Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
About a month ago I wrote a blog post upon the recommendation of my therapist. During the prior few sessions I had been recounting some troubling occurrences from my childhood. These were events that, for years, I vowed to be true despite urgings from the few close to me that I have trusted with the stories. As an adult, still struggling with the line between truth and fiction as it pertains to these events, my therapist recommended that I drop the shroud of secrecy and put my story out to the world. She did warn that the story could be met with a decent amount of harsh criticism and negative comments, but suggested I ignore those reactions and focus instead on comments with a serious tone. It was her belief that the public would be able to put my mind at ease and prove that there was no reason for these events to haunt me any longer.
I wish that she had been right.
The day after my tenth birthday I had a nightmare. In the dream, I awoke outside, lying on the ground in the middle of an unknown and abandoned city blanketed in a red tint as if I was looking through a piece of translucent red plastic. There was a bit of a breeze, but nothing was moving. The few trees that speckled the city landscape were statues when they should have been moving with the wind.
A voice spoke from behind me. It was deep and robotic, almost completely monotone offering words of welcome. I spun around and saw a figure standing there in the red. It stood upright like a human, and had a similar shape, but was devoid of any distinguishable features. Instead, all I saw was a completely black silhouette with jagged, almost pixelated edges that twitched and shifted as if this were not of our world but of the digital realm. I stepped backward away from it, but it did not get any further away. It hadn’t moved toward me, it just stayed the same distance away. I stepped to the side and my perspective of the thing did not change. No matter where I went, it faced me, the same distance away, as if it were physically connected to me.
Eventually I stopped trying to get away from it, and when I did it began to speak again. It told me that it’s name was Happy and then it began to tell me a story about a secret underground facility where people were taken and transformed into monsters. As it told me this I began to see the story play out around me. I saw a van pull up to a building about a block away from me. It would have been easy to miss but nothing else was moving and so the vehicle caught my attention. I turned and walked toward the van, the creature narrating the story still in front of me but fading enough that I could see through it.
The van turned down an alley. I watched as it stopped and a group of about five men got out of the van. They were dressed in suits and carrying briefcases as if they were going to a business meeting. They looked confused, searching the buildings on either side of them for something familiar. Suddenly, the alley began to fill with fog, some sort of gas that quickly rendered the businessmen incapable of breathing and within seconds they were all lying unconscious on the dirty cement street between the buildings.
Shortly after, the bodies were retrieved by people in white hazmat suits and taken into an unmarked door and the van drove away. I ran up and grabbed the door before it shut after the last body was taken through it, and followed them into the building. I didn’t do it because I wanted to, I did it because the thing in front of me narrated it that way. I followed them into a massive industrial elevator. None of them could see me. We ended up in a huge underground warehouse filled with big cages connecting floor to ceiling. The sounds that were coming out of those cages were terrible. I could hear people crying and yelling out. One by one the people in the hazmat suits put the unconscious businessmen into empty cages individually and chained them up. The only lights came from head lamps that they were wearing. Not everyone in those cages was human. Some of them were monsters. Bulging and broken hulks of snarling muscle. I heard one behind me and turned around just as it leapt at the bars toward me.
I woke up, and if things had ended there I wouldn’t be writing this. But they didn’t end there. The narrator visited me again a couple nights later. It told me a different story. It was always a different story. After about two months of this, it didn’t come every night but at least a couple times a week, I began to see things. At first they were just flashes of things out of the corners of my eyes. I was able to dismiss them as tricks of the light, but as time went on and the visits from the strage narrator continued in my dreams, they began appearing to me more clearly. Parts of the stories, the nightmares that this creature was guiding me through, were starting to make their way into my waking hours. Of course, no one else saw the things I did. I would go into my room after school and see one of those hulking monsters in the corner, ready to pounce. The decaying corpse of an old man would shuffle around the end of an aisle at the store with my parents and take jerky steps toward us as I tried to contain my fear. So many terrors specially tailored to make me suffer in solitude without anyone that I could turn to.
My parents didn’t believe me. A couple of friends did but we were kids, what could we do. This went on for about a year, and then something changed. I had one last dream where the narrator visited me. It asked me if I liked it’s stories. I said no, that I hated them, that I wanted it to leave me alone. It was quiet for a while and then it told me that one day it would tell its stories to the world. Like the elements of his stories had been made real for me, it would be made real to everyone and no one would be able to ignore it any longer. Then it began to laugh. The laughter got louder and louder until I dropped to the ground with my hands over my ears screaming for it to stop.
It did, and I never heard from the narrator again. Every once in a while I would see something. Maybe it was my imagination, or maybe traces of those stories were still lingering in my mind causing me to see things that weren’t there. As an adult I began to see the therapist in the hopes of wiping them out completely.
I wrote the blog post and sat back to see if anyone would give me the peace of mind that I hoped for. What I received was a flood of confirmation from others who had experienced the same thing that I had, only serving to deepen the terror that had plagued my nights since childhood. The same creature, the same voice, the same stories. Some had stories that I never heard. Many of them were the same. Tears began to stream down my face as I read them, one after the other, each one making the whole experience more and more real.
That night I sat in my room with the lights on. It had all been real. I could not wrap my head around it. I was terrified to go to sleep and so I sat there in bed awake with a cup of coffee. I was there, trying to think of what I should do next, when the lights went out. It was only dark in the room for about five seconds and then a deep red glow began to rise without any discernible source. At the end of my bed, a dark figure appeared. No features. Pixelated outline. Shivering and twitching like a glitched out shadow. Happy stood there, not speaking for a long time and then two words thundered through the room in that monotone, robotic voice so loud that the glass in my window shattered and everything on the walls fell to the ground. It said, “Thank you”, and then it was gone. My lights came back on. I lay there in bed, coffee spilled all over the front of me. I had done this. I brought everyone together. We all had confirmation now. We had proved its existence. We were giving it power. I had no idea exactly what it meant when it said it would be made real, that everyone in the world would hear his stories but, that didn’t really matter. Now, it was just a matter of time.
Credit : Patrick T. Luce
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