You are in for a tricky one today. Apparently, it is Halloween time all over again! Or at least, it is October. I used to write quite a few short stories years ago. So, one night when I got the idea about this one in my head, I knew I needed to immediately write it down.
“Just a nightmare” is a story with a dark setting and even darker meaning. It aims to highlight the inevitability of facing the monsters at night. Mostly, because they are in your head.
I am a very positive person and I aim for happiness. However, darkness tends to be my inspiration.
I know it is a different format and definitely a different vibe, but I hope that you enjoy it!
Just a Nightmare
All was coloured in black. Besides the ray of light coming from the streetlight, everything around has slicked into an ocean of obscurity. The waiting has begun.
You probably have heard it before, but nightmares always come in the depths of darkness. Seems like this is the only time when they can take a shape and harm their feeble victims.
A woman was laying in her bed. A bed, that didn’t seem like such anymore.
You see, beds have this charming, welcoming charisma. They are warm and seductive. Everything this one was lacking. It felt more as if she was at a cold, rocky island in the middle of a suspiciously quiet ocean.
She could not feel the silk of her blankets. No, it felt more like the firm grasp of a snake. There was no comfort, just a crippling awaiting.
The woman could feel the horror crawling on the floor. Twisting and curling in its evil lack of body. The way it was silently preparing for an attack.
On a night like this, it is inevitable for something bad to happen. The promise sits heavy in the air. Weighting on her ribs and crushing her bones.
Funny, how strong a woman could feel in the light, and how small she turns out to be when her demons take a grasp of her.
A distant mechanical noise was the only thing breaking the silence. The arrows moving. Seconds, minutes, hours… Flying like birds. A normal clock during the day and a torturer at night.
She was ready to be hit. Ready to break the silence with a storm. And yet nothing.
Turning around, hit by the waves. Not being able to find a place. Freezing, but sweating. Nervous. Impatient. Out of breath. Scared…
She felt like her pulse was getting louder and louder. Trapped in between her ears. Banging like a drum. As if her blood was boiling inside. Her muscles – pulled, tense and ready to fight.
And then it happened. The sound of the bell took her by surprise. She jumped in the rhythm of all twelve rings. The time has come.
When the city clock sang its song, silence took control of the room once again. But not for long.
They started one by one. Silent whispers. Words and sentences carved in her consciousness. One after the other, they sang their scary harmony. Louder and louder.
The woman squeezed her eyes in denial. No, she was not ready. The air was coming out in between her chapped lips. Torn apart. In fits and starts.
The pressure on top of her ribs moved. Now it was replaced by one coming from the inside. Thundering inside her chest.
The voices continued. Deafening.
She opened her eyes again just to notice a shadow moving in the ray of light.
It was not a human, nor an animal. It hasn’t quite taken a specific shape, but it reminded her of a figure with a hood. Much like the pop-culture descriptions of death.
No, she could not face this. She was not capable. This was too much. She wanted to scream. To run away. Somewhere, where the light can swipe her from the hands of darkness. Yet, down there she knew that this meeting was inevitable.
She closed her eyes again and started whispering to herself. Saying that this is not happening. That she will fall asleep and when she wakes up, it will all be gone. That it is just a dream. A nightmare.
And then she felt the darkness moving on her skin. Almost touching her. This paralyzed her. Her heart that was racing until now became quiet. Felt like it skipped a beat, or two. Or maybe all of them. Just stopped in her breasts.
The feeling of darkness started on her fingers. Then it moved up. To her wrist, up the arm and to her shoulder. Then it went through her neck, leaving the feeling of a metal blade. Cold and deadly.
Then, all of a sudden something grasped her face. Much like strong human hands snatching their victim. But when she opened her eyes out of the shock, there was no person there. Just the shadow and two deep eyes looking into hers. Hypnotizing.
At this moment the pictures started appearing in her thoughts. Like a projection of a movie. A recollection of all the moments in the bottom. Beneath the floor itself.
She saw herself as a child looking at a burning house. The ripped pages of her books were falling from the sky. Looked like the resurrection of a thousand phoenix birds. Her past self turned around and when their eyes met, the picture changed.
Here, she was a bit older. Maybe in her teenage years. She was kneeling in front of a full bathtub, washing her girly pink dresses. However, the water turned back. But she continued pushing the clothes around until they looked like animals trapped in an oil spill.
Different shot. A young woman in her twenties looking at a tall mirror with judgement. In her hands, there is a hammer. Don’t we all fall in this hate-love relationship with our own reflection? She swipes forward, until she feels herself on the ground again, blinded by the spectacles.
It rains again with pieces of glass all around. Feels like the time has stopped. Or at least slowed down. The pieces soar in the air, rotating and reflecting. And in them, she doesn’t see her own reflection. She sees glasses of wine and hears a distant screaming. Feels the cut of disappointment.
In another piece, she notices the blink of greed. Selfishness. In third, the melting of iron and the crossing of vows.
Finally, she sees grief and pain. The eyes of the thing she fears the most – death.
This really is a nightmare.
A woman on her knees starts crying from the heavy burden on her chest. The air is no longer lacking but does not exist. So, she desperately tries to collect some, but with no success. Her chest is moving, but there is nothing inside. The panic fills her. She makes last efforts to grasp for life, while the whispers return, deafening her.
Suddenly, it all stops. The whole world disappears.
A woman wakes up in a bed with satin sheets, warmed by the sun peeking through her window. She returns to reality, desperate for air and is happy to find it.
Another day has begun.
Her whole body is covered in sweat and paralyzed by fear. So, she takes a shower and brushes her teeth. She drinks a coffee while covering the shades under her eyes with makeup. She looks at her body while choosing an outfit for the day. Then she takes her bag, jacket and keys and walks out, locking the monsters in a small apartment in the city centre. She goes out, delighted to welcome the noise of people. She is no longer alone.
As kids, we are scared by the monsters in our closets. Every night we await creatures of all kinds and nature to come out and eat us. As adults, we find out horror is not so simple. It is not contained in a fast ending by a physical monster.
No, the scary thing is we need to live with the monster. It is a part of us. When the closet opens at night, the eyes looking us from there are not the ones of a beast. The voices we hear are not from its growling. The only sound comes from the skeletons we keep deep into our consciousness.
They come in the dark when we are all alone. We face them, night after night. But no matter how much time has passed, neither their weight nor their grasp seems to get lighter.