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Note: This is part one of a four-part story. The next three parts will be posted over the next three days. Enjoy!
In a past life I was a psychiatrist. Well, let me rephrase that. Before my life fell to pieces I was a psychiatrist, and a damned good one too. It’s tough to really say what makes a psychiatrist “good” at what they do, but I started in my field early, got great experience my first few years in the business and not before long I almost had more clients than I could handle. I’m not saying someone would walk into my office suicidal and do a complete 180 in one day, but my clients trusted me and felt that I genuinely helped them, so I came very highly recommended, and my rate was admittedly steep. That being said, I was used to a “higher tier” of patient.
I’m not sure how the Jennings family found me but I assume they were pointed in my direction from their previous psychiatrist, as that’s sometimes the case. Someone walks through your door that you’re incapable of helping for whatever reason so you make some recommendations. One day I got a call from Mrs. Gloria Jennings, a very wealthy real estate owner who wanted me to work with her son, Andrew. Apparently Andrew had just about worn out every psychiatrist in the state and I was essentially their last option. Andrew was your typical drug abuser, his poison of choice being heroin, and as anyone in my field can tell you these people are just a headache to deal with. If they’re not clean and scatter-brained then they’re high and not making any sense. I wouldn’t have taken him as a patient but Mrs. Jennings offered me almost double my usual rate so I couldn’t say no. It was the worst decision I’ve ever made.
I met Andrew early on a Monday morning. From experience it’s easier to catch these types before they’ve had a chance to use. Best case scenario they don’t even show up and you get a free hour, but Andrew was fifteen minutes early. He certainly looked like a heroin addict. Dark bags under his green eyes, hair disheveled, a scraggly beard growing on his face. He looked to be in his early 20’s. He was tall and inexplicably thin, and wore baggy, plain clothes that only accentuated his sharp figure. I welcomed him into my office and offered him a seat. He sat down and began rubbing his hands together and exploring my office with his eyes with darting rapidity.
For my own privacy I will refer to myself as “Doctor A.”
“So, Andrew.” I began. “I’m Doctor A. Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself?”
For the first time he made eye contact. He hesitated for a moment and then spoke.
“Look, this is about the eight or ninth time I’ve started from scratch so I’m just going to cut to the chase. My Mom probably told you I was a drug user and I am. I use heroin and cocaine if I can get my hands on it.”
I opened my mouth to ask if he ever uses both at the same time, to explain the danger of the combination but he beat me to it.
“No, I always do them separately. I’m not an idiot.” He said.
“I don’t think you’re an idiot.” I lied. “I’ve seen a lot of users in my day. Trust me.” Andrew hadn’t stopped staring at me. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat and asked the obvious next question. “Why do you use?”
“Well, on the nights I don’t want to go to sleep I use the cocaine, and on the nights I don’t want to dream, I use the heroin.” As he said this he dropped his gaze to the floor, still rubbing his hands.
“I’m sorry, the nights you don’t want to sleep you use cocaine?” I asked, just to make sure he said it right.
“That’s correct Doctor.” He said, still not looking at the ground.
“And why don’t you want to sleep Andrew?”
“Because, I don’t want to see Ubloo.” He answered, shifting his gaze back up at me, and registering my reaction to that word.
“I’m sorry, who’s Ubloo?” (Pronounced “Oo-blue”) I asked curiously.
Andrew sighed. “Ubloo is a monster I see sometimes in my dreams, who controls them.”
“And how does this, “Ubloo” control your dreams Andrew?”
“Well I don’t know if his name is actually Ubloo or if that’s what it’s fucking called but that’s all it ever says. And I know he controls them because the shit that happens in my dreams when he’s there no one would ever dream of.” He said to me, his hands finally unclasped and balled into fists at his sides.
This was starting to get interesting, and I decided to go just a little deeper down the rabbit hole and asked the gnawing question; “And what sort of things have you dreamed of?”
“Look I’m not crazy. It’s not like I just go on these huge benders and dream of this fucked up thing. I used to be a star athlete and I was on pace to graduate valedictorian before this thing started fucking with me.” He was getting visibly angry.
“I don’t think you’re crazy.” I lied again. “If I did I’d have given up and told you to just go, I’m a psychiatrist, Andrew. I know crazy when I see it.” This seemed to calm him down just a little. “But you need to understand that I need to know everything before I can make a diagnosis of how to help you, so I’ll ask again; what sort of things have you dreamed of?”
I saw him unwind, and I knew I had broken through. “Terrible things.” He said. “People and things that I love, and just the worst imaginable things happening to them.” He was staring at the floor again.
“What sort of things, Andrew?”
“One time…” He swallowed hard. “One time I dreamt that I was stuck in a cage, in a basement I had never seen before, and there were three men in masks raping and beating my mother.”
This startled me, and I flinched a bit and he noticed. I was losing him. “Go on Andrew.” I said comfortingly, masking my shock as intrigue.
“She was calling out to me, and I was crying, and every time she would cry out to me or cry for help a man would hit her, and no matter how bad she bled she kept calling out, and they kept hitting her and violating her.”
Now I’ll interject here and say that normal people do not dream these things. Dreams like these are rare even among the most severe of psychopaths, and now I was starting to understand how Andrew had gone through so many psychiatrists in just a few years. Either he was a time bomb of the most criminal psychopath in history, or he had a new sleep disorder not yet seen in my field. The pros of diagnosing a new disorder were hugely outweighed by the cons of fostering a kid who could potentially make Ted Bundy look like purse snatcher.
I was shaken up but I managed to keep it together. In these situations it’s important not to get lost in the details and just nail down all your facts first. “How do you know that Ubloo was behind this dream?” I ask him.
“Because at the end of the dream, I always hear him make that horrible noise; ‘oo-blue!'” He mimicked, high pitched like the sound a small animal would make.
“And you always hear this noise? That’s how you know he ‘controlled’ your dream?”
“I always hear him, but sometimes I see him too, but only for a second, and then I wake up.”
“I see. Could you draw Ubloo for me Andrew?” I slid him a notepad and a pen. He looked confused at first, probably because I was (to him) believing every word, but he grabbed the pad of paper and began scribbling. I looked down at my watch, twenty minutes have passed, not bad, and then out the window at the sky, which was a clear shade of blue. I heard the pen hit the table and the notepad slide back over to me. I looked down at the pad and choked my leaping heart back down into my chest.
The thing had a long, dangling snout, almost like an elephants trunk with a tongue poking out. Its face was devoid of features aside from two large upright oval eyes that were completely black. It had six limbs and a long slender torso. It was hunched down, the back and middle knees were just a little above its body, it could obviously make itself very tall if need be. The feet were circular with six appendages sticking out, in all directions, all equidistant from the others. The front two legs were considerably longer, and had just two extremely long fingers on each hand, both at the top of its hand and in the same direction. It was eerie to look at. It had no clearly dangerous features; no claws no teeth, but still I couldn’t help but feel a chill on my spine when I examined it.
I snapped out of my state and looked back up at Andrew, who was staring at me and waiting apprehensively. I think I had my diagnosis. “Well Andrew, I think I know what’s going on.”
He didn’t look at all relieved. “Oh?” He said monotonously.
“Yes, I think what’s going on here is that you’ve been lu-”
“Lucid dreaming, yeah I thought that too.” He interrupted. I sat there shocked. “You think that I had some traumatic nightmare of this thing and now whenever I lucid dream I subconsciously insert it into my mind, which triggers a traumatic scenario to play out before me.”
Rarely in my ten years of practice I have been speechless, and I sat there mouth agape. Andrew stared back at me and I watched him smirk.
“I told you Doctor A, I’m not an idiot. I looked into all of this when it first started happening. That’s why I started using. I learned that opioids can suppress lucid dreaming and in the beginning they did, but eventually he kept worming his way in, and the more I used the harder he fought to keep coming back, so I tried the cocaine to keep me awake, but I found that made things worse. I stayed up too long, and I started experiencing microsleep. I didn’t know if I was awake or dreaming, and he must have learned this. You see, when it first started I could tell faintly that it was a dream. They all had this haziness effect on my comprehension, but when I would microsleep, the dreams were incredibly vivid. He learned, Doctor A, he learned that I was more afraid of the microsleep dreams and he somehow made every dream just as clear since.”
I honestly didn’t know what to say. Either Andrew was completely and utterly crazy, or so intelligent he was incubating his own insanity. I asked the only question I had left.
“When did you first dream of Ubloo?”
“It was right after my Father died.” He said, gaze shifting back to the floor. He killed himself, put a bullet in his head when I was seventeen. The night after the funeral I dreamt that I was standing over his grave, looking down at the grass. It was normal for a bit but then I heard him, I heard him screaming from in the ground, screaming for help, asking me to dig him out, but I couldn’t move. I was frozen. I stood there and listened to him banging on his coffin lid so hard the ground was pulsing and I heard him screaming in fear but I just couldn’t move, and then I heard it, ‘Ubloo’, and I woke up.”
I sat there staring at him for a long time. While his dismissal of lucid dreaming being a possibility is impressive, it’s not uncommon for children to link a traumatic event to something imaginary to better comprehend what’s happening. I was starting to gain some traction back.
“When was the first time you saw Ubloo?” He hesitated for a half second but then he began talking.
“One time I dreamt of my dog, Buster. I was standing behind this great big fence, and I was just a kid so I couldn’t climb it. Buster was on the other side of a busy freeway, just sitting there looking at me, and I knew–somehow I knew–he was going to try to cross and come see me, and I knew he wouldn’t make it. He ran into the freeway and got hit by a car instantly. I screamed and I cried but the car didn’t stop, it just kept going. Buster was laying there broken and bleeding. I saw him try to get up, and he tried to crawl forward, and another car came speeding by and hit him again. It kept happening, I kept watching him get hit and torn to shreds by these cars, they just never stopped. That was the first time I saw him. I heard him right in my ear, ‘Ubloo!’ and then I turned and his face was an inch from mine, his huge black eyes staring right at me, and then I woke up.”
He was shaking now, and I could tell he was close to breaking down. I had to stop pushing him.
“Alright Andrew, I think this is a good place to stop today.” I stood up and walked over to my desk and got a prescription pad.
Andrew sat there and blinked at me. “You’re gonna… You’re gonna give me something to stop it?”
“For now I’m going to give you something to suppress your dreaming. Until I can diagnose where these dreams have been coming from, it’s important that you get a good night of sleep, help you clear your thoughts. I’m helping you to help me help you, get it?”
He blinked again. “Yes, I get it, thank you. They have drugs to suppress dreaming?”
“Well technically no. There’s a new drug called cyproheptadine that is used in treatment of hay fever, but one of the side effects is a suppression of dreaming–nightmares specifically–especially those induced by post-traumatic stress disorder.”
I kept writing the prescription in silence, and I could feel Andrew’s eyes on me. “But it’s not from PTSD, it’s from Ubloo.”
“I know that Andrew” I lied to him for the final time. “But it’ll work just as well at keeping Ubloo out of your dreams as well.”
This got to him. He was overjoyed and sprung up from the couch. He kept thanking me and telling me that I was the best Doctor he’s ever seen. That he finally felt like he had a fighting chance. I couldn’t help but smile at this, I guess it’s the reason I stuck with this practice after so long. I walked him to the door and shook his hand. He looked me straight in the eyes, smiling for the first time since I met him, and left my office.
That was the last time I would see Andrew Jennings alive.
A week went by and the next Monday, Andrew didn’t come in. Now normally I’d breathe a sigh of relief, tell my secretary I was heading out and grab a coffee down the street, but I couldn’t help but wonder about Andrew. I had thought about these dreams he had ever since he left, and truth be told I was almost looking forward to getting an update from him. I left my office and told my secretary I was heading out and to cancel my next appointment. In my hand I had the bill for Andrew Jennings for our last session, which had his address on it.
He was staying in an apartment building his Mother owned just outside of town. It was about a 15 minute drive from my office. I managed to slip in through the front door of the building as someone was leaving and found his name on the directory. His name was just written down on paper so I could tell he hasn’t been here long, in fact his Mother probably set him up here just so he’d be closer to my office, to ease his commute.
He was the last unit on the first floor. I made the long, arduous walk down the hall until I finally stopped at his door. I paused for a second and thought about what I was doing, but my curiosity got the better of me and I knocked loudly three times.
No answer. No sound of movement inside. After I had listened for a good while I knocked again, louder.
“Andrew, this is Doctor A. Can you come to the door please?”
Still nothing. I tried the door knob and surprisingly it twisted all the way. I felt the weight of the door lift and I could tell it was open.
I can’t tell you how long I stood there, hand on the door knob, just thinking. Thinking about how this would look; Doctor allows himself entry into Patient’s apartment. Doctor potentially finds Patient loaded on heroin, or potentially overdosed. Overdosed on heroin, but possibly the new drug he prescribed to him–a known user–just a week ago. But what was worse, was thinking about those horrible dreams he told me about, as just a piece of wood separated himself and I.
I took a deep breath and opened the door.
The first thing I noticed was that the shades were drawn, and there was no light save for a low wattage lamp in the corner. The air was stale and musky, and laid out on the table were needles and spoons and empty baggies.
I walked through the living room and saw no signs of Andrew. There was a hallway just off the wall that the couch was against. I took out my phone and turned the flashlight on. I walked down the hall slowly, my breath short and my hands shaking. There was a door immediately to my left that was agape. Carefully, I peered around the corner and shined my flashlight inside. It was the bathroom. Moderately dirty but not the worst I had seen. There were no signs of struggle, no vomit in the toilet, nothing that would indicate a potential overdose.
I let out a minor sigh of relief and turned back into the hall. There was only one door left, straight ahead. It was shut completely, all white with a silver knob. I stood there in the dark with my flashlight and looked for a light switch. These apartments were old. The switch must be in Andrew’s room, behind this door.
Realizing it wasn’t getting any easier, and swallowing my nerves I began to creep forward toward the door. Every step felt like a mile. My feet felt clumsy and my legs heavy. By the time I reached the door it felt like an hour had passed. I sat there and just stared into the bare white door, raised my hand and lightly rapped my knuckles against the wood.
“Andrew?” I asked as I knocked, the door creaking and gently swaying inward. Through the crack I could make out the faint outline of a person, and pushed the door open fully.
Andrew was on the ground, propped up and sitting in the corner, his skin pale and white, his bright green eyes staring wide at the door that I had just came through.
I stood there and stared at him in complete shock. It was the first time I had ever seen a dead body outside of a casket. It just looked so void and lifeless. I noticed blood on the carpet, and that his fingernails were split and bleeding, pried back from his finger in some places. I somehow managed to find the light switch and flick it on, that’s when I saw it.
“THE END IS THE BEGINNING”
It was carved deeply into the wood next to him. I stared at it just long enough to see what it said when the smell hit me. The most foul thing I had ever smelled, and in that moment it all set in and I felt more nauseous than I ever have in my life.
I sprinted out into the hallway and vomited immediately. I stood there bent over vomiting when an elderly woman a few doors down opened her door and gasped when she saw me.
“CALL 911!” I yelled to her, vomiting again. I heard her door slam shut and I tried to make my way down the hallway to the lobby, stopping every 20 or so feet to gag.
When the emergency responders came they pronounced him dead at the scene. They must have been used to this sort of thing because they didn’t seem too phased by it.
I gave a statement to the police and told them he was a patient of mine, and that I was checking in. They didn’t seem too suspicious and told me that if they needed anything else they would call. I left my business card with them and walked back to my car. As I started to pull out a car came screeching into the parking lot and I saw a woman get out. It was Mrs. Jennings. She was bawling and screaming and a few officers had to restrain her.
“THAT’S MY BABY! NO PLEASE GOD NO!” She yelled as she tried to fight through the policemen. I watched as much as I could bear and drove out of the parking lot. I called my secretary and told her to cancel all my meetings for the day, stopped at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of whiskey and drove myself home. I sat there and drank in silence for a long time. Eventually I turned the ball game on and ordered some food, but when it came I couldn’t bring myself to eat.
By the time I had finished the bottle it was getting late. I stood up and stumbled down the hall to my bedroom, kicked off my shoes and fell face first into my mattress. I laid there thinking about Andrew, about his pale lifeless body propped up in the corner staring at me with those big green eyes, about his last message “the end is the beginning” echoing through my brain trying to find a rhyme or reason to it. My thoughts were growing slower and my eyelids growing heavy. “the end is the beginning” playing over and over in my head. I felt myself just listing off to sleep when I heard it. From no where and everywhere all at once.
Credit To – DifferentWind