You can't sleep. It started like that for all of us, back when we were garden variety insomniacs.
Maybe you had nightmares — gods know we all do now — or maybe you just had problems that would't let you get a good night's rest. Hell — maybe you were just over-caffeinated. It doesn't matter. Whatever it was, eventually you got to a point where sleep became a choice, rather than a mandate … and then it just dropped off the list.
And then, and only then, something clicked.
That's when you started noticing the extras. An extra door here or there. An extra window looking out onto a city packed with surplus buildings, hodgepodge towers standing shoulder to shoulder, roofs angling into one another. Clocks chiming the thirteenth hour and unfamiliar stars twinkling in the too-clear sky. Streets and alleys that weren't there before, leading to late-night markets that sold things like laughter and indecision.
When you took a long walk down the streets of the Mad City, you stopped being a Sleeper and started being Awake.
But that click you heard wasn't from the secret world snapping into place. It was the sound of the Nightmares flicking off the safety and pointing a gun at your head. When you crossed over you became a target. They can smell you now, if they get close enough. The Paper Boys are closing in, and you'd better pray you dont become a headline.
You're chum in the water, my friend, and it's time you got ready for it — before the clock chimes thirteen again. Youre going to get tired, more tired than you ever have before, but mark my words: sleep isn't just off the list now, its an outright enemy that'll strip away your vitality and leave you vulnerable. Theres no going back, and from here on out, theres just one simple rule that must dominate your life.
Stay Awake. Don't rest your head.