You can't recall how long you've been tossing and turning about on your bed, trying in vain to catch the teasing temptress known as sleep, but you do know the moment you've had enough. It's the moment when you can hear, out your closed window, at four thirty six on a Tuesday morning, the heinous, banshee-like shrieking of a child, whether in danger or at play you cannot tell.
You get up, off of your bed, put your feet onto the cold floor, and stand. You're already dressed, having not bothered to change into sleep clothes as you flopped onto your mattress, fully expecting your drop-dead state of exhaustion from the day's busy events to take you to dreamland without so much as paying a toll. You grab a bag, open your closet, pull out a couple of pairs of jeans. Next, from your drawers, all of your socks and undergarments. Finally, two pair of shoes and a couple of your favorite shirts. Your computer. You don't need anything else. You probably don't even need the computer, but you want it. You look around the room, then pick up another, smaller bag. You pick up your cat, who simply gazes at you lazily, and tuck it into the satchel, gently.
All is quiet.
You slowly open the door to your room with the care not even a burgular would be capable of executing, and slip into the hallway. You take a series of wide, almost comical steps down the hallway, avoiding all of the creakiest floorboards with a knowledge born only of years of experience. You reach the front door, slide the lock silently, then lift up on the doorknob as you're turning it, because if you don't, it will stick and produce a horrible scrape. You carefully edge your way onto the front porch at a rate of what feels like an inch per hour, paranoid as though someone were sleeping directly in the same room as you. Eventually, you make it.
It's a clear night, temperate and slightly breezy. There is a very faint cloud cover hazing the moon, which is two days from being full. You don't have any idea what you're doing, only that you're compelled to do it. You see a car parked on the street in front of your house, and you approach it. You don't know why. It isn't your car. You can't even drive yet. It's a perfectly generic, four-door sedan type of car. To your amazement, not only is it unlocked, the keys are right in the ignition. A car alarm begins blasting a few streets down just as your hand touches the handle and you jump back about halfway into the road, heart hammering. After staring around for a few moments like a terrified dog, you relax when nobody seems to be coming out.
The alarm continues.
You pull the door open, plop your bag of clothes into the back seat, and unzip your cat. It curls up on the front passenger seat and you slide into the driver's side, closing the door quietly. You turn the keys in the ignition and the car flares to life, comforting you with a throaty purr. It's glad to see you. Without quite knowing how, you pull into the street and drive off.
You travel, drawn by some strange compulsion you don't understand but know better than to ignore. You've no idea how long you've been travelling. It could be hours. It could be seconds. You aren't sure, either, when the scenery changed from your old familiar environment into a vast, endless desert. It's quiet, in the car. Your cat is asleep. You turn on the radio. A few stations come in over one another, garbled and staticy. You reach out to adjust the dial.
You hear something that catches your ear, and you lean forward, tweaking the dial in mere millimeters. You finally see the lights of a city. Not even in the distance, no, it's as though one simply dropped out of the sky directly in front of you. Or perhaps you were too distracted fiddling with the stations to notice. Once you hit the right station, a program jingle comes on.
You finally relax as the warm, sweet voice pours through your speakers. You almost think- no, you know- that he's addressing you directly.
"Close your eyes. Let my words wash over you. You are safe now. Welcome to Night Vale."