4:03

September 3, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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It was 4:03 in the morning and I woke up screaming. It was my dream. In my dream, I watched everyone I ever knew or loved be killed by the creature. It had a short fat body, and long slender arms, which ended with claws that looked more like swords than claws. Its eyes were slits that glowed red in the darkness, and its teeth were long like horns, and sharp like steak knives. It looked at me before it killed them, and laughed each time before it ripped apart my loved ones with its sharp claws. How had it found us? It tricked me into letting it into my home, by mimicking the voice of my father; it couldn’t come in without permission it told me after it ripped out my Mother’s heart. The dream ended with the creature laughing its evil cackle and slowly walking towards me, dragging its claws on the floor, I screamed, and sat up. I was in my room, in my bed, safe again. 4:03, I hear a knock at the door, I froze up instantly.

“Tommy, I heard you screaming, are you alright?” I heard my mother say. What a relief, Mom’s here.
“I’m fine Mom, just a bad dream” I replied, the relief washing over me
“Okay honey, I got you a glass of water, do you want it? Mom said back to me
“Sure, come in” I said. And as those words left my mouth, I remembered that it was September, and I had moved back into my college dorm 3 weeks ago.

Credit To – Hunter

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If that looking glass gets broken

September 1, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Her son. Her son! He was the best one in the world. She knew. She had a few, and had known others; she could see and hear, not senile yet, she had her senses. She loved him.

“He’s so good,” she said, almost purring satisfaction while slurping tea in hands still steady enough not to spill it into the saucer.

“Shut up muttering, woman,” said her husband, an automatic snap, like a leg-hold trap buried in leaves. Couldn’t resist catching her words, teeth digging in and weakening them.

So she just nodded while he read the newspaper; she smiled, let words run through her head instead of from wrinkled lips and across the cracked lino surface to his hairy ears.

Best son in the world? Maybe best listener in the world was more accurate. He never made her shut up. These words in her – they always welled up and had to spill out. That good son! He let her speak. He didn’t stop her as words flooded out, crimson and shining and alive. Yes, old woman nonsense her husband might call it, but words must flow; mouths are cuts in our faces aren’t they, blood flows, it has to. Her son was a lifeline.

She looked at the clock, lovely big grandfather clock, dark stiff wood that perseveres, keeps on ticking and tocking, feet darkened from years of mopping, only a few minutes now.

Oh, her boy!

Of course it’s natural that sometimes when you’re talking your child seems distracted a bit; momentary thoughtlessness crossing a face as if they’re not really listening, just making the noises. You can’t hold it against them. Times when they’re not really there, bound to be. Still, a good listener.

The best of all her sons.

The clock would chime the hour soon. She was excited. She wanted to say so. She slurped cold sweet tea instead, noticing the taste less than the moisture of it, and watched her husband over the delicate cup’s rim. He shook the paper dismissively, he hated crinkles in it, crinkles and wrinkles, yet he was so frinkle-frowny, grumpy puss, ooh she wanted to say that, quick, another sip of tea, drain the dregs –

The clock gave a ting, such music in one note!

Not too eager, can’t be, he’d say no just to be stubborn, old frowny face. Wait, calm the hands, count: one, two, three.

“I’ll go and feed him,” she said. “I’ve finished my tea.”

He stared at her, pierced her, those murky grey eyes weren’t soft, they were hard, could see every detail. Could he perceive the trembling excitement inside? Would he crush it with hammer words, bludgeon her enthusiasm into submission, oh unbearable if –

“Okay,” he muttered, returning to the printed words with another rustle of the paper. “Soup. He shouldn’t have solids.”

“I know,” she said, pretending to chide and moving before he changed his mind.

As she warmed the soup she felt safe to hum part of a song, her husband wouldn’t hear it from the parlour. The sweet, sweet words rose and fell in her mind, a natural pulse to flow with the notes.

“Hush, little baby, don’t say a word,
Mummy’s going to buy you a mockingbird.”

The soup was warm now, and she sprinkled some of the powder they kept in an old spice jar onto the top, stirring it in until dissolved.

Oh, son! Best of all her children. She would tell him. She would sing to him. Oh, baby!

She unbolted the cellar door and balanced the tray in one arm while she switched the light on. It really needed a clean, she thought, eyeing up cobwebs and coal dust. Baby didn’t mind, though.

She took each step down carefully, the smell of damp tickling her nostrils.

God wanted people to have children. The priest said so. She knew anyway. It was obvious. The shops full of baby things. Children on the TV during the rare times her husband could put up with the noise. The government, helping families out with money and nice laws. Oh yes, everyone knew. Children were from God. Praise God! He gave her another son, the best of all sons! He listened.

She opened the door to the fire room, and saw her son, lovely son, squatting near the crunchy coal pile; he tried to stand because he was well mannered but the chains stopped him moving much, so good, and he made noises but without a tongue they were quiet ones, now it was healing, like the ragged calf-wound, and she began to talk, to tell him everything, and maybe his eyes glazed a bit, not tears, no, he was a good son, he would last longer than the others, and she wiped dried blood from around his mouth and wondered if she should shave him and cut his matted hair again, and she sang to him, “Hush, little baby, don’t say a word,” she would spoon him soup, oh, her son! The best of all her children so far.

Credit To – Karl Drinkwater

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The Danger and Cruelty of Hope

August 31, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Hope.

It really is the most powerful yet dangerous and cruel of human traits. It forces us to defy logic, sometimes at great cost. Other times it guides us through treacherous waters and back into the arms of our loved ones. We cannot live without being in its presence yet we can die tragically while being draped in it. It is truly a paradox.

And yet this is exactly the type of life I have been living, within a paradoxical world. Logic says that my soul mate died eight months ago. Logic says that my unborn daughter also perished in an accident on that rainy evening. Her name would have been Angela, after her mother, Angelica. Logic says that it is unhealthy that I have become a drunken recluse since the party that put us on that road and into that electrical pole. And logic definitely says that I was not talking to Angelica on instant messenger. Hope forced me to defy logic.

Three weeks after their funeral, I was finally released from the hospital. I do not know why I escaped Death that evening. Truth be told, I have a major beef with that son of a bitch when the time comes. I’ve often fantasized and practiced drawing that meeting sooner than it might expect, but my computer keeps drawing me back down from the roped rafters. It’s also the reason why I don’t leave and why I no longer talk to anyone on the outside. I don’t know what’s going to kill me first, my clutter and filthy apartment or the noose that beacons me. Don’t really care either way.

Even after making sure all of my electrical devices were turned off and even after investigating all the ways she could have logged in and stayed logged in, her face still sits there, welcoming me. Everything about the situation paralyzed me. When I looked at her screen name and her picture icon on the messenger I was always left dumbstruck. Every time I saw her face I got the same sensations and emotions; that I was falling, that I was being haunted and tortured, and that I was always left hopeful and optimistic that I may stay connected with her, even after death. And every time I sent her a message I sat there praying she would answer back. I’d tell her about how much I missed her, about how horrible life had become without her, about how we missed our daughter’s birthday and how I constantly fantasize about her crawling or the sound of her cries, or how I was sure she would have had the same smile as her. Even in death, she was still my best friend…still my lover.

Occasionally she did write back. An “A” occasionally (my name is Adam), sometimes small words, “as,” “was,” and sometimes just gibberish. She always seemed to send me these hints, these clues to her existence when I was asleep and especially when the lights were out. I’ve tried to narrow down her routine so I adjusted my sleep schedule to try to catch her online. It was so difficult at times because she could go days without saying anything. Not even a letter. But I know she was trying so hard to communicate because when she did type to me I would always hear her move near me. The clutter helped magnify the sound.

The sounds changed often. Sometimes it was something rustling nearby, other times I think I could hear the eco of the keyboard clicks, most of the time it was just a light humming of rhythmic vibrations…it had to be her soul I was hearing. Oh those sounds, I could tell she was always so close me, trapped, unable to embrace me as she knew how much I yearned for her touch. How much I needed to feel her again. It got to a point where I would just pour my soul into that chat box for days on end, barely sleeping, always hoping that perhaps my words would will her back into my arms. As the months passed and the trash around me grew, the louder her sounds rang to me. Then one night, a rainy night much like the one I lost her in, I finally found her.

I hadn’t slept in two days when I went on a drunken writing session with her on IM. It was one of those sessions where I talked about giving up and wanting to join her, where ever she was. I felt such a real connection with her in that moment. I just knew that she was really listening to me this time and that I felt if I kept confessing my love to her that night that I would finally be reconnected with her. I remembered the last thing I would ever type to her, “Angelica, I need you so badly. I need to be with you right now. Please Angelica, I beg you, please come to me!”

That’s when the power went out.

It had been the first time in eight months that I had lost contact with her. Soul crushing panic quickly set in as the thought of never being able to speak to her again began to suffocate me. I stood up quickly as though standing would get me high enough to reach the oxygen that seemed to have been sucked out of the room. That is when I heard her, louder than ever, in the pitch darkness of the wasteland that had become our apartment. I could hear her moving swiftly through the apartment. It was as though she was everywhere; in the closet, under my bed, in the kitchen, everywhere. I had never been so overjoyed in my life, with exception to her telling me we were finally pregnant after four years of trying. I had finally done it, I thought to myself. I had willed her back to me!

In a frenzy to find her, I stumbled over towers of food trash and junk and abruptly crashed onto the ground, splitting my forehead on something solid. My God how I relished the sound of her conjuring near me when I fell. It was almost as if she was trying to catch me based on the sound of the swiftness in her movement. As I laid there on my belly, I start to push myself up when the lights suddenly clicked back on. There she was, lying under our bed, wrapped and trapped in black cords, leaning up against the shoebox of her favorite work heels. She was there all along and I didn’t even think to look.

As I moved toward her, I saw the rats scramble to get away from my footsteps, climbing over her to safety. I picked her up…her work laptop that is…still plugged in as she left it the night she died, using the power and Ethernet outlet hidden behind the headboard of our bed. Apparently her employer forgot to ask for their equipment back after her death. I’ve been so angry for being so stupid, yet so thankful for the eight months I thought I spent with my beloved Angelica, and yet still so lost with dread that it was all a delusion. Logic says they both are dead and forever will be due to my indulgence that night.

Hope, the most dangerous and cruel of human traits, defies logic at great cost. This has been my paradox. This has been my Hell.

Most deservedly so.

Credit To – StupidDialUp

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Regression

August 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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It looked like a normal wet morning when I collected the innocuous mixture of junkmail and brown envelopes from the hall; by the time I’d finished the letter the overcast sky seemed to have sucked the heat out of the world. I laid the letter by my uneaten bowl of cereal and watched a starved-looking cat stalk across my back garden, but the rain on the window distorted things, turning the double-glazing into bathroom glass: the cat bulged out of view in a smear of grey.
I hadn’t seen my mother for years.
Our – relationship – was postal. There was usually a card at Christmas and one on my birthday; I responded likewise. However that isn’t loving communication, it’s weak obligation.
The spidery and hesitant writing on the envelope told me who had sent it even before I had nervously started reading the contents.
It wasn’t my birthday and it wasn’t Christmas.

Dear Colin,

I’m scared. Arthur has left and I don’t feel that I have much time left. I want to see you. It’s all gone wrong. Please come home, I need you.

Your mother,

Eveline

I had read it twice, with growing unease and a touch of anger. What did she mean by this? Was she ill? Depressed? Fantasising? Whatever the cause, it broke the well-established stability; a pattern of minimal demand that worked for so many people. A pattern when I was only forced to remember my childhood twice a year.
My pristine, sparsely but stylishly furnished home seemed cold and echoing.
I went to work hungry.

My mother had always been … strange. She had gone through various husbands and boyfriends, and become more bitter with each disappointment. She believed in nebulous dark forces, and when I was a child she tried to make me believe in them too. With some success. I remember many a sleepless night after she had told me about evil things: rape by spirits, souls going to hell, use of supernatural forces to murder someone, possession. I would peer wide-eyed at the strange shapes in the near-darkness, teddy providing no comfort, listening for creaks and promising to be good if I lived to see the sunrise.
Occasionally when she was between boyfriends she allowed me to share her bed, but I felt no safer then.
She had used me as a confidante because no-one else would listen. I had always felt anger towards her because of that.
I reread the letter throughout the day, and kept having images of my mother cracking up and afraid – and alone. Although I now realised that the things she had told me about as a child weren’t real, to her they existed, even if self-constructed. Hers was a life of fear of the dark, only eased when someone was in the bed beside her.
These thoughts kept me from being my usual confident self. The normally pristine white corridors of my workplace seemed shadowy that day; pools of darkness crouched below the staircase and in the corner by the photocopiers. I found myself snapping uncharacteristically at one of my colleagues, and developed a nagging ache behind my eyes. People avoided me when I went for a drink at the water cooler.
By the end of the day had decided that I would visit my Mother. I never rang before visiting; I couldn’t because she didn’t have a phone, one of the reasons why we always communicated by letter.
She believed that things could travel down phone lines, hence not having one in the house. Another of her idiosyncrasies.

The house had always been run down. Staring up at the dead-eyed windows now, it was clear that it had not improved with age.
Mother didn’t bother too much with maintenance. Her boyfriends generally didn’t either. Arthur hadn’t been any different in that respect. A slob looking for an easy time. Not that anyone got an easy time from my mother, hence they all left in the end. I wondered absently where Arthur had gone. Back where he came from, I supposed.
The garden was overgrown with nettles, brambles, thistles and weeds. The apple tree was choked with some kind of creeper. Bits were chipped out of the eroded path to the front door. One of the window panes was covered by rain-swollen hardboard. The paint was peeling from the windows and front door. I felt a momentary pang of embarrassment, as if I had let my Mother down that she should live like this.
I suspected it was caused more by what people who knew me might think than by guilt.
I rang the bell and wasn’t surprised to find that it didn’t work. So I knocked hard, loosening some flaking paint from the doorframe which floated to my feet like house-dandruff. Eventually I heard a shuffling noise, the bolts were withdrawn, and the door opened.
She looked older: haggard, wrinkled, all of her fifty-plus years. Her long, dead hair was interspersed with grey. Her eyes had large bags under them as if she hadn’t been sleeping. She was in her dressing gown and slippers. It was only 3pm.
She stood there for a few seconds staring at nothing, then blinked twice and seemed to focus on me at last. A smile crept onto her lips. She opened her arms and embraced me; I had to hide my instinctive flinch, as if I was being hugged by a rusting leghold trap made of bones and skin that could go off at any moment.
“I got your letter,” I said, breaking the silence.
“Arthur’s gone. He didn’t like me any more. He didn’t like the house and … well, he wasn’t happy here so he’s gone now. I made him go.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, Mother. But maybe it’s for the best.” I struggled to find anything to say, like trying to squeeze the last bit of congealed tomato puree from a tube. “I’ll tell you what, how about if we have a cup of tea and we can talk.”

She shuffled round the kitchen preparing the drinks. There was an off-smell in the room, as if something had fallen behind the cooker or fridge and decayed slowly. The fact that I was so aware of the smell showed how long it had been since this was my home. I remember as a child everyone’s house smelt different – but if ever while visiting I asked a friend about the smell in their house they always said they couldn’t smell anything. I realised that they were so used to it that they weren’t conscious of it any more; and if they came to my house they would probably smell something I couldn’t.
Well, this was obviously not a home to me anymore. I couldn’t ignore the sick undertone, and kept imagining it sticking to my clothes.
Mother put a cup of tea in front of me, sloshing a bit into the chipped saucer as her hand trembled.
“How are you doing?” I asked.
“I wanted to see you again. I wanted you to be with me.” Her voice had the cracked tone of one that was seldom used.
“And here I am.”
“Yes, that’s good, Son. But this time I want you to stay with me. Arthur’s gone and I won’t meet anyone else and I don’t want to be alone. I need someone to stay with me.”
“Mother…” I had to pause to gather my thoughts after that blunt demand for what seemed impossible; or at least intensely undesirable. “You know I can’t do that. I’ve got a job and a career. I’m just here to visit.”
“Please.”
“Please don’t be unreasonable, Mother.”
Watery eyes regarded me, and she slid her hand across the table but it stopped short of touching mine. “But I never see you anymore, never see my little boy…”
“What about moving? I could help with that. Somewhere nearer.”
“I can’t leave this house. It’s all I’ve got. It contains all my memories. Every piece of it, even the attic and the cellar.”
“What about a break then, you could go somewhere else for a holiday? That would do you good. I would pay,” I added hastily.
“I don’t want to go anywhere. But I see how it is.” She looked away from me.
I couldn’t resist a sigh – she had obviously not grown out of her passive-aggressive games. “Have you been sleeping?”
“So so,” she said dismissively, though it was obvious from the bags under her eyes that she wasn’t.
“Do you need anything?”
“Only you.” She drank her tea.
“No, I mean like do you need any shopping? I can go and get you some.”
“No, I don’t need anything.”
I noticed the cupboard that she’d got the sugar out of was open: the door was hanging on only one hinge and there was hardly anything inside. When she had fetched the milk out of the fridge I’d seen that it was equally bare.
“Why don’t you come shopping with me? Let me treat you. It’ll make you feel better, you can get whatever you want. We’ll get some nice food in.”
She sighed. “I don’t want anything. I don’t need anything as long as we’re both here. There’s enough food for tonight.”
“Okay.” I would work on her again tomorrow.
There was a pause and then she suddenly said, “Be careful tonight.”
“Why?”
“It’s starting again. There’s something coming.”
I felt the hairs on the back of my neck prickle, despite my previous pride at having outgrown superstitious nonsense.
“What do you mean?”
“The thing from your childhood. It’s come back.”
Sometimes things had happened when I was a child. Objects occasionally fell off shelves; we’d hear strange creaks in the night; the rooms would go cold; but everything could be explained. When I left home I got much better at explaining things. Of course, mother had said it was a presence; something that came to watch us and if we weren’t careful it would hurt us. It had begun around the time my father died.
She also used to say it had raped her. When I was ten years old I was terrified of being raped by a demon – how ridiculous was that?
“There’s nothing here, Mother, but if there was that would be a reason why you should leave the house. If you moved house it wouldn’t find you, would it?”
“It would find me. It comes in the night, Son. I’m scared.”
I had nothing to say. I was sure that she was cracking up and there was little I could do. It was a fear I’d always had. A few times as a child she’d been ranting while drunk and got violent. I’d seen her attack her second husband with a bread knife once. He’d taken it off her and hit her to the ground, and he’d said, “When you finally go mad you’ll take everyone around you, but I won’t be one of them, you bitch.”
He had gone too.

“I’ll take my bag up to my room first. If it’s okay, that is.”
“Of course, Son. This is your home. Always was.”
The inside of the house was as run down as the outside; the stairs creaked, the carpet was threadbare. I ran my left hand up the banister and was surprised to feel a sharp prick. A splinter had lodged itself in my thumb. Cursing I walked up the rest of the way sucking my sore digit.
My room was laid out as it always had been: bed in the middle of the room and beyond was an open fireplace and large black bookcase. There was one window covered in yellow lace, with rusty bars on the outside. The window was dirty. I looked down at the overgrown back garden which contained a swing with a broken chain, and a small sun house I rarely went in when I was a child because it was full of spiders – now I could see the roof had collapsed. The grass had overgrown the path and was rank with weeds.
In a corner of the room was a door which led into a small walk-in wardrobe. As a child I’d hidden in it sometimes when I’d wanted to be alone or when I was frightened, huddled at the back underneath the coats. On instinct I slid the bolt open and checked that the door still opened. It was dark inside and smelt musty. The old coats were still hung up. Sad relics with nowhere to go anymore.
However there were some changes. Mother obviously used the room to store junk: broken pokers and dented brass by the fire, warped paperbacks, overflowing carrier bags of Christmas decorations, cardboard boxes stacked in the corner. At least the sheets on the bed looked reasonably clean.
I didn’t bother unpacking my things straight away. I picked out the splinter with the nail scissors from my travelling case and went downstairs.

We ate, beans on dry toast. For the rest of the evening, as shadows grew, we talked in staccato bursts. Mother got the photograph album out and we looked over it in the parlour. Old memories came back which had been lost long ago. Few of them were what you could call pleasant, but they were the only ones I had, and I savoured the sweet pain as they were hooked to the surface. They were memories of a boy who hardly existed anymore.
My mother made us weak cocoa. She sat smiling at me while we drank it, neither of us talking much anymore.
“Let’s go to bed now, Son.”
She told me she slept downstairs now in the front room; it was easier for her than going up and down stairs all the time.
“Okay, you sleep tight, Mother.” I kissed her on the cheek and went up the creaking stairs. I brushed my teeth in the bathroom, went to bed and put the light off straightaway. Despite the many memories bubbling in my brain the journey had left me physically tired.

Tick, tock, tick, tock (creak). Tick, tock, tick, tock (creak).
There was a clock in the room and I’d been dreaming about it ticking away, a wagging finger forbidding something to an errant child, when I woke with a jerk, disorientated and feeling that something was wrong. I glanced around fearfully to see if there was someone else in the room. The pale light coming through the dirty window was just bright enough for me to see that I was alone. The dark shapes around the room looked ominous but weren’t alive.
I’d heard something in my sleep but I couldn’t remember what. There was no noise now, apart from the clock. I lay down again and pulled the covers up to my chin, frightened for no clear reason, but I fell asleep again.

This time I was woken up by a cry. It lingered in my mind as I sat up. My heart was pounding, the room seemed darker than before and I shivered with cold. I strained to listen, when I heard a scratch-voiced cry from downstairs:
“Colin, it’s here, lock … your … door …”
I recognised my Mother’s voice, the tone completely changed in those last few words, become something more cracked and splintered, like the house. I know what a good man would do, he would get up, go down the stairs, and see what was wrong – whether there was a burglar or if his mother was hurt or if she was simply frightened and dreaming.
I didn’t do that.
I jumped up, padded barefoot to the door, closed the bolt then jumped back into the bed, stubbing my toe on a box as I went back. I heard a creak on the stairs, it sounded like it was half way up but it seemed strange that the lower stairs hadn’t creaked, unless… unless whoever it was was sneaking up, and had only accidentally triggered the first stair halfway up which would mean that they were very, very stealthy. My heart was beating quickly, and I put the lamp on. The light from it was yellow and sickly-weak. I quickly realised with a gut-twist that the door I’d bolted as I got up was the door to the walk-in wardrobe, and the door to the bedroom was still unbolted. I’d been confused, since the wardrobe was where the bedroom door would be in my house. The bedroom door could open easily…
I was almost too scared to get out of bed, expecting the door to fly open as I approached it, and for something to be there. The thing from my childhood. My oldest fear.
I would die if I saw it, Mother had told me again and again.
The fear helped motivate me – I leaped out of bed, slammed the bolt home on the second attempt (it wasn’t sturdy but it made me feel better nonetheless) just as I heard another creak at the top of the stairs. I stepped away from the door and huddled on my bed, crying, confused, scared. I hadn’t been like this since I was a boy, and I had never thought I would be again.
The boy was swallowing the rational adult, swamping it with a child’s disproportionate primordial fears of death and eternal pain.
Then I noticed the handle of the door turn slowly and silently.
“Go away,” I whispered, my throat tightening.
The handle stopped turning. I waited for it to move again, but it didn’t. Instead I heard a creak on the stairs. Then another. Going down, thank God.
I wiped my tears on my pyjama sleeves, and sniffed, hoping it was all over. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep, so decided I would look through some of the stuff in the room, maybe find a book to read. Perhaps I would find something to reconnect me with my childhood somehow – that period which had been lost to me for so long. I felt there was something I needed to remember.
I began to open musty cardboard boxes, filthy with dust and webs. As I did so I ceased to shake, and I began to forget how scared I had been, absorbed in the artefacts I was uncovering and the memories they led to.
Christmas decorations. Tinsel, banners, tree ornaments. Old and dulled in reality, but bright and shining and glorious in the mind’s eye, I saw them as they once had been. Mother had said fairies made the glittering objects, and I had believed her.
A box of my schoolbooks at infant and junior schools, and pictures I had drawn for my Mother. Cards I had written to her. Childlike scrawls, wild imaginings. The teacher had stamped one with a cartoon monster which was saying “Very Good!”, and she had written underneath “My, my, what an imagination!” I smiled.
A box of stuff belonging to Mother’s ex-boyfriends now. Clothes, pictures, aftershave (it had leaked, the stuff stank). I wasn’t interested. I was about to give up on this one when I noticed something metallic. I pulled it out. It was a small crossbow, loaded with a bolt. The bow was about eight inches long, and I picked it up. I remembered it now. My Father’s. He had used it to shoot rabbits and birds. He had taken me with him as a child, even though I hated to see things die. But because it was one of the few things I did with my Father, I went. At first light we would be wrapped up and walking through the greyness in the fields, our breath misting before us.
I felt tears coming again, and closed the box. I didn’t want any more memories for now. Things would have to sink in slowly. Instead I needed to read, to lose my self in someone else’s imagination.
I kept the crossbow though – it made me feel safe. I had never held it before, so it felt strange. Only my Father had used it. “Just for me, Colin,” he had replied to my pleas. “When you’re a man.” I had never questioned why Father had used a crossbow instead of a gun, any more than why we had to kill rabbits and birds when we only ate the rabbits.
I walked to the bookcase. I remembered many of the books. There were a few on occult matters, which had scared me when I looked at the pictures as a kid. I remembered a scratchy black and white photograph sequence showing a person in a straitjacket. ‘Ectoplasm’ came out of their mouth in the second picture, looking like white vomit. In the third it seemed to pull off the straitjacket. Another book had pictures of burnt, detached human legs in the section on spontaneous combustion. I didn’t want to see them again. There were some repulsive fascist books as well.
I was about to move on when I heard another noise from downstairs – faint but real. A gurgling. Then a voice.
“Colin, help me, I’ve fallen and hurt my leg, I can’t move.” My Mother sounded frail, in pain, her voice cracked and lonely. Scared as I was, I couldn’t ignore the plea. I at least had to look.
“Colin, I’m really hurting.”
I picked up the crossbow and edged to the door. It was all quiet now. I tugged the bolt back and grasped the handle. Tense, frightened, I turned it and pulled the door, looking out onto the landing.
The bottom of the stairs and the end of the landing were pitch black, but I saw my Mother. She was near the top of the stairs. She was walking fine, stealthily and quickly, leaning against the wall, looking spiderish and famished, her shadow distorted because of the hatchet in her hand. She was only just visible by the pale light coming out of my room. She looked straight at me and grinned.
“My lovely boy,” she cooed in a dead voice, moving quicker even as she spoke.
I slammed the door, and fiddled with the bolt. It closed just as the handle turned. I stepped back and pointed the crossbow at the door, my small hands shaking.
“Open the door, Colin,” she whined.
“No Mummy,” I said weakly, and fired at the middle of the door.
The bolt flew through the wood with a ‘thock’ and then all was silent, apart from the clock ticking. I held my breath and listened.
“Naughty boy, trying to kill Mummy.”
The door rattled at the first blow. The small bolt would only take a few of those. I dropped the crossbow.
The second blow boomed against the door. I ran to the wardrobe and reached up for the bolt. It was nearly out of my sweaty grasp now, as I continued to shrink. I could hardly see it through the tears.
“No, Mummy, don’t be bad!” cried the little boy, as he got the door open and huddled at the back of the wardrobe, behind the coats, hoping the thing that wanted to eat him and give him eternal pain would go away.
“I’m coming, Colin,” it said as it burst into the bedroom with a crash, and padded over to the wardrobe.

Credit To – Karl Drinkwater

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Dream Awake

August 17, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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When people are born blind, their minds never capture the visual stigmas that are necessary for dreams to be created. As a result, these individuals are eternally destitute of sight and stricken to experience only their other four senses while asleep. Some of these people find consolation in the fact that they will never truly understand the entirety of what they are missing. They go about their lives without the complete realization of what life would be with functioning eyes wholly due to the fact that they have nothing to compare their blindness to. For how can one explain a color to another who has never experienced it? Other people, are different with the implication that they are born with sight only to have it taken away by illness or injury at a later date. These people can still see while in their dreams because of the memories their mind captured when they had their sight. This is true even for those who lose their ability to see at a very young age; the only difference is that they are limited in their dream-scape more-so because their mind can only manifest simple structures from their compromised reminiscence. The people who fall into this latter grouping often find themselves having a certain level of internal torture in this fact. These individuals have the ability to experience a sense that their natural state-of-mind cannot, only to find that when they awaken, an endless void of black is all that greets them.

Unfortunately, I fall into the second category.

Around the age of one, I became permanently blind. My doctors spent a seemingly endless amount of hours trying to figure out why the sudden change had occurred, but there were no medically explainable answers to my predicament. My parents, rather than weep over my misfortune indefinitely, accepted my fate and lessened their time mourning in order to to begin preparations for the extra help I would need. The only true refuge I had from my blindness was my dreams – but since I was so young when I lost the ability to see – I was only able to form basic shapes and colors during sleep. Even so, I understood the value of the short window of time that I would be able to visualize in. The respect that I had for sleeping increased over the years and I felt as though the solace I had while dreaming would never be matched by anything else. During the day, life was just as tough as one would imagine a blind person’s existence to be. Simple tasks like walking and opening doors quickly became gut-wrenching puzzles for a child afraid of the dark.

I persevered, and slowly progressed to a level of confidence expected of me. I wanted to succeed, but I always felt myself being more concerned with the night than anything else. Instead of focusing on my brail teachings, I would often think of my dreams and the same was true for many other things in my life. I found that I was constantly asking questions about my sleep. Maybe I would see something I had not seen yet; maybe I would remember more that next morning than I did the last. It became somewhat of a personal goal of mine. I would try to outdo myself every time dusk fell and at dawn I would concentrate on what I had dreamed about, hoping that my mind could adapt and produce even more complex images.

As I grew older, I became frustrated with myself because I craved for increasingly intricate visuals. I needed more to quench my undying thirst for improvement and the days became just a means to an end in light of the fact that all I wanted to do was to return to my bed and try again. My attempts were largely futile and I started to become extremely bitter in the thought that maybe my mind would soon forget every visual I had strove to remember. I couldn’t let that happen and I told myself everyday that I would rather die than lose the only thing that helped me through my struggles. I would plan and process everything about my sleep. Making sure I was in the right position, ensuring that my room was in the perfect sleep-inducing environment. I started to create a system of rituals and small tasks that helped me get the most out of my night and I followed them to the very last detail. I would turn the temperature to a crisp coldness barely tolerable and cushion the crack at my door to dampen any sound that might enter into my sanctuary. I would surround myself snugly with an arrangement of coverings and blankets. I would make sure that my body was cleansed of any distractions both bodily and mental. Finally, I would lie down slowly with every worry leaving my mind as my breath would leave my nostrils. These things and more I did every night religiously. I had no other choice.

One of the undertakings that I consistently upheld was to feel around my body so that my mind could process and remember my dimensions. I did not know what I looked like, but I at least knew my shape and that was all that was necessary. Through description, I came to be able to piece together what buildings and scenery would look like and it didn’t take long before I could manifest a grid-like mapping of what I thought my world was. I did this so that I would have a firmer grasp on reality; any visual knowledge that I could obtain was crucial to my mission. Over time, my insatiable need for dreams only increased. My infatuation with the intangible images in my brain were always a very effective escape from the harsh existence that I lived in and so they remained as my primary concern in life.

I felt as though my dedication to dreaming would eventually yield fruit, and it wasn’t very long before my dream-scape seemed to be gradually becoming more vivid. I was beginning to break through to a different level of cognizance while asleep and this understanding drove my determination to new limits. I wanted to tell my parents, friends, and doctors, but the possibilities in conversation overwhelmed me as I spent painstakingly long hours trying to figure out what I would try to communicate. I started to second-guess myself with questions. How could they expect me to be able to create more complex visuals in my dreams if I had nothing to compare to? How could I convince someone that I had been dedicating a large portion of my time to dreaming? I couldn’t prove anything to anyone, but in the inner sanctum of my mind I knew that I wasn’t insane. I came to realize that they would probably just laugh at me if I attempted to talk, so I gave up on the idea for the time being. In hindsight, exchanging thoughts with my peers might have been able to save me, but I didn’t want to be saved. I wanted to plunge further into the abyss that was my resting mind.

Years passed and at the age of sixteen, the next considerable milestone in my journey was made. One night, I found myself dreaming, but it was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I could see my body and felt myself able to reason with that fact that I was asleep. I was unable to grasp the situation completely, but the longer I was “awake” in my dream the more aware I became. I had the dispiriting and trailing thought that maybe I wasn’t as sane as I had originally hoped; what if this was all just a false manifestation that my mind created to keep my obsession satisfied? I remember thinking how surreal the realm felt; I became suspicious that perhaps this new dream world was a different place all-together from my illusions of old. The longer I spent in the dream world, the more worrisome I became. I tried to rationalize how this level of dream-perception was possible and surmised that because I had already formed the thoughts of my dimensions; my mind only had to fill in the blanks.

Maybe it wasn’t actually me, but I could look down with my eyes and see a body to which my thoughts were attached. That was significant enough for me and I was elated at my progress. Even so, the achievement was not without its setbacks. Beyond my person, I was still blind. I also found that in this realm, I couldn’t move. I was disappointed in this realization, but none of those things regressed my hopes. It was still a substantial progression from my past dreams and I had new found determination that I could learn to control my dream-consciousness even more. I decided to enjoy the experience for what it was worth and waited to see if anything else would occur. I figured that I would allow the realm to continue for as long as it would let me, but it remained for much longer than I thought possible. It seemed like an eternity that I was lingering, suspended in the blackness, and I was becoming apprehensive at the premonition that I would never wake up. I closed the eyes to my dream body thinking that maybe it would just eventually fade away, but to my surprise I woke up immediately afterwards.

I didn’t understand how that action had caused me to exit the dream world, but I pushed away the confusion due to the relieved feeling that I now possessed. I silently wondered to myself what the next night could bring, but I didn’t want to get too hasty. I arose from bed and walked around my room contemplating how I would start the day. I grabbed my clothes off of the top of my dresser and clumsily stumbled on the way to the bathroom. I entered the shower, continuing my train-of-thought from when I had woken up. I was becoming dizzy from the amount of focused energy I was exerting on thinking, knowing that I was on the verge of uncovering something substantial. The hot water splashed against my skin and I could breath in the mist that was arising. I just stood their trying to allow my nerves to return to a level of normalcy, but my thoughts of the dream world simply would not let me have that satisfaction.

I felt a certain level of forsaken knowledge entering my body, as though I had stumbled upon a loop-hole in the fabric of existence. I was uncertain as to why I felt so detached from myself, but I quickly ignored any further thoughts in context with the idea that I was doing something forbidden. I decided to exit the shower and go about my regular routine in anticipation of the night. I observed the nothingness that my eyes perceived, realizing that being awake was a constant reminder of the handicap that was becoming more of an unnecessary thorn in my side than usual. Halfway through the day, I made the enlightening determination that I could rid myself of the darkness at any moment, if only given the chance to enter my dreams. Mental anarchy was reigning in my skull; I made the decision that I would skip dinner in order to go to sleep earlier. That night, it took longer than usual to become peaceful enough to sleep, but I finally drifted off to find myself in a seemingly unfamiliar house.

Once again I found myself asking questions; was this the very house that I lived in, only brought to life in vision? The house felt so real that it was as if my eyes were seeing everything while I was awake despite my brain not being able to process it. I was ecstatic and longed to get up from my bed in order to explore, but my body was continuing its ailment from the previous dream. I was immobile. I laid there for a while knowing that eventually I would wake up by using the same means that I had before. I wanted to be patient, though. Perhaps if I waited long enough, I would be able to move.

After a considerable amount of time passed, I began to feel a bit uneasy. I felt less like the dream world was something that I wanted to experience and more like I was being punished. I began to wonder why I was paralyzed and the only possibility I could think of was that maybe I was strapped in the bed by some physical binding; however, I found that I was completely free of any perceivable restrictions. Mentally, maintaining this state was tiring and I was beginning to give up when suddenly I started to hear a faint whisper. Cold breath against my neck pierced through the air like a sharp knife through flesh and I tried to turn to look at whatever was there only to find that my body wouldn’t allow me.

Just a few moments ago my neck was able to pivot, but now I suffered a even more invasive paralysis. I started to become aware that my body could be static due to the unfathomable terror I was now experiencing. The whispers I was now acknowledging were there since I had awoken in the dream world, but in my excitement I had not realized that they existed. I tried to calm myself down and found peace in the fact that I had the ability to wake up whenever I chose. At this point, the “whisper” had gotten much louder and eventually became a deep guttural bellowing that caused my eyes to water in horror. Whatever was next to me wanted me to know that it was there, but all I truly discerned from reverberations was that I needed to escape as soon as possible. After a while, when I felt its presence increasing, I started to feel more worried that this would be my final dream. I tried to close my eyes, but found that it was incredibly difficult to “un-see” what was happening. I squeezed my eye-lids together forcefully knowing that it was the only chance I had. Luckily, l was successful in my second attempt, but I learned not to take my chances if the situation would arise again.

The next day, I tried to express to my friends my un-containable findings. I knew they wouldn’t listen to me, but I still felt saddened at the sound of them ignoring me. I went to my parents and the same result was apparent. They cut me off before I got into any details and left me at the dinner table feeling insignificant. I felt a silent scream developing in my heart because I could not effectively portray my experience with anyone. My dreams were falling on blind eyes around me and my words on deaf ears. I was secluded in my discoveries, but it did not discourage me too much. A few weeks passed and the dream reoccurred to me almost every night. My days became more eerie and my nights became equal to that of a solemn risk with my own sanity. I soon found myself in terror of going to sleep when only a few weeks ago I couldn’t wait to see what advances I could make in my dreams. I was doomed while awake to my blindness and I was cursed at night with never-ending nightmares.

I thought that my sleep paralysis would be indefinite when one night, I found myself able to move while in the dream world. I hesitantly got out from bed and walked around to find out that the house in my dream had the same floor plan as my real house. I was beginning to feel like I was playing with destiny and quickly remembered the entity that plagued this realm. I cautiously allowed my mind wonder if danger was close by and thought that I would be too afraid to explore thoroughly, but my curiosity proved to be stronger than my fear. I noticed that my movement was far from natural. Each step felt like a thousand and I had the unshakable feeling that my stifled limbs would be my tragic undoing. Suddenly, the walls around me started to recede into the ground. They retracted without warning in order to expose a barren wasteland just outside the confines of the house. The ground was hot and I could see nothing of the grasses or trees that I felt while awake. All that was observable surmised to scorched dirt and a giant ball of fire closely looming above me. I felt out of place and looked at my body to find that my skin was a lighter shade than in previous dreams. My heart was racing and I could barely stand the wave of discomfort flowing over me. The air grew foggy and heavy with the stench of death. My dream world seemed to be forcing me into the same blindness I experienced while awake.

I awaited another change of events when, in the distance, I saw a figure in black. It was hard to make out, but I observed that it was wearing a hood and that it had a menacing stature. It was coming closer, but the fog made it hard to tell how quickly it was approaching. I decided that I would stand my ground because my inquisitive nature was continuing to somehow overpower my fear of imminent demise. I found myself unprepared as the entity appeared directly in front of me with eyes that never blinked and that looked as if they were examining my very soul. It looked into me with a certain level of wild abandon that made me feel akin to a corpse being dissected. It seemed intrigued, but I was beginning to worry about why it was so interested in me. I felt myself becoming prey to the figure and realized that it could sense my obvious weakness. The entity’s form was starting to be made more clear due to the fog dissipating and my horror reached new heights now that I was looking at it completely. The humanoid guardian was a gray skinned being with skeleton-like features. It stood above me easily by four feet and was extremely lanky; I shivered at its aroma of cursedness. Even though the outward visuals of the figure made it seem as though it was frail, I knew that it had immense power behind the limbs it was concealing within its black cloak. I glanced at the robe and discovered that it was very intricate; it gave me a distinct and irrational feeling that it belonged to someone else. Alien symbols were strewn across the covering like the blood of a newly sacrificed lamb across a temple floor. The blackness beyond black of the robe contrasted greatly with the husk-like grayness of the being’s skin. I focused into the dark cloth and felt akin to being swallowed by quicksand. The robe was like a black-hole in context with the fact that it was slowly and literally pulling me towards it. Soon, all I could hear was an endless screeching.

The figure opened its mouth and my ears absorbed the sounds of bone crushing against bone, the noises of people being ripped limb from limb, and the cries of millions through centuries of imprisonment. I wanted to run away, but I discovered that I was unable to move any part of my body. My eyes were fixated on the entity in front of me and the distinct blank expression on its face was frightening enough to make me wish that I would be blind forever. Something was continuing to draw me into the visage of the figure even though I could sense my impending doom. It reached its arms out to grab me and the hellish noises it was emitting continued to haunt my every attempt to resist. The sounds of random notes on a piano could be heard playing, the noise of a fingernail scraping a chalkboard was roaring out of its crevices. I couldn’t breathe as it surrounded me in the confines of its robe and I felt my lifeblood flowing out from every orifice in my body. Inside the bleak blackness of the being’s cloak, I could hear a continuous chanting…

“My still beating heart clings to a hope in creation.
From the beginning, certainly dreaming –
of one lonely destination steadfast in elimination.
Flowing in the wayward streams of redeeming –
towards every choice and path in foundation.
Silently turning away with shut eyes screaming –
turning to nothing and fruitless temptation.
Or at least finding away to set up releasing.”

…The message was being carved into my skull by the voices of children who were bludgeoning the words inside me. The entirety of the situation was not registering and my fear prevented me from waiting any longer to see what would happen. I closed my eyes in order to save myself from the being’s clutches and woke up in a cold sweat back into reality. I wept to myself at what I had experienced.

My paranoia increased throughout the next day considerably. I could hear the heart-stopping sounds from my dream and I could feel the figure’s eyes staring at me within the darkness. My house felt different and I was uncertain if I could trust anything anymore. The figure was too vivid to ignore, yet too morbidly realistic to believe. I told myself that I should just try to forget about my obsession with my own dreams, but I knew that I was just lying to myself. I would never stop because I had to know more. I had to find out what was plaguing my subconscious. The inner facets of my mind were grinding so intensely on what was happening to me; I knew it was only going to drive me further into tears, yet I still pondered aimlessly on the subject.

My torment went on for several months and frequently the being would return to remind me that I would never rid myself of its presence. My days were synonymous with the memories of my night and the opposite was also true. The dream world and the real world began to mesh to the point that I lost sight of all temporal matters. I no longer talked to my friends and rarely said more than what was necessary to my parents. I stopped eating regularly and lost all desire to focus on the little things in life. I no longer cared what the flowers outside my window smelled like; it no longer mattered whether or not I could run my fingers through my own dog’s fur. It was as if my brain was shutting off all my other senses to focus on the one it would never truly posses. I wanted the nightmare to end, but I was completely blind on how to make that longing a reality. I laughed and cried myself to sleep that night at the ironic pun my brain was living.

My dreams were technically reoccurring, but they were different in the sense that they were progressively getting worse. I noticed that the house would deteriorate quicker and the ground would be hotter; the fog would return with greater intensity, yet none of those things really impacted me as much as the figure’s face staring at me. That night, however, a more significant contrast was made known. I squinted my eyes out into the distance to discover that there were more than just one of the beings. After observing for a few moments longer, I saw that the other figures were exactly the same as the first and it wasn’t long before I realized that they all would stalk me in the foggy maze of nightmares with equal ferocity.

Even though my future now seemed undeniably grim, fate seemed to be smiling upon me when I discovered my newly-gained ability to have a full range of motion while in the dream world; the liberty of full-movement, however, was bitter-sweet. I could still be overpowered and stuck in place due to one of the figures’ gazing eyes and as a result, it didn’t make much difference how much I could move – because every time I dreamed – it would only be a matter of time before one of the figures would get a hold of me. I acquired a little bit confidence in the fact that I was learning more of the dream world, but that was of no consequence either. I could tell that the figures were toying with me now. The beings knew everything about my movements and they knew that I was afraid. Throughout the fog, I could see them acting as if they were aimlessly reaching their claws out for anyone that might be unlucky enough to run into them, but I knew that I was the only one around that they could possibly want. Every time I felt as though I could escape them forever, I only found myself having to change course at the sight of one of their faces peering at me.

The figures were relentless in their hunt, but I never caught them running or even walking at a brisk pace. The beings always seemed to appear in the perfect locations to cause my distress and I hardly ever took the chance of looking behind me when I was in the middle of an escape. The fog would thicken the longer I stayed in the dream world and I was terrified that one night, I may not make it out. I survived as long as I could, but eventually fell to either exhaustion or fear. After lying on the ground, I could see that my skin looked sickly and old. My body felt different, as if I had been given a foreign set of bones. I remembered thinking that my stride was longer than usual and that the figures seemed less intimidating in size than before. Perhaps I was gaining strength slowly and unknowingly; maybe I could combat them soon and take back my dreams for myself. Just as I felt myself resurrected in a new-found determination, I looked up to find myself being absorbed by one of their robes. As I was being engulfed, the familiar voices of the children returned to remind me of the message I was never to forget. This time, however, the message continued longer…

“Walking in the light between gray linings.
I solemnly wait whilst stricken and gated –
seeing the sisters cackling, whining.
One would shed single tears for those faded –
I cut their strings with death undying.
Gasping for air as the strands are braided –
hang them from their threads unwinding.
A destiny for a soul are things common traded.

Flying through time and ripping the fabric of existence.
Living the fear of perfect desecrate –
trying for the solace in true wild sense.
But knowing what security lies in await –
facing down in a immense pretense.
Breathing in air surrounding those innate –
setting me behind yet further with no expense.
This is the true purposive trait.”

…The message repeated in its usual manner and I realized that the children were very solemn in their resonances, despite the tone of their voices. I began to cringe internally at the thought arising in my mind. Even though the situation was grimly disturbing, I could not keep myself from listening until I had committed the entire passage to memory. I closed my eyes as I usually did to foil the beings’ plans to capture me and awoke to feeling the same fatigue I experienced when I fell to the ground in my dream. My limbs were sore and I was over-heated from the excursion of running for so long, but I knew that there could be no logical explanation for those feelings. My mind was panicking and I held my breath hoping that I was just still dreaming. I knew that I wasn’t though; I knew that I would have to get out of bed and strive through the pains of the day.

Whenever I had a second to think, their faces would always appear. Whenever there was a fleeting second of silence, I always heard the terrible screams of those who had already fallen into their cavernous robes. I could feel them around me when I walked and I could sense their eyes watching me even when I was surrounded by real world presences. I surmised that they simply didn’t care and supposed that they didn’t want anyone else; they only had their sights on me now. I was so enraged at the universe for putting me in this hellish existence because I felt like it had only put me on the list of creation to torment me and scoff at my pathetic attempts to free myself from the figures’ grasps. I became somewhat of a recluse and locked myself in my room for days at a time in order to recollect my stability. I kept myself awake for what seemed like weeks formulating a plan to rid myself of the demons that encompassed my entire mind. They had invaded and taken everything from me. My world, my sanity, and my dreams were nothing but instruments in their songs of death. They would never stop in their conquest and so I had no choices left. I was to strike and take my revenge, but a certain revelation overcame me when I was processing my would-be tactics against them.

I started to think about why closing my eyes in the dream world would awaken my mind to the real world. I thought about how a normal person’s mind would process things and realized that for anyone else, the world would be reversed. Normal people see everything while their eyes are open, but when their eyes are closed, they are surrounded by black. When regular people ready themselves for rest, the blanket of darkness is a much needed break from the constant barrage of sights on their minds. For me, it is entirely different because I spend most of my time awake being in the dark; and when I close my eyes for sleep my brain fills the void. When I sleep it is as if I am awake and so it is only appropriate that when I close my eyes in the dream world to darkness I open them in the real world the same way. It seemed as though I had finally figured out how my mind worked, but my discovery brought a new sense of dread. Maybe there was a reason for why I am blind. Perhaps there was a purpose for my eyes to be without function.

I felt as though I was a glitch in the system and that the other forces of this universe were trying to balance the anomaly. Why had I lost my vision so early in life? Why have I always had an uncanny hold over visualizing despite the undeniable truth that I was without sight? I could feel myself being lost in the ambiguity of the infinite possibilities. I tried to rationalize, but it only deluded my thoughts further. I was seeing things that were never suppose to break through the cover of darkness that had been placed over me. When I was sleeping, I was in a world that was not meant for eyes to observe. I grew tired and my eyes became heavy. I drifted off.

In the dream world, things moved at the now-expected pace. The house deteriorated before my eyes and the wasteland emerged with the fog already settling in. I awaited the figures and had the feeling that this would be my last venture into their presence. I started to cry because a part of me didn’t want this world to end; I knew, however, that it would be either me or them, so I swallowed my pain and looked everywhere for any signs. In a circle around me, they all emerged screaming the screams of infinite and disturbing emotion. My mind could hardly handle their eyes, which were just pupil-less orbs floating in gray tissue. Their robes flowed in the non-existent wind and I prepared myself for the final confrontation. I assumed that my nerves were strong enough to handle anything at that point, but my attempts to remain stoic and statuesque were futile. I wanted to run and the shaking of my body proved it; every fiber of my being was on fire telling me that I was wrong to remain steadfast.

My instincts were unadulterated, but I was not about to continue this spiral into endless declivity. I had never waited to see what would happen if I let the figures take me and at that moment, I finally understood that a fight would be to no avail. I decided to let them have me, mostly because I wanted a release and I knew that this was going to be the most satisfaction that I would ever obtain. They drew closer with their arms outstretched. Their usual expressionless faces were contorted all at the same time to form a subtle and unanimous grin. They knew that I had given up and so they approached with more intensity than ever. It was then that the children relayed the final section of their message to me…

“You see, I have ended the fate that burdens me.
Crawling in the dirt of reality forsaken –
cutting out the hearts of an eternal decree.
Taking back the breath that must be taken –
of those who would pay the final fee.
Millennium of rock and ground unshaken –
with hands closed of veins in everlasting treaty.
Begin to move and realize, awaken.”

…My mind couldn’t take the immense stress being placed on it and I attempted to back out by trying to close my eyes. I soon discovered that I was wasting my time. A single tear streamed across my face as I finally understood that escape was no longer an option. I felt my face to reassure the terrible truth I was experiencing; I had created a dream world in which I had no eye-lids. At that moment, I hysterically begged for their mercy and frantically dropped to my knees as they drew in closer. I knew that there was no chance for my pleas to be answered, but the primal instinct to invoke pity was the only option I had left. I quickly looked down at myself to see that my skin was just as horribly gray as theirs and I realized why it was they never blinked. They couldn’t.

The figure directly in front of me pulled out a single black robe from under its arm. It extended its reach in my direction, waiting for me to take the initiative to willingly clasp the robe on my own. I took the cloak reluctantly and put it over my shoulders with the hood still resting on my back. The figures started their usual assortment of macabre noises and I felt as if I was doing something to cause their uproar. I put the hood over my head to mirror how they had theirs and finally understood the cryptic message they were relaying to me.

“We tried to warn you.”

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Paranoia

August 13, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Silence. Silence was uncomfortable, and Amy didn’t like it. Fingers nimbly tap-tapped across black and white keys as she typed up what she hoped would be a phenomenal English essay. She rubbed her tired eyes and sighed, straining to see what she had just typed in the dim light provided by her laptop. The numbers at the bottom of her laptop monitor read 11:37 P.M. It was going to be a long night. She turned to reach for her headphones, and then paused. The laptop allowed her to view what she was typing, but it did nothing to assist her in banishing the inky blackness that met her eyes as she turned away from her laptop screen. It unnerved her as her fingers scrabbled around for the earbuds she had so carelessly tossed away earlier on her bed. Turning back to her laptop with earbuds in hand, Amy breathed hard and then chastised herself for being so childish. She was already sixteen; she was old enough to know that there was absolutely nothing to be worried about. Yet now that she had seen how completely something could cloak itself in the darkness, Amy couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that something was watching her… she attempted to continue on typing in normalcy when something like footfalls behind her sounded. Amy froze. She could hear her parents snoring in the bedroom across the hall from her and her sisters had long since fallen asleep. Amy turned stiffly, terrified to think what would be behind her. Every single monster she had ever read about or seen in a horror movie came to her mind all at once as she finally looked upon the spot where the footfalls had sounded.

Nothing.

Amy hesitantly got up out of her chair, still not completely convinced that she was alone in her room. She practically sprinted for her door and hastily flicked the light switch on. Warily, Amy skirted her room with her eyes, positive that she would find something ghastly grinning at her from a corner, from her mirror, or from under her bed.

Nothing.

Amy released a breath she wasn’t aware she’d been holding. She left the light on and padded back to her laptop, plugging in her earbuds. Quickly, the pounding beat of her music flooded her ears, and Amy returned to the rhythmic typing of her essay. She was almost done with her third paragraph when she looked at her clock again. The time read 11:52 P.M. Amy paused her music for a moment to rest, and realized how deafening the silence was. Her music acted as a mask that temporarily cloaked to the unnerving feeling of not hearing anything but one’s own breathing. With horror, Amy thought of how something could have skittered, crawled, or slithered into her room without her hearing it over the volume of her music. She hastily whipped her head towards her door again, and as she did so, she felt the gossamer touch of something ever so slightly brushing her shoulder. Barely stifling a shriek, Amy looked back at her shoulder, expecting to see dead, rotting fingers gripping her tightly.

It was just her blond ponytail, resting on her shoulder from when she’d whipped it around so quickly.

Amy rubbed her temples and sighed. Maybe she should get a haircut. The silence and her own exhaustion was getting to her. She was imagining things. This couldn’t be healthy. Not even bothering to care about quality anymore, Amy typed several humdrum sentences and concluded her essay. Tentatively, Amy looked behind her one more time.

Nothing.

Being alone was scary when it was quiet, Amy mused wearily to herself as she crawled into bed, but in the end it was nothing but childish paranoia. Amy let herself drift off to sleep, feeling safe and content curled up in her blankets.

She never noticed the dead, rotting hands that quietly prised open her closet door, nor the Glasgow smile that shone through the darkness as Amy’s Monster watched her with wide, unblinking eyes, and began thinking of ideas of how to play with her tomorrow night.

Credit To – Nini Li

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