The Night Shift


You haven’t slept in three days.

It’s this new job. Hospitals are unsettling at night. The dark seeps in from outside, sharpening the echo of your footsteps and muffling voices already muted in the quiet. You feel wan, leached by the fluorescent lighting, awash with confusion and bile.

Moira gives you a commiserating grimace as you pass her in the hallway, coming out of Mr Talbot’s room. “You OK? You look like shit.”


“Can’t sleep. Just… can’t switch off. I lie down – nothing happens.”

“You want coffee?”

You try to shake your head but it turns into a shudder that seems to take over your entire being. On the first night after no sleep, you wanted coffee. You would have sold your mother for coffee. You would have sold Moira’s mother for coffee. By the second night the nausea was boiling through you from what felt like everywhere at the same time and where the ripples overlapped they made you wish you’d been able to drink something just for something to throw up and even hearing about coffee was too much to bear. On the third night – now – you are so tired you’re not sure you even remember what coffee tastes like, but you are sure you don’t want it.

Your bad luck that Moira is obsessed with the stuff. Continue reading