For this week’s Indie Ink Writing Challenge, I was challenged by Dafeenah with one word – “Delirium”. I challenged melissa b, and she will answer here. I decided to write nonfiction this week, because the prompt reminded me of something.
I have some experience with delirium. Not all of it, but the hallucinations part. Bet you weren’t expecting that, were you?
I like road trips. I enjoy the freedom to go at my own pace, and I stop whenever something catches my interest. On the way home, however, I just want to get home without stopping. Once I get to the last leg, whatever I have decided that last leg actually is, I do not want to stop. I want to get all the way home and curl up in my own bed.
When I am very, very tired, though, this can cause me problems.
Mostly I see trees. I’ll be on a stretch of road with no trees, nothing on either side, and I will see trees arching over the road. This only happens in the dark; if it is bright out, I am more willing to stop and take a nap. Silly of me, probably, but that’s life. The trees are redwoods, I think, and they almost touch at the top of the arch. If the sun were out, the light would be dappled and pleasant. In the dark, though, they are a darker blot above me, lines covering the sky. I know logically that there are no trees, but I still see them.
If there are trees or bushes on the side of the road, they become animals. I could have sworn, late one night, that there was a twenty foot bear leaning over a wall. I see creatures running across the road, ephemeral, not real enough for me to brake, but real enough to catch the edges of my vision. Once, when I was painfully tired, a car passed me and I thought I saw things running alongside. Nothing identifiable, but definitely unnerving.
I have learned over the years to stop at a gas station, rest stop, or even just to get off the freeway and close my eyes. I much prefer a well-lit area, but that is not always available, and I do not think it is particularly safe to be driving in that condition. It is quite unnerving to see things I know are not there.
I have never gotten to this point with another person in the car. Apparently I am not willing to risk anyone else’s safety, only my own. I have not pushed so hard in a long time, though, and I do not plan to push that hard again.