Counting Lucid Sheep

Reads: 100  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Lucid dreamer Louis Creed spends most of his time with his head in his pillow, spending his life purely in his conscious dreams doing whatever he wants. Until something sinister befalls his world.

Submitted: November 17, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 17, 2019

A A A

A A A


Counting Lucid Sheep











 

Every hour I spend on this planet I feel heavier and heavier. I’m not exactly sure how it’s even possible, I’m no scientist in any capacity, just a lowly spaceman in sector 437. Pass the Anthraxian race of planets controlled by… well they’re all dead at the moment so that’s as far as I’ll take it.

There’s an alarm going off somewhere to my right and I’m not sure if it’s in the cockpit beside my copilot Jessie or the clock beside my bed. I realize the latter and open my eyes. My name is Louis Creed, and it’s time to wake up and eat.

When I opened my eyes there was a bit of force needed to break the crust from my eyelids. I looked around my dirty room and automatically wished I was still dreaming. It smelled like shit and I could still see the tiny crack of sunlight peeking through my window. I’ve tried to fix that little nuisance, but I can’t handle standing more than a few seconds and i'm apparently no handyman.

Whenever I’m awake all I can think about is going to sleep and dreaming. Everything is so much better in my head than the real world. In my dreams I can do whatever the hell I want. In the real world I sit in a goddamn wheelchair and eat microwavable burritos I have shipped to my apartment by Amazon.

I have trained my brain to recognize that I’m dreaming. It’s called lucid dreaming and it only took me a few months to learn. Not with the lack of trying however. I had to keep a dream journal, every night I would write down everything that would happen so I wouldn’t forget. Blah blah blah etcetera etcetera, now all it takes is a few words repeated until I fall asleep.

I’ve spent nine long years in this room, just to spend all my time outside of it. Into a world where I’m a god. I’ve been Luke Skywalker in blowing up the Death Star, a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Batman, Superman, i've played with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on stage (clothes on). I’ve done amazing and wonderful things, and some not sogentlemen like things that I won’t get into at this very moment. I do all these things just to wake up, eat, sleep, wake up, eat, bathroom, sleep sleep sleep.

After I finished eating my burrito I crawled back into my bed. Even now I couldn’t wait to go home. I looked at the roof and said the magic words, “To realize is to dream To realize is to dream To realize is to dream,” until everything started to fade away.

It only ever takes a few moments to kick in. There’s a bright blue light, then I sort of wake up. Whatever I’m feeling at that particular moment materializes around me. It may not be point for point accurate but I think it definitely gets the job done.

Today I was messing around in my cyberpunk city. It was really just a recreation of the dystopian future of Los Angeles in Blade Runner. There was even a giant “Enjoy Coca Cola” advertisement on the side of a large building. In this dream I’m a cop that just wants all the robotic discrimination to end. I patrol the streets with my sidekick Jessie trying to right the wrongs and kick some ass. It was always a rainy night.

I opened my eyes and appeared inside the squad car driver’s seat. My partner was in the passenger’s seat. “You ready partner?” She said.

I smiled and nodded my head, “Let’s kick some collective ass.” I put my sunglasses over my eyes and pressed down on the accelerator. The car flew upward and into traffic. There was a little jerk at my stomach. It was strange since I never feel anything in my dreams. My face cringed and I put a hand on my belly.

Jessie looked at me, she had a concerned look on her face, “You ok?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I said.

The feeling stopped and I kept driving. Jessie was staring out the window. I couldn’t help myself but look at her while she was lost in thought. There was something beautiful in the way she looked. I’ve known her for nine glorious years, and her face has never changed. It was always the same milk chocolate brown neck length hair, the same brown eyes, the same smile, the same pale freckled cheeks. There was this little thought in the back of my head. It was an intriguing thought that she was not apart of my dream at all. Only to be some sort of psychic link between two very real people. I’ve always wanted to ask, but, I don’t know, I was afraid that something could go wrong and I’d be stuck here by myself. Every time I saw her would make it harder and harder to keep it to myself.

Before I could pull my gaze away, she caught me in the act. I could swear she blushed a little before I looked away. “I think I see some action down there Scout,” she said.

I said nothing as I pulled the car down. That subtle jolt of my stomach pinched me again. Jessie saw it.

When I landed the cruiser the moisture from the street spiraled up and arched around the car. It soaked the car slightly. I pushed the door up and stepped out.

Jessie was right, there was a ruckus there. Down a small alleyway four thugs were beating a little blue robot. He was yelling help help! In an electronic tone.

When the rain hit my body I could feel it rolling down my skin and soak my hair. I actually felt cold.

The thugs were wearing colorful 90s punk leather jackets and sporting big blue and black sunglasses. One of them had a big green mohawk.

I pulled my pistol from my hip and aimed it at them, “Hey!” They seised in kicking the poor robot and looked at me. They were laughing and pointing their fingers at me, mocking my voice.

“Come on guys, just come with us so nobody else gets hurt ok?” Jessie was next to me pointing her gun as well. She must not have been very convincing, because they started walking towards us.

“Make us motherfucker!” One of them yelled. His teeth were razor sharp like he had been grinding them daily.

I holstered my pistol and curled my fists. Jessie saw me and did the same.

“Ready Jess?!”

“Ready!”

I’ve lost count a while ago on how many times I’d played this goofy scenario in my head. I just like beating these guys up. It's fun and they totally deserve it.

I threw the first punch, the thug ducked under my arm and punched me in the stomach. The wind was knocked out of me. Everything went blurry and I fell down to my knees. Jessie yelled my name, I started hearing gunfire. I saw the punk who hit me run in the opposite direction, his friends followed. I felt a touch on my shoulder and looked up at Jessie who was kneeling down next to me.

“You ok?” I could tell she was worried.

I’ve never felt anything like that in the dream world before. Why was this time any different? I inhaled some air and let out a painful Fuck.

Jessie helped me to my feet and dusted me off. “I’m sure you’ll get em next time.”

I opened my eyes in the real world. The pain in my stomach immediately hit me. There was an emerging feeling in my throat. I bent over and threw up over the  side of my bed. The bile sprayed in every direction when it hit the floor. I let out a gurgled shit and got out of bed and walked over to my wheelchair. It took me a while to clean the puke from the floor. It was still a bit sticky when I put my foot over the “clean” spot.

I sat there for a few minutes, staring at my bed. For the first time in my life, I had no inclination to return to the dream world.

 

I watched my television for the rest of the day and part of the night. Not really paying any attention to it. My mind was elsewhere. I started second guessing my sanity. Had I really been asleep? Or was I really there? Had I just walked outside and realized I had actually traveled to the future? Then why was Jessie there? What did I miss?

I pinched myself just in case. It hurt, but so did the punch. I closed my eyes and whispered the words. I was back with Jessie in an instant. Only this time the city was gone, it was replaced with a white walled room with a white floor and a white roof. Jessie was standing near one of the walls, her hands held in front of her. “Hey,” she said.

“Hey.”

“You really scared the shit outta me earlier. What happened to you?” She asked.

“I don’t know, it hurt when he punched me,” I said.

“I’ve seen you get punched loads of times and you’ve never complained once.”

“Yeah, but it actually hurt this time.”

“Well how is that even possible?”

“I don’t know, but I swear to god I threw up when I woke up.”

“Are you sure you’re not an actual wizard? I told you not to go to that school you know.”

“I’m sure it’s ok now, it was probably just a one time thing. Probably won’t happen again.”

She looked at me in a sigh of relief. “Well as long as you’re gonna be safe.”

I looked at her. I really looked at her. I could feel my heartbeat in my chest. And without even thinking I asked, “You really care about me don’t you?”

“Well of course I do,” she said, “You’re like, my best friend. My only friend for that matter.”

I wanted to tell her that she was my only friend as well, but maybe I just didn’t want to seem like a loser. But it was definitely true. She was my only “human” contact I’ve had in years. Except for the one time two years ago when I grabbed my Amazon food from the hallway and I saw an old man going into his room. He was in his undies and it didn’t exactly help my social anxiety.

“Ok,” she held up a finger at me, “if, and only if you think you’ll be ok, we can go.”

“Trust me, I’m fine. I feel fine.”

She put down her finger, “So where to first?”

I smiled at her and thought about where I wanted to go.

The room dematerialized then rematerialized around us. We were soon in a larger room, it’s walls were made of windows. Just outside the glass was clear blue water, it was illuminated by various different streams of light coming from somewhere above the underwater building. I chose this dream because it was Jessie’s favorite. In the real world I had assumed that she could have been a marine biologist or something because she knew so much about the ocean. She wouldn’t let me forget it.

When Jessie opened her eyes and looked around and realized where we were, she began hopping up and down in extreme excitement, clapping her hands and smiling. She gave me a hug and said, “Thank you!”

I couldn’t actually feel the hug, but there was always something there to fill my senses. I’ve known her for nine years and she’s become more and more actually there. The stronger was her smell, and however much that might sound strange, it was my favorite thing to do in my dreams. In a world where my real room smells like beans, burritos, and ass, the scent of strawberries and perfume was a nice change. I had assumed I was just smelling the things in her real room. Somehow. If that were true, she would be smelling me, which is why I’m thankful she’s not running for the big fake hills.

Jessie walked to the window and put her hands on the glass. She looked mesmerized by the empty void of nothingness right in front of her. I thought of millions of different types of fish swimming right in front of her face. Then it actually happened. She jumped back in a delightful fright. I was sure most of these fish would never actually see each other in the real world, but hey, fuck it, am I right?

There were little butterfly fish to giant orca whales swimming inches away from her face in an awe inspiring upward sweep. I walked up behind her and put a hand on her shoulder. There was that feeling again, like I couldn’t want anything more in the world than to go into a coma. We looked at each other, something in her brown eyes told me she wanted me to close the gap and kiss her warm lips. She put her hand on top of mine, it felt soft. Everything else in the dream didn’t matter anymore. I just wanted to be with her. I was in love and I knew it.

Something in the corner of my eye changed. I broke away from her gaze and looked at the fish outside. They weren’t moving. More accurately, they were staring at us. Jessie finally looked at the fish outside. She practically jumped out of her skin.

I cleared my throat.

“Scout?” Jessie whispered.

All the fish were facing us, motionless. There was a space in the middle without any fish. Just water. The shade of blue in the space void of anything began to get darker and darker. First something grey appeared, it was quickly followed by more grey, soon it was clear we were looking at a humpback whale. It stopped close enough to the glass to startle the hell out of me and make both of us jump back.

“Scout what’s happening?” Jessie’s voice quivered.

“Let’s just go,” I said, stepping backwards away from the glass. When I took the first step back, I bumped into something. I stopped, frozen. Jessie turned around and looked behind me.

There was something else in the glass. My reflection and a shadow behind me. I turned around. He stood maybe a foot taller than me. He wore a black trench coat with the collar pushed up and around his cheeks. His greasy black hair fell down to his shoulders. But it was what was in between that pushed him apart from anything I had ever seen before. His skin was a light green color. His eyes were as orange as lava, pupils like those of a snake’s. It was his grin that still makes my skin crawl. It reached from ear to ear. His teeth were a marble white and sharper than knives.

I could tell that his grin got wider when he realized the fear stricken across my face.

Jessie pulled my hand towards her fleeing direction. I stared him in the eyes the entire time I moved. My stomach lurched at the anticipation that he would suddenly lunge at me and bite my head off.

His body only shifted in my direction as we moved away. As we got further away from him his face began to disappear. Only his shiny white teeth and glowing eyes were visible in the shadows of his face.

“Scout, maybe you should wake up now,” Jessie said, her own terror potent in her voice.

I closed my eyes and focused on being in my bed again. I opened my eyes and to my surprise I was still with Jessie, with this man with the Grinn.

“Scout?” Jessie said again.

As I grabbed Jessie’s hand and closed my eyes again I could sense the man start to move closer to us. I opened my eyes again and ran to the door that I made appear behind us. I practically shoved Jessie through as I followed close behind. The hairs on the back of my neck straightened upright when I closed the door behind me. I hit the carpeted floor and instantly turned around to the door. I waited for the sudden spring of its hinges only to let Grinn emerge slashing and clawing at my body until I stopped moving. The moment passed when I realized he was gone for the moment. The door would not open. Although I half expected as soon as I turned my back he would come bursting through. So I made the door begone.

When I thought of an escape room only a few minutes ago, I created the first place that came to mind. Jessie and I were in a rather large room, air conditioned. We were on the second floor of a very nice high school library. I looked over the railing and saw six medium long tables lined up in two rows. There were three padded wooden chairs at each table.

Jessie twisted her head towards me with one of those really? You dumb fuck faces.

Spread out across the six tables were only four kids; Molly Ringwald, the princes, Emilio Estevez, the athlete, Anthony Michael Hall, the brain, Ally Sheedy, the basket case (my personal favorite).

“Scout, come on,” Jessie whispered.

There was something off with this dream, something missing.

I felt something tap on my shoulder, I almost shit myself when the thought of Grinn standing behind me popped into my mind. I twisted my head around and was met with nothing. Another tap on my shoulder. This time I saw it drop to the ground. It was a little white pebble. I looked up and realized it was a piece of the roof. Jessie pulled me back as Judd Nelson fell through the roof and landed right in front of me. The criminal.

We were in the 1985 movie Breakfast Club. Judd Nelson’s character Brian stumbled to his feet and ran passed us to the stairs where he would undoubtedly hide under Clair’s side of the table.

After the principal busted through the library’s front door, Jessie whispered, “I don’t think we really have time for this dude.”

“What do you want from me, I freaked okay?!” I whispered this loud enough that I thought the cast below us would hear. When they ignored us, I continued, “What the fuck was that thing back there Jess?”

“I'm not sure, but he definitely didn’t look all too friendly. Why don’t you wake up already?”

“I already tried that. It didn’t work,” I said. “Jess, I’m kinda scared here.”

She took my hand in hers. I could already feel myself calming down. “Then we’ll just have to be extra careful then, now won’t we?” She smiled at me and I couldn’t help myself from getting butterflies in my stomach.

“Jess I think i'm starting to feel things in the dream world again,” I said.

Jessie leaned back on the railing, “Maybe you’re just getting more powerful or something.”

“Wow Jess, you make it seem like I’m some kinda wizard or something.”

“Well don’t just dismiss the idea-!” She peaked over the railing to check the kids. She looked back at me again and spoke in a lower voice, “You know how fuckin cool that would be? That’s like my lifelong dream!”

“I doubt it Wiz.”

“Well maybe you’re dreams are just getting like, stronger or something.”

That sounded a little more likely. Less cool, but more likely. My dreams had been feeling more and more real every day.

“Like a Freddy Krueger dream?” I said.

“Yeah something like that. Minus Robert Englund… sadly.”

I looked down at our hands and realized she was still holding mine. She followed my gaze and pulled her hand away. “Sorry.”

I wanted to say don’t be, but I was interrupted by the sound of generic rock music. I turned my head up and looked for the room with the smoke. I was too late in locating the room, Andrew was already blue muscle shirt clad and punch dancing his way back to his room. He entered the room and closed the door behind himself. I had a huge smile on my face, this was the scene where the gang smokes weed that Bender gave them. And of course weed apparently makes everyone lose their shit and freak dance.

Anthony spun around, pumped his fists in the air and screamed. The glass shattered.

In the split second it took for the glass to break, the music sort of glitched, and Emilio Estevez was gone. In his place was the man in the black trench coat. I could see his spotless smile from where we were.

The music was gone. He stepped through the broken doorway. The glass beneath his shoes cracked like snow.

It took me some time to realize the windows of the smoky room were now spattered in a red liquid that was definitely blood. Grinn’s face turned in our direction.

I closed my eyes and tried to think of another door. I opened them and regretted to realize there was no door. I closed them again and focused on a red door leading to anywhere. I failed in calming myself to the point where all other senses were gone. I opened my eyes. Nothing.

I looked up, he was getting closer to us. I pulled Jessie’s hand with me as I ran down the spiral staircase and away from Grinn. We ran passed were the students were supposed to be sitting and talking to each other. They were all dead, mangled and lifeless to be more accurate.

I pushed the front door open with my free hand and turned right. Passed Principle Vernon’s office door with a bloody handprint smeared down the window. We kept running down the halls until I was sure we’d lost him. Which was never. Jessie stopped me, “Scout!”

I completely ignored her as I opened the janitor’s closet door and pushed her in. I closed the door behind me and turned to her. “Scout, can you get us out of this dream?” Her voice trembled.

“I tried, its not working,” the way I felt helpless and out of control pissed me off enough to hit the door. I let out an obscenity

Jessie looked at me and put a hand on my shoulder. “Have you tried waking up in a while?”

I looked at her, “Even if I could, i'm not gonna leave you with that thing.”

“Why would that even be a problem,” she seemed generally confused.

“What if you can’t get out?”

Her hand left my shoulder, “Get out of where?”

I felt ashamed. I’ve never brought it up before. I’d never guessed how she’d react when I told her who I assumed she really was. I never told her I thought she was real. An actual person. “You know... this dream,” I said.

Her eyes darted from eye to eye. Her mouth was barely hanging open in somewhat shock. I’m not really sure what possessed me to continue. “You know, because… because I love you. I love you Jessie.”

Her mouth closed. Her eyebrows were furrowed. She looked like she had something on her mind that she desperately wanted to get out. Her eyes started to swell up. She wiped them.

“Well that’s pretty shitty of you,” When she said this, my heart fell down to my feet. “You shouldn’t love me. Its sad.”

What I did next wasn’t really a coherent memory, it happened fast and without any real thought at all. The only thing I did remember was when I leaned over and pressed my lips to hers I felt like I was melting. I could hear her inhale of breath. At first her mouth was tense, it quickly loosened up. I put a hand behind her head. Her neck unintentionally craned into it. I could feel her nose breathe and tickle the space between my nose and lip. For a second I remembered tasting something slightly salty, then it was gone.

In all the time I had known Jessie, i’d fallen madly in love with her. But I was never certain she was a real person up until this very moment. The kiss just felt too real.

She pulled away from me, her cheek was wet. She opened her eyes and looked away from me, “I’m not real, not now, not ever. However much you or me want it to be true it’s just not. I’m sorry, I know that’s not what you wanted to hear.” She sounded disappointed. She sounded sincere. I knew she was telling me the truth. She was all in my head. And I was a goddamn idiot.

I’ve never felt like I was dreaming in my dream before now. My head felt heavy, I leaned my rear on the small desk behind me. I looked at the floor, “I was so sure.”

She could only look up at me and see the regret and disappointment that molded my face. “Louis…”

She watched as I closed my eyes and struggled to wake myself up. I thought of my messy room, my magazines, crumbled wrappers, and empty cups. The blackness of my eyesight became a bit lighter, like someone had shown a flashlight in my eyes. I opened them and looked at Jessie. The door was open behind her. She was turning around, only to be met with a grin. I reached out to her and grabbed her arm. She turned back and reached out to me. I grabbed her begging hand. Grinn sliced my arm with his long black fingernails.

I screamed out in pain, instinctively letting go of my fake friend’s hand, only to grab my own bloody forearm. I lunged toward her to try and grab her again before Grinn pulled her out of the room. I failed. Again.

From that point on, I knew i’d never forget her desperate scream for help. The way she reached out to me. The way she looked me in the eyes.

I woke up screaming.

 

I sat in my bed listening to myself breathe heavily as I realized I was awake. “No,” I said. I slammed the back of my head down on my pillow. “To realize is to dream To realize is to dream,” I peeked through my eyelids. Still in my room. I shut my eyes and repeated the simple phrase again. I peaked. Nothing. I screamed in frustration. Coward.

 I sucked air through my teeth as the pain in my left arm finally set in. I grabbed it and automatically felt the crimson plasma running down my fingers. Most of the left side of the bed was drenched in blood. It felt like my heart was somewhere in my wound and it had just run a marathon. Idiot.

I slowly got up from my bed and walked to my bathroom. My legs were already beginning to buckle. I looked at myself in the mirror, I was sweating profusely. My shaky hand opened the mirror cabinet and grabbed an old first aid kit I haven't used in years. Bastard.

The entire time I wrapped my arm, I could visibly see my hands get dizzier and shakier. I wasn’t sure if I had even did it right. My mind was elsewhere. It was with Jessie. The way she was dragged away from me made my stomach feel queasy.

She was, however, just apart of my subconscious trying to manifest a girlfriend for myself. Which was so fucking sad it was disgusting.

Was she even aware when I was awake? If so what did she even do?

I sat with my chin on my right arm, staring at my bandaged left arm, thinking. It was the time we were in my Star Trek dream. I sat in the Captain’s chair, she wore pointy ears and a blue shirt. Always standing at my side. A federation starfleet captain who couldn’t keep himself from stealing glances from his Vulcan second in command. Something that the real James Tiberius Kirk would’ve deemed unprofesional and would've jeopardized the respect of his crew (Even if Spock was a woman).

I’m not sure why this memory surfaced. Maybe it was how funny she looked with pointy ears. Maybe it was the way she giggled when Scotty said, “I’m givin’ her all she’s got, Captain!” Or maybe it was the feeling in the back of my head that she was glancing at me too?

“To realize is to dream To realize is to dream To realize is to dream,” I closed my eyes. I entered the dreamworld almost instantly. I tried thinking of somewhere simple, but when I opened my eyes I was knowhere I meant to be.

My legs felt wet. I looked down, I was standing in water up to my knees. The full moon above reflected itself in the lake I was in. The wind blew a cold chill throughout my spine. At the middle of the lake was a lonely looking red river raft, a faint object lay motionless inside, it was too far away to see. On the other side of the body of water were a few trees, the strip of land wrapped all the way around the lake. I looked down at myself and noticed what I was wearing, yellow short gym shorts, a white t-shirt, the sleeves felt a bit too short. I lifted my foot out of the water, I was wearing non-brand white sneakers with a pair of crew length socks. It was clear I was no longer in control.

I looked around me and saw a bunch of wood cabins. It all seemed somewhat familiar. I trudged my way through the water to the cabins. To my right I could see a shooting range with a a few round targets with arrows sticking from them. The the left of that were the cabins. To the left of that was a yellow wooden sign with:

Welcome to

Camp

Crystal Lake

EST.1935

“Fuck me,” I said.

I was in one of the Friday the 13th movies. From the way it looked, the second movie. I was out of the water and walking towards the steps of Packanack Lodge, the main, and biggest cabin in the camp. At the bottom of the steps was an empty, knocked over wheelchair. Its back was drenched in blood and one of its wheels were still spinning.

When I walked passed it I began to faintly hear music coming from somewhere inside the lodge. I walked up the four wooden steps, down the long porch, and up to the front door. The bad muffled rock music became clear and loud as I opened the door. The music in the Friday the 13th movies were always written for the film because no real band would let them put their songs in the movie. Thus became the incredibly bad they were funny songs with bad lyrics, vocals, and simple instrument work. The song went something like this;

“Don’t ask me to staay!

Don’t think you got it made

No, no

You’re wrooong!

‘Cause you can’t break it anymooore!

I know what you’re waiting foooor!

I should turn away and walk right out that door!”

 

It was coming from a small record player on the ground. It looked broken, but it still somehow played its music. I was standing in the living room with a grey brick fireplace, a few wooden chairs and two small tables, the stairs were to the right of me. Somehow I just knew where to go. My hands felt clammy from the eerie atmosphere around me as I grabbed the railing to my left. The feeling of Grinn skulking around a corner and grabbing me grew evermore intense as I walked up the stairs, each time making a creak with my foot as my own weight pressed down on every step.

When I got midway up the stairs, the music stopped, leaving me in complete silence. There was a door at the end of the staircase, beams of light broke just through the cracks of the door, making a rectangle of luminosity. It looked like someone was behind the door spraying smoke from a fog machine set on low.

I got to the balcony overlooking the whole lower floor. I had to swipe at the air to free my senses of the small amount of fog in the air. My hand shook as I reached out to the door handle and twisted it. I could feel my heartbeat in my throat when I opened the door.

The room’s floor was hidden below the thick fog covering the area. I felt like I could suddenly take a step and fall through at any moment. On one side of the room was a king sized bed, two nightstands on each side, and a lamp. The other side was a window overlooking the rest of the camp and a small closet. When I walked to the middle of the room I heard breathing. My heart jumped and I turned around. First I saw the red and orange flames reach up to the roof. The source of the flame screamed a bloody awful scream for help.

It was her. She reached out to me with that same look on her face as before. The pleading angst to be saved by her knight in shining armor. My instinct was to recoil. To my suprise, the first thing I thought about was some water to throw on her. It felt like I was being pricked by millions of different needles all about my body. She fell to the ground, her ear piercing screech made me want to eat a bullet.

She stopped struggling and twisting her body. She laid there motionless as I stood above her, frozen. The flame never faltered, it roared. I reached out to her. She raised herself to stand, she was now a few feet taller than me. The flame burned bright, too bright to even see her face. It dimmed, Grinn was now smiling in her place.

My heart eased only slightly, she was safe, but now I wasn't. I thought about making a run for it, but he stood in the doorway. There was no way I could possibly squeeze past him. He seemed to know this because all he did was stare at me, letting his presence sink more fear into me. It was working.

My spine pinched my muscles as I awaited his blow. I backed up to the window behind me. All I wanted was to leave this room as fast as possible. The only way to do that was to go through him, or out the window.

Before I could lunge myself out plan B. Grinn stepped to the side. For a second I hesitated. My mind told my legs to move, but it didn’t work until I made them work. I couldn’t breathe as I side stepped past him. The heat radiating from the flame felt like it burned at my skin. His nose rattled as he sniffed. It made me feel gross.

He watched as I backed out of the doorway and down the stairs. He soon disappeared over the top of the balcony, leaving only a light visible. I backed out of the front door thinking of why he just let me go. What was he planning? Fear? Because it was working. Just walking out of this door backward made it seem like he was right behind me and I’d bump into him at any moment.

But he wasn’t. I walked right out and into the rain. And I just walked. I just had a near death experience, wasn’t I supposed to feel awesome right now?

I walked to the other cabins in a feeble attempt to still find Jessie. They were behind the main lodge and I could see the flame still burning in the widow I once looked out of. I was only a few feet away from the lodge when a burning ball of flame came crashing through.

It scared me so much it felt like everything was in slow motion. Grinn fell down making an almost beautiful arch of light and sparkling glass through the sky as he landed right in front of me. The water droplets hit his skin and instantly evaporated making a trail of grey smoke rise from his body.

I fell backwards and into a puddle of mud. My heart hurt, I felt like I was having a heart attack. I grabbed my chest where it pained me. I only exhumed outward bursts of air, I couldn’t breathe in at all. I felt like I was dying.

I scuttled away from him, the entire time wetting my arms, legs, back, and part of my head with more mud and water. He followed me. I focused on his smile. He raised his fists in the air, ready to strike down on my body.

Suddenly my mind wandered to another memory. I haven’t thought about it in a while and I wasn’t sure why I thought of it. Maybe my body tried to ease my mind while I’m being beaten to death.

The memory was the moon. Jessie and I traveled to Earth’s moon to check out the view. The view to the right overshadowed the emergence of our beautiful blue planet. I stared at my partner. I could see her face through her dark space suit visor as the light from the planet illuminated everything around us. It was one of the only times the environment glitched because my heart beated too strong. Jessie looked at me and I was back in the rain, lying in the mud in front of Grinn.

I’m not sure how to explain how I felt at that moment. Simply put, I felt ok. Grinn stopped his first swing mid air. My heart no longer pounded in my chest. Grinn put his hands to his sides and took a few steps back as I got to my feet. His flame suddenly burned out. His grin disappeared.

“I know who you are,” I said. Somehow I knew he could hear me over the rain. “And I know why you’re doing this. To me, to Jessie.”

Grinn sneered at her name.

“You’re me,” I took a step toward him. “You’re just apart of my dream and you’re jealous. You’re jealous of her!” My heart started pounding in my chest again. Not of fear, but complete anger. I spit when I yelled at him. “Well FUCKYOU!”

He only stood there.

“Why can’t you just let me have her back you mother FUCKER!” My head fell and I looked at my hands. “Just give her back.” I fell to my knees. A crack of lightning whipped through the black sky, lighting everything up around me. I didn’t even notice.

I would remember this moment for the rest of my life. What it meant. Why it happened. Every single detail had been branded into my brain. How the rain rolled off my sweaty hair and onto the rest of my muddy body. How my intestines turned and knotted itself from the mere thought of the girl i’ve grown to love in my own fucked up way. She was my best friend and I didn’t want anything to happen to her.

Hearing her voice after so long was a feeling that confounds all other words. Hearing her footsteps trudge through the mud grow ever so louder. The final touch of her warm body as she wrapped me in a tight hug, knocking me down again.

“Louis!” She yelled in my ear. I felt her little kisses barrage my cheek. I looked up and the man with the grin was gone. And the rain had stopped.

 

I took no time taking us anywhere else but Camp Blood. The first thing I thought of was the top of a snowy mountain. Clouds as far as the eye can see. The sun just poking its head over the horizon. If we were here in real life, we both would’ve died from the lack of oxygen in seconds.

We were sitting on a rock next to each other letting it all sink in. The view was especially magnificent to me. It all seemed so real. But I knew deep down that it wasn’t. I had been missing everything while being here. I didn't want to grow old and regret it all.

“Goodbye Jessie,” I said.

She had a confused look on her face, “You’re waking up now?”

“I think so, yeah.”

There was a long silence between the two of us. A flock of birds flew in a V formation somewhere down below. I stood up. “I’m not coming back.”

When I said this, I expected her to look sad, cry, hug me, hit me. But she didn’t. She only smiled. She stood up. She grabbed my hand.

I wanted to say what I was thinking. Then she said it all. “Louis, I don't want you to waste your life here with me. You’re missing all this,” she looked around at the mountain.

I looked through her brown eyes one last time. “Well… I wouldn’t call it a complete waste of time.”

She leaned in and placed a powerful kiss on my lips. I ran my fingers through her hair. We were so close I could feel her heartbeat race as fast as my own.

I had spent some of the most important parts of my adult life trapped in a world that I created. A play area controlled by my own unwilling to seek out the real world and discover all it’s intricate and wonderful places and truly live a life worth living. And the one thing that kept me from it all was the girl I was in love with. A girl that I knew was insane to be with, but somehow completely possible at the same time. A girl I had spent nine long and glorious years with, basically as an imaginary friend in an imaginary world. Because when all the walls come down, the time spent with her finally made me see. We were just kids playing in the backyard of my mind.

I woke up.

And never dreamt again.


© Copyright 2020 James Zeller. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

More Horror Short Stories