Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • It has been said that a man dies twice. Once, when his heart stops beating, and the second time when his name is mentioned for the very last time.

    It was that final point which obsessed him, especially now – when he thought of what he was going to face. The plain, raw, truth of it all.

    The only anti-dote he had for his problems was sleep, and that had served him well. His father used to look life-tired and then he would mumble: ‘sleep it is a blessed thing’. He didn’t know where his father had taken the quote from, but he was right – it was the panacea for all ills.

    In his sleep, he could dream and be who or whatever he chose. That was where most of his writing ideas had been born – all in the middle of his sleeping imagination. Some days he would awake with a full story formed in his head, and it was those stories that he would live on – for in there was the real him. All those stories contained some sliver of his DNA. That is what he should be remembered for – not on what he had said.

    Writing took time – spoken words were cheap.

    But it had been his spoken word that had placed him in the situation he was now in. One didn’t criticize the State and hope to live to tell the tale.

    Yet he would forget all of that when he was asleep. And when he would wake up, he’d hide in those precious first few seconds: ‘the perfect seconds’, he called them – when his brain was still in the half-light of sleep, and he could not remember how the world really was.

    It was soon broken by that grinding thought – that one which reminded you of who had died, or who was ill, or who you owed money to – the thought that delivered all the problems in your life in one sickening blow. That was when the world would shake you awake – but for those few golden seconds when a human being first becomes conscious in the morning, those seconds were the very, very best. You remembered nothing of your existence. A little piece of paradise before being tainted by the shadows.

    The man was now fully awake and those precious, perfect seconds were long gone. He could distinctly hear the crackling in the background as they powered up the electric chair.

    There was a thump as they threw the switch to test the beast. It quietly hummed a little tune.

    As he looked up at the damp roof, he knew that sleep would be his soon – for eternity.

    bobby stevenson 2016
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.