Dreaming, or Not

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is a short story I wrote for my school literary booklet. But it got rejected for being "too violent," so here I go.

Larry Crood wandered around the hazy abyss of black that surrounded him. He wasn’t really sure where he was, only that yesterday he had been walking in the pines of Colorado, and now he was nowhere at all.

It was chilly in the dark, and all there was covering him from sheer nakedness was a tattered old blanket, which he thought was relatively filthy and old. It was patched in places it had been abused, rugged, and hung around his shoulders like a cape, with a an ancient green broach that met around his neck. Every movement he made further into the null, the blanket would brush at his sides, it made him feel safe, but there was something not so safe here, he felt it.

Somewhere, through a pocket in time perhaps, a vintage blue 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280, jolted and bounced through the air towards Larry, flashing dusty grime covered high beams that laid themselves upon his field of vision. Blinded and overwhelmed by panic, Larry mustered all his will to lift his legs off the ground and lunge away from the hurling projectile. He fell to the ground and the Mercedes crashed behind him in a metal deafening thud, and scattered broken fragmentations of glass where he lay in disbelief. The car emitted a bluish green flame from the hood of the car, and began to smoke violently. It’s going to blow Larry thought, it’s going to god damn blow sky high and take me with it. As if by some magical force he got up, stumbling in the process, and began sprinting, away from the blazing death trap. He made some distance before it blew, but not enough. The explosion sent a warm wave of air, as if from the raging furnace that blew the Overlook Hotel, which brazed his elbows that scraped the ground from hurling through the air, and scorched his blanket to a pile of ash. The broach fell onto the ground with a metallic clink, until it circled around in front of him, resting in front of his scraped palms.

His eyes opened, but only a little, disoriented, rolling dazedly around in his head, in and out of consciousness. Eventually, Larry came to, sprawled across the floor looking at the faint glisten of an opal flame circling around him. Through his slit stinging eyes he saw the radiating flames dancing , as if by ritual. They looked like tribe members prancing around game that proved difficult to catch, but he was now caught. Appearing in the hellish inferno was an extremely tall shadow hovered towards Larry with unseen swiftness. It was covered by an oiled leather coat that reached down to pointed church shoes which were buckled by crosses. Larry gulped and his throat made a loud click.

The shadow enveloped him. A blanket of utter terror seized his neck, and he began to disgustingly croak for air. An attempted scream became nothing but a brief squeak. He could feel the veins hidden deep within his anatomy, revealing themselves in protruding strains. The fingers around his windpipe tightened, and as they did so, a razor sharp smile stretched in front of him, the white fang's reflecting his bulging watery eyes with such transparency, he was convinced it wasn’t real. It couldn’t be. His breath came desperately, as if he were drawing from a straw, and his face went red, blue, purple.

Somewhere from behind the colossal shadow, he made out a faint growling laughter, that became louder and louder, until it turned into a deafening roar of manic cackling. Thoughts rushed into his mind, and left as soon as they came, all maddening thoughts of a man at the brink of death. Mostly about his little apartment building that only he occupied, where bottles of gin lay scattered from days he wish he’d forgotten. Almost instantly, the large bony fingers that intertwined his limp neck broke free, and with that he seized an audible gasp of much needed air.

He looked around frantically, his heart thumping at his temples, blood turning to ice. There was no point in looking around, as all his eyes saw were the pumping grains and dots of blood siphoning through his head. The flames died, and the darkness was blinding and still. It was completely quiet for a while. Things seemed like they were going to be alright. He would wake up any second now, and it’d be a crazy, meaningless nightmare, and he’d laugh at his own stupidity. How reassuring that thought was! Larry stretched a quick crazed smile from the corner of his lip, and stared blankly at the void in front of him. Any second now.

But seconds turned to hours, and hours seemed like ages, and all there was now was his gradually faltering sanity saying this isn’t a dream, this was real life, and he was going to die.

Larry sat down, burying into himself as far as his flesh would allow him to, rocking back and forth, back and forth, whimpering like a puppy in the midst of a cruel owner. I’m going to die, I am going to die, I AM GOI-.

A patter of subtle footsteps made towards Larry. “You stay away, you stay away, or you’ll”-you’ll what? The footsteps came to a sharp halt, or so it seemed. Because in his head the footsteps continued, and they were becoming louder until he began to recoil, retreat into the blackness and look up at nothing, eyes wide, and filled with sheer peril.

You’ll hope that you wake,

But  hopes are lies,

I’ve been away for quite some time , but always watching,

Come closer, towards the flare,

And I’ll make it all go away,

Don’t ask any questions, even if your lips are dripping with them,

And let me sink into you,


Am I going mad? Of course he was, some insane lyric is telling him to die. If that isn’t crazy then this surely had to be some sick joke, but this was real. Larry glared at nothing, bewildered by the melodic chanting still ringing in his ears.

He didn’t feel so scared anymore. It would be ok, if he just… went towards the luminous fl- “NO,” he howled. “I WON’T!” Why was this happening to him? He wasn’t a bad person, he recycled, held open doors for the elderly, occasionally volunteered at at the old library, even greeted the pompous kids that called him Mr. Swiney. Hey, Mr. Swiney come and kiss my hiney! Those ignorant kids repeating their sly chant, like it was some genius saying, they deserved it… The more it played and looped through his mind, getting faster until it raced through his veins, pumped in his head like a fuming engine, Larry became convinced, after all he wasn’t that good of a person-he-those kids. I changed! I’m a different man now, I’m a good man! “You lie, Larry, good men don’t lie, Larry.” The voice cut through his ludicrousy, silenced him, like a keen knife slicing through condiments in preparation for a grand bouquet. No I’m a good man! I can prove it! But it was comfortably reassuring knowing that everything would be ok, this would all end, if he just submitted to the flare. It opened up suddenly, making Larry squint and gaze in awe.

He zoned into the winding tunnel of light almost as blinding as the darkness, hypnotized, “It’s so…beautiful, he muttered to no one in particular. The veil of light wrapped itself around his feet and wound its way up his legs, chest, neck, and finally creeped into his eyes. It’s dark in here, he thought. It became cold, chilling him to the bones, making them shudder in his bitter flesh. He drifted further into the already existent dream-like feeling, slipping away and giving in to the inevitable. I finally feel…like a good man.

Larry never woke up.

-Donnie Ropun  


Submitted: June 14, 2015

© Copyright 2021 Donnie Ropun. All rights reserved.

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