I go by many names, though most men fear to speak them. I have been worshipped by civilizations so ancient, their names are long-lost in the sands of time. I am the closest thing to what most religions would call ‘God’, but I am not the benevolent being who welcomes the just and the good into an eternal paradise after death; I am the malevolent monster who teaches them that even in death, there is only suffering.
I haunt mankind in their dreams. Where they seek solace from the cruelties of a world most unkind and unfair, they find only nightmares that tear them to bloody shreds from the inside-out. As any cannibal among your kind will tell you, there is no sweeter cuisine as hot human blood, seasoned with the salty tang of fear and the bitterness of regret.
Tonight would be no different. Surging forth from the darkest recesses of your world, I settled on a young girl for the feasting, and poured my dark essence into her soul. I took in the memories that shaped her, made her whole. For a moment I became this girl, living her desires, her agonies, her thoughts..
Her greatest fears.
I remoulded her dreams to my liking: trapping her in her own home, with lights darkened and the cloying scent of death hanging in the air.
As I materialized into a form more suited to the nightmare that I had crafted for her, I heard her footsteps, smelled her fear, imagined her running feebly to escape her inevitable death. I moved quietly, letting her mind do the talking for me as she attempted to comprehend the circumstances of her surroundings.
Huddled in a dark corner, I heard his laboured breathing. Heavy footsteps crept nearer and the dark shadow he cast lengthened with each lunging stride.
Her every thought and movement set my senses ablaze. I saw her as clearly as humans see in the sun. The frightened, crouched posture, her gaze flitting uneasily to and fro across the room. Trying to seek me out in the dark? Foolish girl. You and the rest of your kind are so predictable.
Did he know I was alone? Vulnerable? Afraid? Fingers clenching and unclenching, syncing in rhythm with the erratic beating of my heart, I waited.
I stepped closer. The scent of sweat assailed my nostrils. I took it all in, savoring the last few seconds of this girl’s young life..
She stepped in front of me suddenly. I almost backed away in surprise? A confrontation? Stupid girl, I shrieked silently, what weapon do you have that can harm me?
Then there was the plunging blade, its cold steel matched only by her determination to survive. I felt a gaping hole open in me, my essence leaking angrily into the dream. How? How?? I reeled from the sheer agony of defeat, slumping against the wall behind me as she drove the knife deeper still.
I stamped down bile and choked back tears for though I kept my eyes shut, I could sense the dilation of pupils, hear the anguish moan of pain as death hung in the air like a heavy curtain, ready to cuff its heavy shackles around this one lost soul. It would haunt me but I had no choice. I had a duty. I was the only one left to protect the family…..
And so I fled, my anguish shattering the facade of her dream behind me, leaving her free to awaken.
I had been bested by a girl, by her courage and determination. What did this mean for mankind? I will ponder the answer to that question later. For now, there are dreaming souls out there ripe for the harvest, and I must feast to recover my energies..
Slick with sweat, I awoke amidst the miasma of being suspended between two worlds. One where reality resides, and the other where reality is what the mind concocts.
“Death is the one thing that connects us all. It reminds us that what’s really important is who we’ve touched, how much we’ve given. It makes us realize that we have to be good to one another.”
– Peter Petrelli, “Heroes” 😀