Death Dream

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: The Dark And Suspenseful


A young man buys a strange DVD at a store closing sale.

Submitted: May 01, 2018

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Submitted: May 01, 2018

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Our tale begins in the year 2010 with a young man who was out for a walk on a dark, rainy night and happens to notice a local video rental store is having a closing sale. Little does he know that what he’ll find inside will determine his fate.

Dark clouds hang overhead as a young man in his mid-20s strolls along the sidewalk in a small town at night. He felt like getting some fresh air and so he tossed on his raincoat and headed out into the storm. The bright lights of cars stream by him on his right and various shops, some dark, having closed, some lit and about to close, were to his left. His thoughts trail back to his childhood when he would visit the comic book store and the book store with his friends on summer afternoons, reading about all sorts of tales of superheroes, space aliens, and other topics of interest. One store which had caught the young man’s fancy in years past was the video rental store, and it just so happened that it was open as he walked up to it and read the big white sign with red lettering that read: “CLOSING SALE.” His heart sank somewhat when he saw the sign. It was the end of an era; online film & TV streaming services had taken over the market and business simply dwindled.

As the young man opened the door and walked inside the video rental store there was the bustle of employees moving boxes and other things as well as a few customers with armloads of discounted DVDs ready for one last purchase. One of the employees said to him, “Hey.” It was a bit of a contrast from the customary, “Hello! How can I help you today?” that he remembered from years ago.

Walking through the aisles, he saw numerous DVDs of various genres. Some of them were stacked bottom-to-top in what he perceived as a hurried fashion to get ready to either be sold quickly or packed away in boxes.

As he finally came upon the horror film section, he looked at the various titles with some amusement and memories of late night weekend marathons with his friends (especially on Halloween). He noticed a DVD sitting solitarily next to one of the shelves with its spine turned in a way that you could not read the label. He picked it up and looked at it: “DEATH DREAM,” it said in bold letters with a highly detailed picture of a frightening looking monster of some kind. He had never seen this title before tonight and was somewhat shocked by the imagery, even though he was accustomed to horror films and comic books. He and his friends prided themselves on having seen all the great horror and science fiction films before and so this particular DVD was a bit of a surprise and a mystery to him. In his deep curiosity, he decided to buy it. The price was only $3 and he had a $5 bill in his wallet.

The young man stepped up to the cashier who was busy tallying the sales for that day and placed the DVD on the counter. “Death Dream?” she said with a puzzled look on her face. “Strange, I’ve never heard of this one. Must be from the bargain bin or something.” The young man then smiled and chuckled awkwardly as he paid for the item and then said, “Thank you very much,” as he took his bag and headed out of the store.

When he got back to his apartment, he placed the bag with the DVD inside onto his couch after taking off his shoes and raincoat and went to the fridge to pour a drink. He thought to himself that he should call a friend to come watch the film with him, but he figured it was already quite late and they were either out having fun or asleep.

He sat down on the couch letting out a sigh of relaxation and opened the bag and unwrapped the cellophane packaging from the DVD. He looked at the back cover and didn’t recognize the names of the director or the actors. “This must be pretty corny,” he said out loud. He decided to give it a go anyways and he removed the disc from the case, placed it in the player and pressed “play” when it came to the menu screen.

What followed, as he sat through the film, was a slightly corny yet horrifying tale filled with monsters, bats, scared teenagers and a main character who kept waking up from these various, gruesome scenes, only to fall back asleep again. At the end of the film, the main character woke up and found a real monster at the foot of his bed and screams. The credits rolled.

“That was ok, I guess,” the young man thought to himself as he headed to bed. He was mildly entertained but at the same time somewhat disappointed. “The monsters were pretty freaky and cool at least,” he thought as he got into bed and turned off the light.

As the young man slept, he dreamt about the film and the monsters in it. It was much more frightening than the film itself. There was an otherworldly quality about it that was terrifying and surreal. He tossed and turned in his bed muttering, “No, no. Go away!”

Finally he awoke from the nightmare. He was in a cold sweat and breathing hard. He was very shaken up and quivering. He then turned on the light…

There, standing in front of him, was an eight-foot tall scaly-red skinned monster with huge fangs, pulsating red eyes, and long claws that looked like giant knives. Bloody saliva oozed from the monster’s mouth as it breathed and snarled heavily looking straight at the young man. The monster then moved closer to the bed. The young man screamed at the top of his lungs.

The next day, the young man’s boss tried phoning him as he was a couple hours late for work. There was no answer. One of his friends came to check on him having also tried to call and text and got no response. He knocked on the door saying, “Hello? Are you in there? Are you ok?” Finally the friend spoke to the landlord and the landlord also knocked and pleaded for a response. There was none. So, the landlord opened the door and the two of them went inside to the young man’s bedroom and found him lying dead, the bed and pillow drenched with sweat.

The police and paramedics soon arrived and questioned the friend and landlord. The paramedics determined that the young man’s death was the result of a fatal heart-attack. There was no sign that anyone had forced entry into the apartment or left any footprints or any other evidence of anyone (or anything) having been in the room with the young man. The authorities concluded it was death resulting from the severe shock induced by a nightmare that culminated in cardiac arrest.

Just before leaving the apartment, the friend noticed the DVD still sitting on the couch. Out of an impulse of curiosity, he looked at it and thought to himself, “Maybe this is what gave him the nightmare. It must be pretty intense. I better take it with me.” He then left the apartment and forgot he had the DVD after he spoke to the young man’s parents who were in tears at the loss of their son.

When the friend got home, he half-consciously placed the DVD on his own stack of collected DVDs, totally forgetting why he had it but figuring it must be worth hanging onto. The film then sat waiting for the day when it would find a new viewer…


© Copyright 2018 A.N.J. Babcock. All rights reserved.

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