Estimated reading time — 11 minutes
It is not with a high frequency that I am subject to nightmares. That being said there are times where, like any other person, I experience the rather disturbing scenarios that arise from the depths of my own mind. This particular sequence of events chilled me to the bone however.
Chilling to the bone. That phrase is often overused in my eyes. The potency of a phrase may diminish when its usage has become annoyingly common. But in this context it works perfectly.
Whenever I would wake up from this dream I would be cold. I would feel wet, like someone had just hosed me down with a jet of water, although I would be perfectly dry. The chill would start on my skin, stimulating the tiny hairs on the outer layer of me. It would begin in the middle of my chest, like the chills that are caused by music. The cold would spread over me, working its way through my appendages like a wave of energy. Once it had tingled through my body it would race down the spine again and make me shudder. It would then sit inside me. Like a chunk of ice it would linger and melt away slowly as I forgot the dream.
I can not remember the dream well. Dreams only stay in the human mind for short periods of time. I can’t tell you the actual time length but I’m confident that it’s something like after ten minutes 90% of the dream is forgotten.
This dream is a new occurrence. It’s only happened a few of times. All of them in the last few days. Of course it doesn’t take much to remember something like this. I think it’s getting progressively worse. Like a story. The dreams seem to be progressing in intensity and clarity like the arc of a plot leading to a climactic moment of realization.
I can only remember one image. Only one, it’s always the same. A bear. A large, black bear. The image is burned into my mind, like a tattoo on the skin of a biker.
The bear is standing there. Tall. It is so tall, maybe twelve or thirteen feet tall. I can’t remember the scenery anymore, even though I only just woke up. All I know is that it was dark, a single from standing in the distance. The bear.
This is the third time that I’ve had this dream. The second time I remembered even less. I only remembered shapes, no sound or color, just dark shapes. The first occurrence, is blurred in my sub conscience, the only things that stuck around were the animalistic feelings of a hunt.
I’m sitting in my bed right now, shuddering with this strange cold that won’t leave me. My room is dark. It is still night outside, the alarm clock on the side of my bed reads 1:00 in its blocky red font. It’s 1 AM and I have to work later today.
I lay back down and look around my room. I hear the faint whispering noises coming out of the floor register. The street lights filter, like dancing beams of glowing air, through my blinds. The room has taken on a blueish tinge, like a Picasso painting during his blue period. My fan is going in the corner, its whirring noises calm me slightly as I lie back down into my bed. I curl up into a fetal position and hold the blankets tightly to my figure in an attempt to regain some of my lost heat.
I close my eyes, waiting to see if the bear will return.
My mind races at the sudden loss of sight. Everything auditory becomes more intense. I can hear the wind outside blowing past my house, rushing through the pine trees behind my house, up and around the parked cars in the street.
My eyes move slowly around the inside my my eyelids, slowing as I reach closer to sleep. And then, I am taken by it. I begin to dream.
I am in a forest. It is cold, blue, purple, and black with night. The sky above me is dark and turmoiled with what appears to be a storm. The wind is blowing at my back, everything is moving slowly. I look at the sky again, lightning flashes above me, silently. Strange. There is no sound from the lightning, yet I can hear the wind blowing all around me.
I begin to move through the forest. The pine trees around me make everything seem sharp and pointed. They sway in the wind, only ever illuminated by the occasional flash of lightning. Everything is a silhouette, the trees are shadowless forms, mixing with grasses and bushes to form black artwork that I can scarcely make out. My depth perception is useless in this darkness. I’m moving slowly, and quietly. I can’t hear anything but the wind.
Behind me, out of nowhere, I sense a presence. It is strange, unlike anything that I have felt before. It feels cold. It is like someone has just come up behind me and opened a freezer. The warmth in the air is sucked away. I feel a drop of water hit my nose. Rain.
It begins to rain slowly, not ever picking up. It is like a light misty rain that comes down in little pellets of water. It is weak. As the rain slowly moistens the clothes I’m wearing I begin to feel even colder.
I feel the presence behind me again. It feels closer now. I cannot hear anything but the wind and the light pattering of the rain on the dense forest floor. I want to turn around and look behind me. I know that something is there. I can feel it getting closer to me.
I slowly look around at my surroundings to try and gain some sort of bearing on this presence at my back. I am afraid to turn and face the adversary, it is too much like being hunted. The trees around grow sinister. They are black holes in the horizon sucking away the matter of my mind. I look to my left, directly at the trees. I am moving relatively fast for a walking pace. The trees are moving by, casting shadows.
Low hanging branches are mixing together. In the branches I see something. I slow momentarily and look into the purply blackness marked by silhouetted branches. Something moves. The air grows frigidly cold. There, in the hole, I see two snorts of mist exit from an unknown location. Something is in the forest watching me, and breathing heavily.
I begin to walk through the forest faster. I gain speed slowly, the presence seems to fall back while I move faster away from it. I cannot hear my own footsteps, although I feel them hitting the ground. I am silent. I can only hear the wind and the rain. The persistent cold is going away slightly. It has changed, I no longer feel cold on the inside as I had before, now it is only from the wind against my wet jacket.
I am moving relatively quickly now, like that of a speed walker. I slowly gain up the courage to look behind me. The movements in my neck feel slow and forced, like I’ve been hunched over a computer for the whole day.
I look behind me. I see nothing. It is dark. Then, a chill begins to creep up my spine. It is like an insect has found its way under my jacket and is slowly working its way up the small of my back and up along the ridges of my spine. The cold is returning.
I have slowed down. I am no longer moving.
The lightning flashes overhead. behind me I make out a shape. Something large. It is shaped like a boulder, and it is growing very slowly in the distance. I can feel the cold emanating from this form. I turn around and begin to walk faster again. Now moving at an even healthier clip than I was before.
A picture of the form behind has burned itself into the insides of my eyelids. Flashing the image on my gave every time that I blink. I can see its eyes. Silver and red at the same time. Mixing and merging with each other. Its breath is like white smoke from a slow burning fire. The tendrils of smoke are leaking out of the corners of its invisible mouth.
I begin to stumble through the forest. The trees are moving in the wind, their forms now mix with one another and form sinister smiles in the branches. I can only hear the wind and the rain.
I look behind myself again. The boulder shape has fallen behind, I can no longer see it. I begin to run.
Looking to the sides of the forest again I begin to see shapes forming in the branches. An enormous thing is running directly beside me. It is not the shape of any animal. Its forelegs are the size of enormous arms, the back legs are squat and springy like that of a rabbit. It races alongside me and I can always see it next to me no matter which side of the forest I look to. I see its face.
A flash of lightning illuminates the dark shape that is racing me. It is looking directly at me. Its eyes are white as snow with no iris or pupil. The brown snout is caked in mud and what could be blood. The teeth are yellowed and cracked. It is smiling at me like I will soon become its next meal.
The running is slow and fast at the same time. I feel as though I am moving effortlessly through the forest faster than a car, but I also feel as if I am not moving at all. I see the trees and bushes rushing by my quickly. I look behind myself again, I see nothing. The beast at my side has disappeared into oblivion.
I redirect my attention forward and look at the forest in front of me. I see nothing for what seems like minutes but was most likely only seconds.
Then, in the distance I see a what looks like the edge of the forest. I am filled with a sense of urgency and adrenaline as I rapidly pursue the forests edge. I move up an incline through the darkness. And then the forest floor falls back downward. I am almost at the clearing. It is maybe one hundred feet in front of me.
I feel cold. The chill has crept back into me. It has worked its way back into the very center of my core and is forcing me to slow down. I feel the ground rush up to me as my legs cease to work. I am forced to lie on the floor as I become even more cold. I turn over onto my back and look back into the forest, knowing that the safety of the clearing is not but thirty-five yards ahead of me.
I look back into the forest. I don’t see anything. I hear nothing but the wind and the rain. The sky has become more violent. It is black and grey, churning above me with virulent anger.
Then, everything is still. I hear no sound. The wind has not stopped. The rain has stopped. There is no sound. It is utterly and completely silent in the darkness of the forest. And then in the distance I here a scream. It is like the screech of a bat several octaves lower than possible. The screech gives into a roar of depth and power, the base of the bellow is deep and resonates through the forest. I know that the beast will soon be upon me.
I look in front of me, and see nothing but the silhouetted pine trees waving in the silenced wind.
There is a flash of lightning. It is blue and yellow at the same time and sends the increasing chills racing through my body. Its illumination of the forest is momentary and revealing.
There is a boulder shape moving towards me, rising slowly over the crest of the hill, entering my field of view like an eighteen wheeler would move over a hill. My eyes open wide, my irises retract instantaneously to allow more light into my eyes as the fear climaxes into an adrenaline fueled panic.
Then I hear it. Its breathing is slow and wet. Like it is filled with saliva and blood. It is a thick, deep sound. I hear the branches breaking under its feet. They might be the size of tree trunks but they snap with the explosive sound of a shotgun as they break under the power of the slowly looming monstrosity.
I look to the sides again hoping to see that there is a possibility of escape for me. All I see is that the forest is slowly leaking hands of fog into my space. In the forest I see the faces of the trees looking at me with lust. They want to consume me as well. I see the face of the thing that was running next to me again. It is still smiling. Only its eyes seem brighter.
Lightning illuminates the forest once more. The sounds of the creature cease. It has stopped moving, as if it wants to pose for the flash of natures’ camera as it prepares to bear down on my weak human form. I look away from the face next to me slowly. I, with a fading feeling, hope that the creatures on my sides will not lash out towards me whilst I am not prepared. It takes more strength to turn away from the ever present faces than it does to look upon my hunter.
The light flashes slowly for me. It moves from the clearing up across the ground like a curtain lifting up to reveal the set stage of a play. It rises up the hill and reveals the beast.
It is a beast. Not an animal. It is a beast unlike any possible creature on the planet. It sucks the light into its form like it was a rip in space. Coldness emanates from it, causing the chills moving in my body to intensify to an extreme. Its form is blacker than the night, its fur ripples in the wind like a shaggy dog. It is tall. Taller than any animal that lives in the western hemisphere. Its shoulders are resting farther down the body, making the neck seem elongated and thick. Its head merges with the neck in one oblong shape. The only changes on the head are the pointed ears that sit atop its immense form.
I can only see its face for a moment. It is obscured by the darkness surrounding its body. It feels evil. Cruel. Cold.
Time has sped up from the flash, everything is moving as if it were suddenly imbued with some kind of newfound vigor. I lie unable to move at the mercy of whatever creature this is.
I can no longer see anything. The darkness and cold of my scene has engulfed the forest, leaving nothing but the treetops visible in the night sky. I cannot see the form of my pursuer.
Lightning fills the sky once more, shocking the ground with a boom that I have yet to hear. With this flash of light and sound the entire world reactivates. Suddenly everything is roaring with noise. The wind shakes the trees with the ferocity of a lion killing its prey. The rain shocks upon the ground like swords clang against each other in battle. And I see my opponent bearing down on me. He is almost upon me. I can see his face, it is evil.
The corners of his mouth are turned up into snarl revealing yellowed and elongated teeth. The snout of the monster is caked with a brownish substance, I cannot tell if it is blood or mud, and at this point I am to chilled to consider the likelihood of either. Its eyes are what haunt me the most. They seem colorless, like a void, but not black. They retain some color. Red. They are a deep rich red that can only be seen in a passing light, like an iridescent mixing of silver and crimson. From his mouth drip copious amounts of saliva and foam. The thing is like a disease that inhabits the forest.
He is less than twenty feet from me. I begin to feel his breath. It sounds hot and heavy, but when intact it is like the freezing winds of an ice storm.
He is getting closer.
I open my mouth to scream and am shot from my dream into an upright position in my bed. My mouth is hanging wide open, air escaping from my gaping maw like a small leak in a tire.
I am so cold. It is so cold in my room.
I fling the covers from my bed and rush to the light switch on the far side of the room.
I turn on the lights and press my back up against the wall. I look out at the space I call my own and see the ground and bed. It is covered in dirt, leaves and pine needles. The ground is wet. The prints of my bare feet are all over the floor, I do not know how they got there.
Droplets of bubbling liquid are falling down the side of my bed mere inches from where my face was but a moment ago. It was like something was waiting to bite down on my head and crush the life from me.
I stare at my floor completely dumbfounded and frightened. I back out of my room and grab the jacket that is hanging on the doorknob.
I put the jacket on one sleeve at a time, still staring into my room.
The jacket feels funny. I look down at my now enveloped arms and see black fur covering the face and sleeves of the jacket. Looking away from the sleeves in horror I see that the ground is covered in claw marks. Scratches line the walls pictures are broken on the floors.
I race through the house and out the back door at full speed.
THE BEAR IS IN MY HOUSE, I think rapidly as I dash through my backyard.
I continue to run through the trees in my backyard until I can no longer see the the lights of my house behind me. I stop for a moment and look at my surroundings.
I am in a forest. The wind is blowing. The sky is dark and cloudy. I notice a water droplet hit the dirt floor of the forest next to my bare foot. Lightning illuminates the forest with a boom of energetic power.
I fail to notice as my jacket rips slightly. My vision gets used to the darkness. My bloody and torn fingernails become slightly sharper. I begin to feel stronger.
Suddenly I begin to feel very cold.
I move through the forest and come upon a small piece of reflective glass. I look into the glass and see bright, completely white, eyes looking back at me.
I smile and admire my new teeth.
I can smell my prey.
Someone is walking.
In MY forest.
Credit To – Pablo Swuarez
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