Monday, May 14, 2012

The Amulet: Nightmare

Aaron sat at his desk. The chair was cool and oddly refreshing in the early morning atmosphere of his room. His windows were open to the Early-May breezes languidly rustling the leaves just outside, and his fan hummed on 'Low' in his south-facing window. It was never very cold in the bedroom -it was rare that the winds changed just right to sufficiently make the air chilly- but the chill at this particular two-twenty eight a.m. was nearly freezing and it set deeply in Aaron's bones.

Aaron pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes and rubbed away the dwindling strings of his horrific nightmare. Or at least he tried to. Some of those strands clung tightly and kept bringing him back to the jarring dream that virtually trapped him in deep sleep. He remembered clawing, struggling... fighting his way to consciousness and he was exhausted for it. Exhausted for it and from the dream. The nightmare was palpable and heavy. Aaron could smell it; sense it. It still had hold and he couldn't shake himself fully awake. He sighed and reached for his cup of water that sat on his desk next to his laptop.

Aaron would write it away. It suddenly occurred to him that the best way to battle the remains of a nightmare that refused to release his psyche was to write it out and drag it kicking and screaming from his head. He raised his laptop screen and watched as the warm glow of its screen spread into familiar brilliance. A quick mouse click and a writing program sprang to life. Aaron sat back and looked to the ceiling; his eyes closed as he re-stacked the deck that represented the cohesive layout of his dream. It didn't take long, for the whole picture hadn't fallen all to pieces just yet. He rolled his fingers, and set to write.

     "I was trapped. The gloom that fell around me was a black that no light could even hope to penetrate. And to even speak of hope -hope as a feeling of exuberance- is to speak of the dead, for hope had long since dissolved into disillusionment. I new I was in a city. A big city. Perhaps Chicago, since it is a city I am rather familiar with. I sat in a car. Oddly a 2-door coupe; a car I haven't owned for nearly twenty years. And I had a passenger. A passenger whose face I never saw; not before the dream, nor during, and certainly not one I could drag from memory even now. I saw hair. Her hair. I was looking at the back of this woman's head, and her hair was long and sandy-blond. This much I can remember. She was alive -which is to say (as you'll soon see) she wasn't among them. She breathed rapidly and shivered with the same choking and relentless fear that I was feeling (and that I feel even now as I write this). She moaned with little, tight, audible whines that sounded like the mewls of a sad cat. I felt bad for her, and I swallowed my fear as best I could manage, only to have it collect in a sickening lump in my throat; a lump that was either going to escape in a cacophonous scream, or a flume of fear-induced vomit. (incidentally, the lump has returned as I regale...). Though the dark was so inky and thick, we both knew -this female passenger and I- that the things just outside our ridiculously un-protective doors were seconds away from scrambling into the car with their guttural gibbering and twisted, knurled talons ready to flay our flesh. I broke out in goose flesh (just as I did in my sleep and just as I do now) and a chilling sweat beaded my arms and head and rolled down my neck. It was just then my female passenger's throaty groans turned into words. I understood almost immediately that she was repeating the droning mantra, "My fault... my fault... my fault..." over and over as she rocked back and forth. Right then I had no idea what it meant, that monotonous dirge, but the closer I looked her over -feebly attempting to garner a guess at her identity- I finally noticed something hanging from her neck. Even in my dream I recognized the item; it was an item I, myself, had created... in the wakened world. (As I write this I have begun shaking and feeling tenseness creep through my terrified muscles.) What she wore was The Amulet. The very disc-shaped rune-stone that held a starring role in each and every one of my stories! And it was alive with its wicked red brilliance. It pulsated in time with the woman's erratic heart beat. And it thrummed in unison with the approaching monsters that were moments away from springing out of the darkness with their chattering mouths and their angry hands...

And then I woke. And I lay there on the cusp of screaming into the night. I fought to control my breathing. And then I sat. And here I am"

Aaron leaned back from the computer satisfied but feeling no better for the writing he'd done. In fact, all it had served to do was reattach the strings of the nightmare he'd thought he'd severed. His shoulders felt tight and the back of his neck throbbed as though a weight had been tugging it downward. He reached his hands to his nape and prepared to work the muscles out. It was then he felt the chain. The chain he knew all too well.

Aaron wailed into the darkness as the ruby hue ebbed and flowed at his chest.