To you, my reader.
I’m not writing this for the usual reasons. This isn’t a cry for help, nor is it another report of a mysterious happening that lead to the deaths of those involved. I’m writing this to tell you all about something that has been affecting me for well over the last decade. Something that only recently I’ve come to… become suspicious of.
Y’see, I’m one of those infuriating people that are, quite to their own enjoyment, naturally adept at the process of lucid dreaming. Y’know, the thing where you dream, but you’re awake? Yeah, I pretty much do that every night. I’ve always been able to just… flick a switch and suddenly whatever I want is happening and I’m experiencing it just as much as I would in real life. Even when I was little, I used to slip soundly into my own little fantasy world, full of whatever had caught my eye the previous day. I would be… I dunno… A superhero fighting of helpless villains. Or I would be a knight charging into a castle to save a helpless maiden. You name it, I’ve lived it. I was just sleeping at the time.
So why on earth, you’re muttering to yourself at 3 in the morning on whatever night this is for you, would I have any complaints about being able to will into existence anything and everything I desire as soon as my head hits the pillow? Well, it all started with a thump.
I was ten, and an energetic little shit. My father and I used to live in the middle of a forest so thick it strangled the house. It was a nuisance to Father, who had to regularly cut back trailing bramble and heavy sheets of hawthorn from the drive up to the house.
But for a maniacally excitable lad like me, it was almost as much of a paradise as my sleeping mind was.
Safe to say, from the ages of four upwards I was basically feral. I would run through the undergrowth with speed and skill born from thousands of trips through the cutting thorns, which I barely even registered anymore, sporting a homemade bow and arrows, hunting imaginary bears and wolves. It was even better with more people. My friends and I would play team-tag through the woods. It would usually end with me and my closest friends, Jack and Thomas, winning by default, either because someone had fallen and was crying, or we were up a tree and couldn’t even be found never mind reached for to tag.
It was at one of these excursions that it happened. See, there was this clearing about three hundred metres into the forest. In it there was the remains of an old house, a great stone behemoth of a dwelling, which sat squat and run-down amidst the dark forestry. I’d been there hundreds of times before, and the husk was now one of my favourite places. It had been gutted of course, so all that remained where the old floors. These were now, much to the wonder of my group when we found it, held up by a massive black-barked tree, who’s branches held the upper floors of the house up like great gnarled support beams. They were safe to walk on, and thus the house became our designated fort. We would furnish the place with all manner of stuff, chairs made from tree stumps we would dig up, larger rocks we would all lug up into the place. The tree itself was used in place of the stairs that had since collapsed.
I would dream of the place, of how it looked when it was big, in it’s prime, or even had a roof. I would see the stately family sitting around the roaring fireplace, whilst snow gently brushed against the brass-latched windows. I loved that place.
Though what I loved the most was the tree in the middle. It was almost pitch black, and of no discernable species that my five year old mind could comprehend. It was huge, though. I stretched up higher than any of the other trees around it, and if you were careful (and father was nowhere to be seen), then you could climb to the top-most branches and look out over the rolling countryside and undulating hills in the distance. Where I spent the majority of the time, however, was one of the top-most rooms of the house itself, where the tree had grown incredibly curiously. Where the tree grew up the very middle of the house, it’s great branches holding up the other floors through sheer consequence of where they had grown thick and strong enough to act as support. But where the tree reached this almost attic room, it did something strange. It cradled it in an almost perfect basket of branches, great bows and strangling trunks coiling around the room and up the walls, holding it almost exactly where it had obviously been before it had fallen into disrepair.
I would sit on the windowsill of that room and look out, watching the other children running around, and feel like a king, lording over his subjects. The window was still in place, so I would open it, and shout orders at the other kids, who would run to and from our pile of unwanted building material that we’d poached of the nearby housing development, going about building whatever they thought the place needed.
It was in that room that I sat on that day, looking out on the children below, myself finished a chair that I’d hastily nailed together and was now gently resting on before going down to take another batch of wood up to the room, intending to make a table. I got up, and was about to start towards the doorway when I heard Thomas calling me from down in the forest below.
“John! Come to the window, I gotta to ask you something!” His voice sounded excited, so I turned and sidled over to the great port window, opening it.
“I have this thing at my house that lets you put holes in things, like a hand-drill-thingy, I’m gonna get it in a few-”
His sentence was cut off, as for some reason, at that moment, I was flying out of the window, plummeting towards the ground. I hit it with a sickening thump.
I was in the house. It was dark, and I was lying in a great four-poster bed in the middle of the room. My room. The one on the top floor of the house. As far as I could tell the house wasn’t in the same state of disrepair that I was used to, but nor was there any indication of anyone living in it. The bed was cold, and the sheets smelled musty under and over me. I was lying still, eyes scanning what little sliver of the room I could see in the dark. I mustered the courage to sit up, eyes fixing on the dark room around me. There was a wardrobe in the far end of the room, and dust drifted across the gash of moonlight that slipped through the mangled and moth eaten curtains.
I stared, not understanding what was going on in the slightest. I remembered having been called by Thomas, and walking to the window… but then it was all hazy, like there was something I was missing out on, a memory that played and danced across the space between conscious and unconscious thought. The night air whistling through the gap in the curtains was giving the place a menacing feeling, like there was something wrong with the place. I stared into the darkness of the room, trying to make out more of the place.
And then the Darkness stared back.
A pair of black rimmed purple slashes opened up in the shadows of the room. They were long, sharp, and tapered into points at each side. They were angled slightly inwards, giving them the impression that whatever they belonged to was angry or scowling.
And they were staring right at me.
The eyes were emitting a faint glow, which gave them an even more menacing look. I stared back, frozen on the spot, not even breathing, as the eyes began to move from the darkness. A form became visible, broad and lean, made of what looked like writhing darkness, wreathed in purple and black flames. As it approached, the flames died down, leaving only the black outline of the thing, faintly rimmed by purple light. He saw it’s hands, pointed at the ends, and the flickering black nature of whatever the thing was actually made of. Long tendrils of shadow hung from the back of it’s head, writhing like snakes in the air, like they were caught in a breeze from behind the creature.
As it fully emerged into my line of sight, it stopped, standing tall, humanoid, and projecting an air of absolute malice from it’s faintly flickering and burning body.
And it smiled.
A long gash opened in the shape of a smile from one side of it’s face from the other, the jagged edges forming teeth-like points. The same purple glow issued from within it’s throat, throwing each point into stark relief. It’s smile, coupled with it’s malevolent gaze, terrified me so much that I finally let out a scream that shook the very bed beneath me. It seemed unfazed, just lifting a single long, pointed finger and putting it to it’s lipless mouth, emitting a low, quiet “Sssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhh”
It’s tall frame began to move again, as it walked the length of the room, stopping at the foot of the bed, and sitting gently and silently down on the end of the mattress.
Then, with a voice like black satin, it spoke.
“No, not now, My dear boy… I have waited AGES for you”
It reached forward, and placed a hand on my forehead, it’s touch colder than any snow or ice, like the very night had come down to caress my face.
And Again, it smiled. A smile with more malice than I’ve ever seen in a human.
Just as it removed it’s hand, I blinked.
I was lying in a darkened hospital ward, a bandage wrapped tight around my head. I could only see the faint light coming from the nurses office two wards down, but it was enough to make out the form of my father sitting in the chair beside my bed. He jolted awake when I called him, jumping to his feet and shouting for a nurse.
Turns out I had fallen two fairly high stories to what should have been my death. But for what could only be described as miraculous reasons, I had survived with only a minor skull fracture. Nothing a few weeks on the couch playing Ratchet and Clank couldn’t fix. But I could never shake the feeling of quiet, cold dread I got when I scanned he darkened corners of my room in the dead of night, waiting for the faint purple glow to indicate the presence of that thing.
But as of late, it’s not the darkness I fear.
See lately I’ve been seeing… things. Indications. In my usual nightly cavalcade of debauchery without consequence as I thoroughly abuse my lucid dreams, I’ve felt eyes on the back of my head. Eyes I can’t will away. I’ve seen flashes in dark alleyways as cabs drive through the darkened streets of my own personal city, bringing me to whatever party I have in mind that night.
I’ve seen it standing in the darkness.
I’ve heard it whisper…
“My… Dear… Boy…”
So that’s my story. I’m starting to really get weirded out by this thing. As if it wasn’t enough that it’s damn terrifying… it’s odd… I can control everything in those dreams.
But it… it is the only thing in the entire dream world… that doesn’t bend to my influence.
I’ll have more for you later, when the bed isn’t looking so appealing.
Yours, my reader, John Black
Written by JonnyBeavis