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The Nightmare Within

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It was a warm summer evening, yet she lay cold and awake in her bed. In the dark, she could just make out the familiar posters of her favorite dreamy actors as the moon shone brightly through the mini-blinds, just like it did every night. Everything was calm, and she could hear the sound of her father’s deep snoring that she was accustomed to in the next room. Everything seemed normal; however, something had wrenched her from sleep at two in the morning and left her laying unusually cold on that hot season’s night. It was the nightmare.

Afraid to go back to sleep, she laid awake trying to forget the awful dream. It was something that she had dreamt before. In fact, she had had this dream every night for the past few months. Only it wasn't just something in her head, not even close. It was more like a horror movie and she was the unfortunate victim. Any time she awoke, it was like hitting pause. The moment she fell asleep again, her terror would resume and it would relentlessly pursue her.

It kept chasing her throughout the endless maze of a house. In the shadows around her, things moved around just out of her vision. The demon was relentless, never giving up, never tiring. Nothing seemed to slow it. Trying to hide never worked either; it found her every time. The wretched creature was a combination of all her worst fears into one. The face was so twisted and hideous she couldn't even bring herself to think about it. Doing so would be bring on a great deal of terror.

She would begin to sweat and tremble with fear. When that happened, it could be hours before she calmed down again. The demon appeared to be a creature that had come out of the darkest pit in hell. Flames danced around endlessly. Anything it came in contact with was instantly singed or turned to ash. Its body was red. Not just any red: blood red. The blood red you see when somebody is dying. It was horrifying. The face appeared to be a cross between an ogre and Satan himself. It even emitted a foul odor. It was the smell of death and decay.

Eventually, she drifted off back to sleep, the demon still lurking behind her thoughts. Sure enough, the moment her eyes closed, she was back in the maze. This time, she would attempt to hide. She hoped it would pass her by and maybe she would finally manage to escape from its clutches. But she knew, in the back of her mind, that it is impossible to hide from evil. Evil is an undying, dark entity.

Even though she could not see the demon from her hiding spot, she could sense its presence by the aura of pure evil that it gave off. She could hear it approaching by its distinct footsteps followed by the sound of dragging metal. This metal scraping on the ground was coming from its blade that seemed so evil that even the flames of Hell are not worthy of forging it.

She asked herself if she should stay where she is or run. She had no idea if the demon knew her hiding spot. It surely sounded like it was getting closer. To stay there was a death wish, so she ran. Her head pounded with the sound of her own heartbeat. Behind her, she could hear the demon pursuing her as it got ever closer. The demon swung its evil blade, just missing her, but grazing the back of her neck and hair. She tripped and fell forward down a staircase, Ironically, this stumble probably saved her life as it put her out of the reach of the murderous blade. She could feel the blood from her wounds, hot and sticky on her neck. She had to get up. Above her, the demon roared with anger and covered all of the stairs with one gigantic leap. As the demon gained ground on her, it seemed to grow larger in size and become more frightening. Suddenly she turned the corner and found nowhere else to run. It had finally cornered her after so long. Just as its blade began a downward arc, her ears were filled were a large ringing.

She woke with a gasp in her bed as her alarm clock sounded. She took deep breaths to calm herself, telling herself it was just in her head, nothing more. That is, until she put her hand to the back of her neck and it came away sticky with blood.

She couldn't focus the rest of the week. Night after night it was the same thing, and each night, the blade got ever closer. She began to think of how she could get out of this hellish nightmare. Nothing came to mind. Then, one night the answer became very clear. It was as the demon was chasing her through the kitchen of the house. Utensils were scattered about and as the demon ran by a knife, it grazed its arm and roared in pain. Its greenish, acidic blood began to flow from the wound. She realized that if it could be harmed, it could be killed.

When she woke up to the sound of her alarm again that morning, she noticed her arm was cut and had been bleeding. She spent the rest of the day formulating her plan. She could barely remember the way to the kitchen, but figured if she could get there and arm herself with the knife, she would at least stand asmall, finite chance. That night, she laid her head down on her pillow, determined. Slowly, she closed her eyes.

She was back in the maze. She didn't even wait for the demon to show itself and began to sprint towards the way she thought the kitchen was. She ran through the door, breathless. The girl began to glance around for the knives. Somewhere behind her, the demon’s roar could be heard as it tore through objects. Right as it burst through the door, her hand closed around the handle of a knife. She flung it with all her might towards the creature. It raised its arm to protect itself. Unfortunately for it, this was also the arm holding the sword. The knife bit deep into it, the entire bladed buried in the arm. The sword clattered from its grasp. With sudden energy, the girl rushed forward and scooped it up. She raised it to strike down the demon. As she did so, it looked into her eyes.

Then, it uttered one word: “Please.”

She recoiled at the sound of this plea. The voice was far from what she expected to hear from the dark creature. The desperate tone of its voice, like that of a helpless child, did not fit the monstrous demon. With the demon looking pleadingly at her, she suddenly felt a pang of remorse for trying to cause harm to it. But she remembered that if she were in the demon’s place, it would not hesitate in executing her.

With this justification, she knew that this was it; she could finally end the string of nightmares that have tormented her for so long. Despite the demon’s cries for mercy, she brought its own blade to the back of the demon’s neck. Determined, she raised it above her head. Blocking out the sounds and sights of desperation in the fiend, let the blade fall and put all of her weight behind it.

The demon’s hide was thick, so the blade did not cut far into its neck; however, feeling the pain she was inflicting on the evil one only empowered her. One edge of the dark blade was serrated, allowing her to hack into the demon’s neck and saw off the ghastly head. The demon did not stop wailing until the head was completely severed from its body, leaving her in absolute silence.

The eerie silence is what woke her abruptly from sleep. The nightmares finally once and for all behind her, she went to the bathroom to look in the mirror. The smile was still on her face. There, staring back at her, was the demon. And it was smiling.

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