Estimated reading time — 10 minutes
People often think they are sure of what’s real and what’s not, they think they know the difference between reality and something that’s otherwise made up. The question however is where does one draw the line drawn, when does a story someone tells you cross over from being seen as true to something that’s obviously false. Until recently I’ve never really thought about this sort of thing, before now everything just seemed so simple. The sad truth of the matter is that even now as I’m typing this I’m not sure if I’m dreaming or if I’ve already begun to lose my mind.
It started about four days ago when I was rummaging in one of the countless boxes that were being sold off from an estate sale. The owner had apparently died and their effects were being sold off by the family as they themselves didn’t really want anything to do with them anymore. The thing is I’m kind of a collector of objects that happen to pique my interest, usually old or antique, and have noticed that these sorts of sales are much better in price then if you were to go to an actual shop.
Over the years I’ve found some pretty good stuff, not always, but sometimes, and have been able to get away with only paying a fraction of what I would otherwise. However, recently I managed to find something that made me increasingly curious, a book bound in leather. The cover of the item was blank, and after flipping through the pages I found that everything inside was hand written. At first I thought it was a journal, that is until I went to the first page again and looked at it more carefully in which case I found that it read, “Notes on Folk Lore” written in black, nicely done handwriting. I had begun to wonder how old it was but could not for the life of me find any sort of date or indication of when or by who it was made which only made the book more mysterious. While I was never big into that sort of topic I none the less thought that between the unknown age and interesting look of the tomb that it would be worthwhile to purchase it.
After paying for it I then brought it home and immediately opened it up at my desk before beginning to slowly paw through it. At first, inside the pages were notes on story’s and creatures that one would expect to find inside your standard book on the subject. However, as I read on I noticed that some of the things written inside were pretty frightening or otherwise downright grotesque in the detail given on specific legends. Still I was unfazed, they were just stories after all, just like any other one would read, story’s researched and catalogued by whoever had happened to have taken the time to write them down. It only took about two hours before making it to the end of the relatively small volume which brought me to the last piece of notes on a group of creatures I had never heard of.
It was entitled “Those We Dare Not Speak” and described beings that lived in the realm of dreams. The book said that when a person sleeps their souls enter another world, that this is the world where our dreams take place. It indicated that these creatures, while usually not interested in interfering with humans will sometimes become mischievous and interact with them if they see fit, but that’s when the story began to resemble a fairytale strait out of Grimm’s. It said that there were some who were not simply mischievous but downright sadistic, that some of them if they happened to find someone that they took a liking to would torment and torture them every moment they were asleep.
The section went on to note that in some cases these creatures, especially the more powerful ones would be able to leave their own realm and enter a person’s waking life in order to induce madness and even death, all for the sake of their twisted enjoyment. As I read this it made me shiver like none of the other entries had for it seemed to strike a nerve, although at the time I was not sure why. As I read on, the book noted that it was the individual names of the creatures that if spoken enough could somehow lure or attract them to the one who was willing to speak their name. Apparently it was this fact that made the few names that may have been known by whatever culture that had originally believed in such things taboo, and eventually forbidden to say or write in an attempt to minimize the chance that one could intentionally or unintentionally draw one of these things to themselves.
While it was still a bit creepy, the idea that just by saying something out loud could somehow make an inter-dimensional monster attack you in your dreams or something of the sort was actually somewhat comical, so much so that after I read that line I began to laugh, if only a little. After getting that out of my system I looked to see if there was any more of the entry only to realize that the only thing left was a scribble made in the margin which read, “Note: It was very difficult but I managed to find one name belonging to one of these supposed beings ”. Underneath this was a circled word which was apparently the name that the author of this book had found. I looked closer at it, trying to see how it would be pronounced as it seemed to be written in some other language which should have been obvious given that the tale itself was probably from some distant country.
Without even considering the fact that any of what was written was true, I slowly said aloud the name with little in the way of hesitation. In retrospect I must admit I regret it, it’s something I should have never done but this is where the so called knowledge of fact and fiction comes in to play, I thought it was fake, that nothing could possibly come of it. After speaking the name a number of times while at the same time trying to get the pronunciation right I noticed that the more I said it the smoother it became and that in fact the name itself had a rather pleasant sound to it. I attempted to think of the region that such a name would have come from but was unable; I suppose it was just too foreign.
After I finished reading I noticed it had gotten late, and with me having work in the morning decided to shut the book and get to sleep. After slipping into my small, but cozy bed before I knew it I was fast asleep, the thought of the book that still lay on my desk only a fading image as I drifted off. Slowly I awoke, only to find that I was no longer in my bed. Looking around I saw that I was standing on some sort of scorched earth. The ground was dark and cracked, while in the immediate vicinity there was nothing, no trees, buildings, just desolation. Even the sky itself was a swirling mass of dark clouds moving faster than I had seen them ever do before.
It became clear that this was a dream, but I had never before been aware of anything while actually being in one. The first thought that came upon me was that maybe I was in some sort of a lucid dream, that I was now conscious and could perhaps make this world suited to my own desires. I tried multiple times to change my surroundings but nothing worked. It was then that a chill ran up my spine as the feeling that something was watching me began to take effect. I looked behind, towards the source or the feeling only to find what I first thought was another person standing about ten feet away. I immediately started too backed up, almost tripping on a slightly raised piece of the parched ground beneath me but managed to catch myself before falling.
Seeing me in this state seemed to amuse the thing that now stood before me as I could see a smile curling on its pale sickly skin, a menacing smile that seemed to make it clear that maybe it wasn’t human after all. Until that moment I had never felt such a strange amount of fear, it was at a level that I can’t explain. By sheer instinct I wanted to run but my legs would not move, as if I was a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. With me being frozen in place the creature began to walk towards me, its white hair covering its eyes leaving only that terrifying smile plastered on its face.
As it walked, everything about it started to cause my fear to increase. From its thin, malnourished looking body, to its slender hands which had small but sharp looking claws at their ends the aura that seemed to emanate from it grew more and more the closer it came. During all of this I had begun to forget that I was sleeping, that everything I was seeing was nothing but an illusion, it all just seemed so real that I began to think that this was the end, that I was going to die here and now in some unspeakable way. With all my strength I managed to regain control of my previously paralyzed legs and turn around but not before the creature was able to speed forth, grabbing me by my neck with one hand while piercing my eye with its other.
The pain was beyond anything I had ever felt, something that made me think even more that this had to be real, as far as I knew one wasn’t supposed to feel pain in a dream but here I was in total agony. Using its two fingers I could feel it twisting inside my eye socket, its claws scraping against my skull, while the signature smile only widened, showing off its slightly pointed teeth. Even with it being so close its eyes remained unseen as its thick white hair continued to veil them. Still, I could feel them staring, gazing past the surface into my deepest thought. I cried out in desperation, “Why, stop, please stop it, I didn’t do anything, why are you doing this!” and with that the creature came closer, its mouth closing in on my ear and said in a gleeful tone, “You called upon me, didn’t you? You’re all mine now”.
In an instant I woke up in my bed, dripping with sweat, and my heart pounding. The pain continued to persist although I was able to see out of the eye that the creature in the dream had attacked. Running into my bathroom I turned on the light and checked the area fervently, trying to find some form of damage. To my relief there was none, and soon after the pain dissipated as well. I washed my face, and walked back to my bed, sitting at the edge. Looking at the clock on my bed stand I found that there was still about two hours before I normally got ready for work. Deciding I needed to relax I got dressed and left my apartment, thinking that by walking to a nearby diner for an early bite might help my nerves.
As I made my way there, the images of what transpired ran through my mind. Trying to piece together a logical explanation I then came to the conclusion that it must have been a lucid dream gone awry, a conscious nightmare brought on by that stupid book I had read earlier. Yes, that had to be it, or at least that’s what I was thinking. It made perfect sense after all, like watching a horror movie and eating junk food before bed, nothing more. The rest of the day went as I had planned, the diner helped to relax me, and work was relatively peaceful although boring as it usually was. When I returned home I was somewhat drained, all I wanted was to sleep but the thought that I would fall into another miserable nightmare kept me from doing so. At first I watched some TV, then moved on to messing around on the computer, I did anything I could to stay awake even though I had to get up early again tomorrow.
I did this until around two in the morning which was when I unknowingly began to doze off. Feeling myself slipping away I pinched myself hard on the arm which briefly gave me a shot of energy. I asked myself what I was doing, why I was letting such a stupid fear control me, it was fake, it wasn’t real, this is what I told myself over and over again In order to keep myself thinking logically. However, all of the sudden that familiar feeling that something was nearby filled me once more, the same ominous aura from before began to permeate the room. I didn’t care what it was, whether it was simply my mind playing tricks on me or if it was indeed happening, all I wanted was to escape the suffocating miasma that began to engulf me.
In a flash and without further thought I bolted out of the room and shut the door behind me but the feeling persisted all the same. Clutching my head, I leaned up against the adjacent wall, staring at my door, not knowing what was happening to me. I wondered if something was truly in there, if it was waiting for me to come back or if I had snapped, if I was literally going insane. Looking to either side of me I noticed there was no one, the hall was empty, nor were there any sounds from the various rooms located within. It was silent; everything was too quiet except for the sound of my breathing and the dull thuds of my heart which beat faster and faster as I began to lose my grip on reality.
Just then, the squeaking sound of the doorknob in front of me cut through the air as it slowly turned, causing me to scream out as loud as I could. I don’t know why I did it, maybe it was hopefully so someone would hear me, or maybe it was just an uncontrollable response given everything that was happening, all I know is that everything disappeared and I again woke up in my bed. I couldn’t believe it, was all that a dream too? Everything seemed so vivid which only served to confuse me further. I sat up, ripping off the blanket before staggering into the bathroom. Their I stood; looking at myself again in the mirror not knowing if I was still asleep or awake.
Slumping against the door I laid on the ground, not caring about work, or the time, or anything. I think I finally realized that I don’t know anymore, I don’t know anything. Sure, there may have been a logical reason for everything that was happening, maybe I fell asleep again, I mean I was definitely tired so it’s not outlandish to consider it as a possibility. Maybe I just had another nightmare; maybe I was becoming overly stressed. Sure, these were good reasons why everything was happening as they were, but they failed to help me regain my composure. It’s been two days since then, two days since iv slept, or at least I thinks that’s how long.
Since then I buried that terrible book under some junk in my desk, right now I can’t even think of looking at it again. I wanted to put everything behind me, but still, I often feel like something is watching me, that something is coming for me but is just dragging things out for its own entertainment. I try to find where it’s coming from, the source of this presence, I try to get a glimpse but I never catch sight of it and before I know it the feeling is gone in an instant leaving me wondering if I really felt anything at all to begin with. I want to tell my friends what’s been happening, to have someone to talk to about all of this but I know they’ll never believe me and maybe their right not to. I haven’t even been to work since everything began to break down, I just can’t figure out what to do anymore. I’m tired now, so tired, but I can’t sleep, I can’t let myself do that again, but seeing this all in words makes me doubt myself even more, it’s crazy, this can’t be what’s happening.
Thinking about all of this now, after writing it all out I’m closer to the realization that maybe I’ve already lost it, but then again perhaps this has all been a series of bad dreams, maybe I’m in one right now and soon that “thing” will come out once more to haunt me, to torture me. I just…want it all to be over.
Credit To – Auctor