That was the problem. I managed to open my eyes and stumble into my kitchen. I am about to grab a bottle off the shelf, but find it’s already on the counter. I pour out two pills and go to grab myself a glass of water to swallow them with, but there’s a glass already there, still half full. Strange as it is, I take my pills. I manage to make it back to my couch, and I try to wait for the pills to kick in. The now half empty bottle of Periazipam still sits on my counter.

It’s past 4AM, and I can’t sleep. I hear an ad on the TV that makes me sit straight up.

“Are you struggling with insomnia?”

About the author

Emma-Sunshine Mackereth

Emma-Sunshine Mackereth is an eighteen-year-old student, best known for her horror works. Outside of the writing she does in her spare time, she studies psychology and creative writing at her school in Ontario, Canada.

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