Contributor: LA Sykes

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I don’t know why I cannot sleep. I don’t know why. I take my cigarettes and creep out the door and down the stairs of the apartment block.
I sit on the raised step and flick the lighter as it fires up with a sparkle in the evening darkness.
I see a cat toying with a dying rat over the road.
I see car headlights flashing by, whirls of blur amber and red.
I see pretty girls trying to catch my eye as they sashay by. See them trying to glean a smile from my lips for them to take away. I turn my head.
I see a hearse go by, an oak coffin ferried with a procession of mourners in line, following. I lower my head.
I see two birds huddle together under the arch of the weeping willow tree. Clinging to a branch as the wind whips the browning leaves, pinching them from their stems as they flutter in swirls.
I see the exhaled smoke dissolve in the air.
I see people a million miles away from each other only a step away holding hands.
I climb the stairs and slip back into the apartment.
I click the lock slowly.
I creak open the door.
I see her sleeping. Breaths, a steady rhythm.
I slide in beside her.
I hold her gently.
I whisper, ‘I love you’.
She melts into my arms.
I don’t know why I cannot sleep. I don’t know why.
But I know this is where I want to be.

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LA Sykes grew up in small town Greater Manchester, England. He studied psychology and criminology at University of Central Lancashire before working in psychiatry. His flash fiction is up at and due to appear in the likes of Shotgun Honey, Powder burn Flash and Blink Ink amongst others. He can be contacted at
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