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Have you ever heard a weird song on the radio keep playing on the same station over and over again? If you have, then just leave it be. Let it keep playing, but don’t pay any attention to it. If you do this, you’ll keep your life.
On the night of February 18, 2014, I had a dream that began with this very scenario. This is what transpired.
I woke up to my alarm, which simply plays music on the radio, to hear a strange song begin. It was a creepy-sounding piano song that sounded like it belonged in Silent Hill. I sat up, listening to it until it ended. When the next song came up, I turned off the radio and laid back in my bed, going back to sleep, waiting until my brother came in to wake me up again. A few minutes later, my alarm went off again, even though it’s not supposed to, and began playing that same song again. I simply laid in my bed, freaked out beyond belief, for a minute, before sitting up, turning the radio off in the middle of the song, and unplugging it from the wall. I laid back down in my bed again, closing my eyes, before my phone began to ring. Not only did this creep me out, it scared me because it was impossible.
My phone can’t receive calls because the service on it is disabled. I let it ring for a little more, hoping that it would stop, but no such luck. It kept ringing. Finally working up my courage, I reached over, grabbed my phone, and answered the call, slowly bringing the phone up to my ear and speaking.
“Hello?” I muttered.
I heard the loud slam of a door come through the speaker and the call ended. I sat there with the phone to my ear for a while, shocked and confused from what had just happened. Finally coming to my senses, I took the phone away from my ear and stared at it. I looked through my phone, going to the “recent calls” section and locating the call. What I saw made me look twice. It said that the call had come from the home phone downstairs. I put my phone down and got up, walking downstairs and into the living room. Once I got to the phone, it started ringing. I hesitated for a moment before slowly taking the phone off of the receiver and putting it to my ear.
“Hello? Who is this?” I spoke.
“Why won’t you listen to our song?” a deep, gargled voice responded.
I sat there for a minute, registering what I had just heard, when I realized that the person on the other end had hung up. I threw the phone away from me, watching as it clattered to the ground, pulling the other end with it. It was then that I noticed that my mom’s door was closed, the beads that once adorned the doorway scattered and broken along the ground. I rushed to her door and thrust it open, screaming at the carnage inside.
Her entire room was destroyed. The bed was split in two, the desk in the corner was thrown across the room, and her bathroom mirror was shattered. Everything was in shambles. Everything, that is, except for the dresser near the door. On the dresser, I saw a folded note with my name on it. I cautiously picked it up and unfolded it, reading its contents.
And you may still have a chance
To save yourself, love.
Listen to station 85.9,
Then, when you hear the bang,
Go outside and find the black dove.
I set the note down and walked back upstairs to my room.
Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this?
These questions and more swam through my head as I slowly walked toward my room. I pushed the door open, walked to my radio, plugged it back into the wall, and turned the station to 85.9. The eerie song began to play once more as I searched for something to protect myself with. I grabbed one of my homemade wooden paddles (I prepared for a zombie apocalypse) and went over to my bed, listening to the song. When it finally ended, I heard a loud bang come from downstairs. I jumped up, ran out of my room, and looked down the stairwell. My front door was open, and standing there was a tall, pale, lanky man with stick-like arms and needle-like fingers. He was wearing baggy jeans loosely held up by a brown belt and a black shirt. He raised one of his arms and pointed at me, saying between labored breaths:
“You will find… the black dove. Then… you will come… with me…”
His words were long and drawn out, almost as if he was struggling to even speak.
“Why?!” I yelled back. “Why do I have to do anything you tell me to? I don’t even know who you are!”
He lowered his arm. “If you don’t, then… you will never see... your family again…”
Hearing these words, I stopped and stared at his eyes. I can tell a liar when I see their eyes, but the only thing I saw in his eyes was despair and a longing for… something. It was hard to tell. Sighing, I walked downstairs to the door, however, the man stopped me before I could go outside.
“Leave the… weapon here. The... dove doesn’t like... violence…” he said.
Growling, I tossed the paddle behind me, then walked outside. The man followed me outside, closing the door behind him as he did so. Turning back to him, I asked:
“Where do I find the black dove?”
Instead of speaking, he lifted his arm and pointed at the field in front of my house. I made my way to the field and began searching through the shrubbery, looking for anything that stood out from the dirt and shrubs. I quickly found what I was looking for and bent down to pick it up. Holding it, however, I found that it was only a Monster can. I tossed it aside and continued my search. That was interrupted, however, when the very thing I was looking for jumped out of the bushes and landed on my shoulder.
Quickly standing up, I looked at the bird on my shoulder. It was indeed black, but it didn’t look very much like a dove, simply because the only difference between this bird and a dove was that it had a large chunk of its flesh torn off, revealing the bones and organs within. Resisting the urge to vomit, I turned around and jogged back to the pale man. Upon reaching him, I took the dove from my shoulder and held it out to him.
“Here’s your dove.” I spoke, trying my best to avoid looking at the bird.
He held his hand out to the dove. It chirped and jumped into his palm, hopping up to his shoulder and sitting down. He smiled widely, chuckling to himself. As he turned back to me, I saw that the despair and longing in his eyes was replaced with pure, unadulterated happiness. For a moment, I actually felt happy for him. Then, I remembered that this man was with the people that had taken my family. He motioned for me to follow him and walked around the apartment. I followed, walking closely behind him. He stopped abruptly and turned back to me, pulling a small black ball out of his pocket and holding it out to me. I took the ball as he explained:
“Simply… hold it to... the sky, and... it will do... the rest…”
He put his hand to my face and turned my head to look at him.
“Thank you for… finding my... dove. Thanks to you... I’m finally free…”
His eyes began to shine a bright light as he backed away from me and looked to the sky. As the shine in his eyes became brighter, his skin began to shine the same light. Eventually, the light became blindingly bright, so I looked away, shielding my eyes. After a minute, the light vanished. Turning back, I was shocked to see that only the dove remained, but the missing flesh was back in its place. It looked up at me for a moment, then lifted itself off the ground and flew away. I watched it for a minute before looking at the ball in my hand.
It was perfectly smooth except for a marking carved into its surface. It looked like a cartoon cloud, but half of it was jagged and rough, as if it was hastily done, while the other half looked more like a cloud and seemed like whoever did this side took their time. I gripped the ball and held it up to the sky. For a moment, nothing happened, but after a few seconds, the clouds began to move towards each other, gathering above me. As they came closer and closer, they began to form a shape. It was only after a few minutes that I recognized what the shape was.
It was the same shape as the marking on the ball, right down to the craftsmanship on each side. When the clouds finally stopped moving, the left half quickly became dark. Six bolts of lightning cascaded down from this side and struck all around me, forming a circle. From the impacts, rose six large stone pillars which stopped high above my head. Stone walls extended from the sides of the pillars and formed a stone cage around me, trapping me in place. A seventh bolt of lightning came down and struck the ball in my hand, making it extremely hot. I quickly dropped it, watching as it landed on the ground and melted into a pool of black sludge.
The sludge slowly began crawling towards me, climbing up my legs. I shook my legs in an attempt to get the sludge off of me, but the more I did that, the faster the sludge climbed up my legs. Soon, it had completely enveloped my legs and was continuing to climb up towards my head. I continuously tried to grab the sludge and tear it away from me, but every time I succeeded in getting some of it off of me, it would crawl back to me and continue to cover me in tar. Eventually, it had covered my entire body up to my neck, but it stopped there and began to quickly harden, trapping me in place. I heard the thundercloud rumbling above me and looked up just in time to see a thunderbolt cascade down towards me. I squeezed my eyes shut and screamed.
I carefully opened my eyes and looked around. I was no longer behind my apartment. Instead, I was in a forest clearing. I looked around a little more before approaching the edge of the clearing. As I got close, though, the trees bent over in front of me, blocking my path. I attempted to go around them, but other trees began to do the same. Sighing, I turned back around.
Several people wearing dark robes surrounded me. I screamed and backed up against the tree blockade behind me. One of the hooded figures approached me, removing his hood. He was a middle-aged man with a receding, dark brown hairline and light stubble on his chin. His face was covered with wrinkles. His eyes, however, were what stood out about him.
They were pitch black and misty, as if he had fog banks in his eyes. Even though he didn’t appear to have pupils, I felt as if he was staring right through me. He stopped about a foot in front of me and spoke in a deep, booming voice.
I stood there for a moment before responding in a confused tone.
The hooded figures around me all chuckled, while the one in front of me simply smirked.
“Look at that, he’s afraid of us.” he mockingly said. He turned to the others around him and began laughing, the others joining him.
As he spoke, I noticed something about his voice. There was a slightly malicious tone to it. This didn’t make me any more scared of him, however. It made me scared of what he might do. When he was done laughing, he turned back to me.
“So, mortal, I understand you might have some questions regarding your current situation.”
Walking away from the trees behind me, I looked into the man’s eyes.
“Yes, actually, I do. First of all, why is this happening to me?”
The man turned around and walked past the circle of hooded figures.
“You didn't listen to our song. You brought this upon yourself.”
I attempted to walk towards him, but the others stepped into my path, blocking me.
“What happened to my family?”
The man turned to me. “Your family was sacrificed to appease our master.”
As his words sank in, my anger began to quickly bubble up until it burst.
“You did what?!” I screamed, charging at him.
I was quickly stopped, however, as one of the hooded figures grabbed my arm and threw me to the ground. As I started to get back up, the man walked in front of me.
“You should be thankful.”
I got back to my feet and glared at him. “Why would I be thankful that you sacrificed my family?”
“If we don’t give our master sacrifices every ten years, he rains hell down upon your world. If we hadn't sacrificed your family, your entire world would have burned.”
My anger quickly receded as I listened to him.
“Unfortunately for you, our master requires at least three sacrifices. And since we only sacrificed your mother and brother,” two of the hooded figures grabbed my arms as he pulled a knife out of his robe, “I have no choice but to spill your blood as well.”
He raised the knife above his head, and as he brought it down, I screamed.
I grunted in pain as I fell to the ground. Looking up, I saw that I was back in my room again, lying on the ground next to my bed. I sighed and laid my head down.
Thank God. It was all a dream, I thought to myself.
My alarm turned the radio on, and an eerie piano song began to play through the speakers.