Out of all the different faiths that have existed throughout history and the world, you’d assume at least one of them would come close to the truth. Throughout time, humanity has questioned its own origins, alongside what lies beyond our five empirical senses, and there have been spawned many, unfathomably many theories and ideas, faiths and beliefs. But how accurate do they all come?

One night, preceding a year’s worth of suffering, I was presented with some small semblance of a hint as to what lies in the realm where we were before we are born, the same place I used to believe is where we end up when we cease to exist. I’m talking of the place we are taken when stripped of all mortal senses of this world, when you can see, hear, feel, smell and taste nothing. The place where I spent my moments of slumber for the duration of a year’s worth of nights. I will elaborate my situation in two segments: I will describe what had been happening to me these past 12 months, then I will relay the events that occurred on the night of my cosmic realization.

Since around this time last year, for reasons completely and utterly unknown to me, my time spent in the realm of sleep has been unimaginably worse than any nightmare known to myself or others (I had surveyed amongst my peers regarding their worst dreams of recent memory so as to compare to my own situation). By the time sleep would reach me – in the later months it had done so despite my many attempts to prevent it – I’d be taken not to the world of everyday human dreams and/or nightmares, but to a place even less fathomable, a place no other human mind besides mine can comprehend.

A place in which there should be nothing, but there is something.

For reasons unknown I was transported, at the moment of the exchanging of my consciousness from one realm to another, a realm adjacent to the world of dreams in which the sensation associated with residence in said dream world was present. Yet there was nothing. In popular fiction realms of nothingness are represented as mere blackness on all sides, but that comes nowhere near actual nothingness like I experienced.

But the true horror of this place stems not from its location outside of mainstream space and time, nor what it lacks, despite the irreplicatable dread that accompanies that in itself. No, what truly terrifies me was that my already limited understanding of the concept of the impossible had been breached furthermore:

There was another consciousness residing opposite me in the depths of this non-existent void. Where and when there should have been nothing, even by the broken laws of the known universe, another being resided. Not in any physical form, mind you; my own presence in this place was metaphysical as it was. But its presence was there, emitting its act of existence for me to know.

Could you possibly fathom that experience? Sensing something, not by sight, sound, touch, smell or taste but by an altogether alternate sense not known to the common man? None of my aforementioned peers would accept that what was happening to me was real, but that was to be expected yet worth a try.

This would carry on for the entirety of a year, ending finally that one night. We move to part two of the story.

On the night of the 9th of February I lay awake in bed – by this stage I had given up fighting this cursed affliction, and simply endured the terror in the hopes that I would awaken at the conclusion of my sleep cycle. I was on the cusp of twilight, hope for my sanity diminishing, when I was startled awake by an ever-soft thud on the side of the room opposite by bed. Paralysed with potential terror – something I was clearly in no mood for – I awaited any following sounds to ensure I was not simply imagining things. With another similar thud my suspicions were confirmed – someone had broken into my residence. Sitting up in my bed to confront this intruder, I sprang up only to find not a burglar nor a curious wandering lunatic, but something far less expected. Lurking in the far corner of my room, barely illuminated by the moonlight seeping in through the window, was a figure resembling a person but was far from one itself.

This figure was on all fours. From what I could tell by the moonlight, this thing had creased, worn, leathery skin, a hue resembling an ever-dull brown/grey. Its physique resembled that of a highly malnourished child, its slender bones clearly portrayed beneath its paper-thin hide, with a posture resembling an ape. For what seemed like an eternity the figure sat hunched, as if recuperating its energy or carefully contemplating its next move.

As if stirred by my sense of sublime terror alongside a helpless sense of wonder, the figure craned its head towards me, it having been concealed in shadow up until then. Its face was one that radiated weariness, as if it had seen many a sight unseeable. Its face was in proportion to a human, however, the nose was merely a triangular cavity in its head, not unlike that of an eternity-aged corpse. Same with its mouth – the lips had been long decayed and receded from its face thanks to an eternity of terror and despair. On display was a row of otherwise normal-looking human teeth, although they were lined with cracks and seems, riddled with age. Where its eyes should have been – possibly had been at some stage – was a strip of gauze wrapped around its head, the ages having embedded the fabric into its skin over time, to the point of merging with the figures skull. The remains of the figure’s hair were thinning and grew in varying shades of grey and black, and reached down to its neck.

Its face turned until its supposed gaze met mine, and for what seemed like yet another eternity, we locked gazes, endless time stripping away any ability for this creature to express any kind of facial expression. Never before had I known such a lack of feeling, a life totally devoid of any emotion. The byproduct of an eternity of relentless horrors. It then bowed its head, staring at the floor, almost as a gesture of sympathy towards me.

It knew. It knew somehow of my predicament. It was at that moment I realised this that, slowly and with the slightest sound of creaking, it reached with its hand towards its back, which was out of my line of sight. It fumbled around its back for a moment before, as slowly and carefully as it had first done, its hand emerged holding an object. I only caught a glimpse of the item – it was a relic, comprised of a gritty, metallic shape resembling a crescent moon, speared through by a thin rod vertically, crudely resembling a “D” shape. At the centre of the shape was a blood red gemstone, glistening as best it could it the waning moonlight. Slowly, it began making its way, still on all fours, over towards my lowboy on the left of my room. Every footstep that fell this creature never made a single sound. I later fathomed that as the reason I never heard it enter my house. When it reached my lowboy, in a single, silent bound it hopped up on top of it, easily clearing its two-metre height. It rested for a moment, as if performing that leap had winded itself.

Then, in an erratic movement undermining its silent grace beforehand, it took hold of its relic in both hands, raised it above its head as high as its posture would allow, then, with an inhuman force, it brought down the sharp end of the relic onto the surface of the top of my lowboy. All the while it did this it let out not a single sound. It had lodged the relic into the wood of my furniture, the item letting off a gritty dust I had not noticed before. After staring at its work for a moment, it slowly spun around and hopped off of the lowboy and, as slowly and gracefully it had come, it made its way over to my window. With yet another set of fitful movements, it climbed up my wall and passed through the closed glass window without making a sound nor touching a single thing. It clung to the outside window frame for a mere moment, once again locking gazes with me, before departing downwards. I was on a second story floor. My courage returning to me as soon as the creature dropped out of sight, I dashed over to the window to catch another glimpse of my guest, only to find no trace of such a visitor.

I would forevermore remember my visitor fondly, owing it everlasting thanks for its actions that night and I would consider the relic a gift from it to me…

…because since that night, I would never be taken to that world of nothingness again.