15 Oct Guilt
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Estimated reading time — 9 minutes
“Don’t you wish you wouldn’t have done that?“ an unfamiliar voice asked me.
I rose my head, but I was blindfolded. I tried to move my hand, my leg, my finger – anything at this point – but it seemed that I was completely paralyzed.
“Victoria,“ the creature (I hardly believe it is human) whispered in my ear. “Why?“
“Please,“ I cried. “I don’t know what I’ve done! Where am I? What do you want?“
I heard a loud knock on the door and I could sense the creature got a little nervous.
“I will come for you!“
I heard another knock and then my body started to shake.
“Vicky! Wake up,“ I heard my mother’s voice. “You need to get ready for school.“
I looked around. I was in my room again. I was able to move, I was able to see. Everything was back to normal. Even though I knew I just had a bad dream, I couldn’t stop tears running down my face as soon as my mother turned her back.
I was always superstitious and I always believed there is a meaning behind every action, every fear and every dream. I believed in karma and in life after death. So, I couldn’t let go of the fact ‘it was just a dream’, because I felt in my bones that there has to be something behind that. Maybe nothing paranormal or supernatural. Just something in my subconscious that is bothering me.
After I’ve had breakfast and left for school, I didn’t worry as much as I did earlier. I met my friend Lisa and we walked together to our classes. We talked a little about what we did over the weekend. I, as usual, stayed at home, learning for the upcoming exams.
We separated in the school hallway soon after the bell rang and as I was going down the hallway to my classroom, I noticed I am completely alone. I turned around to double check, and there was no one to be seen. Nothing unusual, I was already a bit late for class, but being alone after having such terrible dream made me panic. I started running and quickly reached for the door handle, before the teacher shut the door.
“How many times do I have to tell you this,“ Mrs. Lovegood started. “When the bell rings you have to be behind your desk and NOT on your way to the classroom.“
“I- I’m sorry.“ I sincerely apologized and then sat behind my desk.
I was always a good student, sometimes maybe a bit late, but I oddly have a lot of nightmares lately, which is one of the reasons I oversleep occasionally. Well, the nightmares I have had are nothing like the one I had this morning – this one seemed real.
I was half asleep during this lesson and I couldn’t concentrate, so I leaned my head on the wall slightly and looked out of my window, to my left. Children were carelessly playing outside in the playground – all, except for one. He seemed to be pointing on to something, without any particular expression. No fear, no excitement, no happiness, nothing. As if he was just a body, without a soul. I turned my head back to my teacher, to make a quick eye contact, to make her believe I am listening to the words she’s saying, and then I looked back at the strange kid outside in the playground. He was still pointing his finger up, almost to our classroom window, but our eyes didn’t meet, so I was guessing it’s something behind the wall, that I can’t see. A huge spider maybe? Thousands of spiders?
I leaned forward and followed the stare of this boy.
“No, no, NO!“ I yelled, jumping, grabbing my bag, and running out of the classroom, down the hallway, and I only stopped at the front door.
I saw a body – not a human body though – a lot slimmer and awkward looking and kind of sleazy – holding to the wall with his long nails and the mucus dripping from his body. His face was gray, without a visible nose, with two small, jet black eyes, and a wide opened mouth that was filled with even more mucus or something alike.
Even though, in my dreams, I didn’t see the creature who was talking to me, I just knew that was him. He came for me, like he promised.
I saw the teacher running towards me and I didn’t know whether to hide or stay, tell the truth or just make something up? No one would believe me either way. I wanted to turn around and run home, but what if this thing was waiting for me outside of the door?
“What happened? Are you alright?“ she asked me and I burst into tears.
“I can’t really breathe,“ I told her and it wasn’t even a lie – I felt trapped and the fear was suffocating me. “I need to call my parents to come get me.“
And within half an hour they did. I didn’t tell them what happened, just that I felt really sick.
“Good to see you again,“ the voice I heard in my last dream said as soon as I fall asleep that night. I wasn’t blindfolded anymore, but my body was still resting in a chair and I was unable to move. In front of me, the face of a creature I saw in school earlier, was staring at me closely. “Now that you’ve seen me, there is no point in hiding, right?“
His voice was disturbing and static. I tasted my tears through the closed lips. I couldn’t open them, no matter how hard I tried.
“Now, I just want to know why,“ he said, with a mad smile on his face, but he wasn’t happy at all, I could tell. Not even hurting me would satisfy him enough, but to him, it was better than nothing. “No, that’s not true. I ALSO want to know why, but the ending is going to be the same either way. So, why would you do that to me and my family?“
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!“ I screamed, my voice shaking. I didn’t even realize I said it out loud, though that was what I was trying to do. I guess he was the one in charge of my body. When he decided to let me speak, I was able to do so. “I swear!“
“LIAR!“ the creature yelled at me with high pitch static voice, causing more tears flow down my face. “You remember. You said you do. You told your family about it. They sometimes talk about that time you did, even though they still don’t entirely believe you. It was hard to trace you and now that I did, I want to know how could you-“
I woke up in a cold sweat, crying out loud. I heard my phone ringing and I guess that woke me up. It was 2 AM, so I didn’t expect any callers at that time. When I picked it up, I noticed it was Lisa and as I was about to answer, my mother rushed through the door. She turned on the light and hugged me. I told her I only had a nightmare – which is true – even though I really saw the same creature yesterday, and so did the strange kid. Or maybe I thought I saw that kid, but he was just part of my imagination too.
My mother picked up something that looked like a book, that was lying on the end of my bed.
“Where did you find that?“ she asked. I didn’t know what she was talking about.
“Were you in my room again? You know, I don’t go through your things either!“ she stood up and threw the book back on the bed.
“Wait,“ I called, when she was about to leave my room. “Please stay, I’m sorry.“ I went along.
She is stubborn, but she couldn’t just leave me in fear, which she could tell I still was, since it was written all over my face. As she sat on the edge of my bed, I reached for the book and opened it.
It was my diary from when I was five years old – not well written and it was hard to read, because some of the words were misspelled, but I managed to get through a couple of sentences and put them together.
I read it out loud: “I used to be a queen, before I was me. I was evil. I killed people, because I was angry. I set people and whole families on fire if they were in my way. But I like me now. I’m good.“
I looked at my mother’s expression, that was hiding shame. She knew about that diary. That’s why it was in her room – she was hiding it from me.
I had no idea how it ended up here, on my bed, but it did.
I turned page after page and there was no more words, just bad drawings of people set on fire or being hanged. And the page, with one particular drawing, let the electricity out and shook my finger. I looked at my mum again, but it was like she didn’t see that. And maybe she really didn’t.
On the picture, there was a family of five – farmers maybe, as far as I could tell – a pregnant wife, a young boy, a little younger brother, and a tall, slim guy. Everyone, except for the man, was on fire, but he was covered in some sort of liquid and I couldn’t tell what it was, but it made me think, if this is the man I was dreaming about.
As I’ve said before, I believe in life after death, so if I really was the queen in my previous life and I did hurt and kill people, maybe it’s the guilt that’s causing the hallucinations and nightmares.
I asked my mum about the diary – or, well, some sort of a memory book – and she told me that I was convinced, at that age, that I used to be an evil queen. Apparently I explained the drawings the first time I let my mum see the book and I told her that this family had a farm, but didn’t make enough food as they should. At first I gave them some more time, but because most of the food they brought was rotten again, there wasn’t enough as the city needed, so I decided to get rid of them. I had people to do the dirty work for me, so they set their house on fire at night. The man escaped and the next day they found his wife and children outside of the house too, but dead, as if he tried to help them, but he was too late. I sent my men after him and then had a little fun with him myself – punishing him for trying to escape. First, I would starve him for a couple of days, then let my men beat him up, and ended his life, splashing him with sticky, poisonous fluid from plants.
I still didn’t tell my mother that I saw that man in my dreams and in school, since I was convinced now, that it’s just part of my imagination, because I subconsciously remembered my past life. I sighed with relief and we both went back to sleep after that discussion.
I saw him in my dreams again after that. I was terrified, but not like before, because I knew it’s just guilt haunting me as a bad dream.
“I’m sorry,“ I said to the creature, moments later.
He was slowly approaching me from the other side of the dark room. I was paralyzed as always and I started to panic a little, but it’s just a dream. A lot of people are lucid dreaming, thinking it’s real. I just have to go through that and tomorrow I’ll go to the doctor to get some pills, I told myself.
The creature touched my jaw with both hands and let out a static scream at first, then said: “Not good enough.“
He forcefully opened my mouth, wider than it is possible to, and I could feel it breaking. It was real pain. I cried and screamed. He pushed his head inside and started crawling inside me. My whole body was shaking, my eyeballs were about to pop out, and I noticed my tears are turning red. I was choking and there was no one who could save me.
As soon as he climbed inside of me, my mouth closed behind him, and I woke up.
It was morning already and I had a strange feeling that this is the end. My jaw did indeed hurt a little – maybe I actually believed that the dreams were real and slept with my mouth opened – and I was a little afraid, in a way. After all it has been a terrible dream.
I thought to myself: Him crawling inside of me was most likely just the way I deal with this guilt – I swallowed it, just like you swallow the pride, and I let it go, because there is no point in holding on. I’m sure there won’t be any more nightmares, but I’m still going to visit the doctor, to prescribe me something. Just in case.
I went downstairs, to the kitchen, and made myself cereal. I accidentally spilled milk over my pj’s.
“Oops. Good morning mum,“ is what I was trying to say, but that’s not what my voice said. Instead, it was: “Where is dad?“
Weird, I swear I wanted to say ‘Good morning’. Maybe I’m still a little sleepy, it wasn’t one of my best nights. And I really need to change, because this milk looks a little odd, plus it stinks.
“He is still in bed. Morning, sweetie,“ she said, giving me a kiss on the forehead.
I went over to the counter, to get a towel and try to get rid of the milk on my skin, but I grabbed the matches that my mother kept on the shelf together with her cigarettes. I tried to released them, but I couldn’t.
“Mum?“ I said, but nothing came out of me. “Mum! Help!“
No words spoken, I ran, still in my pj’s, to the garage and grabbed the gasoline.
“No, no, no, no!“
I poured it around my house and then proceeded to pour it out, inside of our home. My mother didn’t turn around, even though I begged her. She was in the living room, reading a newspaper. I put some more gasoline in the room, where my dad was sleeping, crying (well, in my mind at least, but I could feel my muscles hurt from smiling) and then I heard my mother yell out to me.
“Victoria? Do you smell gas?“
“No, mum!“ is what it came out of my mouth after I left the staircase. I ran outside again, struck the match and throw it into the puddle of gas, just like that.
“Enjoy the show,“ I said to myself as the flames caught the house. I heard a scream just a little after I started running to the nearest park, away from the house and the people I wanted to save, and I ended up under a bridge, on my own.
“Don’t save me,“ I wanted to say to the creature, now that he took everything in this world that I love, but I wasn’t in charge of my body anymore. I couldn’t say what I wanted and I couldn’t move where I wanted. Still, he knew.
“I won’t.“ said my actual voice. “Wasn’t that milk a little sticky?“
Credit: Loraine Carlile
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