by Gary Alan Lahner
Copyright 2017 Gary Alan Lahner
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a factitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Before I sleep, I ponder past events of the day that more often are a hazard concoction of disjointed if not disturbed people I have the extraordinary misfortune to share my waking hours with. Am I any better living my shallow and selfish existence in the shadows of my own fears, creating a lonely purgatory? I like to think so, considering the event review of the tortured souls that exist outside this murky psychosis, need the most merciful help in becoming anything near, what can qualify as human. To harsh, perhaps, but not in comparison with how I think I should have been treated. No matter. It is just the day-to-day disgust of an imprisoned existence in a world enslaved by money—money that seems to have eluded my genius, and the genius of like, creative spirits. Fortune crushed by pieces of paper that escape the grasp of my hands as I reach out to the empty air, and fall at the doorsteps of those that have fame based upon a Hollywood or musical birthright, forcing them to share their pathetic reality within my dark, mechanical, and soulless cable box.
Cool sheets comfort my cluttered thoughts as I cover myself up from the cold air of the world. Do I continue my frigid existence lying as a corpse in its icy serenity, detached from the useless babble of life, cozy in a dull, steel box somewhere in the dark morgue of a hospital peacefully unaware? Or, do I face my troubled days like a starved zombie, hands reaching out to brush my rotted teeth, and slide short footed to another day of the useless, unsatisfying drudgery called a chosen profession.
At times such as these when uninvited ghosts swirl within my head, I take to the singular talent I have of reaching into the mysterious world of dreams. A search for answers with the help of an altered state of consciousness to be out of body, or awake within my own demented landscape. All I need to do is give the suggestion before I close my eyes, and somewhere in the tangled mess of the brain, the thought will implant itself to be triggered while I sleep. Which will it be? The future? I hope for more of the moving picture type of future dream, where people and places tell a vague story, a mystery story of events yet to come. A dream as my own crystal ball or will I wake inside my head to shape what I see with the Lucid dream? A playful, virtual voyeurism?
The eyelids get heavy. I am almost certain these abilities come from a damaged and twisted part of my physiology. A twisted mess of neurons clumped together, knotted, like a knot on the brain. I laugh to myself and roll onto my side as I think: a bump on the head to see out of bed or dance with a whim in a dream, goodnight cruel world as the dark unfurls and I wait to awake with a scream.
Frozen! It happened. The instructions implanted before sleep executed by the mind. I am sitting on the floor by the kitchen door aware that this is a dream. I can tell. I’m inside my head, claustrophobic with the images before me, tangible yet, inactive, until I, the master of this realm, reach out to set the elements in motion.
Why I found myself on the floor is left to the mechanics of the mind. In such instances, and from past experience, the entry into this fancy initiates the introduction in the most peculiar fashion. Maybe I missed the chair next to the table where I sat, and it was this action that startled the shift to the dream reality. The dream world normalizes with furniture and books neatly arranged in a balanced order in the small apartment where I spend my days. How odd to be close to my sleeping self and not somewhere grand like Paris, or Vegas, or the Riviera, sipping a glass of wine waiting for a conjured beauty to walk by making the adventure more lurid. Instead before me a simple room and a large, blank, canvas I seem to be holding, having now just noticed. This is to no surprise for I am an artist. A painter. The aberration conforms to the tricks of the mind reminding oneself of the work left undone. Great! Even within my dreams I must be tortured by my waking troubles. Colors screaming as if in agony while I smoke myself into oblivion, trying to decide how to place them. It could be I can make a picture with just a thought, and it would instantly appear on the taught fabric—but I won’t! I refuse to give into the unsettled part of my subconscious as it intrudes into my night dream. I would sigh or laugh, but what is strange about the reality is that I can do neither. Such a movement may break the concentration, and I would be wrenched back to the cold bed staring at the ceiling. Commands cannot be spontaneous, but require the utmost focus written within the parameters of the dream, or do I imagine this, afraid to continue? What else to do? Let it play out.
I look around the room thinking how quiet, and solitary my life had become. A rumination left for waking hours as I pondered over the objects placed on tables and walls—memories to remind me of better times.
While perusing my little cache, my eye caught a glimpse of a small, gray statue of a figure by the other end of the sofa. I didn’t have a statue placed on the wooden stand and didn’t pay much attention to it knowing that all aspects of dreaming may invite its own decorations. As I moved back to view the canvas, a glint of motion twitched the corner of my awareness. The eyes of the statue moved. How can this be since I gave no such instruction? But it did. Curiosity seemed to be enough of a trigger to find myself instantly face-to-face and eye-to-eye with the now observed formless idle. A playful action to be transported without movement in other scenarios—this one a mistake to be so close, so quickly, with something that is unknown. I recall not a breath or heartbeat in a lucid dream, but fear that escalates to terror began its sickly climb.
I waited. Waited for the eyes to blink again. My lids steady as I watched a pall of overwhelming anticipation begin to blind the corner of my vision. I didn’t want to blink, but how long could I hold out as the weight of tired muscles started to give in. The shapeless, gray form with only its undefined face looked back—silent—it to, careful not to disturb the delicate structure of the dream. The almost almond eyes lifeless, with a hidden purpose, determined to wait me out gave that notion up, and decided in a devious fashion—to blink! Not of my will! Not of my will! On a will of its own! What aberration of evil could have invaded a realm that should be mine?
I again appeared back by the kitchen door on the floor clutching the blank canvas—my heart thumping a distant awareness trying to break the dream to wake me from the oncoming danger. Why am I in danger? What fiction of terror from my subconscious has tricked me into this apprehension? A childish joke to keep the dream world alive, or a run of interference from the curious nature that could be the only source, the statue that is now sitting at the end of the sofa morphing into, I am sure, a malevolent form.
My focus on the misshaped golem shifted to a dark blur entering the room that stopped with a jolt and an unnatural jerk of the tiny head—its innocent gaze matching mine. A kitten. A small, black kitten. Cute and puffy, begging to be touched ever so gently, as is in our nature to do. A rescue spirit that appears to help my invented nightmare? Why can’t I just wake up? No, the malicious form still fragmented and vulnerable summoned a diversion. Pretty and dangerous, but I dare not touch. In past dreams, I was made aware of the deadly effect contact with these creatures can impart on the waking flesh. The touch by evil spirits left a sickness on that area of the body, difficult to get rid of. I will not be so beguiled into this action. Spirits? I have a better word, the rational shattering the vary fabric of my soul. Demons!
But, how did they get in? Was it my ungenerous thoughts upon sleep that conjured this lucid play? The black kitten squinted its eyes as if to study my mind, and it no longer was a kitten, but a big, black cat. It smiled a skull like smile, a horrific grin—a deliberate display for its two rows of razor-sharp, pointy teeth. Something I’d seen from a movie summoned from the subconscious…more attempts at fear the creature was all too familiar with as it rummaged the dark corridors of my demented mind.
I moved back against the table, hands gripped tightly on the canvas as the dream suspended a moment of sanity to study the experience for a plan of defense. I could whack it with the canvas. Beat at both figures until the dream broke, and I woke free. The risk of contact was too great to engage in such an action. To wrestle with the unknown? All it would need was a split second to inflict the most horrific wound. And, time in this reality is uncertain. Clocks melt over the limbs of disenchanted trees, and run backwards with a meticulous beat, in this land of REM. So what to do? I drew my attention to the undulating form on the sofa waiting to be born and wondered why it shaped itself in a slow fashion. What kept it from achieving a quick result to devour my very existence? My eyes looked above where it sat. A crucifix hung on the wall. That was it! Fight evil with the ultimate good.
Slap! A crack of a whip turned my gaze back as a horrendous wail issued forth from the gruesome grin of the big, black cat—which now stood on two legs and changed into something more in keeping with the insidious yell. Little, black furred feet with stunted, even toes. It resembled more of a straight-backed monkey without a tale, exuding the most sickening stench. Ears, greenish, and black-veined twitched as if waiting for an answer, or reaction—clearly fearful of my thought to use the crucifix.
It ran past me and into the kitchen. What mischief would it get up to in there, and why? Another distraction while the danger formed? The gray, blurry blob gained momentum with its wicked self, drawing on the energy of the dream.
More shrieks from the standing cat, with an inaudible dialect from now what was a circle of a mouth, a hollow hole that can speak nothing but lies. Unshaken, and determined to be free, I was moved to look at the refrigerator were the horrible, little figure stood. On the side displayed in perfect geometrical splendor stuck the collection of ornamental magnets. Cartoons, nifty sayings, ingredients for cocktails, accompanied by descriptive pictorials, adorned the metallic, white box. One of the magnetic marvels radiated a light of awareness—it being a picture of Jesus. A redemptive verse printed eloquently next to the portrait. A gift gave from some charity for a small donation. Another wail from the creature as it ran back out into the living room trying to divert my attention and resolve. Now, I knew how to fight against the gaining attack. Blood. The Christ’s blood. A visual reminder of its redemptive power, which I could display on the canvas with my own. I reached up slowly to the table and grabbed the utility knife I use for cutting with know doubts as to it being exactly where I willed it to be. I held the tiny blade over my right palm and slashed deeply into the imagined flesh. Red blood flowed down my wrist, and for a moment I wanted to taste it. The salty, metallic flavor, a desire made by an invasion into my thoughts from the malevolent duo. With intense determination I let the blood drip onto the white fabric, pressing my palm to increase the unpleasant volume, and with my hand painted the figure of a cross, the opened slit causing more pain as it brushed against the textured cloth. The figure on the sofa remained still as a square black hole opened in the clay like substance of a head. Teeth formed, and a buzzing sound ensued as if trying to speak. The sound tickled the deep inside of my ear as I held back my stomach from getting sick. The wailing from the impish partner stopped, a tiny little kitten it became again. Fearful of further tricks or that spiritual manifestations could take place I finished with my macabre painting, held it up to both obnoxious and malicious foes, and bang! I awoke.
Chilled and full of anxiety I licked my lips and looked at my palms. No cut. The bedroom, still, dark, and quiet, but with an air of apprehension as to what might have lingered into the real world? I lay back, closed my eyes but halfway through a sigh of relief an explosion of light hit against my eyelids. A light? A flash? My heart hurt from racing too much. Could I still be in the nightmarish landscape of the lucid dream? I stared into the darkness, glad to hear the rumble of thunder.