Nightmare #3

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
I already know someone is going to be offended by this, but it is what it is--a story with an ending I hate as much as you do, but it's the truth.

Submitted: August 31, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 31, 2017



Last night

I wanted to cook.  I had an idea—wasn’t my idea actually, I was looking through my old subscriptions on youtube, not working, wasting time, after so much work related turmoil in the week, here I was, wasting time, watching old channels, filling up my minutes because I had to, eroding the burden of time with empty carbs, comfort food.  I came across a video that was several years old, a recipe using ingredients I already had at home, no need to spend money, no need to drift around needlessly at the store, eroding the burden of time with aimless wandering, touching things I couldn’t buy, counting the tarnished pennies in my purse, something I could just walk through the door and set my hands on immediately, a problem, could it be solved?  Could I make it taste ok?  Mask the pain of poverty with craftsmanship, make it lovely, make it work, make it taste like freedom?  And here I am, pulling things out of the cabinet like here’s your time to shine, here’s where I’m not afraid, here’s where I embrace all the hard work you represent, earn it, prove it, be it, watch the family thrive on nothing.  And the kitchen got dirty, the kitchen got messy—3 pots going on the stove at once, 2 mixing bowls, utensils laying all around like the Tylers in a fight club all spent and beat up and exhausted and used used used to their fullest ecstatic extent.  And in the end, two new dishes we’d never ate before turned out beautifully, homework was done, the counters and microwave were bleached, the dishes were unloaded and loaded again. 

Conductor to a rehearsal, the band’s back together after a long summer break, fall into rhythm, everybody settle down, everyone go back home with their parents late at night.  It’s dark out.  It’s getting cold.

I crawl into bed, check my late night messages.

Phone is all beat up too.  Cocoa around the edges, down into the mic and the speaker. 

I plug it in and lay it on the pillow next to me out of love for all the voices contained inside.

The dog crawls up next to me and sighs. 

Then I drift off, then I’m in a house that seems to have a number of compact floors that I immediately associated with an old, side-scrolling game, a game where the house is presented to the player with an open side, all rooms visible, full of traps, 8bit , rich pixels, Moog music that is pleasing to the ear but when I was a kid, I thought I could do so much better.  I spent a lot of time on my Cassio Keyboard figuring tunes out by ear, ok if you put a dollop of butter here, and a rhumba beat there, and a paragraph that adds a little inception about what the overall theme is really about, then you can make it much more complex and pleasing to the player, the cool kids, your kids, readers.  I went lower and lower in this house, and my anxiety began to rise, because house dreams are bad dreams and I have them all the time—they’re worth paying attention to, and even in my sleeping state, I knew . . . my focus wasn’t on getting away, it was getting it over with.  Ok I’m in this house I’ll play your game, and on some deeper level I came to something that was almost like a cellar, but not underground yet—a room lined with jars and pots and pottery and vases and they were all pretty enough but when I could take a closer look, I could see that every single last one of them—every single last one—was just a little deformed somehow.  Chipped.  Cracked.  Not practical.  Colorful but not pretty.  The neck was too small.  Arms too slippery or too short, one missing, one that could have been perfect were it not for its shoulder slouching.  Bright white glaze on one that stood with its little pot chest puffed proudly out but its backside all crushed down and rumpled, one good side only, that’s it, no more . . . . so promising, yet so utterly dysfunctional and broken, just like all the rest. 

Now I had a sword in my hand and a shield on my arm, so it seemed quite apparent what I was supposed to do, but I refused.  Oh it made my hand itchy.  Oh it burned a hole in my heart, in a way, but what a collection it was!  What a terrible mess.  What use did I have to break it all apart and make those odd things as sharp as Hydra’s teeth, to sow in the levels I’d leave behind, spring up skeletons, pursue me when I had deeper goals to reach?  I refused.  I moved on.  And as I moved on . . . .

The air grew sharp and cold.  And musty.

Here we go.  Here’s how it turns. 

The stairs to the next level took me to a narrow landing that was wooden but white washed.  A strange worm-like being with a flower head rushed me.  I screamed when I touched its velvety pink body because I fully expected death on contact, but I didn’t.  Its skin wasn’t poison.  Wasn’t radioactive.Wasn’t full of spikes, and the ridges in its skin didn’t hide any razors.I bounced off.  There was more to it than that, but . . . it took me to a room, the final room.  It was brick.  Dimly lit.  A dirt floor with two cages in the room, also white washed, with two dogs inside that the worm flower-head creature freed as it tunneled by.  The dog in the right cage was a painfully thin, brindle cur.  It growled at me as soon as it was free.  It gnashed its teeth, tucked its tail between its legs.  It was hungry and rabid and truly just a miserable fuckstick of a dog that was ready to lunge, ready to strike . . . but it was clear that the other dog  . . ..

The other dog

The other dog . . . had been bred to kill. 

A fine animal, white with brown patches, short, slick coat that shined in the darkness, a great square jaw, the heavy lids distinctive of a pit bull with a distinguished lineage. That dog was bred to be the end of the line for me, yet, when it set forth from its cage, it set itself between me and the cur, and the other dog made itself scarce. 

This king of dogs sat down beside me, as if I were its master.

This king of dogs looked up to me and gave a friendly pant.

This king of dogs leaned against my leg, licking its lips.

And I remember

As I grasped the sword that had become a kitchen knife in my hand

The same knife I had used to rehearse

Compose my mad symphony with onions and garlic

Mince the cold, dead meat of a chicken

Smoothly and softly cut the mushroom citizens of the forest floor

I rubbed my hand over his broad, heaving chest

Smelled the scent of his dog breath

And ended the game

With a gleaming, silver slice 

© Copyright 2019 Keisha Gamman. All rights reserved.

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