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I’m here, again. I’m watching my wife die, again. I’m standing on a country road, a country road not far from our house. It’s dark. I’m not sure if it’s night or early morning; the only immediate light source is coming from my wife’s overturned vehicle. The darkness surrounding, I sense, is not typical darkness; it’s as if this blackness is the very darkness that is the infinite abyss. I feel as if I were to fully look into it, I would lose myself. I can’t look; not only for the immense and lobotomizing fear it will sear into my mind, but I can never manage to take my eyes off of my wife’s dead body, laying several yards from her vehicle. I always try to look away, but I can’t. A pool of blood lies beside her. No matter how many times I have this dream, I’m forced to look at her body. Even in death, she’s the most beautiful thing to me; I still love her so much. Guilt begins to wrap its silent hands around my throat…
She’s moving her head. She’s now facing me. I think she is looking at me. This hasn’t happened before. Her eyes meet mine. Her eyes that were once as blue as the ocean are now dull and gray, drained of all color and life. She locks her gaze with mine; I can’t move. My body starts to feel cold and numb, starting at my feet, slowly working up my legs, my waist, my stomach, my chest, my arms, and finally my head. My breathing gets shorter and shorter and my vision gets blurrier and blurrier. The abysmal darkness that surrounds this hellish scene me starts to slowly envelope me. As this darkness overtakes my vision, I feel my mind rip apart, quicker and quicker. My head and face start to burn, the pain is excruciating. I can’t scream, I can’t breathe, I can’t even think. Before everything goes dark, I notice a malevolent smirk on my wife’s corpse’s face. Is she enjoying this? Then everything goes black…
My eyes snap open. I look around, trying to figure out where I am. My breathing is heavy and I feel a pool of cold sweat against my drenched body. I manage to calm myself down and let my eyes adjust to the darkness of my bedroom. There seems to be a little bit of light coming from outside, casting a dreary, gray veil all over my room.
I look at my alarm clock. 7:47 am. I guess I’ll just get up. I haven’t been able to sleep all too well for the past eight weeks, not ever since my wife died. I lie in bed for several minutes, as my inner monologue’s voice pierces,
“If you hadn’t fought with her, she wouldn’t have gotten pissed at you and left,” and, “Her blood is on your hands. This is your fault,” and, “You overreacted, you fucking child.”
As if I don’t think about it every miserable waking hour of the day.
We got into an argument, over something stupid, like all arguments people who love each other have. Usually when we would get into these types of arguments, she would say she is going to leave; not leave me for good, just leave for the night. Like, she would go to her parents’ if she ever did leave when she threatened. Whenever she would start that, I would feel guilty and realize where I was wrong, because, in the end, I didn’t want her to go, I always wanted to resolve our stupid fights and go to bed together, happy. The last time, I fucked up. She said she was going to leave again. I was angry and annoyed because she always threatens to leave, so I finally responded, “Then leave, I don’t care.” Those were the last words I told my wife. It kills me every fucking day. Why couldn’t they have been “I love you so much,” or “You are amazing,” or “You mean everything to me?”
Why didn’t I say was, “Please, don’t leave.”
I sit up in my bed and look out of the window. A thin layer of ice has glazed over everything outside. The news has been going on about this giant ice storm for days now. It’s finally hitting us in southern Illinois. Cool, now I’m going to be stranded at home for the weekend. I might actually need some isolation, it might help me cope. I’m one of those people who needs alone time whenever I’m going through difficult times. I’ve been slowly shutting people out for the past eight weeks, even some of my closest friends, whom I love dearly. I don’t mean to come off as flakey or as a jerk, I’ve just, I don’t know, I’ve wanted to be alone lately. This isolation might be therapeutic for my mind. A slight feeling of optimism sparks my mood.
I head to the bathroom to take a shower. The sound of flowing water has always relaxed me. The steam opens up my nasal passages, as the dry air has been irritating my sinuses lately. I mess with the shower knob, trying to find the ideal, yet non-existent, shower temperature. As I’m doing so, I start to remember the dream I just had. I mean, I’ve been constantly dreaming of my wife’s death ever since her funeral. It’s always been the same. I appear on the country road not far from our house. It’s freezing. The trees are bare and look more sinister than they do in reality. The only light is the light from her vehicle, and her body is several yards in front. Usually, I just have to look at her dead body, and then I wake up. This time was different. This time she looked at me. Then she did something to me; like she was draining the life from me. Even though it was a dream, I swear the pain felt real. I’ve never felt anything like that before. I still remember her cold gaze infecting my body. I remember that dark void tearing my mind apart. I remember feeling total dread; a primal fear instilled into our species through evolutionary development. I’ve never felt this fear before. And that smile. It was as if she were enjoying my suffering…
The heat from the scalding water pulls me back to reality. I guess in my train of thought, I accidentally turned the temperature to the hottest. I shut the water off for a second and jump out of the shower to check my right shoulder and back. It looks like just some redness from the heat, nothing too terrible. I dry the rest of my body off and go back into my still gray room. After I put some shorts and a shirt on, I go to my window to look outside again. The ice seemed to have thickened a bit and is obscuring the view from my window slightly. I start to feel hungry. I haven’t had much of an appetite lately, so I try to eat anytime I get even just a little hungry. I leave my gray room, to a gray stair case, and into a gray kitchen. The house was gray and silent; beside the ambient hum of the central heating brooding along.
I look in the fridge. There is more food than usual. I decided to stock up after hearing about this ice storm everyone was freaking out about. I peruse my limited options. I could make bacon. I could heat up some homemade soup. I notice some Italian sausages. I could make some Italian sausages. I grab the last three sausages and a pan from a cabinet. I turn on the stove, a little over medium heat, and place the meat in the pan when it is heated. As I wait for the sausages to cook, I go to the kitchen window. Ice was also covering this window, but the ice was thicker than what it was when I was upstairs. I can barely see anything outside, just some dark shades and blurry shapes, barely making out the trees that surround my house.
I live on the outskirts of a suburban town of roughly fifty thousand people. The town was too busy for my wife and me, so we bought a house in the country just outside. Our house is surrounded by trees and beautiful green fields, in the summer. It’s peaceful. It’s quiet. It’s isolated. Right now, it’s empty, cold, and depressing. It’s lifeless.
I place the meat and walk into my gray living room. I turn the television on and flip it to a show I enjoy. Peep Show, a British comedy where each shot is from a character’s point of view, allowing you to hear their inner thoughts. I find it hilarious. I sit down and cut a piece off of one of the sausages. I pause. I think about the look on my dead wife’s face from my dream. I put it out of my head as quickly as it came and take a bite. This tastes amazing. My appetite seems to have come back. I take another bite, and another. I finish the first sausage. I quickly eat the second. I start to feel great. I haven’t eaten this much at once in a long time. My optimism starts to grow. I eat half of the third sausage, and I’m still hungry. It feels like the more that I eat, the more hungry I become. I guess it’s my body’s way of making up all the food I missed out on. I continue to eat. The third sausage is gone, and I’m still hungry.
I don’t even realize the fourth and fifth sausages were raw until I pause in the middle of my sixth. The sixth looks rotten and like it is connected to something coming from the right of my field of vision. I then notice someone sitting next to me on my couch to the right of me. It’s my wife; it’s my wife’s corpse. Her eyes are still the ice cold gray instead of the blue I remember them as. Her skin is extremely pale and rotten in some areas and she looks emaciated. The smell is unbearable, I can’t breathe. She still has that smirk on her face like she did in my dream. I look down to her stomach. The rotten sausage I’ve just been just eating is actually her intestines. I look down at my plate, still holding the fork with the intestines impaled on it. A pile of her putrid, rotting intestines lay on my plate. Steam rises from the entrails as they pulse and writhe like earthworms in the rain. They were coiled on top of each other, as if they were being presented as a gourmet meal for me. My stomach wants to vomit, but my body doesn’t allow it. I look back at her, her smile growing bigger and eyes growing meaner. I start to get that cold, numb feeling again, like I did in my dream. She digs her hand in my chest. A loud crack echoes through the room, and immense pain shocks my whole body. She tore through my sternum with ease. I can’t scream. She grasps my heart tenderly. I can feel her hand squeeze tighter around it every time it beats, as if she’s playing with it. All the organic tissue around my sternum quickly rots away, leaving nothing more than a rotted cavity in my chest. She then begins to burn my heart, not with fire, but with her touch. I can’t begin to describe the pain, and there is nothing I can do.
I can’t breathe, I can’t scream, I can’t move. I have to endure this horrible torture. I can smell my heart as it starts to char. Agonizingly, my heart turns into nothing more than charcoaled ash. She then squeezes her fist even tighter, and my heart disintegrates into a pile of black dust. I can’t look away from the withered hole in my chest. That dark that I fear so much then rushes into my chest and overtakes my whole body. It happens so fast I don’t realize I’m sitting alone in my living room, with the television on, getting ready to take the first bite out of the first of the three sausages I prepared for lunch.
Did I fall asleep? How could I have fallen asleep? I just sat down. That dream, that nightmare; that felt too real. I take the bite of sausage. I decide I’m not hungry anymore. I take the rest of the food into the kitchen and throw it into a zip-lock bag, just in case I get hungry again. I probably won’t, though. Does everybody go through this, these awful thoughts and awful dreams? It’s really beginning to wear me down. I try to take my mind off of it, but it’s harder than you think. I sigh; no one knows how to properly cope. I go to the freezer and grab some whiskey. I pour myself a drink. I once again go to the window, to see how bad this ice storm is getting.
I can’t see anything. I just see white. Was it supposed to snow? I thought we were just supposed to get ice. Maybe the ice is just that thick. But how thick would it need to be? I mean, it’s letting light through, but I should still be able to see the trees, even if they are extremely blurry. But I only see white. I go the front door. I unbolt the deadlock and unlock the door. The door won’t open. Did the ice freeze my door shut? I try again with more force; nothing. I then use all my force. Still, it won’t open. What the hell is going on? I go to the window in the living room. I still only see white. I try to open the window. And I can’t. I run to the door in the kitchen. I unbolt the deadlock and unlock the door. It won’t open. I don’t like this, something is very wrong. I run to my bedroom and look out the window.
White, and will not open. I run to the window in the spare bedroom. Once again, white, and won’t open. I yell in fearful frustration. I start running to every window of the house; same thing every time. I get to the last window I haven’t checked, the upstairs bathroom. It’s a small window; I certainly can’t fit through it. I’m more concerned with just seeing some part of my yard, something I am familiar with and something in its right place. I still only see white, and I can’t open it. I punch the window out of anger. Of course I hurt my hand in the process. Defeated, I hold my hand and tap the small window with my forehead and close my eyes. Why is this happening? I can’t explain what’s going on. Is it all a coincidence? Suddenly, fear rushes into my body. I open my eyes and look out the window. I notice a vague shape. It looks like a person; a person wearing all white. They’re standing in my yard. It looks as if they are looking right at me. Maybe they can help me. I knock on the window, trying to get their attention.
“Hey!” I yell. They have no reaction.
“HEY!” I scream. Still, they have no reaction.
I start beating on my window harder.
“I’m stuck in my house! The doors are frozen!”
My hand just continuously beats on the window, harder and harder.
“Can you help me?! “Hello!” I keep hitting the window. “Hey!”My hand is starting to hurt. “I’m trapped!”
I let out one big punch on the window. I don’t even notice how bruised and bloody my knuckles are.
They don’t move. Maybe they can’t see me.
I run downstairs, trying to find a window closer to them and. Maybe they will be able to see me better. I run into the living room and go to the window. I look outside; my eyes squinted, trying to make out the mysterious person dress in all white. I see no one.
I kick the chair and sit down in it. I start to rationalize what’s going on. Why would there be someone in my yard during an ice or snow storm? Was someone sent to check on me? I doubt it. If it was so white out, why would someone dress in all white? That’s dangerous. There was one detail I didn’t register as it happened. Why would I feel such a rush a fear right before I noticed this person?
I sit there for a few minutes, pondering the surreal events of today. I haven’t been sleeping well; maybe my mind is just exhausted. I feel cold, way too cold for being inside my house. I can see my breath. I swear the room was warm just a second ago. I mean, even if the furnace broke, it would take some time for the temperature to drop this low. I notice that my living room is much darker than it had just been. Did I lose track of time? I look at the clock. I can’t believe it. I knew the figure I was looking at was a clock, but I could not make out any numerical symbols. The symbols presented were of nothing I’ve seen before; oblong shapes and asymmetrical designs and strange angles. I hear faint screaming. My gaze never leaves the symbols in place of my clock numbers. The longer I stare at them, the louder the screams become. These screams are inhuman; I know deep in the back of my mind that these screams are not of this world. These are from the same empty void where that darkness resides…
This revelation jolts my focus. I quickly look away from the hellish numbers. I look at my phone for a second. Every word and number has been replaced by these symbols. The screams are even louder now, they disorient me. I fall to the floor, clutching my head in my hands, screaming. Why must I endure this pain? Why do these dreams feel real? Why can’t I wake up? In the midst of this otherworldly bedlam, I notice my wife’s corpse again. She starts to crawl toward me. Her gray eyes meet mine once more, and my body goes cold and numb. The howling banshee shrieks of the darkness envelopes me, and everything goes black…
I’m back at the road. Something immediately strikes me as different. The darkness beyond the grim, dead trees appears to be moving. I can’t exactly make out what’s going on, as I can’t look into it, but it seems to be rapidly flowing and writhing into itself; maniacally and chaotically. I keep my focus on my wife’s body. Something is different with her this time; she looks alive. Her color doesn’t look drained, she looks healthy. I feel tears leave my eyes; I’m able to cry in this dream. I start to walk towards her. She turns her head towards me. Her eyes are back to their beautiful selves. She looks at me and smiles. I become lost in her smile. I miss her so much. I miss everything we had. I hope she knows how much I love her and how badly I want to take back that night. I drop to my knees and place my face in my hands. Why did she have to die? Why did I tell her to leave? Why was I such a jerk?
I don’t know how long I sat there crying into my hands. I look up and see my wife’s body, back to being dead, like how the dreams normally are. Immense fear rushes into me. My head starts to feel warm, but my body starts to feel cold and numb. Out from the wicked trees, comes the figure in white. Its silhouette is much like a person’s, except I can’t discern any facial features; it just looks like a blurry white shadow. It then gets on all fours; I make out its arms; long, icy, and jagged. It moves in very rigid movements, like it was made from the cold. I notice at the end of each arm, there are no hands, only what appear to be spears made of ice. It crawls its way towards my wife’s body. I try to run over to her; to stop it from touching her, but I can’t move, I can only watch. It gets to my wife’s body, and starts to inspect it; like how an animal inspects the carcass of its prey. It then jabs its icicle like appendages into her chest. Her body then rises up towards the body of this entity. Her head hangs back and with her face upside down, her eyes open, revealing cold, gray eyes, staring into my mind. This thing is using her to look at me. It’s using my wife’s body to communicate with me. It makes my wife face have that awful and evil grin. It really is enjoying this; this thing is enjoying torturing me.
“Do you want me to leave?” I hear my wife’s voice.
“Do you want me to leave?” it repeats.
It’s using my wife’s body as a fucking puppet. It’s talking to me through my wife’s voice.
It starts to crawl over to where I’m frozen. I can’t move. It still has my wife’s eyes looking at me.
“Do you want me to leave?”
I can’t muster up any strength to move.
“Do you want me to leave?”
My vision starts to darken.
“Do you want me to leave?”
It is within feet of me.
“Do you want me to leave?”
Everything goes black…
Credit: Braden Hicks