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The Power of Belief

August 26, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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Be it new or ancient, religious or sacrilegious, empowering or self-destroying, no idea has true power unless it is given the chance to be voiced, shared, and believed.

Of course, an unshared idea would have some form of influence over whoever privileged its first spark to light somewhere in the depths of his or her mind. However, it is relatively rare for an idea to be held so privately; humans are very social beings, and it has always been difficult for the majority of them not to share a personal secret or idea with at least one other person, no matter how long they may be able to withhold it.

Withdrawing from that tangent: The secluded power of a completely private idea isn’t true power at all. Given total or even dominant belief and preferably a strong imagination—or even a detachment from reality, a rift between existing “facts” and “ideas”—even a small, vague, relatively harmless idea could swell into factual reality….but only for that one person in particular. This person, unnervingly and obstinately altered by his or her new belief, would then be deemed “mentally ill” or “insane” by the rest of humanity, which does not perceive the fact which the sufferer had nurtured and been overtaken by. Not all ideas grow to this strength, and certainly not all private ones. No, the more publicity an idea receives, the more influence it inherits, and the more it will be able to spread, eventually spinning forth an unstoppable cycle of destruction.

A handful of the few people straying this far into the concept of conceptualisation might recall the original labels of ideas being “empowering or self-destroying” and thus raise an eyebrow at the withering effect that all powerful ideas supposedly have in the end. To be rightfully fair, those labels are too specific, as well as lacking in contrast. An idea can begin as a source of hope and gradually twist its own empowerment into a cause of emotional distress or unbalance, perhaps by revealing itself to be “false” and then continuing to weave a string of shadows into its own pre-established cloth of light. In fact, even labels such as “good and bad”, “positive and negative” are too closely interrelated to be truly separate labels and instead function as indistinct yet perpetually familiar concepts. They are their own ideas—in fact, the same idea: The proposition of good and evil, arguably the most influential idea to date, as archaic as the ideas of life and existence.

It seems this relation has gone off-course once more. Forbidden as it may be to breach the self-created wall of personal disinvolvement regarding one’s relation of theories, I would like to privilege myself enough to chip away at that concrete fable-telling guise, namely to apologise for my own distracted ramblings. I have always been the talkative, imaginative sort, which is why I simply cannot hold these ideas within myself any longer.

I have chosen to run an experiment.

This experiment may either dratically change the way the world sees itself or turn inward on me as the sole forerunner of these thoughts and ideas.

The test is as follows: In this text, I am going to set a rule. Depending on how many people choose to believe and follow this rule, I will judge the ‘truth’, or believability, of my thoughts.

I will judge my own ability to change the world.

No matter what, I will not tell you whether this rule is good or bad in my opinion, or whether or not I will laugh or nod if I see it drifting about in the world. I will simply state this rule and end my post, and we will see where it goes from there. I may revisit this in the future, if I am not too badly effected to continue.

Here goes everything.

Never forget to look over your shoulder– you may catch someone whispering in your ear.

Credit: Roz, The Lord of Bad Timing

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I Can’t Breathe

August 20, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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I never know when it will hit me, but it is the scariest experience I ever go through. The feeling is akin to a giant rock suddenly falling on top of me, and I am completely helpless, unable to move, or even speak. I want to cry out and scream for help, but it’s like my lips have been sealed shut with glue. The only movement I’m allotted is with my eyes, as they dart around the room, looking for whoever is holding me down, or what.

But the worst of it is, for the first few moments, I can’t breathe.

I have had episodes like this on and off again for as far back as my early teenage years. Part of me even believes I used to have them when I was younger, but my developing mind simply blocked out those times they occurred so as not to cause me traumatic damage as I grew older. Either way, they still give me trouble to this day, even at twenty-six years of age.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like this happens every night, or once a week, or even once a month. In any given year, I can count on one hand the number of times I have this living nightmare. They happen so rarely, in fact, that I often go weeks without even thinking about it. Only when it does happen to me am I stuck for weeks at a time, worried that I’ll lock up in my sleep again.

Or have another instance that had occurred two years ago, which I consider to be the scariest night of my life. That night, I wasn’t sure if I was simply having an episode, or if someone, or something, was trying to kill me.
About two years ago, I found myself in a sort of limbo when it came to any sense of direction I wanted to go in my life. I had dropped out of college that spring, unsure of whether I wanted to return to finish my degree or not. I had just started a new job after walking away from a company I had poured three and a half years of my life into, so I was on shaky ground as I attempted to prove my worth. On top of that, my boyfriend and I had just broken up with each other, but we had chosen to remain as friends and roommates. Those first few weeks of sleeping in a bed alone were some of the most depressing nights of my life.

Shortly after I had moved out of sharing a room with my ex and into my own room in the house, I had an episode that startled me awake at exactly 2:47 AM. I knew this because when my eyes shot open, the alarm clock that I set up across the room so I had to get out of bed to turn it off shone brightly the time in bright-red LED light. Once again, I was unable to move, speak, or breathe. It only lasted for about fifteen to twenty seconds, on the short end of the spectrum compared to ones I’ve had before. This one was terrifying to me, however, because I hadn’t had an occurrence like this alone for quite some time.

I never told my ex-boyfriend about what I went through since it happened very rarely, while he was dead asleep at night. And since I’m unable to speak or move when it occurs, there would be no point in giving him ways to tell if I was having a spell or not. It was something I internally went through when they happened, but having someone else in bed with me gave me a sense of comfort when the attacks struck. Now, alone in a futon with nothing but an alarm clock to keep me company, I suddenly felt the weight of loneliness drop on top of me, weighing me down much like the psychological rock crushing me that night.

I had decided the next day to seek help from my doctor. I had signed up for insurance through my employer, and part of the benefits included free diagnostic checks. I scheduled an appointment and saw him later that afternoon after I clocked out from work.

We went through the usual steps, from checking my tongue to hearing my heart beat. Once everything was said and done, he wrapped his stethoscope around his neck and asked if there was anything I wished to discuss with him. Normally, there was never anything I needed to discuss at all. I was a young man in excellent health, save for me being overweight. This time, however, I nodded, and the doctor gave a concerned look.

I went into detail of everything I go through when the attacks strike, from feeling like tons of weight has been dropped onto me to the inability to breathe when it first flares up. Once I finished, he nodded, tapping his pen against his clipboard as he set it aside. He clasped his hands together and looked at me with understanding and a tinge of concern.

He explained to me that what I was experiencing was a phenomenon known as sleep paralysis. It occurs whenever a person is falling asleep or waking up, but the individual becomes locked in a paralyzed state, unable to move, speak, or react in any sort of way. He did say, however, that being unable to breathe for a short period was something he had never heard of before. When asked how long I would be paralyzed for, I responded anywhere from ten to fifteen seconds to sometimes more than a minute. He sighed in relief. Although the breathing made him hesitant, it seemed the episodes were brief, and few and far between. He had heard instances of people who would be paralyzed for over an hour. I hesitantly chuckled, saying I had never had an episode last that long.

Sadly, although it was nice to know these occurrences not only had a name to them, but that I wasn’t suffering from them alone, the doctor simply said that there is no current treatment to prevent sleep paralysis from happening. When asked about my sleep patterns, I did reply that it was usually difficult for me to fall asleep at night. Oftentimes, sleep paralysis affects individuals with insomnia, sleep deprivation, or someone with bad sleep habits. He asked that we first try going to bed sooner and turn off all electronics an hour before bed to better stimulate sleep. I agreed, and left.

Over the next few weeks, I went about my life as I normally did. I went to work on the weekdays, chatted with my ex for a few hours before retreating to my room to play video games before bed, and hung out with friends or rested at home on the weekends. However, during some of my spare time, I decided to look further into sleep paralysis. Now that I had a name for what was going on with me, I wanted to find more about it.

I ended up stumbling upon a few websites that hosted forums for people to gather and provide information and support to those who sought others that had similar attacks. Most of these groups were rather small, but I did find a rather sizable group in the most unlikely of places. This particular website tailored to more supernatural theories of sleep paralysis.

Many in the group believed the attacks came about from the body’s natural reaction to traumatizing events that had occurred in one’s past. It was simply the sub conscience retreating to a fight-or-flight instinct from the exposure to unexplained paranormal activity. Some believed their bodies locked up when they relived their encounters with beings from outer space. Others still theorized that demons forced them into paralysis while they did torturous things to their minds and souls. One user on the site felt whenever he was attacked, he could hear voices telling him to give in to evil and let his soul descend to the depths of Hell.

I was intrigued, but I found the idea to be somewhat absurd. I was never much to believe in superstition or urban legends. I simply passed off their theories and “true stories” as people putting answers into their own minds. I favored the more logical explanation from medical science. That theory had facts to it, research, and was, for lack of a better term, natural.

Then, one night, almost two months from when I visited the doctor, I had gone to bed somewhat early since I was quite tired from the yard work and my ex’s side project of enclosing part of the back porch into a larger laundry room. I was exhausted, and I collapsed on my back onto the futon. It didn’t take me long to fall asleep.

I’m not exactly sure how long I had been out, but at around two in the morning, my eyes darted open. I looked around and attempted to move, but once again, my muscles were locked in place, and my mouth was clenched shut. I knew in my head that I was going through another episode, but even though I finally had a name to these attacks, it did not erase the sense of dread that washed over me when I awoke in this state. I attempted to adjust my vision as best I could to see what time it was on the alarm clock. Since I was still on my back, the angle made it hard to get a clear picture. I decided I would check the time once I broke free.

I started my normal ritual of beginning to free myself from the paralysis. I put all of my strength into attempting to free my fingers and toes from the locked position first. By now, I had gone about ten seconds with no air. I knew it wouldn’t be long until my breathing would return, so I wasn’t entirely too worried.

Then, ten seconds became twenty. Then thirty. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was still unable to breathe, which I should have been able to long before now.

I started to panic. I should have been able to breathe a long time ago. I have, in the past, been paralyzed for thirty seconds, and even longer, but never had I ever gone without breathing for this long when it happened. Something was very wrong.

Only then did I notice a sharp constriction around my neck.

Since I could not move my arms to check what was on my neck, I started darting my eyes around frantically to see if I could notice if anything had actually fallen on top of me. As my pupils attempted to adjust to the dark of the room, I happened to glance directly in front of me. I noticed something…odd, like something was out of focus. I then realized that I should have been looking at the large window that faced me from the other side of my bed. Although it was always dark in my room, since most sources of light would keep me wide awake, I would still be able to see light from the outside streetlights of my neighborhood shine through the blinds. This time, I saw nothing but pitch black. Had the power been shut off?

Then I looked further left and right, and I noticed a soft gleam off to the sides. This rather faint glow seemed to have about the same shade of the lights that were supposed to be on outside. I realized that the street lights were, in fact, on. But something was in the way of them, something that was blocking most of the light from my vision.

Something that was right in front of me. Right…on top of me. The weight was crushing, unbearable. The glow from the lights outside illuminated the form of a tall figure that was directly over me. And connected to this frame were two long objects that seemed to extend down in my direction.

They were…arms. Someone had their hands on me. Someone was choking me!

My breathing was completely cut off. How long had he been on top of me? I frantically tried to move, but nothing seemed to let me break free from his hold, like my entire body was tied down and crushed under the weight of a hundred rocks. I wanted to push him off of me. I wanted to break free. Hell, I just wanted to take in a breath. Things were starting to get fuzzy. I wanted to break free of this nightmare. I wanted to break free!

Then, a waft of warm air blew across my face. It smelled foul, like rotten eggs. I felt a drop of liquid hit my cheek. My eyes darted up, and I suddenly felt what true terror was. His face was right in front of me. He was breathing on me. He was drooling on me.
He was killing me!

Without thought or care, I shot forward, screaming at the top of my lungs a loud, blood-curdling scream that echoed through the entire house. My arms shot forward, attempting to grab hold of the man and pry him off of me. Would I escape? Would I be able to run? Would he come after me? Would…

My hands simply flew through the cool night air in my room, and my mind was jarred back to here and now. In that moment, I realized that I could move. I was able to break free of whatever was holding me.

Most of all, I could breathe again.

He…it was gone.

I was startled by my door slamming open, and my head quickly turned in its direction. There, at the doorway, was my ex, a look of fear across his face and a small revolver in his hand. I must have startled him awake with my screaming, and he came prepared to fight off whatever was attacking me.

When he saw I was alone, but sweating, panting heavily, and looking quite disheveled, he asked me what the hell had happened to me. In that moment, the sudden adrenaline rush I went through evaporated, and I began to sob uncontrollably, bringing my hands to my face. I then felt my ex sit next to me, putting his arms around me in an attempt to calm me down.

I told him everything that night, from the fact that I suffered from sleep paralysis to the strange nightmare I had gone through just moments before. He sat there, bewildered at what I had gone through, but feeling terrible that he could never do anything to help me. I shook my head, telling him there’s nothing anyone can do. I was simply glad I made it through what was no doubt the worst form of sleep paralysis I had ever experienced.

We moved to the bed in his room, where I slept for the rest of the night. It felt wonderful to sleep in a large, comfortable bed, and to have company through the night. Even if that person was my ex, that didn’t matter then. He was what allowed me to calm down and drift off to sleep once more.

I woke up alone in his bed the next day. I knew he had an early shift at 4 that morning, but I didn’t expect to sleep through him getting out of bed, getting dressed, and driving off. I suppose the whole ordeal had been quite taxing on my body and mind, and I was just too tired to react to any sort of movement.

I looked at the clock on his wall. 9:37 AM. Still early enough in the morning to enjoy what I suddenly realized was Saturday, the first day of my weekend. I inhaled deeply, reaching my arms out in a long stretch before exhaling loudly and climbing out of bed.

Whatever my mind had created last night, it was no doubt the scariest thing I had ever gone through. Part of my thoughts drifted to that website dealing with demons and spirits. Part of me wondered if that was what I had experienced, some supernatural being attempting to choke the very life from me. I scoffed loudly, pushing those thoughts aside. It was sleep paralysis, no doubt, and I somehow became frantic and paranoid since my breathing hadn’t returned as soon as I had hoped, and thus conjured up an explanation to my prolonged paralyzed state. It was over now, and there was no need to worry about it anymore than I needed to.

I walked to the bathroom to relieve myself, then checked my reflection in the mirror. I would soon walk to the kitchen, fix me a bowl of cereal, and spend the rest of the day relaxing, putting the events of last night behind me and starting what would be a lazy, game-fueled weekend.

But…something in the mirror caught my attention. Something about me was different. Then, when it dawned on me what it was, all the color drained from my face and my skin went cold.

Around my neck were deep, dark blue bruises…in the shape of two massive hands.

Credit: Brandon Harris

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Stairs

August 19, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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His eyes opened to the sound of his Alice’s bedroom door squealing open.

Sleep tugged at him, but his parental sense demanded that he get her back into bed. He heard her bare feet slap on the naked floor boards as he rolled out of the warm envelopment of his blankets. He clumsily put on his slippers, and stumbled out into the living room.

At the apartment she had always slept fine, even when she had been a baby. It was only since the move to this house that she had started acting strangely in the night. Getting up, wandering the house, talking to her ‘friend.’ The kid seemed a bit old to invent an imaginary friend, but it was an improvement. The first few nights in the house Alice had woken the whole neighborhood screaming

From the kitchen wafted the sound of soft weeping. He followed, and was greeted by an unexpected sight. His tiny daughter, dressed in her nightgown, standing in front of the open basement door. She just stood there, looking down into the basement, quietly sobbing.

He thought it strange she had not put on the light and even stranger that she would stand in front of the scariest place in the house, alone, in the dark.

He approached her, put his hand on her shoulder, and gently suggested “let’s go back to bed, honey.”

Without looking or acknowledging him, she slowly lifted her arm, and pointed down into the basement.

Had she thought she had heard something? Was that why she was up? He let his eyes follow her finger into the blackness.

Softly, comfortingly, he said, “there is nothing down there honey. Let’s go back to bed.”

Without even looking at him, she just continued to sob and point.

Something felt wrong, but he had to put a stop to this behavior. She needed to feel safe in her new home and to put away all these childish fears. Explanations hadn’t worked, now he had to show her. He stepped down onto the first creaking wooden step, leaned forward, and flipped the light switch. The illumination shocked his eyes but fortified his resolve as he heavily strode down to the very bottom of the stairs.

With confidence in his voice he looked about and proclaimed “nothing down here honey. I don’t know what you heard, but…”

Silently and abruptly, the light went out. Terror struck, he looked back up the stairs. There, his daughter stood in silhouette, no longer pointing, but standing motionless. Eyes wide, he watched the door, as though swung by a powerful unseen hand, swing shut, leaving him in the most utter of darkness.

He bounded up the stairs, once, twice, stopped and reached forward for the knob and escape. He reached, but his hand found nothing. He swung wildly at the wall for the switch but found only smooth bare wall. Gingerly he stepped forward and continued to reach. Surely the door must be close enough to feel by now! Slowly, he took another step, his hands blindly groping into the nothingness ahead, and his feet constantly misjudging the next step. One more step, two more, three, four…

He climbed and his speed and panic increased. It had already been at least several floors worth of stairs. How was this possible? Maybe he should try to go back down? It would be easier. Remembering that the basement stairs ran under his own bedroom, he cried for his wife. “VANESSA!” His voice seemed unusually loud, as if in a confined space, and echoed back towards him from below, “essa, essa, essa…”

The echo pushed him beyond attempting to rationalize this insanity and settled any contemplation about going down. No, going down into inky echoing nothingness seemed like a very bad idea. Better to go up into inky silent nothingness.

Cautiously, sightlessly, he resumed his climb, feeling ahead into nothing with his outstretched hands.

So many stairs and his legs ached. He turned and sat on the step. Alone, he felt a solitude more complete than he had ever known. Darkness, desperation, and despondency mixed in his soul as tears began to flow.

What was that? He sat bolt upright, and held his breath. Was that a sound? He strained his ears but only perceived the pounding of his own veins. Then, distantly, slightly, maybe, like a scrape or a whisper, or just a shifting of air, sound seemed to echo up from below.

Adrenaline poured into his veins and overrode his fatigue. He rose and heedlessly dashed up the stairs. Several times he tripped and battered himself on the steps, but still he rose and charged on.

Yes, he was sure now. At first barely audible, but rising steadily, a roaring whirling white noise. It seemed to be all around him, engulfing him, drowning out all other sound and sense. Blindly, his senses overwhelmed, he frantically sprinted up until “UGH!”, falling, impact, pain, rolling, hurting, breaking…

It was late the next morning when Vanessa finally awoke. She wrapped herself in her terry cloth bathrobe and made her way towards the kitchen. As she passed Alice’s room her maternal instinct lead her to open the door a crack and check in. Her mind was not awake enough to realize the incongruity of the child’s room, dark with all the shades drawn and the closet door, in front of which Alice sat, wide open.

“Morning honey.”

No response.

“What are you doing? Do you know where Daddy is?”

With an uncharacteristically serious expression, Alice solely turned her head and responded in her tiny voice “Talking to my friend.”

Vanessa withdrew to the kitchen to make her coffee.

It took an hour or so for her to finally open the door and find his battered and beaten body at the bottom of the basement stairs. Later the coroner would speculate that he had run flat into the closed door at the top of the stairs, had fallen back and broke his neck, and several other bones, as he tumbled down. The only really odd thing was that he was so bruised and battered from such a short fall down so few stairs.

Credit: Sasha Brokov

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A Night Terror

August 13, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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I felt something was in the room with me. Not someone, something. Something menacing and purely evil. As I’m in the bed I could feel the room growing hotter and hotter, a drop of sweat ran down my forehead and pooled at the crease of my lips. I could taste the salty taste of my own fear. My eyes were open, darting across the room, scanning for the presence. I saw nothing, but damn it I knew, I knew something was there. I see the clock next to me on my nightstand and it read 3:23 in the morning. I tried to move out of the bed…but I couldn’t…it was as if something was holding me down. My body felt like dead weight, my legs wouldn’t move no matter how hard I tried. The bed felt like a prison. I eventually gave up the charade and accepted that I’m not going anywhere. My wife was next to me in the bed. I tried waking her up but it’s no use…I couldn’t open my mouth to do so. Why? I don’t know. All I know is that I was scared to death and my mind was doing the talking for me, screaming “WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME!?”

After the screams subsided and I calmed myself a little bit, I heard a creaking in the room…the closet door was slowly opening. Jesus, the sound seemed to echo in the room, why hasn’t Sue woken up? I know she’s a heavy sleeper, but she wakes right up when the baby sniffles in the other room, this is coming from inside our room and there’s not even a twitch from her.

My eyes land where the closet and the wall meet…It’s hard to tell in the dark but I see, or my mind sees, a figure snaking along the wall. I can tell something’s there because even in the darkness of the night this figure is darker, the purest of black. What the hell is this thing? Why is it here? Again I try to move but my arms are still plastered to the bed. I can now feel the stickiness of my sweat at my arms, it’s created some sort of adhesive that adds to my captivity. I can’t move a damn inch even if I wanted too. Awful, invisible hands are holding me down, their fingers weighing like stones that add more weight to my body, making me more useless.

Just then the shadow…or whatever it is…seems to…disperse? Is that the word? Who cares what the correct word is? This would be one of those life and death situations where logical and reasonable thought go straight out the window, and whatever’s left is fight or flight…but my current situation allows for neither…so I have no other choice but to grasp onto useless thoughts such as how to describe whatever the hell’s going on tonight.

Disperse it is. The thing disperses and separates amongst the walls, a shadow here, a shadow there, branching out and enveloping the entirety of the room.

I start to hear what sounds like whispers, did Sue wake up? Is she seeing what I’m seeing and trying to wake me up? Making sure she’s just having a bad dream? While that would be ideal it’s not the case. It’s not her voice I’m hearing. Instead, it sounds like a mixture of voices that all seem to converge into one. The voices are a mixture between high pitched screams and nails on a chalkboard that all together make this ungodly sound, I still can’t believe Sue hasn’t woke up. Please…Please just WAKE UP.

The voices converge for a moment in the center of the wall where we placed the dresser two weeks ago. That thing was a pain to move but I would take the pain I felt that day over what I’m going through tonight. They disperse again and do the same thing back at the dresser like some sort of messed up heartbeat. I finally focus my eyes towards the sounds but as soon as I do they move again. Please, not again. This is driving me insane. For my own sanity I’d like to focus on something. Fine. If I can’t focus, then I’ll just close my eyes.

I close my eyes tight like I was five again, the time where I believed that monsters were under my bed and in my closet. All I had to do was close my eyes and they’d go away, just like my parents would tell me. As if not seeing those monsters, paying them no attention, would drive them away. Before this night I‘d say that was all crap, just some trick for parents to tell their kids to get to bed. Little did I know that I’d be here wanting to staple my eyes shut. I guess my parents were on to something. I open my eyes and the voices grow louder and louder almost to the point of breaking our bedroom mirror. I see my reflection in the mirror and at once it starts to crack, slowly cracking into bits and pieces. God, I can’t take this anymore…just take me now please…

Suddenly the room goes quiet. Nothing. My wife’s breathing is nonexistent, everything just stops. I look around the room and everything seems to be in order. The mirror’s till cracked, but only in one corner. Is the nightmare over? I think so, I can feel my heartbeat start to slowdown and my muscles relax, I still can’t move but I can tell that whatever was holding me down has loosened its grip just slightly. Maybe it was all in my head? I do remember something like this happening when I was little, like that time when I was seven and I woke up to see a figure next to my bed that was in the shape of a man, but not quite. Whatever it was it was, it was just a black nothingness that enveloped a section of my room. I saw it standing there and in about five seconds it was standing over me and reaching for my throat, then my dad walked in the room and POP!, he/it was suddenly gone. Scared out of my mind, I told my dad what I saw but he told me it was just a silly dream and that I should just go back to sleep. Reluctantly I did and that was the last time that happened to me, well, until tonight I guess.

Assuming the worse had passed I started to close my eyes again. Maybe I can just sleep this off and everything will be alright in the morning. I closed my eyes once more and start to drift back to sleep. I then heard this sound, this ungodly sound, coming from just above my face. It sounded like static from the tv when you bumped the rabbit ears out of place while the volume was all the way to eleven mixed with the insistent hissing of a mean old cat. Like before, the sound got louder and louder. What changed was the closeness of the sound. Earlier I could hear it from our bed across the room no problem, but I didn’t feel like it was close, just contained in one spot. But then it changed spots, hovering over my face with its piercing static.

I didn’t want to open my eyes, but curiosity prevailed and up went my eyelids. What I saw…what I saw…dammit I can’t say. I saw what I guess was a head, or at least what looked like a head, with static in between the black outline of where the “head” stopped and the ceiling wall began. It felt as if it was directly over our head rest. I looked up to find that there were no eyes, just black, empty holes that started and ended nowhere. I wanted to look away but I couldn’t, my attention was sucked into the abyss that were that thing’s eyes. There wasn’t a mouth but I could clearly hear what sounded like voices emanating from its head, as if each and every static dot was a collection of people’s voices and they were all trying to get out and warn me, to tell me to “run and get out the hell out of there!” Bad news voices, I can’t. I would if I could but whatever the hell this thing is it’s got me settled in pretty well. I ain’t going anywhere.

I feel as though I’m lying in a pool of my sweat and I’m pretty sure I’ve wet the bed twice. If the sounds that this thing I’m looking at is making doesn’t wake my wife up, then it should be the ocean of dirty piss-sweat that’s moving to her side of the bed. Sue…please wake up! I need you…

At that moment the voices stop. Everything stops. My sweat has receded, and the room is cool again. The only thing that hasn’t stopped is the staring contest between the thing and me. “Hello David” it says. How the hell does it know my name? I try to scream, but I still can’t. My vocal cords won’t work here. It started to speak again, “I’ve waited a long time for this moment, the right time. I know it’s been a while, but I came back buddy.” Then something protruded from the blob that was its head and just barely lands at the top of my adams apple. It’s sharp and cold like a blade and threatens to slice me open if I (or it) moves even an inch. It does the moving for me. I can start to feel the grip on my body loosen up, but it’s too late. I try to once more release a scream, but the thing cuts my throat open and blood starts to cascade out of me. I put my hands to my neck to stop and try to stop the bleeding, but the cut is too deep and all I feel is the hot, thick mixture that’s my blood seeping through my fingers. As the life drains out of me all I can hear is that thing laughing, LAUGHING at me. I finally worked up enough energy to do what I’ve wanted to do the entire night, to scream. To release all of the pent up fear inside of me. The scream seemed to pierce the air and stopped time dead its tracks. Then, suddenly, everything went dark…

I woke up to an empty bed. I turned towards the clock on the nightstand to look at the time. 7:23 am. Sue always left for work early so she could get a head start on the traffic, so it was just me and the baby. I look out the bedroom mirror on the other side of the room and saw that the sun had already come up and it seemed that it was going to turn out to be a beautiful day. I smiled at the thought because a bright day would get me on the right track. The baby’s crying broke my attention so I swung my legs out of the bed and walked down the hall to the baby’s room, the sunlight’s rays hitting my body as I walked past the windows. I enter the room and walked over to the crib and picked up the little bundle of joy that was my son. I love the little guy with all of my heart, but this morning I wanted to hold him a little tighter so I could shield and protect him from the monsters of the world. Even though I don’t believe that there are such things as real monsters, the parental instinct in me tugs at my beliefs and makes me consider the possibility anyway. I have to be prepared for anything.

I hold my little man close and notice that his shirt had a little red stain on it. My first thought was blood. In a panic, I examine him and find no source for where the blood was coming from. Everything seemed to check out so I just chalked it up to a random nose bleed on my part. I brought him to the dresser where we keep his t-shirts and grab him a blue one with the little dino’s on it that I love so much. As I closed the drawer my glanced landed momentarily on my reflection in the mirror we keep on top of the baby’s dresser. What I saw stopped me dead in my tracks. I saw a small trickle of blood coming out of what looked like a newly formed scar on my throat. I put my hands to my neck and everything that happened the night before came back to me. The heat, the fear, that thing with the black eyes that said that it was coming back for me, it all came back to me. I thought it was just dream, just a nightmare, but it actually happened. I didn’t imagine any of it. The blood continued to seep through the scar and panic filled the entirety of my body once more. I open my mouth to scream…but nothing comes out…my voice is gone. That thing took my voice…that’s what it came back for…

I’m back in bed now. Turns out Sue had decided to stay home for the day to get some things done around the house and she found me on the floor of the baby’s room crying and got me settled down to the bedroom. She knows I’m having a hard time talking but she imagines it’s just me overreacting to the bloodstain on the baby’s shirt, the new parent syndrome she calls it and I’ve got the worse of it. “But it’s my blood!” I try to tell her, but she closes the door before I can even dumbly attempt speech. Just then the room goes dark again.

The clock says it only 8:15 but it feels just as pitch black as last night was. I look around the room and then see the figure once more, this time I could see his face. It was pale white as snow but the eyes were still that definite black from the night before. He stands there smiling at me, holding my baby’s dino shirt. I yell, I scream, I curse the bastard but it’s all in vain. He laughs and says to me “Now’s my chance to finish what I started. Your father saved you last time, but he’s not here now is he? Neither is your wife. Just you, me, and the little one.” He walks, no he floats towards me and gets in my face, our two faces meeting once more, and then he whispers “and there’s nothing you can do.” He disappears and I start to hear my baby crying, crying for his dad to protect him from the bad man…but I can’t…I just can’t.

Credit: Dalton

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What the Happiest Dreams are Made Of

July 19, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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The following originally appeared in a train enthusiast subreddit on October 29th, 2015. The thread did not have an account attached to it, and the original post has since been deleted for spam.

“Hello,

Thank you for taking the time to read this message, and I hope you are indeed able to read it. This is probably one of the most surreal things I have ever written (to say nothing of the circumstances I’m writing it under), but it is undoubtedly one of the most important as well. If all goes well, this will be just one of several messages you should have received; the others are writing things, too, but we’re not sure what will arrive intact, or even if your side has anything able to ‘receive’ this.

What you are about to read may seem odd, and understandably so, but please – keep an open mind, and in the very least read through the whole thing before passing judgement on my tale. I apologise for any terms or concepts that seems strange or bizarre to you – I have been informed this message could reach a number of worlds where such ideas do not exist, and so I will, at points, try to clarify some of the more important things others point out as ‘issue concepts’.

My name is William Wolfstone, and I used to work as a law enforcement psychologist. A psychologist is a person who talks to people and tries to help them maintain mental health. As a law enforcement psychologist, it was my role to do this for police (you may call them ‘guards’, ‘security’ or something similar where you are). It was a role I cared about greatly, and had dedicated fifteen years of my life to. I was decent at the job, so much so I ended up being stationed in the capital city of my country. I was one of two psychologists who cared for the personnel who worked at the city’s police headquarters.

This position also put me in one of the best places to see what unfolded, it turned out.

It began a few months ago, when one officer, whose name I don’t feel comfortable noting these days, presented herself to me with what seemed like simple insomnia (inability to sleep). She couldn’t say why, but she was certain she was having nightmares when she did manage to fall asleep (nightmares are bad dreams).

She couldn’t really recall what they were about, just that the situation had been going on for the past month, and that almost every morning , she felt a sense of dread and unease that sometimes took the rest of the day from which to recover.

I didn’t think much of it, to be honest; this officer was a minority in the capital (and certainly the police force), and in addition to those pressures, she had, a few months ago, undergone a traumatic series of events. Those events had turned her into a media curiosity (the media in this case being people who exaggerate news to make money), and from what she described, it wasn’t uncommon for her to find the odd interview request or paparazzi awaiting for her when she got home.

So I chalked the insomnia and dreams up to simple general anxiety and some post-traumatic stress – I arranged fortnightly cognitive therapy sessions, referred her to a doctor for some anti-anxiety and sleep medication, and gave her my personal number should she need to speak to me at any time (sometimes people just need an ear available, and I was happy to accommodate).

But she didn’t call me. And the first few sessions showed progress – although it didn’t resolve the issues, the medication was helping a bit, she was getting full support from her family and friends, and she even found herself recovering from the dreams easier, although she still couldn’t remember them. I figured she was drawing on the strength of character she’d demonstrated during those aforementioned events, and was on her way to ‘willing’ herself through the issues, and it would all be sorted in a few short weeks.

Then something curious happened – one day, there was a knock on my office door, and another officer wandered in. He explained he was my patient’s partner and that he, too, had begun suffering from this insomnia. These dreams. His partner had insisted he see me immediately, although he didn’t seem pleased about it.

Whilst it was unusual for two separate persons to present with the same thing, looking through his files, it made sense he could be suffering similar symptoms – he too was a minority in law enforcement, it turned out he too had undergone the same series of events his partner did…

Another easy case to resolve.

After talking with him, it was also apparent that he had some lingering trust issues, and was perhaps a bit more emotionally sensitive than his partner (often making jokes and observations on others; classic mannerisms for those personalities). So in addition to the anti-anxiety and sleep medications, I scheduled him for weekly appointments, just to suss things out. He also seemed grateful when I provided him my mobile number – as I said, sometimes people just need an ear to lend.

Yes. It all seemed quite normal at the time.

But then, the following week, other officers began to show up to see me and my colleague, presenting the same symptoms – and it wasn’t just beat cops, or those who regularly interacted with the other two, either. It affected someone from dispatch, the police chief himself…

For some reason, a sizeable part of the station was beginning to have sleep issues, and it was quickly affecting both morale and performance. It was obvious something else was going on here; I consulted with the police chief, and we brought in the Centre for Disease Control to check out the station (a disease is something that can make people sick). They walked through the building and, as they couldn’t find anything initially, it was agreed that the department would be closed, the unaffected temporarily transferred to neighbouring stations, and affected staff placed on leave and strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible (it wasn’t thought to be contagious, but it didn’t hurt to cover bases).

I assisted the investigation as best I could, giving my opinion and ideas on what could have been going on (which basically boiled down to ‘an expression of mass-PTSD? I’ve got nothing’).

I wasn’t providing them anything my patient notes and common sense didn’t, however, so they stopped consulting me directly.

The CDC’s psychologists had sniped most of my affected patients, deeming it easier to track them themselves than through me, but I still kept in touch with Patient Zero’s partner; as I previously said, he had trust issues, so the idea of having to talk to someone new, someone who worked as part of a group interested in poking and prodding him? It didn’t appeal, and the CDC allowed it.

I recall I was watching the mid-day news when I got his call – the story had caught my attention, as it was about a local nudist club whose members had begun to present with some sort of ‘illness’. After I reached for my phone and noted who it was, I greeted the officer, and asked how he was going.

He sounded panicked, exasperated – his breaths were heavy and he choked out incoherences. I left the room so we could talk without the noise of the TV – clearly, things were not ok. He needed that ear loaned, and now.

When we were alone, I asked him to calm down, and to tell me what was going on. He couldn’t. After a minute of reassurance and empathy, I was able to ease him to a state where he could form words. I asked what was going on once more.

He explained to me that he was staying at his partner’s place, so they could both deal with effects of the nightmares better. He’d moved in a few days ago with a few token belongings, ‘just until this blew over’, and it had gone well enough.

The previous night, the officer had been unable to fall asleep on the spare sofa, twisting and turning for what he assured me was several hours, before he gingerly woke his friend up and asked for advice. She apparently suggested they share her bed for the night – it’s my understanding Patient Zero lived in an apartment, so space was likely at a premium. I’m also of the impression their close friendship was beginning to test bounds and begin development into a more romantic relationship, but that’s pointless musing on my end.

At any rate, they shared a bed together, and both officers found it easy to fall asleep.

And then, he told me, the dream started. That admission took my interest – no-one had recalled these dreams before.

He told me it began in a field – he was laying in gold-green grass, and the scent of wildflowers filled the air. It was welcoming, comfortable, and the only detractor was that the sun seemed to shine a little too brightly, but he was happy enough to keep his eyes closed, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.

As he lazed there, he found his mind turning to the events from a few months ago – back during the racial unrest that plagued the capital, tested his partner, and spurred him into joining the force in the first place. The memories were vivid, and he could recall every moment with perfect clarity. He told me it was like a movie of those events, but compiled from his perspective.

It felt so familiar to him, laying like this, reflecting like this. So familiar, and so right.

But at the same time, a small, building nugget in his mind told him it wasn’t.

He’d shrugged it off at first, instead enjoying the reflection on his past, but it strengthened, persisted – it told him not to doze, but to awaken, to fight.

Eventually, it got strong enough that, for a moment, the officer decided to comply. ‘I only wanted to get up and stretch my legs’, he whined.

And that was when he found out he couldn’t. When he went to move his legs, his arms, they only responded lethargically. Panic began to rise within him, and he struggled more, and more – but achieving just as little.

He told me that everytime he struggled, the sun seemed to get a little bit brighter, his eyes a little bit heavier, and he realised that, when his eyes were fully closed, he could still see the images of his past before him – less like he was reflecting, and more like his memories were being stretched out into a film reel run before him.

Vivid, with perfect clarity.

A weight slithered up against his leg, and writhed up along his body, before coming to a rest atop his chest. A voice whispered to him.

‘No. Almost done.’

The officer struggled his eyes open, and through the now blinding glare, he saw it, smiling down at him.

There was silence after he told me that. I asked what the ‘it’ was.

The officer simply began to cry.

I assured him it was only a dream, and he didn’t have to tell me what he saw. When he was calm enough again, he thanked me.

That, he told me, was what the dreams were – he was certain of it. It was this thing forcing people to re-live a period of their life every night, and he didn’t know why. I didn’t really know what to say – I had no-other patients to compare his experiences against, and whilst logically this experience was surely only unique to him…

Something told me he was right.

I stayed with him on the phone for a while, generally trying to calm him, whilst trying to make something of this new information. He was in the middle of telling me about the time he booked a friend for speeding, when he just…stopped.

Mid sentence.

For a moment, I thought the phone had died, either on his end or mine, but I could still hear breathing, so clearly that couldn’t be.

I asked him what was wrong. He didn’t answer.

And then I heard something else. It began quietly, but rose steadily, and surely – it was…laughter. The officer was laughing.

Again, I asked what was wrong. Then there was a noise, and the laughter became more distant – I can only assume he dropped his phone. I called after him, increasingly concerned, but he never picked it up again – the laughter drifted away as he presumably wandered off.

I’m told that’s normal by the others, and that there was nothing I could of ever done for him.

I went into my living room to use the house phone to call the paramedics – I figured I could call emergency services, whilst also staying on the line with my patient should he pick the phone back up. I was reaching for the phone when I glanced at the TV, and saw the news was still on.

As was something else.

I’ll be honest. I don’t like recalling this part of my life. I don’t think any survivor, either of this world or the others, ever fully deals with this particular moment. The moment when it was all over. But it is important to recount, for myself, just as much as you.

On the TV screen, there was some breaking news. The scene was an overhead view of Downtown, from the point of view of a helicopter camera, focused on police headquaters – my place of work. It took my mind a moment to grasp what I was seeing – for a moment, I honestly thought the things I saw in the image were something like those floppy balloons used-car lot have to advertise (a used car lot is a place where hustlers con good people for dubious vehicles).

But it wasn’t.

What it was, was…I assume you’ve seen something rotten before, yes? Fruit or flesh, particularly rotten, with writhing maggots and fly larvae? If so, that was how my workplace now looked. Except the ‘maggots’ were long, and had faces, rodent faces, whose thin flesh had been pulled taut across the bone, revealing every skeletal edge and angle. Strips of blood streaked down at points where the flesh had simply torn from the apparent strain, and thick veins snaked their banded bodies. Inside their exposed, cheekless mouths, their teeth clicked excitedly.

I remember the camera zoomed in on one as it was gnawing on an exposed girder, and how the large, swirling eyes inside that creature’s skull swiveled up to meet the camera almost immediately, like it knew it was getting it’s fifteen minutes of fame.

The creature’s entire body writhed towards the hovering chopper. It stopped, and its face split into a grin. Those wide, lid-less eyes fixed right on the lens.

And it began to laugh.

The rest of the day isn’t as clear to me after that. I remember watching that smile approach the camera, the screams of the people on that chopper as the image died, then me trying to pack, then just finding myself just running down the street. Part of me wanted to go to my friends, my parents, all of which lived in the inner-city. I wanted to get them out. But I’m afraid to say I didn’t even try. I lived in one of the outer suburbs of the city anyway, Cliffside – I don’t think I’d of made it to the inner-city in time the way those things…spread.

I don’t know if people were just stuck in their homes scared by what they were seeing on TV, or they simply didn’t know what was happening Downtown, but there wasn’t chaos when I ran down the streets of Cliffside. Just some people leaving their homes very quickly – if you’ve ever experienced it, it felt like that moment, the one before a riot happens? The calm before the storm.

I tagged along with a small group that seemed like they had supplies, and moved like they had purpose – a family, two guys and an older woman. We made it to a jetty down by one of the cliffs. One of the guys owned a boat, a small yacht-thing, and we planned to leave the city that way.

And we did.

It became obvious very quickly that we’d been lucky. The capital got a lot worse, fast; we didn’t see many other boats out on the water, and the news reported that those worm-things had begun emerging in other places around the city. That person-sized, cheetah-fast beings had begun swarming from those spots, murdering anyone they came across, dragging the bodies away to parts unknown…

The news also reported that the areas around the ‘emergence points’ were starting to ‘brighten’ and ‘soften’, but I’m still not entirely sure what that means; the mainstream news stopped broadcasting after that, and the people here don’t feel comfortable talking about it. They just say that it’s bad. Very bad.

The internet (a system that allows communication between people, instantly) stayed up longer than I expected. Wasn’t too useful though – online news sources either didn’t know what was going on, or simply stopped altogether. The general public was a mish-mash of doom-say and unbacked theories.

The only thing everyone did agree on was that the capital fell after just two days.

We headed down the coast to ‘Burrow, a neighbouring town renowned for its agriculture, but apparently things were starting to get unpleasant there, too. So we decided to wait for a while on the open water, skirting the coast. We did stop at one place, Stag’s Rest, but the people there were dangerously keen on the boat, so after that, we decided not to risk towns. We heard news that Stag’s Rest fell only three days after our visit – these things were spreading out.

We decided not to risk land in general after hearing that.

We kept traveling for a few weeks. Edging three months, I think. That’s a long time to live within 20 metres of eight other people. Tensions ran high. Supplies ran low. Things got desperate. Things I’d rather not talk about happened, in that time. People left. People died.

In the end, it was just me, the older woman, the guy who owned the boat, and the little girl who’d been part of that larger family. We’d traveled more than this small yacht was ever intended to, and everywhere we went, the news was the same; desperation, death, things that seemed to move in the woodlands that curtains the shore…

It was bleak.

Then, one morning, the ship radio picked up something – the first broadcast in weeks. We’d left it on just in case, but to actually hear something…

It called survivors to an oil rig that had been set up as a shelter, and it promised food, supplies, and that ‘the truth would be revealed’. The co-ordinates weren’t too far away, either. The boat owner thought it was a cult or a trap. I did too, truth be told, but a cult had food, and a trap meant death, and at this point…

I convinced the boat owner to set sail. We reached the rig that night.

The oil rig was large, and surrounded by boats – others who’d heard the call, which I later learned was sent out very rarely and only in short bursts, for safety reasons. The boats were the main reason we’d spotted the rig in the darkness, actually: the oil rig itself had just the minimal lighting on, a few splashes of yellow and red here and there. Again – safety reasons.

We exited the boat using this make-shift ladder to help people up onto the rig – the original gangway wasn’t intended for things as small as ours and the other boats, and the one that was was too dangerous to use this time of year because of waves.

At any rate, the oil rig was the sanctuary it promised itself to be – exiting out of the entrance into the main deck of the rig…it’s something I’ll never forget. People danced and sang around rusted equipment, and talked in clusters holding cups of honest-to-goodness hot food! I’m not afraid to admit I cried when I saw this place; I think everyone of our group did a little. It had been so long since we’d felt civilisation, after all.

We were quickly guided by a welcoming committee, who’d been informed of our arrival by the people who’d helped us up (I later understood why they wouldn’t want new arrivals to see too much before they’d been educated). We were guided into the ‘arrival area’ – a break room in the main building – and told we’d begin integration in the morning. We were also told we’d find out the truth then, too.

The next morning, we were guided into a nearby room that I assume was where rig staff received daily briefings. The community representative came and greeted us, learned who we were, and what our previous occupations were. For half the day, we worked with him and a few other ‘buddies’ from the community to figure out how we’d fit into this society, and what we could do to help.

Near the end of the day, the community head took me aside, and asked me questions about the state of my group, if I had any concerns about them, what I already knew of the events that had occurred…and general statements clearly probing my openness to new concepts and ideas. I wasn’t the leader of our group – the boat owner was – but I guess they deemed my background in psychology allowed greater insight. I assumed some of these questions related to that whole ‘reveal the truth’ thing, and decided to confront him on that matter directly; I’d seen some horrific things by this point, I was quite ready to accept many things, and I suspected the rest of my group was as well.

He conceded, and guided me to another room, where I’d meet someone who could tell me what was going on in private. The community representative assured me he’d be there and that although this person looked weird, they were friendly, and unrelated to what was happening to our world.

I braced myself when the door opened. In all honesty, I was expecting some sort of three-headed insect, drooling blood (that is something that does not exist on my world), but what walked in was…

I’ll be honest; I understand this appearance is apparently a common one across multiple worlds, but you have to understand, nothing like it really exists on mine, so I apologize if I come across as offensive in my description.

The being was about my height, and composed of tawny flesh that completely lacked hair or fur except for the top of his head, his eyebrows, and his beard. He wore a black, wrap around tunic, white pants, and golden shoes with curls on the end. He had a face and body structure similar to a family of mammal that went long extinct on my world; they were called ‘primates’. I’d seen artist depictions on TV documentaries, but they’d never been created to be so bald. It was quite odd seeing this being look back at me: no muzzle, snout, tail, paws, or claws. Again, I don’t mean to be rude, and whilst I was relieved to see another mammal, it still felt so alien to see something lacking such rudimentary features.

The man’s race are apparently called ‘humans’ in most realities. Hello if you are one, or know one.

The human shook my paw, let me recover from the surprise, and sat opposite me. He let me probe him with basic questions – something he was quite used to by this point – and answered some of my own. Even now it’s still remarkable to learn that mammalia in its totality don’t usually ascend to sapience; that, on some worlds, beings like myself still roam savage like my ancestors once did. A fact I’m sure a certain bigoted vice-mayor of the capital would of loved to know that back in the day, but I’m getting off topic.

The human, Aamir, then asked me a different sort of question.

‘Tell me, Dr. Wolfstone – Have you heard of ‘Disney’?’

It seemed odd, but I told him that I had. I hope it’s a word that means nothing to you; I’m sorry if you, too, understand it.

Disney is an ‘entertainment company’ – on my world, that meant they made cartoons and computer animated feature films (a computer is basically an electronic device that allows people to write, draw, play games and another way to use the internet). On some worlds, like Aamir’s native Arabia, they wrote books and made toys. At any rate, Disney was indeed something I knew of.

He explained to me that he was originally a guardsman from Arabia when his world began to undergo what was happening to mine now.

He’d been closer than I had been when it started, though. Very close.

The Sultan of his land was informing a crowd about reforms to tax law when it began – Aamir was a guardsman near the back of the crowd, waiting to keep dissidents in check should they disagree with the announcement.

The Sultan had just finished greeting the crowd, when he suddenly stopped. Mid-sentence.

Then he began to laugh.

The crowd had shifted uneasily as the Sultan continued to laugh – some were mad, assuming the Sultan meant to laugh at them.

But then, the Sultan began to choke. The crowd gasped, and aides rushed to his side, fearful he had fallen to some poison or malady. The Sultan clawed at his throat, before throwing his head up to face the sky in a sudden jerk. His body trembled and, from inside his mouth, a thing erupted forth – thin, gangly, and the off-white. It grew in height, and width, straining the Sultan’s mouth, before popping the jaw off his head. The crowd screamed.

The thing grew a rodent’s head with taut flesh, and grinned at their fear. Laughed at it.

Aamir tried to guide the crowd at first, but the thing on the balcony just kept growing larger and larger, soon breaking the balcony under its weight. He could see evidence of other such things emerging from over the rooftops, and the city beginning to burst in blended screams.

So, like me, he had begun to run.

And also like me, after he somehow escaped the chaos, he hid, far out in the desert with other survivors from his city. They were heading towards the next city when the group had encountered a group of foreign-looking people, ‘beast men’ like myself, and other creatures, all travelling behind a group of small, winged beings flying along – fairies. Fairies that had taken it upon themselves to guide survivors through the tears that opened up when Disney began to break a world down much further.

From them, Aamir and his group learned the truth – it was not just Arabia that was doomed, but the entire world.

The curse of Disney had come to them, as it had their worlds. As, Aamir apologised, it had now come to my own.

Disney, he explained, was not so much a company, as opposed to an entity – an insidious, living thing lurking in the space between spaces, a thing without form, only agenda. It wanted power over a world quickly, easily, and unopposed, and in order to achieve that, it needed to build ‘presence’ in the minds of that world’s people – an ‘in’ to pry through and enter a world more completely.

To achieve this, it seeded itself in various realities when it could sneak through opportunistic cracks in defenses – a ‘drop’ of itself that always set itself up the company, always in entertainment, always by a catalyst named ‘Walt Disney’ or a variant thereof.

It made sense the more Aamir explained it – Governments and entities could be opposed easily enough. If you formed a country and tried to take over the world, yes, you’d be known – but you also risked being crushed. Forgotten.

But something everyone needed, everyone wanted, like mere entertainment? A company that provided that well enough would grow, and eventually grow unopposed.

In almost all realities, Disney would work as inoffensive ‘feel-good-learn-a-message’ entertainment for younger audiences, because these audiences could create the largest market demand for Disney merchandise. Plant the most awareness of it in the most minds the quickest.

And eventually, when Disney finally gained enough power, enough presence to enter into a world and actually affect a world…? It would seep in quietly, and watch. Wait.

‘Wait? Wait for what’, I’d asked. Aamir looked at me with a weak smile.

‘A moment,’ He answered. ‘It waits for a moment it can use. It can re-purpose.’

He reached within his tunic, and withdrew something – a DVD. ‘Disney’s Aladdin’. A classic movie.

But, looking at the cover, it seemed…off. The Genie wasn’t an elephant, Aladdin no longer a fox, Jasmine not a tiger.

Instead, they all looked like humans.

‘This,’ Aamir explained, ‘Is something I picked up from a shopping centre in a place called Seattle, Washington. From the last world we went to.’

He looked at it grimly.

‘This abomination is also what remains of my beloved Agrabah.’

His beloved..?

In that moment, as my eyes widened and chest wrenched, I understood. I knew.

Every Disney movie I had ever seen flicked across my mind.

How many?

How damned many?

Understandably, it was a lot to take it. When they were told, the rest of my group took time to adjust to the idea, too.

But in the end, we did accept it. Our world was gone. The essence was being snatched through a moment to create…lures, for people elsewhere.

How could we deny it? It was madness either way.

And that is why I – why we – are writing to you today. We can no longer do anything for my world, but we can do something for yours. The last world the survivors went to (the one that went on to compose the property ‘Pig Hero 6’) provided an example of technology that could send things between realities. Send things before Disney tore the barriers. We’re testing the technology with simple things, like this data transmission, before we try anything more…substantial.

But if things go to plan, we will use this not just to find safety and warn others, but to fight.

If the word ‘Disney’ is foreign to you outside this message, and no such thing exists where you are, then be thankful, and watchful. Keep this message hidden, and let no-others know unless it emerges. If Disney is where you are, however…

Fight it. Don’t watch the movies. Don’t buy the toys. Don’t spread the stories. Ignore it, starve it of its desired power and influence. Protect your world by letting ours die. Stop Disney from achieving market saturation, from beginning to watch your world for that one moment it can use against you all.

We will never meet, and I don’t know if I will ever find a place I can call ‘safe’ ever again. The fairies say the barriers are beginning to tear again, and the group must move on. But no matter what happens to me, to us, I want you to know we believe in you, and that, if you try, everything will be ok. We believe in you.

Goodbye, and good luck (luck is…a concept that doesn’t matter, because you don’t need; we will win).

Regards,
Dr. William Wolfstone, PsyD”

***Author Note/Disclaimer: Obviously, this creepypasta was based entirely in the realm of fiction, Disney and anything related are not eldritch abominations bent on consuming worlds, and the author bares absolutely no ill-will towards the company. Infact, some of Disney’s more recent movies have been particularly great; go see one. Zootopia, Aladdin and Big Hero Six belong to Disney.***

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