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I’ve done my best to research this phenomenon, if it even is one, to no avail; there is not a single dream journal in print or through the Internet grape vine that can ease my unsettled heart. Two packs of cigarettes and a house to myself are all I have each night, and the light from the screen projecting the deepest and darkest corners of the internet are as comforting as a polite mugging; I just need to sleep without dreams.
A few years ago, my father died. He was a good, Nordic man, a sailor and a veteran with a heart of gold and a liver of blackened steel. After my mother stole my siblings and I away from him when I was a child, only to bring us to our jailor of an abusive stepfather, he has been my protector. My drunken, jobless, kind hearted saint of a father. In the last few years of the boozing haze of his life, an entire twenty-four pack of beer would be drained within twelve hours every day; each night he would fall asleep with a burning cigarette in his hand, and an aluminum can at his feet. Our ranch style deer shack of a house never burned to the ground, but that would most likely be an improvement. I’m currently nestled deep in the woods, the developments of concrete jungle miles away from the original homestead.
When he died, I was twenty-three years old. I had no family, no husband, and no morals. On my twenty-fourth birthday on an unseasonably cold day in May, I buried him. The priest and I had the occasion to ourselves. I’ve been doing drugs for most of my life, but the remainder of my money and pathetic inheritance fell into the deep hole that is cocaine addiction. A year ago I tried to sell my couch in exchange for a couple of measly lines; even today, I’m not far from that mess. No much longer after that, I tried to kill myself.
Earlier in that week, up to the attempt, I had been catching squirrels running lose in the attic, and had no idea how to get rid of them. So one day, drinking a beer on the back porch, I went to the sack I had them in, and tied it to the end of my black Mustang’s exhaust, got in and revved the engine for the entire woods to hear. When I opened the back, the corpses were charred black, slicked with grease and grime; it was then, I knew I wanted to die.
I jumped into her, my Black Widow, the Mustang, and shut the garage door. The ignition clicked over, engine blaring in the small concrete cube of a room. I laid back with a beer, and closed my eyes; not even crying. But fate, or so it seems, wants me to suffer; my father’s navy buddy, Ross, heaved the door open at the last minute, screaming, “Kris! Krissy!” and dragged me out, semiconscious into the gravel driveway. He saved my life, and after such a kind deed, he died of lung cancer three months ago.
Fast forward to two days ago; I was upstairs sleeping, and suddenly the door slams. “I’m home!” my father bellows. Clear as day, as certain as the keys I’m using are real. I ran, tripping every step, to the stair overlooking our door, to see nothing. Just the cold and reassuring loneliness that there isn’t a soul on Earth that cares about me. Even my dreams have started to turn.
For years, I’ve read scary stories. They give me a sense of power over life, a feeling of control. The words on a page that send shivers down your spine are a thrill difficult to achieve in other places, but there is very little truth in any story out there. But my dream, the dream is reality. Reality is the dream. Only in the sense that reality is the escape, not the other way around.
The night of my father’s voice, I slept deeply. The bed in my father’s old bedroom sits in front of a closet door, but in my dream it was blocked by something. At the wooden footboard of the antiquated frame, stood what looked like a man. Very tall, well over six feet, dressed in dark colors; he wore what looked like a suit, but memory on the clothes is hard to come by. His face was very long, almost a horse like quality, and pale. His irises were dark as well, and his expression was both blank and sinister. His mouth was extremely wide, and when he opened to speak, there were so many teeth I would certainly regret referring to him as a human being. But he never spoke, acted like he had changed his mind, and smiled. An ear to ear, wider than the Grand Canyon smile. And with that same grin, he lifted an overly long arm with boney fingers like that of a massive spider, and reached out for me. With his pointer finger out, he touched my forehead, but never actually made contact with bone; rather, the finger pushed my brain inside the skull. I felt as if he was informing me, touching me with knowledge, but what? I have no answer to that question.
Last night the dream was similar, but he wasn’t at the bed’s end. He was standing at its side like a family member stands beside the hospital gurney. He leaned in close to me, the features of his smooth and pale face nearly translucent and corpse like; the corpse that’s been found floating under six inches of bathwater for days. This time he produced two fingers, like a peace sign, and with the same terrible smile, pressed my eyes back, again never touching skin. His touch this time was cold, like having an ice cube against bare skin, only worse. On both occasions I have awoken from the nightmare with the closet door ajar, when it was clearly clicked shut each night. And thus brings me to my current predicament.
The closest thing that even reminds me of my experiences come out of works of horror fiction, and certainly not legends or tales from other horrified victims. But the symptoms have been invading from the dream world more and more; I hear frantic running up the stairs in the morning, doors slamming, whispering. The closet at the foot of the bed is cold, like a meat locker, and I can’t find any family photographs. And worst of all, the sun sets in a matter of hours, and the closest hotel is sixteen miles from here. Would driving through woods in the dark actually help my situation, or just be another chapter in a grisly paperback in a five-dollar bin at the bookstore?
I’m preparing tonight, with light and heat, as well as nailing the closet door shut. If I need to, the car’s garage bay is open and the keys in my pocket, but I haven’t been to hell and back to be frightened off by a figment in my own head. This is my only home, and despite the crippling sense of being alone in the dark, I certainly don’t need a friend like him.
Credit To – M.D.T