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Dreams are a manifestation of one's troubles that their conscious mind doesn’t feel confident in dealing with. A nightmare is a dream that startles or disturbs the dreamer. A hallucination is a fabrication of reality created by one’s conscious mind. All of the above have one thing that ties them together: they’re not real. They’ll never be real. At the end of the day, we must remember that they are only things we make up, not what is really there. Most important of all, none of these things can ever actually hurt us.
Over and over I have told myself this, and I still find myself unable to overlook the shadows that seem to move just outside my view, over in the corner where the things - no, where my imaginations thinks things are hiding. It’s been too long since I’ve had a real sleep, too long since I’ve truly rested, and all I really want is to just lay my head down and close my eyes and dream a dream that will make it all go away, but all sleep ever brings is nightmares, leading to waking and hallucinating. It’s not real, I know that, but part of me won’t accept that, and this part of me warns me to watch over my shoulder for the things that just simply aren’t there.
Ever since I was young I’ve been obsessed with the obscene and horrific. Watching a horror movie with my father was the best. And though I’d spend the next night with clutched covers, and though in the shower in the morning I’d be too scared to shut my eyes to keep soap out of them, I loved it. There was something magical about the way that something that isn’t real could captivate and lord over us in a way that we loved. By the time I was eleven I knew the classic films inside and out, and could go as far as to quote the gypsy in The Wolfman. By thirteen I could recite Poe in any way I so chose. By sixteen modern horrors bled through the cracks in my mind and Stephen King melted together with The Ring. Even within the last few years as a sophomore in college I’ve immersed myself with the works of Lovecraft and the ways of Japanese mind-fucks of the silver screen, and most recently the Indie underground of Creepypasta.
Needless to say, I know my way around a bloody machete and am familiar with objects of the cursed kind; it should also be apparent that I suffer from nightmares. I’ve always had a hard time sleeping because of them, even before I knew what horror really was. Back then it was simple, more shocking and slightly disturbing stuff, like for example Rosie O’Donnell as a fortune teller with spiraling purple and green behind her (yes, I know, not that terrifying, but still it is the first nightmare I remember, and still kind of creeps me out, for some reason). Eventually it grew to an amorphous blob from a swamp with an old man’s face absorbing everyone I knew with the grain of an old film. They were always different, always evolving, and always disturbing.
In high school, it was clear that I didn’t sleep well. Deep bags beneath my eyes betrayed my cheery and upbeat disposition, giving guess to the fact that sleep was a rare commodity for me. No, I need to append this: I got sleep, just never got actual rest. It was then that I began to dream of darker things: misshapen monsters, unfortunate fates, and other general ideas that only served to scare at the time, mostly gone when I awoke. The evolution of these dreams started to really make them into true nightmares, and many nights I couldn’t help but sit up in bed and stare at a single dark spot in the corner. I miss those days so dearly.
The problem came about when I started to get into Creepypasta earlier this year. Nothing ever gave me the true horror fix that I craved, save a few good foreign films here and there, like these independent writers of things that lurked in the darkest corners of my mind. My first was the Russian Sleep Experiment, which I actually read about on knowyourmeme.com. It didn’t really scare me, but did stir something in me. The next link that intrigued me was Smile.jpeg. The thrill, the rush, the true lasting horror that stayed with me for days to come and gave me good reason to fear going to bed, and I can still see the dog thing grinning against a red tone and, was there originally blood on his teeth? No, that comes later with the - I’m getting ahead of myself. Candle Cove came next, and with it another ecstasy of terror that I couldn’t help but love, with a chill ending that still runs my blood cold. And so began my descent.
Over a few months I’d read them all: The Holders Series, Squidward’s Suicide, Jeff the Killer, you name a big name pasta and I’ve read it. The Creepypasta wiki soon became my most frequently visited site, even past Reddit. In that time I began work at a retail store as a cashier, and had to work a lot of late nights due to having classes during the day. As if I didn’t get enough sleep, I now didn’t get home till 1:00 AM, and due to crappy parking on campus, had to get up in the morning at six to make my commute and find somewhere to park. It was about then that I started have my new nightmares. These were not your run of the mill monster chasing and murder dreams, these were awful.
Thousands of small children with eyes sewn shut and black blood pouring from open mouths, a man grabbing his skin and pulling at it until it physically tore off in large chunks, thousands of fingers coming out of a bed and touching you, feeling you all over and the smile as he- no, too soon again.
The dreams just kept coming: always chilling, always so detailed, if the dream included someone having their hair pulled out you would see each and every hair, and the skin around would come up in little peaks until the hairs popped from the scalp, accompanied by screams and cries that you swear you could hear perfectly echoing off the surroundings with the same acoustics as would be in the real world. It just wouldn’t stop, every night, for weeks on end. After a while it wasn’t just the dreams anymore.
It seemed that the nightmares followed me to the real world. I would swear that something was in the backseat as I drove home, and it looked like there were eyes in the basement of the dark house when I got back, and I still swear that I saw a little black haired girl in the road that snowy night - no, it was the spaces between snowflakes, I need to be logical here. And when I wasn’t seeing things, the nightmares would flash before my eyes, and things that I thought were normal, that terrified me, when I looked again were nowhere near as terrifying as I remembered. There was no blood on the grinning dog’s teeth, that was my imagination. I think.
Lately the imagined things have become more acute, more sinister, more real. I swear that on my neighbor’s computer screen, just a week ago, was the image from Jeff the Killer with the pale thing and the red text. No, that was a story, fiction, fake.
The dreams now have this thing in them, this tall, leather skinned thing. He has wide rust colored eyes with thin slits, a bloody smile – that’s where the smile came from – that breaks his face into two clear sections. Wiry black hairs shroud all other features of his overall head and face. His body seemed like seven feet of leather wrapped over a skeleton, with the finger and toe bones piercing through the leather wrapping, and those are the fingers he uses to beckon me with. There is a piano being discordantly slammed on somewhere, and all else is mute. I walk to him, entranced by him, as he holds out a scalpel. I take it from him and he nudges me to a table with a woman strapped to it. Do I know her? Do I really care? She looks familiar but I can’t quite make out who – it doesn’t matter. He smiles wider somehow, and I feel compelled. I stab into her. Her mouth opens with a scream that has no sound. The piano keeps sounding off.
I pull hard down from her chest to her navel with the blade, and she screams silently, her mouth moving, as if speaking, her eyes pleading. I take out the blade and drive it back into her, and rip across her stomach from left to right. She is still crying out in silence, there should have been noise, why wasn’t there noise? I picked back up the scalpel and looked in her eyes. I hated those sad, doe like eyes. They blamed me, accused me. They had to go.
The dreams about him were always that bad. They always are that bad. Some are worse, but none are better. I’m not a bad person, I’m no murderer, I hate suffering and pain in the world, why am I doing these things in my dreams? Why am I still having these god awful dreams? What sin have I committed? The only way that I can have lighter dreams anymore is if I read horrifying things or watch terrifying films, because then at least I’ll have nightmares about that, not about this. I swear the shadows are moving in the corner, and I swear that there are things watching me late at night but I know it’s not true, it can’t be. I feel like it is all one big nightmare that I can’t wake from.
Dreams, nightmares, and hallucinations are all the fabrication of a mind under stress. They aren’t real and they can’t hurt you. Why can’t I believe this as much as I know it is factually true? To be honest, all I want is some sleep. No, not sleep, I want rest. I want the sort of rest I used to get so long ago.