Prose, poetry, fiction, and rambles from people with a bit too much time on their hands.

Nightmare

The life of any child may be filled with make-believe. I loved to pretend when I was very young; some of my favorite games included “The Floor is Lava!” and building forts in the living room. My vivid imagination changed even the blankest floors into a steaming pit of molten rock, and any pitiful arrangement of blankets and tables into a solid stone castle. This power was the center of joy in my childhood, but it also resulted in some very fearsome and permanent memories.

It was the same as every night in my room. I had a difficult time falling asleep, especially since my parents refused to leave the hall light on. Haunted by the ghosts and ghouls residing in my mind, it was a challenge to keep my eyes shut. Every few moments my eyelids would snap open to assure that nothing was creeping towards me in the near-blackness. Inevitably, though, tiredness gripped my consciousness and pulled it into the peace of sleep. It usually was actually peaceful, but this night was different.

On that night I fell out of reality and onto a small dusty chair. On my immediate left was a wall covered by four panels of mirrors, which together made the entire wall reflective. The reflection revealed the rest of the dull room. It was well lighted, but there was no visible light source. The blank walls were painted a pale yellow and the floor was covered by a light brown carpet, just like my actual room. In the corner on the opposite side of the room, there was a dark wooden rocking chair that I recognized to be the rocking chair in my actual living room. I could only see three walls of the room, so what lay behind me was a complete mystery. The only way in and out of the room was an empty door way only several feet in front of me. Besides me, the rocking chair, the mirrors, and the chair on which I sat, the room was empty. But I was not alone.

Standing directly in front of me was a figure that resembled a clown. Unlike your average clown, however, this comedian was completely black and white. He wore a black and white horizontally striped jump suit that covered him from neck to ankle. His neck was surrounded by white ruffles, and his feet were covered by dusty, black, bulbous clown shoes. His head was only covered by his thick matted dark hair and his hairless face was painted completely white, except for his black lips. His hands were behind his back and he was leaning forward expectantly, with a hint of a grin on his face. He was there all along, but I did not notice him immediately–the mirrors showed no reflection of him. His irises were as black as pitch.

I came to the realization that my hands were bound to the chair, but this was irrelevant as I was already firmly paralyzed by fear. I knew my parents had to be near. They were always nearby. They always kept me safe.

“Mom! Dad!” I shouted vibrantly, hopefully. I repeated these pleas for help, but nobody came and the mysterious thing that was in front of me was undaunted by my efforts. His mouth formed into a complete and evil grin. His straight, stark white teeth contrasted his black lips perfectly. He tilted his head to the slightest of angles, as if he was turning the lock on my demise.

Then, slowly, the monster began to disintegrate into white smoke: first his legs, then his torso, and finally his smiling face. The smoke swirled in front of me, and then casually floated into my still-screaming mouth. My voice began to lose its youthful strength; my shouts became hoarse. I still frantically called for my parents, but my volume was continually dwindling.

“Mom…Da…” my cries ended. There I sat shaking, choking on my dead voice.

I awoke abruptly. The surrounding darkness was still there, as if it was waiting to receive me. The same instinct that had just failed me kicked in again. I flew out of my bed and down the hallway. I burst into my parents’ room. Their outlines waited for me in the dark, sleeping soundly. I ran up to my mom’s side of the bed.

“Had a bad dream honey?” she whispered, without bothering to open her eyes.

Wordlessly, I climbed onto the bed and my mother’s arms closed around me. After a few minutes, my mom whispered again.

“Go back to your bed.”

“No, I’m scared,” I rebutted.

“You have to be brave,” she said softly, with as much wisdom and resolution a whisper could ever muster. I obeyed and ventured back into the lurking blackness, my mind filling in the holes of the unknown with the most terrifying creatures. But this time I wasn’t as afraid as before.

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