This is probably going to sound cliché, over-wrought, and over done, but I swear to you it is all true.
A few months ago my aunt committed suicide with an overdose of pills. We do not know what caused her to do such a thing, but we speculate it had something to do with the breakup between her and her long time partner; she did not leave a note, so we will never know what she was feeling the last few hours of her life. She did not leave a will, so the family decided to divvy out her possessions and give what they could not use to charity. I took an old cloth doll she had for as long as I can remember. The doll was not particularly special except that my aunt had hand made it, and the only thing you could justifiably call strange is that it has no face and wore a necklace made from a real bird skull wrapped around is “neck” (I put quotations around neck because there really is no neck since the head was sewn directly onto the body).
Everyone always shied away from the doll as if it held a curse, but I have always loved the doll and would ask to sleep with it whenever I stayed the night with my aunt—I have had nothing but fond memories of it. My family was horrified that I would want to keep the creepy old doll, but I ignored them.
The death of my aunt hit me pretty hard, so I took up to sleeping with the doll again for comfort; I did, of course, remove the bird skull since it is a real (and fragile) skull. I felt all of my sorrow melt away as I cuddled my little cousin in my arms (since my aunt never had children, she jokingly referred to the doll as her child—her own progeny).
I am not sure if this was the result of the doll but on the first night of sleeping with the it, I had the most peaceful and restful sleep I have had in a long time, and the dream I had was really sweet and endearing. I dreamed that the doll was cooing a beautiful song in a little girl’s voice. Even though guardian angels are depicted as being older than the person, I felt as though she were mine. When I awoke, I felt the greatest peace—as though all my sadness melted away during the night; only a twinge of grief pinched at my side as I looked upon the doll. The next few nights were roughly the same.
A week after my aunt’s death, I had to travel a few hundred miles to attend the funeral; she was an eccentric and odd bird and wanted to be interred in a specific cemetery with a storied history. I did not take my cousin with me, which was a huge mistake. I had the most horrid dream the night before the funeral, so I barely got any sleep. In my dream, I was imprisoned in my home because there was some kind of entity lurking outside; I could not see this thing, but I knew that if I ventured outside that it would harm—kill—me. I locked all of my doors and windows in an effort to feel secure but it was in vain. The entity somehow found a way into my fortress and began chasing me. I ran into my room and locked the door in hopes that it would not infiltrate the barrier of my sanctuary; like a scarred dog, I ensconced myself in a corner hidden behind my bed hoping it would buffer the approach of the entity.
The wall morphed into a thin red membrane that molded around the long spindly arms of the creature protruding near the ceiling. The arms seemed infinitesimally long as they inched closer and closer to my den. I was frozen in pure terror as the arms, as if magnets, sucked away my life—not just my life, but my body—like ashes in the wind. My eyes remained on those arms until the ashen cloud blackened my sight. I awoke with my back drenched in perspiration; I was unable to get back to sleep for the rest of the night.
I remember very little of the funeral because I kept dozing off, but I do remember my aunt’s casket being placed inside an above ground tomb; I barely kept my eyes open in order to weave amidst the necropolis.
We could not afford to stay another night, to which I was thankful, but the long drive proved to be too tempting to stay awake (I carpooled with my parents, so I was safe from getting into an accident). I fell asleep and dreamed again another horrid dream. The world was an abysmal void where no light or sound could penetrate; I called out for anyone to hear, but I heard not a noise from my throat save for the ringing in my ears. I outstretched my arms in an effort to gain perspective but so, too, was the emptiness of the space.
“Where am I?” I was relieved that I could, at least, hear my thoughts.
“I once took solace knowing that Death knew my name…”
“What was that?” I knew I had not thought that, but it came from within my brain—deep within me—deeper than from which my own thoughts were coming.
“I once took solace knowing that Death knew my name, but it, too, has forgotten me. No one will mourn me nor will anyone celebrate my arrival. I am stuck in this eternal limbo with only myself, The Forgotten One.”
My parents shook me awake because I was loudly crying in my sleep. They resumed the trip when I finally calmed down and told them the reason for my bereavement, but I resolved that I should never go into sleep unaccompanied. Was this really a consequence from being away from my cousin or had all my emotions bubbled back to the surface?
I painfully staved off sleep for the remainder of the trip by playing a puzzle game on my phone; I made a lot of mistakes in the game due to not being able to keep my eyes open, but it did tide me over until I got home. Sleep burned in my eyes, but this time I welcomed it as I cuddle with my cousin; the dreams sweet again.
My cousin sang to me again and wrapped her handless arms around my hand as if to assure me that all was well. The more she sang, the more her face became clearer and clearer to the point that she looked like a living girl resembling my aunt as a young child. Yes, yes! It had to have been my cousin! It is only with the doll that I get such beautiful dreams and restful sleep. I know this because I tested it multiple days with the results being the same: without my cousin, I have horrible nightmares but with her I have pleasant dreams.
This, doctor, is why I must be allowed to have my cousin; did I not tell you that the medicine would not work? I have told you extensively about the creature and how it keeps stalking me in my dreams, but what I have not told you, for obvious reasons, is that it is starting to affect me physically ever since I was admitted here. I know you think my wounds are self-inflicted, but I can get the nurses to attest that there is no way I can hurt myself with the objects in my room; I heard you remark as such to one of them. My cousin not only keeps the nightmares away but also any attacks from the creature.
I implore you, please let me have my cousin back!