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I See You're Trying to Sleep

I See You're Trying to Sleep

I don’t remember when it all started. I think everything was generally okay when I moved into a room on the sixth floor of the same dorm I had been in before.

I finally found a roommate I could tolerate and could tolerate me. We’re brothers, actually, so we’d been rooming together for oh, 17 years at that point. 

At some point, the clicking started. The best way I can describe this sound is two fingernails clicking together. If you put your thumbnail under another nail and flick your thumb upward. That sound.

It would only happen when the lights were off and the sun was down (I experimented with that).

The most interesting thing about it is the sound would move around the room, a little like it was bumbling about our tiny dorm room, walking on any open floor space.

It would click its way around our beds, past the TV, and back. Almost every night, it would do this. The noise would become more frequent as I’d come close to falling asleep. I’d eventually sleep out of sheer exhaustion. 

I decided to try an experiment to see if it was sentient. I’m used to using visualization to help get rid of things. Since the wall to the outside was more than half window, I visualized pushing this entity out of the windows.

Not in a “You must die now, Mr. Bond” way, but in a “Will you get the **** out of here already?” way. When I did this, the clicking would become…frantic.

Louder, higher in pitch, and almost a continuous trill. When I’d stop the visualization –stop pushing in my mind – it would slow down again. 

It got to the point that I hated to sleep alone. My brother has a girlfriend of 9+ years now (I introduced them. It’s cute) and she moved into an apartment that was a 20 minute bus ride away.

It was pretty common for my brother to go stay at her apartment over the weekends.

I was perfectly okay with him having a girlfriend and staying, it was just being alone at night that I didn’t like, because I had to deal with that noise.

I discovered something, though.

If I’d ask it nicely to hush up long enough for me to sleep? Not a single sound. But even so, I’d leave Mystery Science Theater 3000 (I have it all on DVD) to play on loop on the TV all night.

The white noise helped me sleep. Also, negotiating with what my brother and I started to call “Mugyu.” 

As a side note, “mugyu” is a Japanese onomatopoeia, which I have not researched*, but I see it on the side of drawings of cuddling.

My brother and I decided that whatever was making the noise was generally harmless, and to downplay it further, we gave it the cutest, least threatening name ever – the sound of cuddling something soft, in Japanese.

(If you don’t speak Japanese, the pronunciation is moo, like a cow, and gyu is like “view” but with a g instead of a v.) *I just looked it up for this story.

The resource I found says it’s the sound of squeezing something, which makes sense. 

Mugyu was a jerk in daylight once. My brother and I were raised on video games, but neither of us has ever played any games from the Silent Hill series.

My brother was at his desktop, reading the Wikipedia article on Pyramid head. He was intent. Leaning forward a little bit. Ignoring everything around him.

Something hit the window blinds that were to his right.

I saw it happen – it looked like a fist had hit the blinds, but there was nothing there, just a sudden depression against them, and a very loud sound that made my brother nearly need a new pair of pants. Mugyu was a prankster, and he/she/it loved to mess with my brother. 

We had slippers for walking through the halls to the bathroom. We kept them near the door for quick access to them, especially at night when we’re bleary-eyed and only 9% awake but have full bladders.

The sound of feet against carpet and searching for slippers is easily recognizable; just as recognizable is the way I walk, as I have knee problems and I limp a little bit due to legs that aren’t the same length (I lean to the right a little bit when I walk).

My brother didn’t care when I get up and pee, except that he and I are both light sleepers and the sound of searching for slippers wakes the other up when we have to use the bathroom across the hall.

One morning, my brother asked me before class if I had gotten up to pee the night before. I hadn’t.

He told me that he had woken up to hear me walk around his bed and search for my slippers, and had rolled his head…and I was dead asleep in my bed.

As he was looking at me, the sounds of feet searching for slippers continued. Then the sounds stopped. The slippers never moved. My brother was not amused. 

Mugyu was also a master at unlocking our door. We always locked our dorm door at night, because the people who lived on our floor were…an interesting bunch and we didn’t trust them, especially not at night.

We would hear the lock pop at night. It was the twist-button type. You had to twist the button so the ridge was horizontal, then push the handle down and there was a metallic pop as it would actually unlock.

Nothing bad happened with our door unlocked, but it was certainly annoying, and it was another click that Mugyu loved to use at night. 

I was annoyed with Mugyu’s antics, but I was glad when May finally came around and I could leave. My brother went home first because his finals were done the day before I was. It was a rough night of sleeping, full of Mugyu’s clicking.

The next day, I got to leave, and I was planning on commanding Mugyu to stay there just before I shut the door the final time.

The problem was, my dad was right there, and my father is a hulking, mocking skeptic and he already thinks I’m mentally unbalanced, so I didn’t get to shout my decree of cutting ties with Mugyu. 

I went home. I sat on the internet till well after dark, like the lazy jerk I am. I went to my bedroom. I settled into bed, pleased with a relaxing summer awaiting me. I settled down, and closed my eyes… 

Click. Click. 

I got out of bed and stood in the middle of the room, glaring at my closet, the general area where the sound had come from. I was almost snarling. 

“GET. OUT.” 

And that was that. I blinked a few times, still glaring at the spot. I heard nothing more.

I climbed back in bed and slept for 15 solid hours. I think I deserved it after all the sleep I had missed with Mugyu around, like an lolcat: “I SEE YOU’RE TRYING TO SLEEP! NEEDS MORE ME!” 

I wonder if the people who moved into that room after me had fun with Mugyu. I surely didn’t.

Anonymous submission.



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