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Death Dreams

November 8, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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1.

I wish these birds would shut up. I’m trying to sleep… What time is it? The sun seems so bright.
Did I forget to close the sunshades last night?

…birds? I never have birds around my apartment. There are no birds in the inner city. I slowly open my eyes, trying to search for the ceiling. There is no ceiling… Damn, everything is so hazy. I can barely see anything.
I reach for my nightstand to pick up my glasses. I grab and miss. No nightstand?

I’m beginning to feel that I’m not in my own apartment right now. How could that be though…? I can clearly remember me going to bed last night.

I sit up, pushing the covers off me. There are no covers either. I’m starting to panic a little. Did I sleep here? Where’s here? Where am I?

The haze is still in front of my eyes, as if there’s a cloud of fumes surrounding me, with the sun slightly glaring through it. It’s not mist. It’s the kind of haze that would hang in front of your eyes when you’ve been out relaxing in the sun with your eyes closed for too long. Have I slept that long? Is it afternoon already? The air feels damp and it’s definitely not cold out here.

I reach for my eyes to rub the sleep out of them, but hit something hard. My glasses… I have had them on this entire time. But why is my vision so blurry still? I slowly get up on my feet and look around. Nothing. I can’t see further than 3 meters. I feel I need to explore and find out where I am, but walking around without eyesight could be dangerous.

My chest burns… I put my hand on my chest, but can’t feel any abnormalities. Yet with every move I make, an antagonizing pain moves through my heart. What on earth happened to me?

I look down and notice leaves and twigs on the ground. I crouch to feel the earth. It’s warm, probably heated up by the sun. The birds above me are still singing. I get the feeling I’m in a forest. Perhaps there are people around.

‘Hello? Is anyone there?!’ I shout.

Or at least I try to shout, but there’s no noise coming out of my mouth. Everything in what I assume to be a forest just went silent. The birds stopped singing and the leaves and twigs on the ground stop cracking as I step on them. What’s going on here…? I sit back down and try to think things through.

The silence is droning, the only thing I can hear is the thud of my own heartbeat. I lay down, my arms supporting my head. I never experienced a silence like this. I try to focus on what’s happening, but slowly I notice I’m dozing off…

2.

‘Goddammit!’

My bed is soaked as I wake up screaming. What the hell was that all about? I look at the clock on my nightstand. Tuesday, 10 AM… Great, I’m late for work. I get out of bed, freshen up and go outside. It’s cold outside, maybe 8 degrees max. Better call my boss and tell him that I’m on my way.

I arrive at work at 11:30 AM. Those damn traffic jams didn’t help either. The boss wasn’t happy and I was to come to his office as soon as I arrived.

Walking through the entrance hall, the receptionist smiles at me and says: ‘Are you okay? You look kind of pale. Are you sick?’
At this point I really don’t feel like talking to her and I reply with a mere: ‘Rough night, don’t get me started.’ and I walk on.

‘Come in!’ the man yells from behind the office door. I walk in and see my boss sitting in his chair that was about to collapse under his weight. The guy was unhealthy as can be and had trouble walking. He basically never came out of his office during work hours and led the whole firm from that poor chair.

‘Sit down. We need to have a talk’ he says.
‘It’s the third time in these two weeks that you show up late for work. And you know these are very busy weeks. We’re at the point of almost finishing up the biggest deal this company has ever seen. You should know this. You were one of the people that got us this close, and I know you don’t want to mess this up now, do you?’

‘No sir.’

‘Care to explain why you’ve been slacking off this much lately? Is it stress? Personal life? For crying out loud, if something is wrong with my best employee, I want and need to know.’

I want to tell him of course about the nightmare I had today. Not to mention other strange dreams in the past that made me sleep through my alarm clock. It’s not stress related, that’s for sure. But I feel weird telling about the nightmares that I had. Especially the one from tonight. But it’s just a dream after all…

‘It’s a bit of stress, sir. I can’t help but feel pressured by what’s going to happen these weeks, you know? But I’ll be fine.’

He looks at me for a few seconds and asks me: ‘Stress huh… You sure that’s all that’s bothering you? There isn’t anything else I need to know?’

‘It’s just stress, sir. Really, I’ll be fine. And I’ll get my act together, promised.’

Jeez… How about you worry about yourself first. You’re the one incapable of walking and are under heavy meds. Everyone has his own troubles, not just me. I can’t even remember what he meant with this big deal.

‘Alright,’ he says while smacking his hand on the desk, ‘Good talk. You can go now. And could you do me a favor and throw away this paper can for me, please? I can’t really throw it in the dustbin way over there. You know, with my back and all.’

‘Sure.’ I say.

A little exercise won’t hurt you though. At least it would give that chair some rest. But I’ll keep that thought to myself. Very well, on with the day.

It’s 12 pm, almost lunch time. I haven’t been able to concentrate much on work. I spent most of my time researching dreams and their meaning. I came across a website owned by a doctor who is an expert in explaining dreams. Doctor, yeah right. But who knows, maybe he can help. I want to get more information about these weird dreams I’m having. I’ll see what happens the rest of the week.

3 pm. I’m bored. I want to go home and watch TV. I don’t understand what all my colleagues are working on. Why do they take so much time to finish their work, while they could do it in two hours max.

5 pm. I’m going home. I don’t feel like talking to the rest of my colleagues about whatever pops into their heads.

8 pm. Even though I slept in yesterday, I feel tired as hell. TV is kind of
boring and I almost dozed off a couple of times. I’ll just go to bed and see what’s going to happen tomorrow. I take off my glasses and put it on my nightstand, next to the phone number of the doctor.

3.

Darkness surrounds me as I open my eyes. I look to my right to check out the time. 2 AM… I feel wide awake. I might as well go to the kitchen to get a glass of water. I get up and walk to where I remember was my bedroom door. It’s pitch black and I don’t have my glasses on. Maybe I should get them first. I walk back to my bed and sit down to get my glasses off my nightstand. A sudden shock goes through my body as I fall through the air on the cold floor. I reach around, trying to find my bed or something to hold on to, but can’t find it. Damn…

Did I forget where my bed was? I get up and walk around, trying to find the walls of my room, trying to find the light switch, my arms reaching out in front of me, hoping to touch something solid. Nothing.

I try to get my eyes adjusted to the darkness, trying to find some landmarks which indicate where in my room I am now. Unless…

No… not again.

I didn’t realize it earlier, but the environment is silent. I can feel objects cracking under my feet, but I can’t hear anything. It’s as silent as I remember it was the last time.

‘Hello!? Anyone there?!’ I try to scream. But words don’t come out. It feels like some sort of shadow is lurking around, trying to capture my every sound and blend them in with the silence. I want to start running, I want to try and find something to hold on to, but my senses tell me not to. I sit down on the ground and try to calm myself down. It’s just a dream, I tell myself.

Suddenly I feel something as I sat down. There’s something in my back pocket. I reach for it and take the content out. Hmm… Feels like a key chain. It has a button. A light! It’s a small flashlight! I click the button and a small light appears. It’s not much, but it’s enough to see in a radius of a meter. I get on my feet again and look around. Darkness. There’s nothing but darkness at the end of my light stream.

Fuck!.. Oh no…

There’s that pain again, burning in my chest, so painful that I can’t stay on my legs. The pain is excruciating, so bad that my whole body starts contracting. I can’t help but scream, let out a sound as loud as I can.

Suddenly I hear a seemingly distant thump and just like that, there’s sound all around me again, as if my scream cut through the wall of silence. There’s wind blowing, children’s laughter and I can even make out some gunshot sounds. The sudden orchestra of sound is so loud that I have to cover my ears to protect them. I get up, shivering from the pain going through my chest, trying to look around. It’s still dark as fuck.

All of a sudden I see something in the distance. A light. A moving light, slowly, but gradually getting closer. With my hands covering my ears, I struggle towards the light. As I come closer, the light stops moving. I increase my pace and start walking faster. I shout to the light, hoping for a response from something or someone. I get closer and closer and the light gets bigger and bigger. The wind is almost blowing me off my feet as I try to make out what’s holding the source of light. I stop moving and call out to the light source, looking for my breath at the same time.

‘Hey… Help me… please,’ is what I say to the thing. I don’t want to come any closer, even though I need help. Who knows what this thing could be.

Suddenly the light weakens and as it does so, the sounds of the environment decrease in volume as well. I take my hands off my ears and stare at the light for a little while. I see the light slowly getting less bright, until there’s almost nothing left. At that point I run towards it, knowing that it might be my only chance of help in this place. One hand on my chest, the other one stretching forward I reach for the light, but as soon as I’m a meter away from it, I hear a thump and the light falls down on the ground.

I hesitate for a second…
But then I pick up the light source and look at it. An old fashioned oil lamp, with a valve to brighten up the light… I open the valve so I’d be able to see more. I look down and see the radius of the light beam expanding. The light beam sheds its light on something. On someone.

As I increase the light beam, the environment gets louder again. The sound is painfully loud now and I move closer towards the body to see what’s going on. On the ground lays a man. His hands are bloody, his clothes are ripped… I move the light further up and see that his torso is full of blood. I move the light so I’d be able to see his face.

This can’t be. What happened here? The visual image of the hurt man shocks me so badly that I can’t see anything for a moment. I stumble backwards and after a few steps my whole body gets numb and without knowing, I drop the light, thus killing the flame, making the environment pitch black again. The sounds of the environment however, don’t fade. On the contrary, the sounds get even louder…

I panic and cover my ears again as I run away, far away from the body. My chest is still burning, but I’m ignoring the pain. I need to get out of here, need to get away. I sprint as hard as I can for what feels like minutes. Suddenly my left foot gets stuck and I fall over, face first on the ground. Woozy from the fall, I stumble to get up, but don’t succeed.

Stop laughing, children. Go play somewhere else. It’s not safe here.

4.

I open my eyes after what seems to have been days… months even. I don’t realize that I’ve been staring at the ceiling for god knows how long. I move myself up quickly, getting some spots of blindness in my eyes for doing so. Disoriented, I rub my eyes before looking around.

I’m in my bedroom. What time is it? What day is it? I glance at the clock next to me on my nightstand. Wednesday, 7AM.

I get up and walk through my house. I can’t believe that it’s not even been a day since the last memory I had of me going to sleep. I walk to the front door and pick up the newspaper that’s shoved into my mailbox. Indeed… it’s just the next day. How come I feel so weird then? Whatever. I guess I’ll go to work early today.

The streets are deserted. I’ve never driven to work this early before. It’s nice though, no traffic jams or anything. Every now and then you can see a pedestrian walking around, probably doing his morning routine. I like speculating what people do on a day. I see them walking and wonder… what is he going to do today? Work? Vacation?

I shouldn’t let my mind drift off now. Not while driving. But at least it keeps thoughts of what’s been happening the past nights away.

‘Morning Hank!’ I say to the janitor when I walk into the building.
‘Morning.’ He mumbles back. Poor Hank, always grumpy. At least I’m not the only one who isn’t having the best days ever.

I walk through the office, not sure what to do at this time. I know that if I’d start working now, I’ll be done around 11 AM, and would have to kill 6 hours doing nothing. So I’m just wandering in between the cubicles, looking at people’s workspaces. After two rounds of wandering, I notice something big and heavy is moving through the building. And sure enough, a moment later I see my boss driving to his office in his new modified handicapped scooter. I wave at him, but he doesn’t see me. He looks different from normal. Not as upbeat as usual, and he seems to be lost in his own thoughts.

I want to walk to him for a chat, but that would mean I’d have to start working right after that. Hmm… thank god he didn’t see me wave. Silly me. I’ll step by his office later today. For now, I’ll just go and chill in this cubicle. I lay on the ground and close my eyes for a few minutes. Damn, I’m exhausted…

5.

There are the birds again. They’re whistling. I like birds, but not when I’m trying to get some rest. I open my eyes and get up to see if I can scare them away somehow.

Huh… birds in an office? That’s funny.

As soon as I move my head above the cubicle walls to look around, the walls collapse outward, the ceiling fades away and just like that, I’m back in the forest again. Even though this area frightened me before, for some reason it doesn’t scare me that much this time. I can see. I can hear things, nice things. Birds whistling, the wind gently blowing through the leaves of the large trees that surround me, some animal sounds and crickets chirping. I look around to see what place I’ve been spending my nights in. I notice I’m standing in the middle of an open area, surrounded by trees. I can’t see the sun, since it’s shaded by the leaves and arms of the big trees. There are some small rays of sunlight glaring through the green ceiling. It looks nice.

I think I’m ready to explore. I start walking forward, only to bump my nose into something.

What the hell is this? Am I trapped in some kind of invisible cage? I can’t even move more than two meters forward. I move my hand in front of me and notice that my palm turns flat in the air. This is weird… I can’t feel anything solid… Yet it appears there’s something blocking me. I move myself a couple of meters backwards and feel another invisible wall against my back. What’s going on here?

I panic a little bit and turn around again to walk the other way, only to be stopped after an even shorter distance. What is this? I turn around again to feel the distance of the other wall and feel that it came closer too. Panicky, I start walking to the side, only to be stopped there too. I turn around to try the other side. Maybe there’s an exit somewhere. But with every step I take, with every turn I make, I get closed in more and more. The invisible walls press harder, until I can’t move anymore. I’m stuck.

I can’t move anymore. I can hardly breathe now. With every subtle move I make, I can feel the walls pressing against my body.
Dammit! I don’t like small spaces! I can’t stay in here. Wake up please… wake up! Someone help me!

Suddenly I hear a faint whistle. It’s coming from above. With the last muscle I can move, I look up and see a dot in the air, something falling as it appears. The dot is getting larger every second and I can even start to make out what the item is. It’s a rectangular shaped object, a metal case of some kind.

That’s an object falling. Right above me. Uh-oh.

I try to move my arms to shield my head but I can’t move them. The walls are really squishing my body now and I can’t breathe anymore. My lungs are on fire… This hurts, this really hurts. I can’t do anything but close my eyes and wait for the thud of the case falling on my head.

*Thud*

6.

‘I’m stuck!!!’
I yell out. I open my eyes and notice that half of the office gathered around the cubicle to see what the hell was going on here. Even my boss came driving around to see what’s going on.

‘Alright everybody, that’s enough. Back to work. Don’t you guys ever have nightmares? Come on. Chop-chop, move it!’ my boss says.

Reluctantly, all my colleagues walk back to their stations. My boss looks at me and is obviously puzzled.

‘In my office. Now.’
I get up and follow him to his office, ignoring the stares of my colleagues.

‘Close the door behind you.’ he says.
I sit down at his desk and look him in the eyes.

‘Before you say anything…’ I start saying, only to be interrupted by him.

‘Stop it. Just… shut up and listen, okay? I asked you before if there was something I should know about. You said there wasn’t anything important going on. Then you come to my office, looking like some kind of ghost from hell and start causing scenes like that? You’re kind of getting on my nerves.’

His face swells up as he speaks and I can’t help but look at the veins that start popping out of his forehead. Yeah… he’s mad.

‘And I’m going to ask you again. And I want full honesty here and I will not ask it again. If you don’t give me a decent answer, an answer I can do something with, I’m going to have to schedule an appointment with the company’s therapist to have a chat with you.’

He stops talking and engages in a raging cough mode, making his face swell up even more.

‘I… I don’t know what to say, sir…’ I start telling him, almost crying. ‘I’m just on the verge of a breakdown. I haven’t slept properly in weeks and some nights I have these nightmares that really keep my mind occupied all day and they scare the living hell out of me… Man… you know?’

He looks at me, kind of puzzled, then picks up the phone and dials a number. I look at the buttons he presses and I recognize the combination. He’s going to make a call to the therapist. I jump off my chair and press the end call button. With two hands flat on his desk I tell him:

‘Sir… please, there’s no need to talk to the therapist about this. I… I found my own doctor already. Yeah! I didn’t call him yet, but I think he can explain to me what’s going on with me.’

Still confused about what I just did, he puts down the horn and looks at me.

‘Alright. I’ll give you the day off. Go make an appointment with that doctor of yours if you haven’t already. Make sure to drop in tomorrow too to let me know how things went down and if you made any progress. Then I also got a favor to ask you, but that’s for later, okay?’

7.

A favor… he never asked me for a favor before.

I went to sit in my car with my phone in one hand, the phone number of the doctor in my other hand. I typed in the number 15 minutes ago, but I hesitate to press the call button. Come on, man… just do it. Call him.

10 more minutes passed before I got the guts to click the call button. I put the phone to my ear and listened to the sounds the phone made. Dialing… ringing…and a soft click followed by a low voice, saying:

‘This is Dr. Sethe speaking, how can I help you?’

I hesitated… ‘Uh yeah… hi. I uhm… got some bad dreams and uhm… I need help. I read you were an expert with dreams and such so I was hoping you’d have time to see me today…’

‘Sure thing, how about 3PM, that sound good to you?’

‘Yeah… 3PM is fine.’

‘Alright, I’ll see you then. Just tell my assistant that we spoke on the phone, she’ll know who you are.’

‘Okay. Seeyouthenbye.’ I mumbled out. I never have that much trouble talking on the phone. Weird.

I arrive at the doctor’s office at 2:30PM. The weather suddenly changed and dark clouds are forming in the sky above me as I step out of the car. I look up to see if there’s rain falling already, but there isn’t. The wind stopped blowing too. I guess this is what they call the calm before the storm…

I turn my gaze forward again and look at the building in which the doctor’s office is located. I guess I’m going in. It’s a pretty modern building and it really stands out from the rest of the street. I cross the street and almost fall down over the edge of the sidewalk, but I regain my balance before I do so. This building doesn’t fit at all. The rest of the houses in this block look kind of dirty, old, not taken care of. But this one… it almost shines. I kind of recognize this street too. But where have I seen it before? I can’t remember. My memory has been a complete wreck lately anyway.

I open the door and walk inside, looking around to capture some details of the building. As soon as I enter, I hear a friendly voice.

‘Welcome sir, you are the man the doctor spoke with on the phone?’ a woman said, while stretching out her arm to shake my hand.

‘Yeah,’ I say, while still looking around the building, ‘nice to meet you and such.’

The woman notices my confused staring and says: ‘Not quite what you expect in a neighborhood like this huh? Quite frankly, this whole neighborhood will get a renovation. Or well… the whole neighborhood will be taken down. Not good for the image of the city, they say. All will be rebuilt in the style of this building you’re standing in. Apparently they liked this building so much that they wanted the whole block to look like it.’

I look at her and say: ‘It is quite nice, yes. But all these other houses are empty?’

‘No,’ she says, ‘but word is that the government closed a deal with a demolition company, without notifying the civilians.’

‘Did they now?..’

‘Yeah… I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. Anyway, enough random chit-chat, you were here to see the doctor at 3PM, right?’

‘Yeah that’s true. But uhm, how is the doctor? Is he good? You think he can he help me?’

She looks into my eyes and says with a confirming smile: ‘The doctor is one of the best in his field of business. Don’t worry about a thing. Now, if you’d take a seat right over there where the chairs are, the doctor will be with you soon. Could I offer you something to drink?’

‘No thanks, I’m good.’ I tell her, and I go to sit down where she asked me to. I look at my watch, and see it’s 20 minutes to 3. Pff… all this waiting. I look at the window placed above the door where I came in and I notice that it started raining. I can also hear a very faint rumble in the distance. I listen to the sound of the weather, and try to pass the time that way.

8.

‘Sir?’

Woah… I zoned off for a while. I look to my left and notice that the receptionist is looking at me, trying to get my attention.

‘The doctor is ready to see you now. If you’d walk up the stairs, it’s the first door on your right.’

I get up and mumble a quick thanks to her, then proceed to walk up the stairs. First door on my right… right. I climbed the stairs and arrive at the first door. There’s a gold plated plaque on the door, saying:

~~Dr. Adam Sethe, Dream Doctor~~

I smirked a little bit at the thought of it. Having a title like this probably doesn’t get you much respect in the academic world, let alone in any world. But I shouldn’t think about him this way. He might be able to help me more than I expect. I knock on the door twice and wait for a response from behind the door.

‘Come in!’

I open the door and walk in. The room was very different from the rest of the building I’ve seen so far. Marble floors and walls suddenly turned into wooden laminate flooring and oak walls. I look around and notice a man, sitting in his chair. As soon as my eyes cross his, he gets up from behind his desk and walks towards me to shake my hand.

‘Welcome, I hope you could find it easily.’ he says.

‘Piece of cake…’ I reply to him.

‘Hm… well, let’s get started then, shall we?’

I nod to him and walk towards his desk to sit down. I wait for him to sit down as well.

‘Do you mind if I smoke?’ he asks me.

‘No, it’s okay.’ I say and he immediately proceeds to light his cigarette.

The man looks a bit old, yet sophisticated. He was your typical shrink type of person. Grey beard, grey hair and some glasses pinned down on his nose. I observe him for a little bit. I don’t even notice that he’s doing exactly the same. Only a few minutes later I snap out of my zone and notice that he’s staring back at me. Right as I snap out of it, he starts talking.

‘Right, now that we’re back on earth, I understand that you’ve been having some trouble sleeping properly. What I’d like you to do now, is dig through your memory and try to figure out what it is exactly that you’ve been seeing in your dreams, what you’ve been feeling and what makes you feel so afraid.’

I hesitate… I don’t like to think back to it…

‘I understand that you have trouble going back to your nightmares. And it’s perfectly normal. But to get to the core of the problem, you have to remember, you have to feel the thing that’s bothering you. Only that way I can help you. Take your time… there’s no rush.’

I look at him and notice that he’s serious. He waits for me to talk. I start thinking back to the first night.

‘The first nightmare involved three things that scared the hell out of me. My eyesight was partially gone, there was a silence that scared the living hell out of me and my chest was hurting so badly I could feel my body collapsing inward…
The second nightmare I had involved even more darkness. I couldn’t see anything. I was completely blind and could only see for what… 1 meter? And that was with a flashlight. I encountered a light, held by someone. I can’t remember his face, but it was a man. The man was hurt, bloody. Dead.
The third nightmare I had, was this morning in the office. I was stuck. I couldn’t move. I was trapped in nothingness. And the briefcase. What’s with the briefcase?
That’s all I can remember doctor. What can you make from all of this?’

I got out of my memory and see that the doctor isn’t in his chair anymore. He’s pacing around the room, lost in his thoughts. He then says:

‘A very peculiar case, that’s for sure. Let me first tell you that dreams are generally considered games of the mind. People tell you that dreams are nothing but an illusion, a practical joke played by the brain. But I don’t share that viewpoint on dreams.
To me, dreams have a red line in them. This red line usually stretches through several dreams, creating a story. Then there’s also a blue, green and maybe thousands of other lines that swirl around the red line, making up details around the story that the red line makes. The red line gives out facts; it basically predicts your future.

Usually our mind doesn’t remember what the red line of your dream indicated about things that are going to happen in the future. Yet sometimes the red line gives out indications so strong, that your mind does in fact remember it. You get the feeling that you already experienced a moment when it comes. That’s what people call déjà-vu. French for ‘already seen’.
As for you, my friend, the dreams that you may be having is a way of that red line, trying to tell you something, trying to make you see something that is about to happen. From what I understand is that your dreams are getting less painful right? I mean, you regained your vision and you felt a certain form of enjoyment in the last dream, right? At first, that is of course.’

I nod. ‘They’re scary as hell still. But not as painful.’

‘So maybe your dreams are trying to protect you from, or warn you for something. For some reason they tell you a story in a reverse order. There’s probably a reason for it.’

I look at him and ask: ‘So do I have to fear for my life? I mean… I did feel a lot of pain in my dreams.’

‘There’s no need to fear for your life, however you can’t be too careful. At this point you can’t really tell anything for sure. Just know that the red line isn’t always the dominant line in your dreams. Sometimes, the blue line sends out a message too. Your pain might’ve been caused by the blue line, but it’s only the red line that tells you actual facts. However, at this point you might not know which line tells you what.’

I look at him again and honestly, I believe that this man is crazy. I get up and reach for my wallet.

‘Righty-o. Thanks for wasting my time. Here’s 50 bucks. If you want to scam people for their money, at least come up with a story that makes sense. Bye.’

I turn around and walk away. As soon as I touch the doorknob, the doctor says:

‘Don’t come back to me saying that I didn’t warn you.’

He barely finished his sentence and lightning and thunder struck outside, making it feel like the building was shaking. The room lit up for a few seconds, then went back to its normal state.
I look out the window, and so does the doctor. He turns to face me again.

‘Well that was kind of cliché, wasn’t it.’

‘You’re a crazy man.’ I tell him and I walk out the office.

I descend the stairs and walk past the receptionist. She asks me:

‘How was your meeting with the doctor, sir?’

‘Bad, thanks, bye.’ I say and I walk out the front door, pulling my coat over my head as I run through the rain towards my car.

9.

I drove straight home. I open my door and drop my keys in the basket on the phone table near the door. I’m soaked; it’s been starting to rain even heavier. And I only walked from the car to my house.

The words of the doctor still float around in my mind. This guy… how does someone get so desperate for people to believe him. I walk into my living room and sit down in my favorite lounge chair. I wipe the water out of my face and rub my eyes. I’m a wreck. I close my eyes for a few seconds and feel the darkness taking me to sleep…

No… not now. I’m not going to sleep right now. I’ll take a shower first. I get up and walk up the stairs towards the bathroom. I undress and step into the shower cabin, closing the cabin doors behind me.

Finally something I’ve been looking forward to all day, a nice hot shower. I let the water flow over me, but it takes me some time to realize that the water isn’t flowing away the same way it usually does. Dammit, are the pipes clogged again? The water is up to my ankles at this point and I kneel at the drainage to try and find something that blocks the water from flowing away in the plughole. I can’t find anything… The problem must lay deeper in the pipe system. I guess that’s the end of my shower.

I turn the knobs to stop the water flow, but the water keeps coming. What the hell? The water has risen until my knees now and the only thing I can think of doing now is open my shower doors. I push against the doors, but there’s no movement in them. The steam of the hot water is building up against the cabin walls. I turn around quickly again to see if I can turn off the water anyway, but realize that the knobs are gone. Did they fall into the water?

I take a deep breath and go underwater to look for the knobs. I can’t see anything shiny and metallic, however the bottom of the cabin feels dirty. I scrape my hands across the bottom to find out how it suddenly got so dirty. I move my head up, expecting to get out of the water, but the water level suddenly seems to have risen meters above me. I try and jump, to get above it, but it doesn’t work. I’m starting to get out of breath and I can’t hold it much longer… I need air.

I push my hands across the surface of the cabin walls, trying to open the doors, but I don’t succeed. My lungs are on fire and I can’t help my reflex to gasp for air, only to fill my lungs with water. Panicky, I try and look outside, through the transparent doors. My vision gets less clear and my head starts to hurt real badly. With my last bit of vision, I can make out something through the doors. It’s the silhouette of 4 men standing there, looking at me. Looking at me suffering, wanting me to die.

10.

I jump out of my place, face first on the floor, screaming. I’m in tears. I don’t know where I am right now. All I know is that I’m tired of it. So tired. I breathe heavily trying to get my grip on what’s reality. I’m losing my mind. I’m trying to look around, but I feel dizzy and can only make out flashes of the environment as I look around. Slowly I start to see things sharper, getting a feel of where I am again.

I’m in my house. Okay, that’s good. Where in my house am I? There’s a chair… coffee table… kitchen door… Okay. I’m in my living room. I turn around and look at the place I fell out of. It’s my chair. I fell asleep in my chair. How long has it been? I feel my clothes and hair and notice that I’m still wet from the rain. Can’t be too long then. I look at my watch and notice that I’ve only been asleep for 6 minutes. Damn…

I guess I’m not sleeping tonight anymore.

I walk to my kitchen and start making coffee. Lots of it. I need to stay awake tonight; I can’t take another one of these nightmares. I guess I’ll be watching movies or maybe play some video games. But first things first. Coffee. Yes, that’s a good idea. Coffee.

Hours went by and I’ve been watching 3 or 4 movies at this point. Although watching is kind of a big term for what I’ve actually been doing. I haven’t really been paying much attention to the movie and its story. I’ve mostly been watching some moving pictures. I think I drank at least 5 cups of coffee already. What time is it now? I look at my watch and see that it’s 3:15AM.

Better turn up the volume of the TV to keep me awake. I look for the remote, but I can’t find it. Must’ve fallen on the floor. I get up after sitting for 8 hours straight, trying to see if the remote is on the ground. But mere seconds after I get up, my vision goes black, my head starts spinning and my body goes numb and I crumble down on the floor.

…should learn… not to get up… too fast.

11.

I open my eyes and see a familiar environment. The forest…

I immediately jump up to look around, scared about what might happen this time. I stretch out my arms to feel if there are any walls. But there aren’t. I walk forward and notice that I’m not bound to any radius to walk freely in. There’s lots of background noise as usual. Just like last time.

‘There you are.’

I suddenly hear a voice behind me, and it scared me. I turn around quickly and see someone I didn’t expect to see here. Not in this state anyway.

‘Good to see you here right on time …’ my boss said.

I look at him, surprised and say: ‘Sure thing, why wouldn’t I be?’

He drives closer to me with his handicap vehicle and continues to speak to me. His voice… it echoes a little bit. And some parts of his speech cut out…

‘Well both … good with you lately. So how … doctor? … it did, otherwise you wouldn’t have … right?
Anyway, yesterday I told … you. … pretty important. I want you to … operating in. There are some issues … close and I want to take matters … escalate and … mayhem. But I don’t … right? After all, you’re … big thing. Now then, let’s go, shall we?’

I focused as hard as I could to try and understand what he was saying, but I couldn’t make much from it. I try to signal him that I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but he doesn’t seem to understand what I’m trying to make clear.

‘Sir… I don’t really know what you’re getting at…’

He looks at me with a funny look and turns his vehicle around, saying:

‘Hahaha! Some joker you are. Come on, let’s go.’

I need to follow him, so I start walking after him. But his vehicle is too quick and starts speeding up more. I try to call out that he needed to go slower, but I realize that it isn’t him who’s going faster; it’s me who’s going slower. I look down and notice that my feet got stuck in the ground, as if the ground suddenly turned into hot asphalt, waiting to dry. I get more trouble walking with every step, and at a certain moment, my whole foot gets stuck and I can’t move anymore. I try to pull my foot loose from the substance that’s on the floor, but don’t succeed.

I lose my balance and fall over. My face hits the ground and the ground starts absorbing it as well. I try to pull myself out of it with all my power, but it doesn’t let me. The last thing I hear is the voice of an unknown man, telling me that I need to slow down…

12.

Slow down?

That phrase rushes through my head as I wake up swiftly again, noticing I’m on the floor of my living room. What time is it?

I look at the clock on my TV-stand and see that it’s 6AM. I get up, I can feel my body shaking a little. My head hurts, probably from that fall I made last night. I walk to my kitchen to get a drink. I might as well take some aspirin too. Damn, I hate aspirin.

I walk back to the living room and sit down in front of my television. I place my arms on the sides of the chair and feel the remote laying on the arm of the chair. Weird…

Let’s see if there’s something interesting on TV. I ended up zapping for two hours. There’s never anything interesting on TV anymore. The only thing that caught my attention was the news, talking about a storm that’s passing through the area. Oh well… at least it’s time to go to work. I put on my working clothes, brush my teeth and go out.

Indeed… the weather man didn’t lie. I pull my coat above my head as I walk out and rush to my car. I drive off and once again, the streets are pretty empty. Who can blame people anyway? With this weather, I’d rather stay inside too. At least I can kind of step on it.

I drive through town, approximately ten km/h above the speed limit. Suddenly I see lights flashing in my rear view mirror and I can hear an alarm sounding. Damn… just what I need. I pull over, turn off the engine and wait for whatever is going to happen next.

Looking in my side view mirror, I see an officer stepping out of his car, walking towards my car. I roll down the window to hear what he has to say.

‘Sir, do you realize that you were driving 60 in a 50 zone?’

I don’t really feel like staying here and talking with him for long. So I answer short and polite:
‘Yes officer, I was aware of that fact. I just felt that those extra 10 km/h’s couldn’t hurt, since the streets are deserted anyway.’

He looks at me, a bit annoyed and says: ‘Sir, do you realize that a speed limit still is a speed limit, even if the road is deserted?’

‘Yes officer, I realize that. It was my bad, and it won’t happen again.’

‘Alright, I’ll let you off with a warning this time. Just remember to slow down when you’re driving in urban areas, alright?’

A bell rang in my head. ‘Excuse me? What did you say?’

The officer looks at me and asks me: ‘Do you have trouble hearing, sir? Or can’t you grasp the simple concept of road safety? Slow. Down. When. In. Urban. Areas.’

I can feel my heart beating in my throat. I nod to the officer and roll up the window as he walks away. Slow down… slow down… Déjà vu?

I sit idle for a few minutes, before turning on the engine again and driving off. I turn my rear view mirror towards me and see that my skin turned very pale all of a sudden.

13.

I simple refuse to believe the words of the doctor. That man was out of his mind. Dreams predicting the future? No way.

I arrive at the office, park my car and run to the entrance, with my coat covering my head. I don’t greet the receptionist, nor Hank and walk straight up towards my boss’ office.

As I arrive there, I knock on the door and rush in as soon as I heard my boss saying I could come in.

‘There you are. Good to see you here right on time …’ my boss says.

I look at him, surprised and say: ‘Sure thing, why wouldn’t I be?’

Only just realizing what happened when I came in, I quickly cover my mouth. My boss looks at me, a bit confused, but proceeds to talk.

‘Well both you and I know that things haven’t been going very good with you lately. So how was your visit with the doctor? Did it do any good? Surely it did, otherwise you wouldn’t have been here at this time, right?’

I don’t even know what to answer. He continues talking.

‘Anyway, yesterday I told you about this favor I wanted to ask you. It’s pretty important. I want you to accompany me to visit the area that we’re going to be operating in. There are some issues concerning this deal we’re about to close and I want to take matters into my own hand, before things escalate and could probably cause a lot of mayhem. But I don’t have to tell you that, right? After all, you’re the main man who led us to this big thing. Now then, let’s go, shall we?’

There’s the ongoing feeling of déjà vu again. In the past I would always try and continue a déjà vu for as long as possible, before my memory lost the trail of what was going to happen next…

But this time I don’t want that to happen. I want to tell my boss that I can’t do him this favor, but all that comes out of my mouth is:

‘Sir… I don’t really know what you’re getting at…’

My boss drives around his desk towards the door, turns his head and laughs, calling me a joker.
‘Come on, let’s go.’

I’m scared. Could the doctor be right?

14.

‘Let’s take my car, it’s modified to carry me and my vehicle around,’ my boss says as he throws his keys towards me. I catch them and look at them. I notice my hands are shaking too. The déjà vu ended, but still I couldn’t help but think about what the doctor had told me. I walked to the driver’s door, opened it and sat down. It took me a minute to realize that my boss wasn’t entering the car.

Right… he doesn’t walk. I get out of the car and walk to the back of the car. My boss is sitting there with a funny look on his face. I can’t blame him. It’s pouring outside and both of us are already soaked from the trip from the office to the car. I open the back doors and jump in the car to bring out the rails that are kept in the back. My boss drives over them, giving me a faint smile as he enters the vehicle. I fasten the straps to keep his vehicle steady, put the rails back in and jump out the back.

Right… now. Where to go?
I get in the driver’s seat and start the car. There’s a walkie-talkie on the dashboard. It has a flashing light on it. I pick up the mic and say:

‘Boss? You can hear me?’

I wait for a response and sure enough, he can hear me.
‘Yeah buddy, I hear you,’ he says. ‘Now, I want you to drive to the address that’s pinned down under the sun visor. The address should be familiar to you; you’ve seen it many times before. In case you don’t know how to get there, there’s a GPS installed in the car.’

For some reason, I don’t need it. I do remember the address. I’ve seen it yesterday. I know exactly how to get there, although I don’t know how I know.
As I start driving, the rain starts getting heavier as well. The windshield wipers are at full speed and are having a hard time wiping away the enormous amounts of water which are flowing on the window…

My brain is on autopilot right now. I don’t have to focus on controlling the car. All that’s on my mind at this point is the gnawing feeling of discomfort.

‘Boss? Could you remind me who we are visiting again?’ I ask him.

‘What’s wrong with you, man? We’ve been struggling with this issue for a long time now. And I finally figured a way to get rid of the issue and you can’t even remember what this is all about? Sometimes I think you’re not as smart as you usually seem on a normal day.’

A loud laugh followed his demeaning comments. I keep on driving without talking. But the closer we get to the destination, the more anxious I feel.

Arriving at our destination, I try to make out some landmarks. I’m trying to see why this place seems so familiar. But the rain is too heavy to see anything through the windows. I pick up the walkie and say:

‘Boss… we’re here.’

‘Good,’ he replies to me. ‘Could you unload me please? Bwahahaha!!! That sounded disrespectful if I do say so myself. But in all seriousness, could you help me out?’

I take a look out the window, already feeling the amount of water I will get over me if I get out now.

‘Sir? Don’t you think it’s better to wait for it to dry a little bit before we get out?’

‘Nonsense. What are you made of? Sugar? Come and get me out of here. We can’t be late for our meeting.’

Reluctantly, I put down the walkie, take the keys out of the contact and open the door. I jump out quickly and within seconds, I’m soaked. Running to the back of the car, I try to look around to see if I recognize the place. I… I do recognize it… I know I shouldn’t be here.

I stand still for a few seconds, trying to push away the feeling of panic that suddenly came over me. I hear my boss smacking the inside of the car. Quickly, I get out of my zone and walk towards the back of the car. I open the door and my boss is ready to drive out. He drives forward without waiting for me to put down the rails and jumps his vehicle out of the car. A loud smack follows, but his vehicle still works.

‘Slowpoke…’ he mumbles to me. ‘Come on, let’s go, we’re running late.’

I look at him while he drives off and I walk after him. But I want to get an explanation from him. I start talking as I walk.

‘Hey! Just… stop there. With all due respect, sir, I’ve been asking you several times what this was all about. And you just won’t answer me. Really, I need to know what we are about to do. I’m not joking around here… My mind is a complete blank! I really… really don’t know what this big thing is all about. So please, I’m asking you. What are we about to do?’

He stops his vehicle from moving and looks back at me.

‘My friend… obviously you haven’t had the best days ever. I realize that. But this thing we’re about to take care of? It’s not something to forget about, even if you’re stressed out. Especially since you and me are the ones who caused it. These people we are about to meet aren’t in the best time of their lives right now, and it’s because of us. Personally, I don’t give a damn about them. But it’s time to take care of business. And if your mind is troubling you, well… you should’ve thought about that before we caused all of this. Now get your act together and stop pretending you can’t remember shit! There’s loads of money to win or lose here. And I’d rather choose to win.’

He drove onwards after his speech and I reluctantly follow him, still unclear about what I’m doing here. The rain keeps falling down on us, the wind blowing in our backs. I can’t stand the rain anymore, I can’t see how my boss can be so unmoved by it. This whole time I’m following him, I’m looking at him, trying to figure out what he means to say. Damn, I can’t even remember what kind of work I do. Is it because of my nightmares that I remember so very few about my life?

My boss suddenly stops in front of a dark alleyway.

‘Here it is.’

15.

I look inside the alleyway and wonder what kind of meeting he has set up.

‘It’s here? In this alleyway?’

‘Yes. It is. What’s the matter? Afraid of the darkness?’

I don’t want to admit it to him, but I am in fact afraid of the darkness. Especially after the past few days and nights. My boss turns his vehicle, switches on his headlights and drives into the alley. I can see the rain falling quickly and swiftly in front of the light beam, once again reminding me of the terrible weather.

I stop walking for a second. I feel something… I feel familiarity with this place. I turn around to see what’s across the street. I squint to make out some details of the building across it. My eyes suddenly grow bigger as I see where I am… I gasp for air as fear runs through my body. I wipe away the water from my face, hoping that what I saw was just an illusion. But it’s not. I’m looking straight at the doctor’s building. My memory… it’s much clearer all of a sudden.

‘Hey! Stop slowing us down!’ my boss yells at me.

I quickly turn around and run towards him. I jump in front of his vehicle, begging him to stop moving.

‘Stop… please. I have a bad feeling about this. I… I remember now. This neighborhood. It’s going to be torn down, right? We were planning to destroy it, right? That’s what this is all about, isn’t it?’

My boss looks at me and smiles. ‘Welcome back to the demolition team, my friend.’

He starts moving further, pushing me aside, leaving me standing there with nothing but his empty response.

Though I remember now. It’s my job.
I’m the person responsible for the upcoming destruction of this part of town…
But I can’t stay here alone. I need to follow my boss and help him out. I can’t leave him to do this on his own, especially since my senses tell me that things aren’t going to end too well today…
I walk after him into the alleyway, until he suddenly stops driving. I stop as well and try to see what’s at the end of the alley. The rain is flowing down my face, getting into my nose and mouth as I breathe. It’s so heavy that it almost feels as if I’m drowning while standing here.

Drowning?

Oh god no… a fear shook through my heart as I look down the alleyway and make out a silhouette in the distance. I remember this. The rain, the feeling of drowning. The 4 men.

I shout to my boss:
‘Boss! We need to get out of here! NOW! It’s a trap!’

He turns his head around to look at me, shocked by my sudden panic. His mouth opens to tell me something. But before he can make out a sound, I feel a hard hit on the back of my head, instantly making my vision blurry. I drop down on the ground, into the cold water that was pouring down my face before.

16.

‘100 grant? He wanted to give us a 100 grant to silence us?’

‘It would’ve taken a lot more to convince us. The greedy son of a bitch. Did he really think that he would get away with a lousy offer like this?’

‘Doesn’t matter now. We keep the money and we’ll get rid of those two.’

‘It doesn’t feel right to me. 100 grant to be divided amongst us? What about all the families that will lose their house because of these two?’

‘Come on, man. Think logically for once. No main contractor, no deal with the government, no destruction of the area. Should make sense.’

‘Maybe you’re right… But are you willing to kill two people for a 100 grant?’

‘These two here aren’t people. They’re vermin. The dirt of today’s society. All they care about is money and that’s it.’

‘Alright, so… we split the money even? 20,000 each?’

‘Sure.’

I hear 5 voices around me. I slowly am able to open my eyes. I notice I’m not outside anymore. The floor on which I’m laying is dry. I feel cold. I try to make a sound and ask what’s going on. Before I can even say anything, one of the men notices I’m not knocked out anymore. He walks towards me and kneels in front of me. He starts talking to me.

‘Hey there sunshine… how was your sleep? I wouldn’t worry too much if it wasn’t good, because soon enough you won’t have to worry about sleeping anymore. Hell, you don’t even have to worry about waking up either.’

He gets up again and walks towards the table they were standing around to pick up something. I hear two clicks and the man appears to pick up something heavy. I try to see what it is, but I already know what’s coming. I try to shield my face from the briefcase he’s going to hit me with, but I can’t move my arms quickly enough. I feel a pain flashing through my head and I lose consciousness again.

17.

I can’t move again. I’m stuck. I try to move my body, but it feels just like in my dream. Am I dreaming now? I could be. But I don’t think so. This feels a lot more vivid than it would in a dream. I try to feel what’s holding me from moving.

It’s not the invisible walls. It’s rope. My wrists are tied to something, my middle is too. The rope is so tight that I have trouble breathing. I can’t move my legs either.

It appears I’m in some kind of cellar. There’s light shining through a small window above me. It looks like I’m below the floor. It has stopped storming and raining too…

Fuck! My boss! I didn’t even think about him. I try to look around to see if I can find any trace of him around me. I want to call out for him, but I know that it’s not the best idea at this point. I start moving, trying to get out of this chair. I’m moving my entire body, trying to get loose. But I don’t succeed. I lose my balance bouncing around, and fall down on the floor.

So this is what the doctor wanted to make me see. He was right. He was oh so right. My dreams did tell me what was about to happen. And I just let it happen too. Why didn’t I want to listen? I could’ve still been in my apartment, watching movies at this point… I close my eyes and let out a single tear. I feel my end is nearing. If my dreams were accurate so far… who knows what’s going to happen to me.

I didn’t even finish my thought or the door on top of the stairs that led down to the cellar flew open. I quickly turned my gaze towards the door and in the door opening I see the same image I saw in my dream.

It’s a man. His clothes are ripped. He’s bloody. He’s dead.

My boss’ lifeless body tumbled down the stairs, making the dust on the floor spread out as he hit the cold stone tiles. I look at the body and I can’t believe what I’m seeing.

Why did I ignore the dream I had? Why did I… Two men come running down the stairs, before I can finish my thought. They cut me loose from my chair and drag me up the stairs. No matter how much I struggle to get out of their grip, I don’t succeed.

‘Please… I don’t want to die. Don’t do this please… I didn’t mean to do what I did. It was an accident…’

I look at them desperately, but they don’t seem to be interested in whatever I have to say. I get dragged to what looks like a hallway. The 5 men are looking at me as I get dropped on the floor. I keep begging them not to do what they did to my boss. One man steps forward and holds a piece of cloth in front of him.

‘No… I don’t want that. I don’t like the darkness. Don’t put it on, please. Don’t blindfold me; I’m afraid of the darkness!’

The man doesn’t seem to want to listen and he puts it on anyway. I struggle to make sure he can’t put it on. But with the last bit of energy I have in my body, I can’t really get much done.

‘Hey… Hey! Stop struggling. It’s not like you can do something anyway. It’s better that we blindfold you before doing this.’

I ask him: ‘Do what?’

The man sighs, some of the others laugh.

‘What? You think we were going to throw you a surprise party? Nah, it’s much different from that. You see, what we’re about to do, doesn’t just benefit us. People like you… people who only care about money and their precious business, they destroy this world. Let me ask you, rhetorically of course, because I can’t really care about what you actually have to say for yourself; how much money would you’ve made, from destroying this block?

2 million? Perhaps 3 million?
Not a bad score. For destroying hundreds of people’s lives!!!’

The man fell silent for a few seconds after that outburst. I can hear him pacing around the room.

‘Were you really able to live with that on your conscience?
Are you really that cold of a stone? Surely you’re not going to make me believe that ‘you didn’t know’?
Because we all know that you did know. And not just you, no… that dirt bag of a boss of yours too. And you saw what happened to him.’

I reply to him, desperately:
‘Please man… I’m sorry. I really am.’

He laughs at my response and proceeds to talk:‘Sorry? You’re sorry? Bullshit you are… You’re sorry because you’re about to die. And dying you will. Goodbye.’

Oh god… I close my eyes, waiting for what’s about to happen. I can already feel the pain from my dream rushing through me. I can hear the sound of a gun clicking, then firing two, three times. I can feel the bullets piercing my chest, giving me the actual pain I’ve felt in my dream too. Only this time… it’s real. And I won’t wake up. It’s not a dream. It’s reality… The pain is real. And my dying is real.

18.

‘No it’s not.’

I hear a faint voice, slowly getting closer.

‘It isn’t real. Well… it WAS real. Past tense. So did you find out what you wanted to know?’

I open my eyes and notice that I’m lying on a couch. I look up and let my gaze flow around the room I’m in. Oak walls… I move myself upward to get my orientation back.

‘Not that easy, was it? Most of my clients don’t take stuff like this seriously. But as I said before, it does hurt and it might make you feel empty afterwards. But for some that’s a good thing.’

My vision slowly becomes less blurry. I sit on the side of the couch, my head in between my hands, trying to figure out what just happened.

‘Don’t shield yourself from what’s here and now, my friend. And stop dwelling in the past. You came to me looking for answers. And answers you got…
Here, take this, it’ll help with the headache.’

I take the mug that the man is offering me. His voice sounds familiar. I look up and stare into a pair of familiar looking eyes.
‘Doctor Sethe?’

‘Call me Adam, please,’ he said with a confirming smile. I wanted to ask him some things; I wanted to clear up what just had happened to me.

‘Hey… did I just die? Am I dreaming right now? What did you do to me in the office that I don’t know of?’

He sits back down at his desk and puts his feet on the table.

‘Well, well, looks like you won’t change. Always looking for answers, never satisfied with what you got. Alright then, here we go: Yes, you died. You are dead. Did you die just now? No, you didn’t. Now, with that information, let that brain of yours work and start digging in your memory. Why are you here with me?’

I start thinking… I start running through the flashes of my memory, trying to look for some images that can explain what happened to me. Flash after flash runs through my mind, until I encounter something I haven’t seen in the past days. Everything in the memory is grey. I close my eyes and focus on the moving images.

19.

I see myself walking around, trying to talk to random people that are walking around a cold, grey looking area. Nobody seems to want to respond to me. Their skin looks pale and rotten. They don’t have hair. All they do is shuffle around, not sure where to go. I look at my own hands and I notice that my skin has gotten pale as well. Everything is silent. There’s no noise.
Every now and then one of my own thoughts breaks through the barrier of silence.

‘Help me…’ is what I say. ‘Help me figure out what happened to me.’

But nobody seems to be able to hear me. I look around me, trying to see if there’s something or someone who can help me. In the distance is a building. None of the other people seem to notice it. I start walking towards the large building.

After what seemed to have been an eternity, I arrive at the building. The material looks brand new, and it seems to shine more than anything else in this area. I walk up the stairs and open the door.

I walk in. As soon as I enter, there’s a man lifting himself out of a chair in the large hallway. There seems to be sound again… He walks towards me and says:

‘Glad you could come. I was expecting you. Follow me and I promise you that after this, you will feel much better. Dr. Adam Sethe is the name, nice to meet you.’

A huge flash suddenly kills my vision and I feel a sickening lurch, pulling me out of the memory. The flash slowly fades away and I’m back in the doctor’s office.

‘You remember now, do you?’ He said.

‘I came to you… for help. I wanted to know how I died. You’ve been helping me figure out how I came to my end!’

He nods, then proceeds to speak: ‘That’s right, I did. And I have to tell you, you didn’t die in the most comfortable way. But then again, you probably deserved it, right?’

I look at him and want to protest, but I know deep down that he’s right.

‘Yes, Adam. I deserved it. But I still don’t get it. All this time I was tracing back my steps, thinking I was living in the real world. But if I understand correctly, I had already been dead this entire time?’

‘Correct.’

‘Then what was the forest all about? My nightmares I was having? The shower, the darkness, the pain? That all actually happened somewhere around… here? The real world I thought I was living in was nothing but an illusion? A dream?’

‘Correct.’

‘But how?’

‘Take a look at this.’ He gets out of his chair and walks to the window. ‘Come now, you might want to see this to fully understand.’

I get up and walk to the window to look out.
‘It’s the forest! It’s so vivid compared to the rest of the grey environment…
You… you’ve been watching me go through all the horror? Or… was it you who made that happen?’

‘Well, if you put it that way, it may seem pretty harsh, but that’s basically true, yes. You came to me, hoping to reclaim some of your memory. But you see, the process of getting parts of your memory back after you die, consists of two parts.

As soon as people walk into my office here, I can tell how and why they died. That’s why I’m here, that’s my purpose in death. However, when I try to tell them, they won’t believe it. They don’t remember it. So I have to take different actions.

By putting my clients through several things that appeared in their lives prior to their deaths, I try to stir up their memories.’

During his speech, I keep looking at the forest. I then say, with a mind as clear as crystal:
‘You made me drown to remind me of the rain. You hit me with the briefcase to tell me about the money. You closed me into an invisible box to remind me of the ropes that bound me to my chair. You showed my dead boss, you showed the darkness from being blindfolded and you made me feel the pain of a gunshot wound…’

I look at him; he looks back at me and says with a smile:
‘Pretty genius huh… But, that’s not all. There’s a second part to the memory regaining process. You see, the death also dream. They do. They don’t do it very often either, mostly when they want to remember something important.
However, the memory of a death person is very bad, to say the least.

I had been struggling with this thing for a while. Prior to your visit here, I had loads of clients who just couldn’t link the things I put them through, with what happened to them before their death. Very troublesome.
I made a visit to one of your dreams, remember that?’

‘Yeah I do remember…’

‘Now, I’m sure you also remember what I told you about my theory about dreaming, right? You seemed to think I was nuts. But with all the new things you experienced now, it doesn’t seem very implausible anymore, does it?’

I walk back to the couch and lay down on it. ‘No… it most certainly doesn’t. So dreams actually do predict the future?’

‘Well… it hasn’t been proven yet and probably never will, but it’s a better explanation than most others. So it got me thinking, if the dreams of the living show the future and work towards the end of a person’s life, would it be the exact opposite in death? Will the ‘death dreams’ show the past?
So I started experimenting a little bit. And sure enough, when the death dream, they dream of their past life.

So if you combine this method with my ability to make them feel how they died, I can make the death figure out how they got to their end. They can put 1 and 1 together.’

‘So everything that happened in what I thought was real life, actually happened? Even the nightmares I thought I was having?’

The doctor sighs and turns away from the window to face me and says:

‘You still don’t completely understand it… My theory… remember my theory, man. Talking about all these lines? It applies here too. These death dreams have the red line too. And the blue, green or whatever color line. It works the same way, only here the red line shows parts of the past instead of the future.

Who knows, you might’ve fallen asleep at the office, maybe you spent 8 hours staring at a television screen sipping away liters of coffee. But maybe you didn’t do those things at all.

You probably didn’t even have nightmares when you were still alive. Perhaps the green line sent out that message; however the green line doesn’t show the truth. But one thing is for sure. You did get killed. And that’s what the red line offers you, and that’s what it wanted to show you.’

My mind is blank. I don’t know what to say or think anymore. I should be happy with what I know. After all, I came here to find help remembering. But somehow I don’t feel free.

‘You don’t feel free, huh…’ he says. ‘Don’t worry, you’re dead. You’re not supposed to feel free. Death isn’t a joy, I tell that to all my clients here. I just wish they would’ve lived a better and healthier life so I wouldn’t have to put them through all their misery, even after their deaths.
It’s not a fun task I have to do here. But I hope I can at least help people get closure. Now, if you’d excuse me, I got some more clients to take care of.’

I get off the couch, still not sure what to say to him. He walks towards me and shakes my hand. He then leads me outside, into the grey environment I remember so clearly was around the house. I descend the stairs in front of the building and blend in with the people shuffling around. I turn around to look at the building one last time, but… it’s already gone.

I turn around again to blend in some more and I start to feel in place. Every second more that the house is gone, the volume and sound of the bleak environment turn lower and lower. I look to my right and smile at the dead person walking next to me. He looks back and smiles at me too. With the last bit of sound in the area, I speak to him:

‘Hey boss…’

Credit Link – www.youtube.com/SpaceShuttleG

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Detachment

November 7, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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Ever since I can remember I have had a strange fascination with mirrors. The idea that there is a piece of glass which reflects everything you see. I still wonder what the first man thought when he was saw his reflection in still water. Did he instinctively know it was him? Or did he spend a few minutes moving his arms around until he realized that this other man matched his movements completely? Whatever the case, my natural curiosity for mirrors led to one of the most unbelievable moments of my life.

It was 7 years ago. I was a ten year old who had just moved from the cozy suburbs to a large ranch house, smack dab in the middle of 10 acres of land. I had many memorable experiences in that house and on the surrounding property, getting bitten by a racoon, having late night airsoft wars; but there is one that I have never told. One that is set apart from all the others.
We bought that house as a fixer upper, and since I was a ten year old with a taste for adventure, I claimed the lone upstairs bedroom as my own. The room was complete with dated brass fixtures, thick teal carpet, and it’s own connected bathroom.
Over time as I have thought through this story in my head, I am still surprised that I didn’t notice anything when I first went into that bathroom. I didn’t have a dark foreboding, there wasn’t anything stand out creepy or weird about it, just a room. A sink. And a mirror. The mirror was massive. It sat behind the sink so you couldn’t help but see yourself when you walked in. It had a slight yellowed tint, and was covered in dust and grime. But nothing really seemed out of the ordinary, nothing that would signal what was to come.

The first two nights spent in that bedroom were completely normal, nothing strange except the occasional midnight creak or moan from the ancient air conditioning unit. But on the 3rd night, laying in my bedroom bed, it started.
I woke up suddenly, the groggy feeling of heaviness that accompanies being woken from a deep sleep. I slowly started to gain consciousness and my ears strained to hear what could have woken me. That’s when I heard it.

Drip…. Drip…. Drip….

I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized I just must have left the bathroom faucet on. I sat up, turned on my dim bedside lamp, climbed out of bed, and stepped into the bathroom.

As I set my foot down on the tile, I was surprised when I discovered it strangely chilled. I continued in, not thinking too much of it, and turned the bathroom light on.
My reflection greeted me. I was in my Mario pajamas and my hair was a bed-heady mess. I smiled at how silly I looked. I looked at the faucet handle and sure enough, it had been left ever so slightly open. I turned it all the way closed, turned off the light and went back to bed. As I was drifting off to sleep I made a mental note to ask my dad if he could tighten the faucet in the morning.
Though, by the time I got back from school, as you can expect from any 5th grader, I had a million different things on my mind, and completely forgot. Instead spending my time at Goodwill with my parents looking for the perfect costume for halloween, which was coming up in a few days.
That night though, it happened again. I awoke suddenly, with the same strange heaviness that covered my body the night before. Instinctively I strained my ears, and I heard it again.

Drip…. Drip…. Drip….

I sat up, annoyed. I was sure I had double checked the faucet before I went to bed. I turned on my bedside lamp, walked across the carpet and set foot on the bathroom tile. My foot recoiled instinctively. The tile wasn’t just cool anymore, it was actually cold. Too bothered to care, I turned on the light and jumped at the sight of my reflection. I still wasn’t used to seeing anybody else (Even if it was me) this late at night. I guess all that TV before bed was starting to take it’s toll. I turned the faucet off, and the dripping stopped.

The next day I got my dad to tighten the faucet handle. He walked in with the tool bag, appeared to be tightening something, than walked out.
It turned out that everything was already tight, and he told me to make sure to check the faucet before I went to bed.
So, that night before I went to bed, I walked into the bathroom, the frigid floor greeting my bare feet once again. I looked at my ever present reflection, feeling a dull sense of unease for whatever reason. I didn’t look my reflection in the eyes very long, I still don’t know why at that point I felt uncomfortable with it. I checked and double checked the faucet handle, nothing was dripping.
Feeling relieved that I could finally get some uninterrupted rest, I layed down in my bed, turned off the light and drifted off.

I awoke again, my body felt even heavier than usual, my mind seemed groggy, everything was completely black, I think my head was still under my covers. My ears pricked up, listening.
I still get shivers thinking about this part.
I didn’t hear a

Drip… Drip… Drip…

I heard

Psshhhhh

After spending a few moments trying to decipher what this sound was, I realized it was the faucet.
The faucet was on completely. No longer a drip but a steady stream.
I tried to sit up, but it took a few tries to get my bearings after being awakened from my near catatonic sleep.
I attuned my ear and made sure what I heard was what I thought it was. Yes, the faucet in my bathroom was completely on. I gulped.
I stepped off of my bed, my feet being cushioned by the dated carpet. The light from my bed lamp was dim, only casting enough light to light up my floor, the bathroom was still pitch black. I stepped in.

This time when I placed my foot on the floor, it wasn’t just cold, it was freezing. It felt like the tile had been in a deep freeze.
Unsure what to do, I stepped in fully, goosebumps shooting up my calf, and turned the light on. I don’t know what I expected to see, but what I saw was me.
I looked deeply into my own eyes, feeling a sense of distrust. I still don’t really know how to explain it, but the only closest word I can think of, is detachment. Like looking at a photo of yourself when you were younger. You know that’s you, but you feel…. detached.
I reached my hand slowly towards the faucet handle, still meeting my own stare. I slowly started to turn the handle, my eyes meeting my own. The water poured less, less, less and then finally the handle clicked to its full rotation, the water was off. My hand remained on the faucet I started at the eyes of my reflection, and that’s when it happened.

It blinked.

I saw my reflection blink.
I let out what I thought would be a scream but ended up just being a sudden and horrified gasp.
I ran out of the room, down the stairs and straight to my parents bedside.

They were a little surprised that I ran to them crying because I hadn;t for years, but they could tell I was upset so they let me sleep in their room.
All I could muster out that morning in explanation was “Nightmares”
I didn’t dare tell my parents, I don’t know if it was my childhood fear of not being believed, or what. I think part of me was still trying to convince myself that it didn’t happen.
I tried telling myself that my eyes were just playing tricks on me, anything to convince myself that I didn’t really see “my” reflection blink. Anything to convince myself that that mirror was just another mirror.

That evening, was halloween. I was invited by some of my new fifth grade friends to go trick or treating with them, but after a few hours we had to stop early due to a giant rainstorm kicking in.
When I returned to my house, pillowcase full of candy in tow, my parents greeted me with news that send shivers down my spine.

They were going on a date night.

I tried to explain the various made up excuses I had for them not to go, I even tried to use the lightning storm outside as an excuse, but nothing worked. And I didn’t dare tell them the real reason.
They patiently explained how I was 12 years old, they’d only be gone for a few hours, and I had their phone numbers if I needed to call.
Once the door shut behind them, my heart dropped. I was alone. With the mirror.

I spent the first hour or so downstairs. I tried to get the tv to work, but because of the storm outside I was only getting static. That’s when I made my decision.
I still don’t know what drove me to go back into the bathroom.
I’ve tried to explain it as childhood curiosity, temporary insanity, and a few other things. To this day I still don’t understand it.
Whatever the case, I found myself climbing up the stairs to the top floor where my bedroom was located.

I waked into the bedroom, and as if on cue, a particularly loud clap of thunder made the windows rattle. I turned on my bedside lamp, and sat on my bed staring at the bathroom doorway.
I pulled out my still full candy bag, reached my hand down into it and pulled out a few tootsie rolls. I ate quietly, hoping the sugar would give me courage.
I walked into the bathroom, turned the light on, and looked my reflection dead in the eye.
Time seemed to stand still.
My reflection no longer felt like me.
Looking at it made me feel almost offended, that there could be something so similar to me, but so different.

Everything got very quiet.

I could hear my heartbeat loudly in my head.

My reflection was moving.

Its arm, to be specific. I only saw it out of my peripheral vision because our eyes were locked, but it was definitely moving.
What felt like a electric current shot up my body, my hair stood on end and I was frozen, staring, every single muscle in my body tense.
I tried to scream but I couldn’t move.
My reflection still stared back at me, it’s face neutral.

It was moving it’s hand towards the faucet handle on its side, it got closer and closer and then I felt something on my hand, strained my eyes to look down just a tiny bit and realized my own hand had grasped the faucet handle on my side.
It had moved it’s hand to the faucet handle and I had too. I tried to pull my hand back, but I couldn’t.
It was as if the signals from my brain weren’t being communicated to any parts of my body. I willed my body to move, but nothing happened.
My reflection’s face looked at me knowingly, then moved its head slightly closer to the mirror, and parted it’s lips, revealing a devilish grin.
I felt my own face contort, matching its features.

BANG A clap of thunder rattled the mirror.
My whole body felt heavy as I stared at this smiling abomination, somehow controlling my body.
It’s free hand started to move up, and though I couldn’t break the stare with its eyes, I could see out of my peripheral vision that my hand was also moving up. Our hands simultaneously started moving towards the mirror. I tried to fight back, to pull away, but it was useless.
As my hand got closer to the mirror, I felt a vibration emanating from the grimy glass surface, but it pulled my hand closer still, it’s horrifying smile still stretching my face.

BANG an even louder clap of thunder rumbled the very ground I was standing on.
As my hand got closer and closer to the mirror, my fingertips started to feel incredibly cold. I was trying with all my might to pull my hand away from the mirror, my fingertips were grazing the surface of the mirror, and then I felt it. An icy coldness, a tingling sensation, on the tips of my fingers, and I could see, my fingers had partially gone through the mirror, to the other side.
My heart dropped.
And that’s when I realized it was trying to pull me over to its side.

BANG the loudest lightning strike of them all shook the house, and in an instant, darkness. The lighting had killed the power, and to my delight I could no longer see my reflection, only pitch black darkness.
I pulled my fingers out of the glass, I could control my body again.
I turned my head away from the mirror my body scrambling to be anywhere but in that bathroom. I dove out of the bathroom, hitting my shoulder on the door on the way out, then landed not so softly on the floor. The colors of my room got distorted, everything was purple, then green. The room was spinning and my head felt light, I tried to get up but my body wouldn’t listen. That’s when I blacked out.
That was the last night I set foot in that bathroom. Heck, that was the last time I even set foot in the bedroom.

It took less work than I thought than to convince my parents to let me sleep in the game room.
Eventually though, our family decided to move. We renovated the whole house. We tore up the dated green carpet, we repainted all the rooms, and we removed the big, grimy, dusty mirror in the bathroom.
I refused to help.
The day went by so fast, as I was kept busy clearing out the garage, but I specifically remember the workers carrying the mirror towards the back of the pick up truck my dad had borrowed.
First they tried to break it to fit easier in the truck, but nothing worked.
They tried hammers, axes, but nothing even scratched it.

My final memory of that mirror, was of it standing upright in the back of the truck. Still dusty, grimy and dirty, but other wise completely unscathed. As the truck drove away the mirror happened to be angled perfectly to see my reflection once again.
I saw in the mirror, a kid standing alone in a drive way. Staring with eyes wide, full of fear.

That was the last time I saw the mirror.

Credit To – Duncan Key

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Are You Alone?

November 7, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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This is the story of one boy’s suffering. One boy’s suffering that was with him from the beginning, that gripped at him ever tighter until he could no longer escape it. One boy’s suffering that left him robbed of himself, forever changed by the events that overwhelmed him.

That boy is me…

Or rather, it used to be me.

As a child, I never really had many friends. While growing up I always seemed to move from one already established group of friends to the next. I was constantly harassed at school, always singled out as a bullying target because nobody really wanted me. Nobody valued the friendship I had to offer, nor did they give me a chance to be accepted. Because of this I was always an angry child and I’d constantly be involved in schoolyard fights (because others seemed to find joy in hurting me) and as a result I’d always bear injuries from having no help when the bullies and their equally shitty friends swarmed me. Eventually my teachers grew sick and tired of trying to deal with my problems and just let the bullies have their way. My parents were also just as frustrated with trying to help me to escape the torment. I always tried to explain that it wasn’t my fault, that all the other students just seemed to despise me on sight, but it never got through to them. Eventually I stopped trying and gave up on them.

At about age 13 my parents had completely lost faith in me, they didn’t care anymore. With nobody to communicate my problems to, I became extremely reclusive, and developed a reputation as being a hermit. For the next three years I shut myself off from the world as much as humanly possible, enduring the constant torment of the outside world and ignoring the sick and over exaggerated tales about me.

At age 16, there was the arrival of something else, something worse…

I was on my way home from school in the dim light of the late afternoon, since I always made it a point to go home the LONG way so as to avoid the other students and prolong going home to my indifferent parents. I wasn’t too far from home, maybe a block or two away, when I noticed a pale glow in the middle of an empty street. My neighbourhood was always full of weird people doing dumb things, so I paid no attention to it and kept walking. As I got closer to the source of the odd glow I could make out the form of a girl.

Once I could see her properly, all the lights in the area suddenly blacked out. The only thing that assured me I hadn’t been blinded was the lasting pale glow of the girl standing perfectly still in the street enveloped in shadow. Even the faint light of the setting sun had somehow been extinguished. Before I could even begin to panic, I heard the words “Are you alone?” At that I began to Run. I couldn’t see where I was going, or even if I was going anywhere at all. All I know is eventually I turned to see what was behind me, if anything. I didn’t like what I saw.

“Are you alone?” said the girl who was now standing right in front of my face. She looked to be about 14 and she wore clothes like some sort of maiden from the 1700’s. She had a face full of innocence and spoke her words softly.

I slowly gathered the strength to answer her, and I noticed my watch was frozen so there was no way for me to know how much time had elapsed.

“Y-yes?” I stuttered unsurely, At this point I could only think I was hallucinating or about to die.

“Can we be friends?” she said next, leaving me speechless awhile longer. Fear gripped at me and I could feel the strain in my throat. I was stuttering for the words, any words, to break this sickening and ungodly silence.

After a while I was at the stage where I felt I needed to get this, whatever “this” was, over with.

“Yes…” I answered bleakly as I fell to the floor, having exerted the last of my willpower.

The girl seemed amused, her eyes seemed full of content, and she had a small smile. Seeing this both relieved and unnerved me simultaneously, I don’t know quite how to describe it.

Almost immediately after, the girl’s clothes began to move of their own accord. Her scarf-like wrapping flowed as though in a tornado, her long dress blowing in a breeze, a breeze of hollow, empty nothingness, since the air was still. Her hair began moving slowly and the innocence seemed to disappear from her eyes. She opened her mouth slightly and her eyes darkened until they were completely engulfed in the shadows that surrounded us.

Suddenly I began to feel pain, running up and down, all throughout my body. I was gripped by the shock-waves of pure torture that I was feeling and couldn’t move. This continued until I passed out.

When I came to I was lying in the street. I immediately got up and was frantically searching for the girl, but there was no trace of her. The time was 1:50am. It took longer than it should have for me to realise the intense pain was gone. When I finally got home I decided to just sleep for another day at school, and leave the thoughts I was having until morning.

I was not granted that luxury, however.

The little sleep I did get was haunted with strange nightmares not of the girl, but of me being in pain, the same intense pain I had felt earlier. The end of the nightmares was much worse. The girl…her…she was there, with her innocent guise haunting my very dreams. Then I woke up, rather anticlimactically. I was thankful for that, at least.

As days turned to weeks it seemed that all I could focus on was the girl. She appeared at the end of my nightly dreams and was more aggressive each time. Many of the people at school wouldn’t acknowledge me; they never spoke to me or of me again. Having been bullied all of my school life, this was a strange feeling. My family also wouldn’t speak to me; my mother said it was like I emanated a strange aura that chilled her very soul. I knew only one thing, and that was what was responsible…her. I’d never told anyone about her, I knew I’d be ridiculed at school as always and my parents would have sent me to a mental hospital. I kept quiet about her for my own safety. She had become my secret obsession; I even took to calling her the Outcast Maiden, a name I couldn’t seem to get out of my head and one that I thought fit perfectly.

At this point I was completely alone. For the first time in my life I wasn’t worrying about others and what they would do to me. Instead I felt truly afraid, and I couldn’t enjoy my new-found freedom because this was far worse.

Finally, I gave up. I had no further reason to stay in this dead town, living in constant fear, trying to live normally with my school-work suffering and my lack of any peace. I decided I had to leave, in the hope that I could escape or maybe find someone out there who knew what was happening, anything was better than this. While my parents slept in the early hours of the morning, I took all the money I could find, including my parents’ credit cards, and left for the train station. I was so distracted with not knowing where I was going or what to do, that I was unable to process in my mind a terrible scenario that by now I should have been familiar with.

“I only have half an hour to get there before the train leaves.” I thought to myself, completely unaware that all the street-lights had blacked out.

By the time I’d seen the pale glow amid the endless blackness I was so stressed and full of rage that I no longer feared her. I hated her, and I was prepared to act.

“What the fuck are you!? What the fuck do you want with me!?” I shouted forcefully into the darkness towards her. She began to playfully giggle and I took a few large steps back. She began moving towards me and my false, anger-induced courage had dissipated and yet again I was frozen with fear. Her legs remained deathly still as her form drifted towards me. She was right in front of me again, smiling that deceitfully innocent smile. I remembered the pain from last time and I started trembling. And as she put an icy finger to my lips, I passed out.

After awakening this second time it was midday. There were a few people on the street and some cars driving by. Nothing was unusual aside from me regaining consciousness at the side of the road. Nobody had noticed me there, nor did anyone look as I got up. As I travelled through the streets I couldn’t feel the ground beneath my feet. Upon looking down I noticed my legs weren’t moving, that I appeared to float as she did. Upon closer inspection of my body, I saw that I was pale and discoloured.

No matter where I went, nobody noticed me. Nobody could hear me, it seemed. I wrote down messages like “Hello” and “I’m here” but nobody seemed to be able to see them, nobody could feel my presence, not my parents, not my fellow students, not anybody.

As I began to lose hope she appeared again. This time there were no hostilities. “The cruel cannot find us, so it’s nice.” She exclaimed energetically. She then told me everything. Several others appeared – all of them like me – and I learned that our Outcast Maiden feeds on suffering, eats the unhappiness of humans. “A few die as I feed, but most can become my friends.” she continued. The cruelty of humanity can harm us no further, and only those who are suffering, angry, keeping secrets or alone (the tortured and guilty) can hear our call. And our role is to find suitable candidates for her meals.

And so I have written this, not as a warning, but to ease you in, to prepare you for your fate. For if you are able to read this, the writings I have created, then we already know your truth, as does our maiden, even if you do not (many of us are initially in denial). Be not afraid, and do not resist. Embrace the truth. You will be in good, safe hands amongst us.

She will be with you soon.

Credit To – Ewna Yspos

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Allodoxaphobia

November 6, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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The Red Cross had been aggressive in the previous few weeks. It felt like every day I would get a phone call soliciting my donation. That was my punishment for surrendering my contact information at my job’s blood drive. Truth was, an hour off of work was far more alluring than the prospect of helping out or “making a difference” as they put it. Karma is ruthless.

I answered the first time, not recognizing the number. They always have a unique way of making you feel guilty before they ask; “Thank you for your last donation! The blood you gave saved three lives!” And after listening to the lady describe the ongoing desperation for more donations, I feigned concern and let her know I will stop in at some point. When she offers to schedule me an appointment, I awkwardly reply that I am very busy and cannot commit to anything specific. She thanks me through a rehearsed judgmental tone and hangs up.

She called again the next day and left a voicemail when I ignored the call. I listened to it later in comical disbelief as it was the same woman as before, yet she was speaking as if we had never talked yesterday. I assumed this was a simple mistake. After all, who knows how many calls she had to make each day. But the calls continued. Never malicious, and unwaveringly pleasant, oblivious that she was leaving the same message every day.

Eventually she started calling from different numbers. I answered the first time and lied, telling her I had already donated earlier in the week. She thanked me and apologized for the oversight in records. The next day she called again, leaving another voicemail identical to the all of the others. How dense was this woman? I answered the next phone call and requested that I be removed from the call list. After a momentary sound of fingers tapping on keys, she informed me that my name was out of their database and apologized for the inconvenience.

But the calls did not stop.

Once a day, around the same time, and never from the same phone number. It became routine to simply ignore the call and delete the message without listening to it. Some quick research online yielded that these relentless solicitations were not uncommon, and on rare occasions have resulted in legal action. It seemed a bit much to me.

It had gone on for some time before I stumbled upon the emails. As was common practice when signing up for something I generally felt apathetic about, I used a junk email account normally reserved for password retrieval and spam. For every call, they had sent me five emails each titled “Sorry we missed you!” and each signed simply by “Vicky”.

It wasn’t until that point that I realized just how long these calls had been going on. What organization that relies on charity has the amount of resources needed to bother people this much? It felt entirely creepy. I decided to deactivate my email account.

When my phone rang the next day I could have sworn the caller I.D. read “mom”. But when I answered it was the Red Cross again. Vicky. In shock I hung up and checked my incoming call list, relieved to find it was just the most recent in a long list of random numbers. It felt so real though. Too real. I called my mother just to be sure.

That evening I sat and weighed my options. The calls needed to stop but any action beyond doing what I had already seemed like overkill relative to the inconvenience. I could threaten Vicky with the police but if the calls continued, would I really call the cops on the Red Cross? Changing my number seemed equally absurd. In the end I decided to swallow my pride. I dialed the last number that she had called me from and waited for Vicky’s false politeness to flood my ears.

Coincidentally there was a blood mobile set-up in a Wal-Mart parking lot not too far from where I lived. She set me up with an appointment and thanked me profusely for “saving lives”, even going as far as calling me an “angel”. For some reason, that word gave me chills. Even if going only made the calls go away for a few months, it was worth it. It would at least afford me some sanity so I could find a more permanent solution.

As I pulled into the parking lot I glanced down at my watch. I had arrived fifteen minutes early, as if going to a job interview. I had demanded to be the first appointment, which to my dismay had been seven in the morning. As a consequence the lot was horrendously abandoned. I parked my car and made my way to the front door of the bus. It looked identical to the one I had been in before (it could have even been the same one). Before I could knock, the door folded open and a short, chubby man with glasses popped his head out. “Seven?” The suddenness had stolen my speech. I only nodded. “You’re early but that’s ok. Come on in and have a seat wherever you’d like”.

The bus was set up for multiple people, eight from my count. So I found the idea that it was only me here unsettling. I immediately regretted the frustration that made me insist on being here so ungodly early. As soon as I sat down the man reached around me and strapped me to the seat. I shot him and uneasy glance which he responded to with an awful, nasally laugh. “It’s to keep you from falling out if you pass out. You know, safety precaution.”
“Is this new? I don’t remember this at all”

“Yes it’s new, we wouldn’t want you bumping that head of yours”

The man was mostly concealed behind a white lab coat. He wore a visor that reminded me of one that a banker would wear in those old westerns. Whenever he leaned in too close you could smell something awful. Once he laughed I could see why. Had the man ever brushed his teeth?

He swabbed my arm with alcohol and swiftly inserted the needle. I watched as my blood worked it’s way down the tube, below my chair. Then something occurred to me. “Don’t you need information from me? Like if I have any tattoos or if I have traveled to Africa or something? What if I’m not healthy enough to give?”

“With men your age we don’t worry too much after testing the first time. I’ll get all of your information afterwards”.

Something didn’t seem right with that. Did he forget and was covering his tracks? I rested my head back and let it go. Why make something out of nothing. I felt fine.

After a couple of minutes he came back over and adjusted something underneath my seat. As he stood up he noticed the scar on my other arm. “What happened to your arm?” “Biking accident when I was really young”. He focused on it for a moment, as if taking in every detail. Finally he responded, “Oh that’s too bad…too too bad”.

The man continued to pace the aisle, occasionally stopping to do something under my chair. Eventually I started to feel nauseous. How long had it been? I looked down for my watch and it was missing. Had I taken it off? Did I forget it today? I frantically retraced my steps, unable to come to a definite conclusion. Had he taken it? I couldn’t just accuse him of swiping a $10 watch. I asked him for the time and he shrugged saying he wasn’t sure.
I felt so tired.

He knelt down again and this time I craned my neck to see what he was doing. I watched in horror as I realized what was happening. He was switching a full bag with an empty one, every time. My heart started to race. How many? How many bags has he filled with my blood? I called out to him, surprised at the amount of effort it took. “Aren’t we done yet?” He turned and smiled. “You have a rare blood type and usually in a case like this, when the donor is healthy enough, we take a double donation”.

I knew my blood type…and he was lying.

With all of my effort I reached down to pull the strap loose. I don’t know how it had happened so quickly. I didn’t have enough strength to undo a Velcro strap. He watched me struggle for a moment before walking over to me and seizing my other arm. I screamed but it did not make him hesitate for a second.

“We need to get some fluids in you. You do not look well at all”.

He slid another needle quickly beneath the skin of my other arm. For a brief moment I thought everything might be ok. But after watching my blood fill the empty tube I accepted what was happening. He was bleeding me dry.
My breathing was becoming labored. I had lost so much energy that every attempt to call for help was stifled to a whimper. Finally I begged through a whisper “Please, please don’t do this”. He just retorted with a chuckle. I was going to die here.

My eyes struggled to stay open as I clung to consciousness, to life. I heard a knock on the door behind me and I tried to yell, but nothing came out. Then I heard the door open and a familiar voice rang through.
“Are you nearly finished?”
Vicky…
“Yes, we can take the rest later”
“Anything I should know?”
“Yes, there is some significant scar tissue on his left arm. The skin will have to be processed”
“That’s fine, a little one can use it”

Credit To – Nick

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Seeing, Really Seeing

November 6, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Sometimes, you really can’t understand what someone is going through. You have to go through the same. Live through the same. Face the same disasters and torments they have.

I haven’t seen her in a while. It’s been almost 8 years. Of course, I would’ve visited her sooner, but I have a job, a life I have to keep up with. I couldn’t see her and risk all that I had worked for, all I held dear, fall apart. I knew what each visit brought. Another session of her thoughts, her inner turmoil, unleashed and spewing venom across every aspect of my being. I had enjoyed talking with her, yes, but that was in the beginning. When she was in control. When she was still sane. Another visit would make her even worse. Last time she was already unhinged from reality. From herself. Her nightmares had taken over. And every time I went to see her, those same monsters threatened to consume me as well.

Call it whatever you like, but I have to protect myself from her. Before it affects me even more.

Last time I understood why they locked her away from the others. Why she was no longer in touch with the world. God only knows what she’s become after 8 years.

I miss her, and I don’t want to leave her as she was, all alone, with no one to be with; no one to keep her grounded and help her push back all the demons that she said had invaded her mind. She deserves better, she needs a proper goodbye, at the very least.

So, instead of going to work, I make a right on Bradley Drive. I keep on going, down the long road, lined with the forest, and make my way up the hill, in the clearing, where Williams House stands. The Institution.
As I pull up to the front gates, I get a much better view of the building, and see that it is in serious need of maintenance. I get out of my car and head towards the entrance, taking note of the weeds and vines consuming Williams House. A painful creak of the rusting gates informs me that people are a rare visit to the institution nowadays. I glance at the front doors, and then I see the notice plastered across them.

DO NOT ENTER
By order of the State of Massachusetts, the Williams House and Institution for the Mentally Unstable has been shut down until further notice due to the architectural faults and other general hazards. Trespassers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
September 28th, 1962
Building Inspector Arnold Lewis-Ramsay

Shut down.
That means she’s not here anymore.
And I never got to give her a proper farewell…

A minor setback for me, but I was nevertheless determined. I needed to see for myself that she was truly, and forever, gone.
I headed towards the East wing of the building, where, somewhere among the bricks that made up Williams House, was a door.
Having reached the East wing, I began feeling my way around the ivy-ridden wall for the old brass doorknob that was my gateway inside. After what felt like hours of searching, my hand grazed metal, and pulling back the ivy that crawled up the building, opened the door and stepped inside Williams House.

It was definitely abandoned. In need of a good dusting, roof repair, and some new wallpaper, as the current one was peeling. It reeked of old; the musky air threatened to choke me, consume me and trap me here for eternity. I was sure I was the only one to visit since the building inspector.

I headed up the flight of stairs, to the fifth floor, for one last look at where she had dwelt. Each step made a creak that echoed through the wing as I crept up the stairs, and the early morning sun slowly transformed to afternoon daylight, sending streaks of light through the crumbling building. As I reached the fifth floor, the conversations of long past started seeping into my mind, and before long, I was in front of her room, every word she had said to me flooding my brain…

“…You know I’m stuck here forever, don’t feed me any this bullshit you call freedom.”
“I just don’t want to see you so…so…confined…”
“Well, I’ve got you, it makes staying here easier…”
“I guess so, I’d probably love it if someone visited me in your position.”
“Yeah, it’s real nice. But for me, it’s more than a visit. You’ve helped me to see the better part of this. And when I can’t find anything good about this place, you show me one I’ve overlooked. You help me out.”
“You’re always saying how there’s nothing to see in this place, but have you looked outside lately? The flowers are just starting to pop out after the long winter, the birds are coming back, even the trees have their own way of showing beauty.”
“Ok, ok. So Spring is finally coming around. But Spring comes every year.”
“I come every week, and you still haven’t gotten tired of me.”
“That’s true; I just wish I could actually go outside for once, y’know? Smell the flowers, not just see them from my window. Lie on the field, not just look at it. Go into the forest, and actually touch the trees again and feel the earth and grass tickling my toes. I want to be in the forest, not just see the same part of it every day from this hell-hole.”
“You’ll be there soon, and I’ll be there with you.”
“There you go, feeding me a fantasy again. I’m just tired. Of all of this. Of the fact that I’ve been labeled as a freak. Mentally unstable, as they like to call it. I’m tired of being here, knowing that these are the only walls I’ll see for the rest of my life. No one except you sees me anymore. I’m a lost cause, even to my family. They don’t even bother with me anymore because they know I’m going to rot in here. I’m never getting out, and you know it.”
“Don’t be like that, you’ve been controlling yourself for as long as I’ve known you, and I’ve known you for a long time. There have definitely been worse than you in this place. They’ll let you out eventually and-”
“Stop it.”
“Stop what? I’m only trying to-”
“No. You’re not cheering me up at all. They’re all lies. Every last one of them. And yet you keep telling me that I’ll be out of here soon, that my family actually does care about me, that there’s always some kind of bright side to things! You don’t know. You don’t know anything! Not one-”
“All I want to do is help, I just-”
“NO! You don’t know anything! Nothing about me! I’m stuck here forever! You don’t know what it’s like! Rotting, confined to these walls for the rest of my life!”
“I just want to help. I know what it must be like. It-”
“NO YOU DON’T! Don’t tell me that you understand! You can’t possibly know what it feels like to be abandoned! Left for dead, no one, not even your family, who’s supposed to love you, no one giving a shit about you! Letting you rot! Not one visit in 5 years!”
“…”
“You won’t understand. And you never will. You don’t know what someone’s been through until it happens to you…”

She was right, in the end. Staring at the gray walls, scratched and tainted with spots of blood here and there, I will never know what it was like for her here. I can only imagine. I stood at the window, the field she saw everyday mocking me. Mocking her. This is exactly the kind of place that confined people to their insanity, with no way of overcoming it. These walls were the cradle of her nightmares, all that grey, all that dull, all that ominous nothing, everywhere. She could never escape. Not even to reality. Even if she opened here eyes, she’d never wake up from the nightmares. These walls were what let the images roam free, enveloping her more than ever in her mind. I sat on the floor, glaring at the walls, I breathed in, and closed my eyes as I felt the simple gray color invade me…consume me…and I started to see them.

One by one, like a ghastly procession, they took over the gray. I saw things that looked like death, others too grotesque to identify, and people. There were people everywhere, but they all hid behind masks, with eyes as red as blood. Never looking away. The more I tried to look away, the more I could feel their eyes drilling holes into me… every inch of me. I shut my eyes, and it only got worse. I could hear the whispers of the night, but was it really night? The sun had abandoned me long ago. I lost track of time, noises flooded into my mind, people murmuring in my ear in a language I couldn’t recognize. I opened my eyes, wanting it to be over, wanting to get back to my car, wanting to get out of this hell, but I was trapped. I didn’t see the door to the hallway anymore. There were too many of them, they were past the walls, filling every inch of the ceiling. I couldn’t find a single spot of refuge in this room. I tried to back myself against the wall, curling up and screaming, wanting this to end. The murmuring in my ear grew to loud voices that bounced off the walls, and the red eyes closing in on me, wanting me, knowing that I was no match for them.

I couldn’t go on like this. I needed to get out. Then her voice started to seep into the mixture of murmurs and voices and satanic noises. She started to cry. She was crying everywhere in the room. The window long forgotten, blocked by all the nightmares. Now she was wailing, she was in pain, and for once, I felt her pain. Not having anyone to see, nothing but these demons in her life. Nothing but pain and anguish in this room. She was screaming now, but as it went on, her screams went from desperation to terror and fear. I couldn’t take any more.

I started screaming. Not knowing what to do, having no way of getting rid of these hellish creatures that surrounded me. I scratched at the walls, trying to make the nightmares go away, but they only snickered at me. I was a joke, a weak little life-form that didn’t know true fear and terror until now. Desperately, I clawed at my arms, my fingernails digging into my skin. I bit at my tongue until I tasted blood. I pulled and yanked at my hair. I pounded the floor, crying. I stood up and smacked the walls, slammed into them, tried to get out.

She was right. This pain, this fear, this torment was unimaginable. There was no way out, no way I could escape this horrid place, this inferno. Her words came back to me as I sank to the floor, knowing that I’d never leave this place, that I would forever live in my nightmares:

“You won’t understand. And you never will. You don’t know what someone’s been through until it happens to you…”

Credit To – I. Fernandez

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What Happens After

November 5, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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You never escape. Not really. It’s always going to be there.

Sometimes hidden away in the back of your mind in the form of a nightmarish memory. Or it sits and stares you in the face, daring you to just try and forget.

Do I consider myself lucky? Maybe. I don’t know anymore. I did at one point I suppose. I encountered something terrible. Inhuman. A real…whatever it was. It tried to hurt me. It hurt my friends, my family…all to get at me.

I don’t want to talk about “it”. Even thinking about it is causing my hands to shake. God, I’m sweating. The scars on my arms are itching at the memories flooding back. But “it” isn’t what I wanted to talk about. More, rather, I want to talk about after.

That creature killed people. And it almost killed me, but I beat it. I stopped it. Sometimes, on the darkest of days, I try to think of myself as a hero. That by stopping it, I saved countless future victims. Or that I avenged my fallen family. But I know it was just self-defense. Nothing more. A man isn’t a hero for shooting a charging bear. He’s just lucky the odds were in favor. I don’t consider myself a hero…or lucky either now.

I hear so many stories of people surviving against odd creatures. Monsters and demons…but they don’t delve into what happens after. Maybe a few lines but never the details.

You don’t hear about the countless sleepless nights staring out your dark window, imagining a beast pressing it’s head up against the window, staring and smiling. You don’t hear how they jump at the slightest creak in the house, wondering if another of its brethren has come to sink those stinking claws into you for revenge. They don’t talk about how their home is gone, lost. Not to those creatures, but to memories. You can wash away the blood from a room but not from your mind. I can still see my little brother’s room. So much…

That’s what happens after. The worst thing about that dark world that lies just out of sight of our own is knowing that it’s there. Knowing that the dark should be feared. That every creak or rustle can have something terrible behind it.

I know and worse, I can see them. Once you’ve been touched, it’s like you’re attuned for them now. You notice the small signs that give them away. I’ve seen a young boy play with a little girl who almost managed to hide the small, bloody hole in the back of her head with her long brown hair.

I’ve seen the jogger running through the park, unaware of how the trees above her rustle along at just the right intervals to constantly remain right above her. She looked just like my friend Connie too.

God, I miss her…

I’ve almost thrown up many times to the news articles outlining mysterious suicides where the victim showed no signs of depression but seem to always occur in the darkest hours of the night.

Sometimes, I wonder if I should get involved. Warn the jogger or the boy of the creatures they’ve attracted. Try to help them escape a fate that no person should be forced through. But, the truth is, I’m terrified.

If I help, I know I’ll attract them back to me. I’ve managed to keep my head down long enough after that creature to avoid any others. However, constantly sitting back and watching them target those poor people has weighed on me.

I…don’t know how much longer I can hold on.

Sometimes, on the blackest nights, when all light seems to be snuffed out, and the creaking grows in my house to where I’m sure they’ve found me, I pull out the small pistol I bought. It gives me comfort. It reminds me that those things are vulnerable at least. Claws, nasty face, or an inhuman body doesn’t make you bulletproof. Now, it’s a different comfort I feel as I place the cold barrel into my mouth. The metallic taste on my tongue and the surprisingly heavy weight in my hands seems to call to me. Offer a way out. It gives me a chance to be free from this dark knowledge.

I could never do it though. It’s not because I have some great deed left to do or even because I really want to live on. It’s because death horrifies me. It chills me to my core. Every time I think about it, my mind turns to them. I get the feeling that’s what they’re waiting for. For death to take me as he has countless others. Then I would join them in their world. Nothing would stand in their way as they claimed me like one tried to do long ago.

I just know, deep down, that the only thing that separates my world from theirs is this fragile, delicate body I live in.

So, there really is no escape. No matter how long you run or hide or forget, you can never escape the inevitable. One day, they’ll have me.

And there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

Credit To – David

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