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Remedy for a Dream

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OVERCOME YOUR DEMONS

 

REMEDY

 

FOR A

 

DREAM

 

A Tale of Redemption

 

By Matt Cogar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2016 Matt Cogar

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

CHAPTER 1

 

CHAPTER 2

 

CHAPTER 3

 

CHAPTER 4

 

CHAPTER 5

 

CHAPTER 6

 

CHAPTER 7

 

CHAPTER 8

 

CHAPTER 9

 

CHAPTER 10

 

CHAPTER 11

 

CHAPTER 12

 

CHAPTER 13

 

CHAPTER 14

 

CHAPTER 15

 

CHAPTER 16

 

CHAPTER 17

 

CHAPTER 18

 

CHAPTER 19

 

CHAPTER 20

 

CHAPTER 21

 

CHAPTER 22

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CHAPTER 23

 

CHAPTER 24

 

CHAPTER 25

 

CHAPTER 26

 

CHAPTER 27

 

CHAPTER 28

 

CHAPTER 29

 

CHAPTER 30

CHAPTER 1

 

D R E A M L A N D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a painfully chilling night. I could feel my skin crackling as if from the repeated stabbing of icicles. The rain had made my hair wet, and my path distorted. As I walked toward the dark, bleak house, I knew I had to confront it. We all have to face our demons sometimes.

 

I reached out, and touched the wet door handle. As I passed the threshold, the harsh winds and rampant storm were replaced by the silence of abandonment, and the coldness of death, rushing at me with the distinctive force of reality. The house looked as if it hadn’t been entered in years. Perhaps decades. Dust covered the floor and furniture, and cobwebs leaked across the walls and doorways. I entered the living room.

 

The living room had brought with it the stillness of death. I felt a sudden breeze move, not past, but through me. The shivering coldness rushed through me like water freezing over, and a sudden, uninvited sense of dread filled my mind. My thoughts had been interrupted by the creaking from the floor above. I grabbed a knife from the kitchen, and went to investigate.

 

I proceeded up the staircase, knife grimly clutched in my left hand. Apprehension filled my heart, and fear filled my mind. I knew not what was to come.

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The master bedroom. I entered with suspense, and in contrast to my anticipation, all but the culprit awaited me.

 

I felt eyes staring at me. Watching my every move. I turned around but nothing was there. Only silence. The stillness of the air became overwhelming, as my thoughts collided in conflict. I turned once more to see a feminine figure standing near the window, lit faintly by the moonlight.

 

“Jack.” she whispered.

 

“What are you?” I replied, overwhelmed by my own thoughts, and my own dread.

 

No response. The room once again grew quiet. “I’ve been waiting for you.” Said the woman, as she slowly walked toward me. I clutched the knife tighter.

 

As she stepped into the light, I saw her true form. She was no woman, but a demon. Her deformed, monstrous body vastly detached from her beautiful, siren-like voice.

 

It grabbed onto me. Out of instinct, I stabbed it with the knife I held so tightly in my left hand. I pulled the blade from it’s abdomen.

 

It was then, I saw it’s face, and my heart ached with the crushing, brutal force of revelation.

CHAPTER 2

 

T H E L A K E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were together, and alone. Not a single soul except us. We had been to this lake before, but every time I’m with her it’s as if I’m seeing it for the first time. I wrapped my arm around her. She smiled and rested her head on my shoulder.

 

“It’s so beautiful,” she said. “Uh-huh,” I replied nonchalantly.

 

“Please take me here again, Jack.” She responded.

 

We sat, in peaceful silence, as the sun slowly rose over the calm waters.

 

 

 

 

The delicate clouds glowed vibrantly against the morning sun. Her blonde hair, as aurous as golden tinsel, hung down to her breasts, somehow blanketed by a beautiful silk dress that seemed to only accentuate her ravishing figure. I found myself captivated by her. By the way her body danced as she moved, the way her smile seemed to illuminate the violet-red sky…I sighed. I held her soft, delicate hand. My heart throbbed as we walked side by side. I turned to her, gently putting my hands on her face. I hesitated at first, but then let myself go as my lips met hers.

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Our lips danced, as I wrapped my arms around her waist, gently hugging her close to me. She put her arms around my neck as she jumped into me. I caught her, and our lips danced to the singing of angels. I felt more than captivated by her at this point. She was my world. My universe. My everything. I laid her down onto the golden sands of the beach. Every time our lips met, it was like spending a moment in heaven. If cupid had a bow, he was all out of arrows.

 

I laid myself on top of her, our lips colliding in what could only be described as love. Before long, we had both been naked. But together, that didn’t bother us. Sure, there was the possibility of getting caught, and having to explain ourselves to our parents, but we didn’t care.

 

Every moan she made was like the singing of angels, praising our unity. I couldn’t tell you how long we were there, in each other’s embrace. The sky brightened as we made love. Her body heaved, and I released. We laid side by side on the beach sands. I looked over to her.

 

“I love you, Catherine.”

CHAPTER 3

 

W E D D I N G

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a glowing summer day. The vivid clouds, beautiful like a painting, splattered across the pinkish-red sky.

 

That day I was exceedingly nervous, at least on the inside. I knew I loved her and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. But I couldn’t help but shake the tremendous anxiety which consumed me.

 

Surprisingly, I had somehow managed to arrive on time. I had actually came close to arriving late to the church, but I suppose luck had been on my side.

 

I had been awaiting this moment for so long. Guests had continued entering the chapel as I watched, filling the dark wooden benches. Catherine’s parents had passed away the year before, and I had made them a promise, to take care of her. I will never forget that promise.

 

It was then I saw her. Everything about her was immensely beautiful, with blonde hair and bright blue eyes that would glow in the dark. Her face, so alluring, yet so pure. So delicate, yet so divine. She was all the more, my eternal addiction.

 

Her wedding gown had only accentuated her ravishing figure, and it seemed to glow as if from the angelic, compassionate, innocent-natured woman that she truly was. Her

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smile could shake the heavens, and her soul could move oceans. She was, and always will be, the love of my life.

 

We stood together at the alter. The priest, a balding man seemingly in his late 60s or early 70s, had began the ceremony.

 

“Jack Berkowitz, and Catherine Lauria. Today you enter as individuals, but you will leave here as husband and wife, embarking upon the grandest adventure of human interaction.”

 

I couldn’t help but stare into her breathtaking blue eyes. They say the eyes are the windows to a person’s soul, and if it were true, wouldn’t it then be true that I was looking into the soul of an angel?

 

The priest continued. “The story of your life together is still yours to write.” Those words will stay with me till the day I die.

 

“All those present have come to witness and to celebrate your love and commitment to this day, eager to be a part of the story not yet told,” continued the priest.

 

“Do you, Jack Berkowitz, take Catherine Lauria to be your partner in life and to share your path; equal in love, a mirror for your true self, promising to honor and cherish, through good times and bad, until death do you part?”

 

I continued to look into her eyes, as I spoke. “I take you to be my wife, equal in love, as a mirror for my true self, as a partner on my path, to honor and to cherish, in sorrow and in joy, ‘til death do us part.”

 

The priest turned to Catherine. “Do you, Catherine Lauria, take Jack Berkowitz to be your husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do you part?”

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Her voice sang in my mind as she spoke. “I take you to be my husband, in equal love, as a mirror for my true self, as a partner on my path, to honor and to cherish, in sorrow and in joy, ‘til death do us part.”

 

It was then I took her soft, gentle hand. “I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness. I place it on your finger as a symbol of my love for you.” I slid on the ring.

 

Catherine spoke then, with great joy, “I will forever wear this ring as a sign of my commitment and the desire of my heart,” she proclaimed before the heavens and everyone else.

 

“And now, by the power vested in me, I hereby pronounce you husband and wife,” declared the priest. “You may kiss your bride.”

 

Without hesitation, I had taken Catherine into my arms, and affectionately kissed her with all the love, passion, and emotion that was contained within my own soul.

 

The priest spoke, for the last time. “Ladies and gentlemen, family and friends, I present to you, for the first time, Mr. Jack and Mrs. Catherine Berkowitz.”

CHAPTER 4

 

M A D L Y I N L O V E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Honey I’m home,” I called as I entered the house. There was a whimsical silence as I approached the living room.

 

I found the living room to be dimly lit, by candles. As I entered the room I discovered Catherine awaiting my arrival in the corner. “Hello there, mister.” She giggled.

 

“Hello there, beautiful. You here all alone?” “Kinda. Waiting for my prince to arrive.” “I am here for you, my princess.”

 

Catherine ran over to me leaping into my arms as I caught her, embracing her. Our lips had met in enthusiastic unity.

 

I had fallen onto the couch behind us, Catherine, the love of my life, in my arms.

 

“Just promise me one thing,” Catherine asked, as I listened attentively.

 

“That we will be together. Always. Forever.”

 

“I wouldn’t want anyone else but you, Catherine. You are the love of my life, and always, always will be.”

CHAPTER 5

 

C L I N I C

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As humans we all have nightmares. Fears, that shock us during the day, and stalk us at night. They snatch us when we are most vulnerable. We try and run away. We try to shut it away in our minds. But our tactics never succeed. They always fail. What terrifies us most will always be there, haunting us, dragging us down into the very depths of insanity. I had found myself tormented by horrifying nightmares ever since the day I met Catherine. But this one was particularly frightening.

 

The treeline was dark, and seemed to decay slowly with every passing moment. I couldn’t help but feel an alarming sense of dread.

 

We had surrounded the grave before us, as I had found myself staring endlessly at the nameless tombstone before me.

 

I had become increasingly soaked by the thick rainfall. Somehow, the dark-clothed people around me weren’t even wet. It was as if the rain wasn’t touching them, despite the rain’s veiling of their shadowy faces.

 

In this surreal, dark event, we were together, but I was alone. Separated from the rest.

 

The priest was creepy somehow. Was it his elderly, pale face? Or perhaps it was his painfully ominous presence. It was then

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he spoke.

 

“Here me, friends and family of the deceased. We have gathered here today in memory of the one whose life was taken away by a cold, ruthless killer.”

 

A dark-suited, grim-looking man glared at me through his shadowy face. He spoke to me, but the words became lost in thought.

 

I turned to the priest. He did nothing but stare into my soul, as he tossed a shovel to my feet. I picked up the shovel.

 

The dark cloud of people had receded, as I found myself cold, drenched, and alone. I approached the grave, and proceeded to dig.

 

I looked over at the crowd of “people” behind me, and they watched me, with hauntingly ghastly stares.

 

The priest urged me. “Dig. Dig deep and discover your

 

fate!”

 

I had continuously dug through the nameless grave with the cold, rustic shovel he had given me.

 

As I had finished, I turned to the crowd behind me, but they had vanished. Gone. Just gone. It was as if they had never existed physically, rather in the deep dark recesses of my mind.

 

I had attempted to back away from the grave but slipped on the mud created from the endless rainfall. I had gotten to my feet, and threw one last shovelful of dirt over my shoulder.

 

I knelt, and whipped away the remaining muddy dirt. Nothing could have prepared me for the tragically terrifying, horrible being that lay in the casket before me.

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I awoke that morning in a cold sweat, screaming. I couldn’t remember what I had screamed. But I knew it was something important to me.

 

“Are you okay?” Catherine was laying in bed beside me. “Yeah…I’m fine,” I replied.

 

“I’m fine…” I whispered to myself, somewhat unsure. “Are you sure?” Catherine had asked.

 

“Yeah…yeah, don’t worry about it. It’s nothing. I’m alright,” I told her, although I’m not sure if I was trying to convince her, or myself.

 

“It’s just…I’m worried, Jack. You’ve been having so many nightmares lately.”

 

“I just…” I couldn’t hold back the tears. I had feared that my dream wasn’t just a dream, but of events yet to come.

 

“Jack. Jack, what’s wrong?” Catherine asked.

 

“I dreamed that you were dead. I dug up a grave, and saw you in it. It was vivid. It felt so real.” I cried in her embrace.

 

“Why don’t you write about it?” Catherine recommended. “It might help you cleanse your mind. Maybe the nightmares will stop.”

 

We had kissed as she had gotten out of bed and walked over to the bathroom. I had gotten dressed and stood in the corner, contemplating the dream I had just experienced.

 

It was then, I heard agonizing screams emanating from inside the bathroom. I ran to the door. I had tried to open it but it wouldn’t budge. “Catherine!” I yelled out.

 

It was as if something was holding the door shut. I did

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everything I could to open the door, but nothing helped. There was nothing I could do. I just refused to believe it.

 

Finally, the door opened, and I will never forget what I witnessed that day. Catherine was on the ground, her eyes blank and foggy-white, trembling, as if having some sort of seizure. Blood had begun to drip from her nose. I stepped closer.

 

She sat up, her head focused intensely above as her eyes began to cry tears of blood.

 

 

 

 

The hospital maintained a sanitary appearance. Everything was all neat and organized. It looked fake to me. It almost didn’t seem real.

 

There was a hospital bed, covered with a paper sheet which Catherine had sat upon. She seemed more dead than alive. Her empty gaze seemed focused but unfocused all at once.

 

It was then a nurse entered the room. “The doctor will be in, in just a moment,” spoke the nurse, almost nonchalantly. How could she not care? Did she not know this was my wife who was practically dying before me? I was confused, and frustrated, a perfect blend of fear and uncertainty.

 

At last, the doctor entered the room. He seemed somewhat young, but not too young. Maybe late 20s early 30s. He inquired about Catherine. “Has she always been like this?”

 

I looked up at him. “No. She just started screaming, and wouldn’t stop. It was as if something was attacking her.” By now he had been listening attentively, whilst contemplating something, while I focused my gaze at the floor below. “When I got to her, she was on the floor, trembling, as if something terrible had happened.

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Her eyes were blank. And then, she just started…crying…” I told him.

 

“Crying?” He asked, trying to understand. “Blood,” I replied.

 

The doctor was alone in his thoughts for a moment, and then spoke. “I’m unsure about the screaming, but as for the ‘tears of blood,’ that’s explainable. It’s called haemolacria. It causes the person to produce tears of blood.”

 

“What about…” I replied.

 

“My job is to help your wife. I will try my best to do so. Let’s take a look, shall we?”

 

The doctor walked over to Catherine. “Open up and say ‘ah,’” he told her.

 

Catherine opened her mouth like the doctor asked as he slipped in a thermometer. I watched as the temperature on the digital screen continuously dropped.

 

The doctor pulled the thermometer, and looked at the screen. “That’s strange,” he told me. “Her temperature has dropped below 70 degrees. It’s a miracle she’s even alive. The average person would have been long since dead. Her body temperature is practically the equivalent of the average cadaver. We may have to do a CT Scan. Certain diseases can be traced to a problem in the brain. In the meantime, we will try to keep her as warm as possible. I’m going to arrange the scan,” the doctor said, as he wrote something down on a clipboard, and left the room.

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Catherine was lain onto the bed of the machine. “This will help us get a better look at her brain, to help identify the problem. Don’t worry, I’ve done this dozens of times,” the doctor said reassuringly.

 

And then, for the first time since the incident, she looked at me. She looked into my eyes as I looked into hers. The more she looked at me the more I sensed a feeling of tragic sadness emanating from within her. Almost as if she was saying I don’t want to die.

 

She offered her hand to me. I gently held it as I sat beside her. I knew I was happy as long as I was by her side. The doctor walked over to me.

 

“It’s time,” he told me.

 

“I want to stay with her,” I replied.

 

“There’s nothing you can do for her right now.”

 

I let go of her hand as she was strapped in. “I won’t be far, my princess,” I said as she smiled. I couldn’t help but smile back. To see her smile again…it was as if for one single moment the heavens had accepted us, as if this was all just a dream, a terrible dream, and we were just waking up.

 

I followed the doctor into a booth near the machine. We watched as the bed moved inside the machine. The doctor approached the microphone. “Okay, Catherine. Relax. This will only take a moment. Just hold your breath, this won’t take long.” I watched as the revolving scanner traced around her skull.

 

 

 

 

 

We sat together in the examination room, as I held her hand. I gazed at the images of my wife’s brain plastered on a back-

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lit board. “Well, I’d hate to say it, but the images revealed nothing. Not one single thing. Everything appears to be absolutely normal,” the doctor told me.

 

“It can’t be,” I said, confused. “I mean, look at her.” “I know, but there is one possibility…”

 

“What,” I inquired.

 

“Sometimes a disease may not manifest itself on the brain’s surface, rather, they materialize deep within.”

 

“Is there anything you can do? Please…you have to do something,” I pleaded.

 

“I’m sorry…” the doctor replied. “I wish there was something I could do. I really, really do. But I can’t do anything. I’m sorry, Jack.”

 

I looked down at the ground, and then at my wife. I was afraid. I was terrified. I was scared of losing the one thing closest to me. The one thing in my life that held me together through rough times. She wasn’t just my partner, she was part of me.

 

The doctor beckoned me. “Will you please accompany me to my office?”

 

I replied shakily, “Okay. Sure.”

 

I stood, and approached Catherine. I kissed her, pressing the warmth of my lips to her cold, pale cheek. “I’ll be back soon, sweetheart. I promise.”

 

I followed the doctor into his office. It appeared very professional, but also felt like a the office of some high-end psychiatrist. The walls were lined with bookshelves, and the floor covered with an olive-green rug.

 

“Have a seat,” the doctor told me, as we both sat down at

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his desk.

 

“There has to be something you can do for her,” I pleaded.

 

“Look. I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but I can’t. Diseases that are this deep in the brain are impossible to view. I can’t do anything. If I just operated on her, the damage that would be done would be fatal,” he explained to me.

 

“Please…”

 

“There is nothing I can do.” He told me, as I sighed, looking down. “There is one last thing,” he said to me, “You’re wife…I’m sorry, but I’m afraid she won’t live long. This disease of hers seems to be taking over her mind, destroying her. It’s surprising she even remembers you.”

 

“What are you saying?”

 

“Believe me, this isn’t an easy thing for me to say, but…she only has fourteen days to live,” the doctor told me. I immediately bolted up from the chair I sat in, shocked. “Two weeks?!”

 

“I’m sorry,” the doctor said soothingly. “Two weeks isn’t enough! I love her,” I shouted. I sat against a bookshelf, my head in my arms, as I mourned, “I love her.”

 

“I’m very sorry,” the doctor said, clearly trying to heal my wounds, but wounds such as these can’t be healed. “Just not enough…my dearest Catherine…what will I do?”

 

 

 

 

 

I sat in my private office, alone. I was gazing at an empty computer screen, trying to write something. Something to kill this pain. But I couldn’t. Nothing was coming to mind. Only the agonizing thoughts of a future without her.

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I stood up, and looked outside the window, at the dancing rainfall on the streets below. The harsh winds caused the rain to slam, crash, and collide with the house. I watched as the trees swayed, embracing the song of the wind. I gazed at the streets below, and watched as a man with an umbrella held a woman in his arms. I couldn’t help but think of Catherine. A tear streamed down my face as the doctor’s voice echoed endlessly in my mind.

 

Fourteen days…

 

 

 

 

 

I arrived at the hospital the very next day. Catherine was hooked up to various machines that monitored her heart and pulse.

 

“She’s been asleep for days,” the doctor told me. “She kept repeating your name, over and over. She must really love you.”

 

I walked over to my wife, Catherine, who was asleep. “I’ll leave you two alone,” the doctor said as he left the room.

 

I sat beside her. “I don’t like seeing you like this,” I told her softly, “In pain. Suffering…I love you.”

 

Despite her being asleep, somehow she gave me her hand, and I held it. She was perishing yet seemed so alive at the same time. I wept into her soft, dying hand.

 

Suddenly, a soft beeping noise pierced my ears. A nurse hurriedly rushed into the room as I quickly stood up. “What’s going on?”

 

“Flatline,” the nurse replied succinctly, as doctors and nurses piled into the room. I watched as they attempted to revive her.

 

I watched as blood trickled from her nose. She began

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screaming in her sleep as her body convulsed violently. She quickly sat up, her eyes as blank as when I first found her like this. She began crying tears of blood, as the veins of her body turned a dark red. I tried to help her but was held back. She then collapsed back to sleep, and everything seemingly transitioned back to the way it was only moments before.

 

 

 

 

 

It was almost midnight but the gun store was still open. I gathered up whatever resolve I had left and went inside. I rang the silver-colored bell that sat atop the hard-wood table. The clerk emerged from the back room, with a horseshoe-style gray haircut, and cigarette in his mouth.

 

I bought a revolver, and paid him extra to give me the gun immediately. “Are you sure about this?” he asked me.

 

No, I wasn’t sure. I just looked at him, and signed a form. I left after that.

CHAPTER 6

 

M U R D E R

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a cold stormy night. By the time I got to the hospital it was closed due to a power outage. The parking lot was completely vacant. I entered the hospital.

 

I found Catherine, still asleep on the hospital bed. She looked so dead. Her frozen, pale face…was this still the Catherine I knew? I couldn’t stand seeing her this way.

 

As my lips met hers one last time, I whispered, “baby, I’m so sorry. You won’t be in pain any longer.” I walked to the end of the bed, and pulled out the revolver I purchased only hours ago.

 

I raised the gun. I hesitated. I couldn’t do it. I wanted to free her but I didn’t want to kill off the one thing in this world I loved. But I knew I had to. I wiped away the tears, and pulled the trigger. And then, it was all over.

 

I held the dead body of my wife as I carried her through the dark, pitch-black hallways of the hospital, illuminated only by the flashes of lightning, and crackling of thunder.

 

 

 

 

 

The waters of the lake below twisted and crashed as they seemingly collided against their own as we – I approached them,

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Catherine’s lifeless body in my arms. As I dropped her into the lake, I whispered, “I love you, Catherine,” and then I dropped a rose onto her body as it sank into the depths.

 

It’s all over, I thought. She won’t be in pain any longer. After that I tried everything I could to convince myself that everything was fine, but the truth was, nothing was fine. I longed for her, the real her. Was there nothing I could do? I wondered if her soul heard my calling.

CHAPTER 7

 

T H E R A P Y

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“How long has it been?” asked Dr. Betruger, a therapist, my therapist. I’ve seen several before him but none of them could help me. I needed help. I knew that. I needed love. I needed her love.

 

“Three years,” I replied. Each passing day was painful enough, but three years was unbearable.

 

“And you still have no forgotten?” “No.”

 

“Look. You need to learn to forget. I even gave you medication, like you asked. If you’re not going to accept my treatment then you can find another therapist.”

 

“Yeah, and your placebos don’t do shit, doc.”

 

“If you want my help, you should mind your manners.” I should have cared, but I didn’t. I found it hard, incredibly hard to care about anything anymore, much less about myself. Ever since it happened.

 

“You need to learn to forget, that’s the best I can do for you. I’ve tried everything else, but you just won’t move on. If you don’t, then this will control you, and take over your life.”

 

“So what? You people…you walk around, letting the world you know take over and control that pesky thing you call ‘life’.”

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“Just take my advice,” urged Betruger. “Let’s go over this

 

again.”

 

“Let’s not.”

 

“Listen. You’re going to have to learn to face this. One way or another. You have to face it. There is no running away.”

 

“I killed her. I shot her.”

 

“No you didn’t. There was no body. You can’t blame yourself for her death.”

 

“Why is that?”

 

“Because you didn’t kill her. No one knows how she died, but her body hasn’t been found. She could have just ran away, and died from the lack of, what essentially was life support,” explained Betruger. I practically jumped out of my seat at that.

 

“Bullshit! I know what happened. It’s you and this fucking town that don’t!” I shouted, and pulled out an empty medicine bottle. “Here,” I said, tossing the bottle onto Betruger’s desk, “take your damn drugs. Take a few, and let me know how to fucking forget!” I yelled. I stormed to the door, ready to leave, when Betruger beckoned me.

 

“Jack,” he said as I stopped and turned around, “there are things in life that you can control, and some you can’t. This is something that was, is, and always will be beyond your control. You absolutely must forget before it controls you, before it becomes you.”

 

“How does one forget the unforgettable?” I asked.

CHAPTER 8

 

B A R

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I walked down the side of the road, I began to notice how empty and vacant the street was. Almost completely silent. I stopped and watched as two other guys talked on the side of the road. One of them frantic about something. Their conversation was inaudible due to the persistent rainfall. Suddenly, one of them pulled out a gun. “Don’t do it!” One of them screamed.

 

And then the trigger was pulled. The other one collapsed instantly, like a sack of potatoes. His friend pleaded for help. I continued walking past them.

 

A homeless man sat on the side of the road. He looked as if he’d only been homeless a few weeks. “Hey man, I have kids to feed,” he told me, and then I saw them. Two boys and a little girl. His own. They looked almost exactly like him. “Can you please give me some change. Anything, please.” I walked away. I the distance he pleaded “a quarter? A dime? A nickel? Maybe even a penny?” I still didn’t stop.

 

 

 

 

 

I pulled into the parking lot of the Bar later that night. It was almost entirely vacant. I entered the nearly dead building. It was almost entirely desolate. Not a single soul lights up this

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forsaken place. The only two people being the bartender, and some man, with a leather jacket and combed-back black hair. I sat beside him.

 

“What can I get you?” inquired the bartender.

 

“A gun so I can shoot myself,” I told myself quietly. “Pardon?”

 

“Nothing but the strongest alcohol you have available.” “It’s nearly one in the morning.”

 

“I know. Just do it, okay?” I told him, as he finally poured the glass, and I began to drink.

 

The man next to me finally opened his mouth. “Do I know you from someplace?”

 

“‘Fraid not.”

 

“Hey! I get it. You’re that author my wife likes. She’s quite an avid reader of yours.”

 

“Thanks…”

 

“Yeah, almost every time I’m on the road, we have to pull over to the local book store just to see if you have any new books out!”

 

“I guess I’m glad your wife likes my writing.”

 

“Like it? I’d say she loves it if you ask me. I even caught myself picking up one of your books. I guess she kind of rubbed off on me, huh?”

 

“Guess so.”

 

“Are you going to continue writing anymore?” “No. I’m done writing.”

27

 

“Oh. I’m sorry to hear that.”

 

“It’s nothing. I just couldn’t write anything anymore.” “You married?” He asked

 

“Was.” I replied, mildly bothered by the question. “Aw, man. Did she dump you?”

 

“She died.”

 

“Oh, shit man, I’m sorry. Fuck I didn’t mean anything by

 

it.”

 

“It’s fine. None of your business, anyway.”

 

“Look, I’m sorry. I gotta go. Talk to ya later, if I see you, alright?”

 

“Bye,” I told him as he left the bar.

 

 

 

I couldn’t tell you how many drinks I had. But I knew I must’ve been there for a good few hours. Or at least that’s what I would say.

 

“We’re closing,” the bartender told me.

 

“I’m not going anywhere,” I replied defiantly. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

 

“Go fuck yourself. Do your job. You know what your job is?” I said to the bartender, who was still adamant that I left, “your job is to stand there, and look pretty. Pour some glasses here and there, but do your fucking job.”

 

“Get out. Get out before I call the police.”

 

I stood up, and pointed the revolver I still had at the bartender.

28

 

“Go to fucking hell!” I screamed.

 

“Easy. Easy now,” the bartender said as he backed away. Behind the bar, he pulled out a double-barrel shotgun, and aimed it at me. “Now I said ‘get out’! Do it! Or your drunk-ass skull will be in pieces all over the floor.”

 

“You wanna shoot me?! Do you want to blow my fucking head off?! Do it! NOW!” I yelled.

 

“Leave. I’m not going to ask you again,” said the Bartender. “Fuckin’ coward,” I muttered as I left the bar.

CHAPTER 9

 

A C C I D E N T

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made the foolish attempt at trying to drive while in the state I was in. The alcohol had distorted my vision and I was shaken enough as-is.

 

Not only was it a battle with my own vision, but it was practically a war trying to say awake. I found myself collapsing in and out of sleep. Suddenly, a loud horn immediately woke me up as the lights of a large semi-truck shone in the distance. “Shit,” I muttered as I made a sharp turn. I crashed through the guardrail and almost flew into a tree. I barely managed to stop before colliding with the towering timber structure.

 

 

I arrived at my house after having the car towed. I remember looking into the mirror and wondering is this me?

 

 

The next day I awoke with a throbbing headache. I walked

 

– to the best of my ability, mind you – to the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, and grabbed a bottle of Bayer’s Aspirin. I had bought it the other day so it was practically full. I popped it open and took one, two, three, four…practically the whole bottle, as if it were some magical device that would clear my mind and make me forget.

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As I walked back into the bedroom. I stared at the empty space beside where I slept. And then I saw…the photo…I practically broke down. It was a photo of…her…we looked so happy, she looked so happy. By now I hated myself. I didn’t just regret what I’d done, I loathed what I’d done. I felt as if she would’ve lived on if it weren’t for me, as if the doctor had been wrong. I picked up the picture. An immediate sense of longing, for her, and contempt for myself grew within me. I threw the framed photograph and watched as it crashed against the wall and the glass shattered.

 

 

 

 

 

I had walked up a flight of stairs and to the roof of a rather tall skyscraper. I walked over to the ledge. As I looked down, I heard the ambient noise of the buzzing horns, and the humming of cars as they drove past.

 

So full of life, I thought. And here I am, full of death. I took another step forward. My foot was practically hanging from the roof, when a voice spoke to me, “hey,” called someone from behind me. I turned to find janitor. “Can I help you?” he asked.

 

No, you can’t, nobody can, I thought, as I walked past him. It was as if he knew what I was about to do.

CHAPTER 10

 

H A N G I N G

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I bought some rope from the hardware store nearby. I was in my basement, as I looked at the rope I held in my hand.

 

It will finally be over, I thought, as I tossed the rope over the beam above. I tied a noose, and stepped onto a chair. I put it around my neck, and made sure it was tight enough.

 

I kicked away the chair, as I hanged myself. And then suddenly, the rope snapped. I fell to the ground.

CHAPTER 11

 

G R A V E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cemetery was cold, and deserting. There was an ominous mist that seemed to rise up from the earth below. I found myself wandering aimlessly through a seemingly empty field of decaying trees and dead grass.

 

The stinging cold had felt like millions of needles all stabbing me constantly like I was Janet Leigh in Psycho. It was freezing.

 

I then approached a lonely grave, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. And saw her name engraved on the seemingly untouched tombstone. I knelt in front of the stone sepulcher. I brushed my hand across the name…her name.

 

Suddenly, I felt a hand reach out and grab the collar of my shirt. The arm it belonged to was rotten, and decaying. It’s skin hanged from it’s narrow bones, which found themselves covered in dried, coagulated blood, accompanied by the faint drapes of dark-colored, dried-out flesh. And then it emerged. It’s hair caked with dried blood, it’s jaw hanging partially from its decomposing mouth. A millipede stretched out from within an empty eye-socket.

 

I immediately rose up, my heart almost skipping a beat as I frantically took a step back. It stood, as I saw the torn white garbs of a wedding gown hanging from it’s decomposing breasts. It

33

 

walked closer and closer to me, as bits of white cloth hanged from it’s arms and legs, it’s faced covered by a gray-white veil. I could almost see it’s spinal column from it’s decaying abdomen.

 

It seemed to decay with each passing moment, as maggots continuously ate at it’s putrid flesh. Suddenly, it began to fall apart, like a mannequin. It’s legs twisted and rotted off of the corpse they belonged to. It collapsed to the ground and continued crawling after me. I tried to run away but slipped on mud, falling to the ground. I tried to crawl away but it kept coming after me. There was not an aura of vengeance, rather, an atmosphere of tragic sadness that welled up within me from this thing. It reached out to me, and seemed to call out my name, but I didn’t listen. I kicked it away, and it seemed to decay at an even faster rate. I leaped to my feet, and tried running away, but I just couldn’t run fast enough.

 

It continued to crawl after me, it’s loud screeches emanating through the deadly night air.

CHAPTER 12

 

S U I C I D E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I awoke on the basement floor. I sat up, contemplating the dream I had just witnessed. It felt so real, I thought. Too real. I looked at the torn rope that hanged from above. I felt a wave of sudden anger come over me. Why won’t He just let me die, already, I thought.

 

 

I sat slumped in a couch in the living room. I remember the promise I made her…and then I pulled out the revolver. In my other hand I held a photograph. It was of our wedding day. I sobbed as I remembered that fateful day. The day my soul died. The day it happened. Today was the four-year anniversary.

 

I meditated about that day as I flicked my gun, revealing the cylinder. One bullet left. I flicked the cylinder back into place. I pressed the dark, cold metal to the side of my head, staring into her eyes. “We will be together soon,” I said to myself as I began to pull the trigger. I slowly compressed the cold, dark lever of the revolver, until – click. Nothing happened. The bullet did not fire.

 

Dammit!” I screamed as I through the gun against the opposite wall. I collapsed, shattering into tears. “Why!…why…” I pleaded. I grasped the photograph as tears rolled down my face. “I miss you!” I said, barely able to speak and choking in my sadness.

CHAPTER 13

 

P R E C I P I C E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That night I went out for a drive. I couldn’t tell you how far I drove. The street was almost completely dormant. I came to a split path in the road. The one to the left seemed dark, and mysterious. I took a right, as a storm broke the silence of the night.

 

I came to a ledge overlooking a lake. I stopped, stepping out of my car. I walked over to the edge, and looked below at the raging current, crashing, smashing against the sharp rocks down below. The rocks seemed as if they would impale me. And then I heard it. A ghastly groan, seemingly of the dead. I turned around but witnessed nothing. “What the hell,” I said to myself, my thoughts became disturbed, leaving me confused.

 

And then, the cliff gave way, and I fell onto the rocks. Despite the drop, I didn’t die. I looked above as the white moon gave birth to a blood red light. I found myself taken over by the ominous glow of it’s radiant lantern.

CHAPTER 14

 

R I V E R S T Y X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found myself in a wooden boat slowly floating across a dead, misty sea. Dead branches and decaying trees swayed and hanged over the silent, fatally calm river. A lantern was in front of me. It seemed old, yet new at the same time. No candle, nor any bulb caused it to glow…yet it did.

 

Suddenly, an arm reached out, grabbing hold of me, bits of flesh dangling from it’s skeleton-like arm. A decade old decaying skeleton reached out to me. It was as if in life it was never able to find a way out. “Help me…” it pleaded. I kicked it away, as it vanished into the depths, leaving behind a pool of blood that transformed the entire river.

 

I watched as countless cadavers emerged from the blood-filled waters. Each of them seemed terrifyingly real – the kind of thing that would make even the toughest man quiver.

 

Gazing out at the field of death and decay, it occurred to me that everyone must’ve killed each other. At least it seemed that way.

 

Ahead – the shoreline. So close, I thought, as the corpses suddenly began tugging at the boat, trying to pull it down into the depths below. I began kicking the bodies away, until one grabbed my ankle, and I fell. It tried to pull me into the murky depths

37

 

below, and no matter how hard I tried, I seemingly could not kick it off. Somehow, I managed to shove it away as it fell back into the depths.

 

As I reached the shoreline, the blood vanished, collapsing once again into the dark depths below.

CHAPTER 15

 

M O O N L I G H T

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I walked past the shoreline and into the fog-ridden treeline. The forest seemed dead. There was virtually no life to it, it seemed.

 

I treaded through the decaying forest, as dead leaves and sticks crinkled and cracked beneath my feet. And then suddenly, a howl. I turned around, and saw nothing. Then I turned to look over my shoulder, and there was, slumped against the side of a tree, a wolf. A cub, no doubt. Blood leaked from where it’s chest cavity had been. It wasn’t the one howling, however. I witnessed another, much larger wolf step out from within the fog, like a guard-dog of hell. It barks at the cub, and the cub whimpered back, barely even alive, it’s heart beating out of it’s open chest. The bigger wolf leaped at it, attacking the small cub. I turned away, as the disgusting, wretched, grizzly, and horrific noise of bone and flesh collapsing under skeleton-crushing jaws and muscle-tearing fangs.

 

I turned back to see the bigger wolf gone, and the smaller cub practically torn to shreds at the hands of some monster.

 

 

 

 

I exited the forest and entered a long, dormant road. I looked behind me to discover a mess of cars, crashed together. It

39

 

seemed as if their owners had left them in a frantic hurry to get away from something.

 

The road was almost endless, it seemed. It was as if the entire world had died. Not a single voice echoed but the sound of my footsteps treading this long, dark road, alone. I shuttered as a murder of crows flew past, bringing with them a sharp, cold breeze, as a massive dark cloud floated in the sky above, almost symbolic of what was to come.

 

I came to a bridge, it’s architecture seemingly from the 1960s or 1970s. As I walked across, I began to notice how old and rusted the beams were as the wood creaked beneath my feet. It felt as if it were going to collapse entirely at any moment. It’s a miracle this thing is even standing, I thought to myself.

 

I stopped as I reached the end of the bridge. Looking over my shoulder, I felt the presence of someone. Someone or something was watching me, their sight shattering the essence of my reality. But there was nothing.

 

As I exited the bridge and stepped onto yet another vacant road, I walked past a sign, which read Welcome to Midnight Falls. The sign seemed old, and aged. It appeared to have been carried away from it’s original location by a massive storm.

 

I discovered myself walking on a winding mountain road. The old, decaying guardrail seemed like it would do little to prevent my fall.

CHAPTER 16

 

T H E S L A Y E R

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I finally managed to reach ground level. I saw lights in the distance, and began to approach them. Suddenly, two large wolves emerged. They looked demonically grotesque, without eyes, and with blood pouring from their fangs. They were hell incarnate, I thought.

 

A young man ran past, trying to escape something. Suddenly, I watched as the beasts savagely attacked him. The man pleaded, cried, screamed for help, but no one was around to do so. The hellish hounds began feasting on the man. Suddenly, a whimper, and they ran off, scared away by something.

 

A large, shadowy man stepped out from the night. It was tall, presumably seven or even eight feet. I couldn’t help but feel intimidated…not the kind of surface anxiety that one might get upon meeting a thug or mugger, rather it was something much, much deeper. It was sinister…it was primal.

 

The figure was cloaked by a large, thick dark robe, and imprisoned by countless chains. It was a slayer of man. It carried with it a large medieval battle axe, sustained by the blood of countless victims.

 

“No! Not you! Please…not me,” the man cried, as he crawled away from the monster. The man screamed for mercy.

41

 

Begged for forgiveness…but there was none, for his sin was too great, it seemed. The slayer approached the man slowly, patiently. It was in no hurry. If the grim reaper were real, this was surely it. The man tried to stand but was quickly slashed down by the monster. The man reached a blood-soaked hand up to me. “Help…me…” he pleaded, but it was too late, as the slayer raised it’s axe, and practically cut the man in half.

 

I stood upon the blood-ridden grass, and saw the monster, his axe rising up from the gore-infested earth. I couldn’t see it’s face. A blood-soaked blindfold appeared to cover it’s somehow familiar face. I saw the thousands – millions of cuts which covered its pale flesh. And then, it vanished, without a trace…

CHAPTER 17

 

C A R O L I N E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I walked into town. It seemed alive, but dead. And then, I heard an oddly familiar-sounding feminine voice. “Hey! Hey you,” she called. I looked over to the sidewalk to find a young woman standing before me. I was awe-struck. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

 

Catherine? Is that you? I thought, No, it can’t be.

 

I walked over to her. “You seem new around here,” she stated, “what’s your name?”

 

“Jack Berkowitz. Why do you want to know?”

 

“Relax, I just wanted to know your name. I’m Caroline.”

 

Caroline offered her hand in a friendly gesture, but I refused. She returned her hand to her side.

 

“Is there something you want?” I asked, somewhat impatient.

 

“Kind of strange place, isn’t it?”

 

“Yeah…it is?” Strange isn’t even half of it, honey I thought.

 

“Are you okay?” She asked. Do I look okay? I don’t know why I was annoyed, but I was. Was it this town?

 

“Yeah. It’s nothing,” I told her.

 

“Speaking of nothing – how did you get here?”

43

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I must be dreaming this. This place can’t be real. It can’t be,” she said, with slight denial in her voice.

 

“Real enough for me.”

 

“I was driving home from work one night…next thing I knew I found myself awake in this strange city.”

 

A city of the dead, I thought. “Yeah…” I said, contemplating something.

 

“Are you sure you’re alright?” She asked, motherly, almost. “Yeah. I’m fine.”

 

“If you are real – a real, breathing human being – how did you end up here?”

 

“I don’t want to talk about it…it’s nothing you want to hear, anyways. It’s a long story.”

 

“Fine. Don’t tell me.” said Caroline.”Well…since you’re here…maybe you can help me with something.”

 

“You see…my brother is here. A couple months back he went missing, out of nowhere. But I saw him just now…I swear it. I’m not hallucinating. I thought I was – but I’m not.”

 

“So? Go find him. What do you need me for?” I began to walk away. “Hey,” called Caroline from behind me as I stopped. She walked closer to me as I turned around. “You’re big and strong. You can protect me, can’t you?” This made me remember something…something very important to me. A promise…

 

Just promise me one thing…that we will be together. Always. Forever.

44

 

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Asked Caroline, snapping me back into reality.

 

“Yeah, I’m fine.” “So?”

 

“Okay. I’ll protect you.”

 

“You promise? I mean, I’ve seen those things. I have a life to live. I have a husband, and a son. He just turned three. I don’t want to die.”

 

“I promise. Now let’s go.” I told her, as I began walking, and she followed.

CHAPTER 18

 

C O L D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we walked through the dead, ruined city, the lantern burned out. “Shit, got a flashlight?” I asked her.

 

“Sure, here,” Caroline said as she handed me a flashlight. I turned it on, and light once again illuminated the path ahead.

 

 

 

 

We arrived at the hotel. The large neon sign had been partially burned out, leaving behind the words Hell’s Hotel. We approached a vacant parking lot, and I froze as I heard the sound of flesh dragging across broken pavement. I turned, and shone my flashlight at the nearby alley and caught the glimpse of blood-soaked legs disappearing behind the building.

 

“Did you see that?” I asked Caroline. “See what?” She replied.

 

“Nothing…I think I’m losing my mind.”

 

The hotel ahead was beckoning us to enter. Caroline stood beside me, shivering. “You could?” I asked her.

 

“Freezing. I’ve never felt this cold in my life.” She replied, clearly trembling in the freezing cold. I took off my Jacket, and

46

 

offered it to her. “Here,” I said, “take this.” “Are you sure?”

 

“Yeah, I’m fine.” “What about you?”

 

“Take it…the cold doesn’t bother me.”

 

She put on the Jacket. “Something the matter?” She asked.

 

“You just remind me of someone I know…someone important to me.”

 

“Who?”

 

I didn’t want to tell her. I couldn’t bear talking about it. Her name was too much for me to bear.

 

“Don’t worry about it, come on.”

CHAPTER 19

 

H O T E L

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We entered the hotel. The stylish, classy interior greatly contrasted the urban, showy exterior. Something felt very off about this place, but I couldn’t put my finger on it…

 

A large chandelier hanged from the towering ceiling above. A small book sat upon the redwood desk ahead. I walked over to it, and opened it. Names written within, scrawled in blood…Joe Ball, Charles Albright, Angelo Buono Jr., Charles Manson, Albert Fish, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ed Gein, Dennis Rader.

 

“What’s wrong?” Asked Caroline.

 

“Serial Killers. All of them. Every one of them is a murderer. It’s as if this town was the center of all the evil in the world…as if it all collected here, now just a hellish nightmare of it’s former self.”

 

“I’m not sure I want to be here,” said Caroline.

 

“We’ll make it,” I replied reassuringly, “I’ve already lost one person in my life. Someone very dear to me. I’m not going to let that happen again.”

48

 

We entered an elevator. It seemed small, and claustrophobic. “Which floor?” I asked.

 

“I don’t know. Maybe the sixth?” Caroline replied.

 

I pushed the button for the sixth floor, but nothing happened. I pushed it again, still nothing. And then, for a brief moment, the power went out, before coming back on as the elevator hummed into motion.

 

“There. Now it works.” I said nonchalantly, with a hint of triumph, almost.

 

 

 

 

The doors ominously opened as I envisioned a message, carved into the wall: Welcome to Hell. The message was only visible ever so briefly before vanishing into the night.

 

The walls were eroding, the wallpaper peeling away. Several portraits, presumably of wealthy/famous past residents lined the walls. Some of them had either fallen onto the floor, shattered, while others hanged at awkward angles.

 

I followed Caroline to a room. “Is this the one?” I asked. “Might be.” She replied.

 

I slowly opened the door, and entered. Caroline followed me into the room. I flipped on the lights. No one was here, but the room seemed to have been prepared fairly recently. And then I heard it…

 

I heard humming. I heard her. I approached the bathroom

 

door.

 

“Jack?” Caroline asked, uncomfortably.

49

 

I felt completely zoned-out. I almost didn’t hear Caroline’s voice. All I heard was hers. I entered the bathroom.

 

The bathroom seemed clean, and sterile. Nothing out of the ordinary, it seemed. “Guess it was just nothing,” I said, disappointed. And then I heard a slam as the door shut behind me. “Caroline?” I called…but got no response. The lights began to flicker, and I could practically see my own breath. I heard a sharp noise, like the sound of ice breaking. I looked over my shoulder to discover a shattered mirror, my reflection twisted and distorted into monstrous forms of myself.

 

I watched as blood trickled from the walls. I was pounding on the door. “Open the door!” I yelled, as if fearing my own mental breakdown. But I got no response.

 

The lights went out. The room, now dimly lit. I turned around to find my own corpse, lying there on the now-blood-soaked bathroom floor, its eyes gouged out and its face fixed in a horrid fashion, as if screaming, a candle nearby illuminating this nightmare. I pleaded for help but got no reply. The walls seemed to move. All of a sudden, something pushed me, causing me to fall against the bathtub. And then I saw him. The slayer of man.

 

The slayer approached me, the dreaded axe in his hands. I wanted to die, but feared dying at the same time. I smelled the putrid, and horrific odor of decay as it stepped closer to me. I thought I was going to die, until…

 

 

 

 

 

I had a vision. I was walking down one of the hotel’s hallways, but this one had no doors, no portraits. A blank canvas. I saw the slayer behind me, and started to run. But no matter what I felt as if I just couldn’t run fast enough. A door ahead. I entered.

50

 

I sighed, as I looked back through the peephole. He’s gone, I thought. And then he appeared before me, outside the door. I backed away, as it drove its axe through the wooden door. The door cracked and twisted and broke until nothing was left. The slayer stepped into the room.

 

I took a step back, but fell on something. A corpse! I quickly rose to my feet. There were bodies everywhere. It was like witnessing the sight of some grizzly massacre. They weren’t just murdered, they were slaughtered. Body parts hanged by threads of skin, severed heads appeared to be screaming, and other bodies appeared bent at unnatural angles.

 

The slayer raised it’s axe above me, and struck me down…

CHAPTER 20

 

H E L L

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I did not die. I found myself in a small concrete room. It appeared hundreds – no, thousands of years old. Metal bars prevented my escape. I was imprisoned. I was trapped. The bars were rusted, yet very sturdy, somehow. The only light which illuminated the room was a small lantern. I sat up as something rang, both in the distance and in my head. It sounded like a funeral bell.

 

And then I saw a man before me, his face seared and burned and melted. He looked as if he had been made of wax, and was on fire. He spoke to me. “You kill anyone lately?” He asked me.

 

“No.” I replied, and although this was true at the moment, it hadn’t been so a few years ago when that unspeakable thing happened.

 

“Well, I have,” the main told me, “I enjoyed it. It was like a dream come true. Seeing them on the floor, blood everywhere! The best experience a man can have!” He began to laugh…and then, in a cold, sinister voice, he said to me, “you see…we’ve ALWAYS been dead!”

 

A sharp grinding sound pierced my ears as the metallic cell door slid open. I stood, as two dark-robed men grabbed me,

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escorting me somewhere. I was on the prison block. I walked as I witnessed monsters being gruesomely tortured. They were men, but became so disfigured that they didn’t even look human.

 

Ahead, a rotunda-like chamber. A stone block in the center. It appeared sinisterly ornate. A fellow prisoner knelt at the block. The slayer entered as the man bowed his head. With great force, the slayer brought his axe down on the man, decapitating him. His body fell over to one side, as his head rolled in the opposite direction.

 

And then it glared at me, as if gazing at it’s next victim…

CHAPTER 21

 

D E V I L

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a vision. I was in a hospital. In an ever-so-familiar room…the room where it happened. I saw her, the love of my life…Catherine, lying on the bed. And then I saw me, a different me, walking over to the bed, with pale skin and deep, blood red eyes. I saw the shine of metal as I discovered a knife in his hand. I tried to stop him. “Wait!” I pleaded. It stopped, and looked right at me. “Don’t do this. Please…I beg you…stop…” I pleaded with the monster.

 

I watched as it began to stab her. I tried to stop it but was held back by something…I was forced to watch her murdered again. I was forced to relive that moment. I watched in horror as it slashed her throat, the blood soaking her hospital gown. It stared at me, as I watched in horror.

CHAPTER 22

 

R E T U R N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I awoke within the hotel, alone. Everything seemed faded. The wood floor, the walls…everything almost looked gray. A ticking grandfather clocked seemed to be the only noise in the world at this point, as an aura of death become the atmosphere of this place. Cobwebs lined the corners, and dust covered the furniture.

 

A little girl stood in the corner, her eyes piercingly black. I watched as she vanished then appeared before me. She would appear normal, adorable, even, had it not been for the fact that a wound pierced her chest, and her hair had appeared caked with blood.

 

“Where did daddy go?” She said to me. She touched me, and I had a vision…

 

 

 

 

I saw a little girl, like the ghost I just saw. Standing before a door, frightened by something. I heard a man’s screams emanating from outside the door…and then a gurgling sound as if he had been choking on his own blood.

 

An older woman, presumably the girl’s mother, stepped out in the open, telling her daughter to hide in the closet. The daughter

55

 

obediently did as she was told. She seemed to be breathing heavily as she watched from within the confines of the closet. Suddenly, the door began to shatter and fall apart, as the slayer hammer it with his axe. The little girl was in tears by this point. Her mother tried to stop him, but to no avail. Slashed nearly in half by his axe.

 

The little girl covered her mouth, sobbing, as the slayer searched the room. Looking for her. A slight moan. The little girl looked beside her, and saw a man hanging there. His cold, dead eyes staring right through her.

 

The little girl screamed. Suddenly, the slayer darted straight toward the closet, smashing through, and ripping the little girl out. He threw her on the floor.

 

And then, one single image that will haunt me forever…the little girl, only about five or six, laid out on the floor, brutally murdered. A giant axe wound across her chest, her little dress soaked with her blood, her hair now tingled with dried blood. What once was a cute little girl, was now lying in a pool of blood, mangled.

 

The vision ended.

 

 

 

 

 

I awoke. The girl was gone. I tried to find the elevator but there was no such thing. Only a wall. I turned my head to find body-bags hanging from the beams above. Blood seemed to slowly drip to the floor below them. A door burst open violently, out of nowhere. I walked over to the door, slowly, step by step.

 

A stairwell. I looked down, and the staircase appeared to vanish into a void. Suddenly, the door slammed shut behind me.

 

There’s no going back now, I thought to myself.

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I began to descend the staircase. I kept descending into this hell but there weren’t any doors. It seemed eerily continuous. The walls and staircase began to rust, and erode. The walls became naked, and the staircase became stark red.

 

I reached the final step, and walked onto the cold, mildly wet floor of the basement. Two large iron doors, seemingly distorted with age. I tried to open them but couldn’t, however with some time and effort, I managed to open one of them.

 

I entered a room, lined with raging furnaces. A wide-open hallway up ahead. I saw a man standing in the corner, looking at me. A towel about his waist, a blindfold covering his eyes. An X slashed across his chest, formed by two deep, still-bleeding cuts. His skin was pale as snow, and appeared to be severely underweight, anorexic, even. I walked after him, but he vanished. On the floor where he stood, was a poem:

 

He stands tall against the sinners and the guilty,

 

Punishment knows no name like his.

 

He stands strong against the evil,

 

For they shall know no name like his.

 

Like a rock, he stands,

 

For the wicked shall know no name like his.

 

 

 

 

 

I walked down the hallway as it became bent and twisted, distorting into another hotel room hallway. The logbook…the same one from before, was now laid out n the ground. I picked it up, and opened the tome. Inside, scrawled in blood across both pages, was my own name, Jack Berkowitz. “Hey,” a familiar voice called. My

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heart almost felt at ease as I saw Caroline standing there. I dropped the book.

 

“Where were you? I’ve been looking for you.” “Its a long story.”

 

“Tell me,” insisted Caroline.

 

“Let’s just say I’ve seen some crazy shit.” “Fine.” Caroline said, agreeing.

CHAPTER 23

 

T R A G E D Y

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caroline followed as I searched for an exit from this insanity, but there didn’t seem to be one. There was no escape from this hell.

 

Caroline had told me how she had thought she heard her brother calling for her. She told a story of how she had tried to follow him but discovered bodies instead. She found a little girl, calling for her mommy, but was dead. She said she had a vision of her brother hanging in the closet. She had cried and begged for it to stop but it wouldn’t. It was tormenting her.

 

I know that feeling. To have something torment you. That day…it will haunt me to the day I die…sometimes I fear having to relive that single event over and over again in the afterlife. I fear death being just black, and if there was a hell, I would fear that even more. What punishment awaited me, I was about to find out.

 

I walked down a long hallway, with Caroline. Suddenly, writing, in black ink, was all over the walls. No Mercy This Way, was written everywhere.

 

“Is something the matter?” Caroline asked.

 

And then the words vanished. “No,” I told her, “I think I’m just losing my mind, that’s all.”

 

“Well let’s find my brother, before you do,” Caroline said.

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“You’re right. We need to find him”

 

We searched, but to no avail. We came to a large hallway, with tall, curtained windows. An elevator ahead. We approached it, and heard a door open behind us.

 

A man entered. Weakened, and wounded. He was her brother.

 

“Caroline…” the man said, weakly. He fell to the ground. Caroline ran over to him, lifting his head up.

 

“John!” Caroline said.

 

“We have to…get…out of here…this place…there is no…” John coughed up blood. “He stalks me…I can’t get out!!” John said, frantic.

 

“It’s okay, we’ll find a,” Caroline began to speak, as the slayer entered the hallway. She looked up in terror, her mouth slightly open. The slayer approached not her, but him.

 

“Go…” John told his sister.

 

“I won’t leave you!” Caroline said, refusing to leave her brother’s side. John pushed her away, and stood up. The slayer slashed him down. Caroline watched as her own brother was slaughtered at his hands. She gasped as his body went limp, and fell to the ground.

 

Her brother is dead, I thought to myself.

 

Caroline collapsed to her knees, in tears. “No,” she sobbed. “It’s not fair,” she cried, “it’s not right!”

 

“Brother,” she spoke, softly, “why did you have to leave me?” Caroline said. She looked up at the slayer. “Why did you have to do this to us? We were so happy. My brother…he was going to get married. I was going to be the flower girl for his wedding.

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He wanted me to teach his daughter to read and write. I could have taught her to write beautiful poetry. I could have…” Caroline trailed off. She wasn’t just sad, she had been heartbroken. The slayer stood before her, cold-hearted, uncaring. He was dead inside.

 

She stood up, angry. She shoved him. “How dare you do this to me!” she screamed. “Leave us! Go away!” Caroline yelled, but he did not budge.

 

“Caroline…” I called. There was no response. The slayer vanished.

 

Caroline turned and ran toward me, hugging me tightly. “Don’t you ever leave me alone again!” She told me.

 

“I’m so scared,” she said, crying into my shoulder.

 

“I…I am too,” I admitted, “but we will make it through this. Together. If it’s the last thing I do…we will get out of here.”

 

“Promise?” “I promise.”

 

I wiped her tears away. Together, we approached the elevator ahead.

 

“Jack?” Caroline called, a sense of dread in her voice.

 

I turned. Her tears had turned to blood. “What’s happening to me?” Caroline asked, frightened.

 

The blood began to soak her shirt. She tried to run, but nearly fell. “Please, don’t leave me!” She pleaded. “I’m scared!” She told me, her veins turning a dark red, and her eyes becoming foggy, and blank. Her face looked frightening, almost, but there was a sense of immense sadness. “I don’t wanna die!” she cried, walking closer to me. “Jack…please…Jack!” She called my name,

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but I did not answer. I was too horrified to do so.

 

“Jack…I’m so alone! He’s gone…I’m lost…” Caroline said as she began to cough up blood. She fell to her knees, sobbing immensely, before finally collapsing to the ground, dead.

 

Feeling a wave of sorrow come over me, along with a feeling of regret, I took her body, and placed her alongside her brother.

 

You’re together now, I thought.

CHAPTER 24

 

T H I R T E E N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The elevator doors opened, finally, as if beckoning me to come in. I entered the lift.

 

To my surprise, there was only one floor: thirteen. The thirteenth floor. I pressed the button. The elevator hummed into motion.

 

All the power had seemed to go out, as the elevator finally came to a halt. I stepped outside the lift to find myself in another hallway. An ominously red, pulsating fog filled the hallway. The walls were covered in blood, and faces began to form in them. They appeared to be mourning, and I heard the faint, distant screams of the dead. It felt as if I were an entirely different dimension.

 

A door at the end of the hallway. The slayer standing by, guarding it. His axe preventing passage. I stepped closer, as the slayer raised its axe, permitting passage. I walked closer. I turned the doorknob, and entered.

 

I found myself in a cavernous chamber. It was as if I was inside some cave. Ahead was a natural-looking stone bridge, which I crossed. There was a hospital bed in the middle of the stone cliff. On it was a woman. She laid peacefully asleep. I stepped closer.

 

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was her! The woman I

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loved…my God…it was Catherine! I almost tripped, as I ran as fast as I could to her.

 

“Catherine?” I said.

 

And then, her eyes began to open, as if from a long slumber.

 

“Jack?” She said.

 

“Baby…” I said, hugging her. “I missed you so much!” I cried into her shoulder.

 

“It’s okay,” she smiled. She put her hand on my cheek. “I love you,” she told me.

 

“I love you too!”

 

I carried her in my arms. I walked across the stone bridge. Suddenly, I felt the warm, fluid sensation…of blood.

 

“Oh no,” I said. Catherine, the love of my life, of my existence, was dead in my arms. I fell to my knees, letting her go.“Baby…no. Please…don’t leave me! Not again!” I sobbed. The slayer stood in front of me, his axe coated with fresh blood. “Why do you do this?” I asked it, but there was no response, only the silence and stillness of death.

 

“Are you my executioner? Is this my hell? Why can’t you just end this?” I questioned him. “I…just…want to be…with her…” I said, as I collapsed.

CHAPTER 25

 

H O S P I T A L

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I awoke in a hospital. I felt weakened somehow, but I heard voices. “What is the status of the patient?” A doctor asked.

 

“He’s been asleep for a long time. Weeks, even.” Said a

 

nurse.

 

“I think it is time for him to wake up.” “Now?” The nurse asked.

 

“Do it.” The doctor told her, as he left the room.

 

The nurse walked over to me. “Hello? Can you hear me?” She asked.

 

I opened my eyes. “Am I awake?” “Yes,” replied the nurse.

 

“Am I…out of that place?” “You’re in a hospital.”

 

“I have to,” I said, trying to sit up. The nurse stopped me.

 

“You need to rest. You’ve been asleep for a long time,” said the nurse, “it’s time to wake up” she said, as her face suddenly distorted into that of a demon. I was startled, but the vision went away only moments later.

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“You have a visitor,” the nurse told me. “A visitor?” I asked, weakly.

 

“I’ll leave you two alone,” the nurse said as she left, and then…I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was Caroline! She was alive…somehow…

 

“Caroline?” I muttered. “I thought you were dead.” “Dead? Why would you think that?”

 

“You have to be dead…you can’t be here…I saw you.” “I honestly don’t know what you are talking about.”

 

“Maybe its just me. Maybe its all in my head. I’m not sure what to believe anymore.”

 

“Will you believe me?” Caroline asked. “I don’t know…I’m just not sure.”

 

“Well…I’m sorry to hear that.” Caroline said, disappointed. Suddenly, cuts began forming on my arm. I sat up.

 

“What’s happening to me?” I thought. Caroline walked over to me. “Jack…you’re bleeding!”

 

“I’m…” I began to speak but trailed off. I fell onto the floor. More cuts formed on my arm. Blood was gushing from my wounds.

 

“Jack!” Caroline said, “you need medical attention!”

 

“I’m…fine…” I said, trying to reassure her.”I’m…fine…” I said, as I fell asleep.

 

“JACK!” Caroline yelled.

CHAPTER 26

 

V O I D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I awoke in a dark, empty void. Nothing but infinite, shadowy darkness surrounded me. I saw him. His back was turned to me.

 

I stepped closer, as the slayer turned to face me. I stopped, as images of his hundreds of thousands of victims flashed through my mind. Every single one of them…a sinner. A wrongdoer, an evildoer. He was the slayer of man, the ultimate punishment for their sins.

 

I heard the faint moaning of the dead, as hands reached out from the darkness which seemed to be closing in on me. I ran as the slayer chased after me.

CHAPTER 27

 

O T H E R W O R L D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wake up,” I heard as I woke up. Caroline sat beside me. I looked at my arm. She had wrapped a bandage around it, and stopped the bleeding.

 

“You were unconscious for a while…” she told me. “How long?” I asked.

 

“I’m not sure. The clocks in this place all seem to have stopped. I can guess a few hours.”

 

“Come on,” I said, standing up. I offered Caroline my hand, and helped her up.

 

We exited the room, and entered the long-since-dormant hallway. It was completely vacant of life. It looked as if it had been abandoned for decades. Everything was faded with dust, and eroded with age.

 

We walked down the hallway, but came to a dead end. “A dead end.” I said.

 

“Can’t be. There was a door here,” said Caroline.

 

“Let’s find a way out. There has to be another way.” I said, as we turned around. Suddenly, a noise. Like the grinding and twisting of rusted metal. We turned around.

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A large door has appeared, blocked however by a folding gate, locked by a padlock which sealed itself. Preventing passage.

 

We ended up in an elevator. There were no buttons on this lift, however. Suddenly, the doors slammed shut, startling us.

 

“What’s going on?” Caroline asked, as the lights flickered within the elevator, and it hummed into motion, descending into the depths.

CHAPTER 28

 

C O N F E S S I O N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The elevator stopped, and we watched it’s doors grind open. Stepping out into the darkness, I felt around the wall for a light switch. Sparks flew as I turned it on. The lights above fluttered, and finally came on.

 

We were in the basement. It was grimy, and cracked with decay. I could smell the mold and mildew as water dripped from the pipes above.

 

We walked aimlessly though the basement tunnels. Needless to say, we were lost. It was as if something was watching us, and we had the dire need to get out.

 

“Didn’t we just go down this hallway?” Caroline asked, confused. I looked behind me, and in front of me. Both directions looked exactly the same.

 

“Let;s just continue this way.” I decided. We began walking, as Caroline shuddered.

 

“You okay?” I asked her.

 

“Yeah…I’m fine. This place creeps me out, that’s all.” And then she asked me…”what happened to your wife?”

 

“I…I…” I couldn’t speak about it. Caroline stepped out in front of me, stopping me.

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“Tell me. What happened?”

 

“I killed her.” I said, my head bowed in shame. “What?” Caroline said, unbelieving.

 

“I shot my wife. I murdered Catherine.” “How can you do something like that?” “No…Caroline…you don’t understand.” “I trusted you!” She shouted.

 

“I didn’t want to do it. I loved her.”

 

“Loved her?! That’s hardly love! All you care about is yourself, Jack!”

 

“Caroline, please…”

 

“No! You know what? As far as I’m concerned, you can go to hell! You murderer!”

 

“Caroline…”

 

“Go back to whence thou has come!” Caroline yelled, condemning me. She turned to walk away. I grabbed her arm to try and stop her.

 

“Let me go!” She screamed. She wiggled free, and ran away.

 

“Caroline…wait!” I called after her.

 

“Caroline!” I yelled.

 

She vanished around a corner. I tried running after her but just could not find her. I searched endlessly. The hallways seemed to warp, growing and contorting. They seemed to get longer and longer. I began to jog, and run, and practically sprint, just to find her.

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I finally came to a door. I slowly opened it. I entered, and found myself in a shower room. All the showers had been running. I found Caroline, in the center of the room, laid out on the ground. Shackled. The Slayer approached her. She squirmed, trying to free herself, but to no avail. She looked over to me, her eyes, glossy with tears, pleading for help.

 

“Jack!” She cried out.

 

I ran over to her, and knelt beside her.

 

“STOP!” I screamed at the Slayer. “Just leave her the hell

 

alone!”

 

The Slayer raised its axe, and murdered Caroline. “NO!” I yelled. I bowed my head.

 

“Jack…” said Caroline.

 

“Caroline…I’m so sorry. I’ve failed you.”

 

“Jack. Listen…listen to me,” Caroline said, “don’t beat yourself up over what you did. The fact that you did it out of mercy…that you couldn’t bear to see the one you loved so dearly in your heart suffer so much, makes you that much better…it makes you human, Jack.”

 

And then she died. I will never forget those words. Those words will stay with me to the day I die.

CHAPTER 29

 

R E V E L A T I O N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I carried Caroline’s body. It was the place where I had released my wife’s dead body. The lake. The same lake we made love near for the first time, the same lake where I buried her at sea.

 

I tossed Caroline over the ledge, as her body fell into the depths below, sinking. I tossed a rose onto her body.

 

Like Catherine, I thought, as I turned around. I collapsed to me knees, before the slayer.

 

“I know why you exist. Why you haunt me. Why you torment me,” I spoke, confessing, “I could never forgive myself. I could never accept my sins. But it’s all over now. I know the truth.”

 

And then I rose. “I accept what I have done.” I told it. Suddenly, the chains broke. He was freed. I am freed I thought, as the hood of the Slayer fell back.

 

I gazed into the face of my tormentor, and it was, and always had been…me.

 

It dropped it’s axe, and turned around. It became a bright red light, as it vanished. Forever extinguished.

CHAPTER 30

 

R E U N I O N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found myself once again in the hospital hallway. The door that was blocked became unblocked as the padlocked dropped, the folding gate sliding across, permitting entry.

 

I entered a shadowy void. A light in the center. Standing in the light, was her. “Catherine!” I yelled, running over to her. I hugged her, and she smiled as she hugged me back.

 

We were reunited once again.

 

And then it was all over. I awoke, in my car. On the cliff I fell from. “Catherine!” I shouted. A tear rolled down my cheek, as reality began to set in.

 

I saw a letter, sitting on the dashboard. I opened it, and began to read the hand-written message:

 

Jack,

 

I know you did it out of mercy. You could never accept what happened. The truth is, I’m glad you did it. I was in so much pain. I want you to forgive yourself, because if you don’t, if you die, then I will die. But as long as you live on, then I shall live on, forever. I will always love you, Jack. For eternity.

 

Catherine

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It was those words that ended it. Those words, that healed me. I looked up at the heavenly sky above, like a painting, I thought. Never again would I punish myself. Never again would I look at that moment as a tragedy. I am freed.


Remedy for a Dream

What would you do for the one you love? Would you watch them suffer? Or would you put them out of their misery? If so, are you prepared for the mental and emotional consequences that you force upon yourself? Remedy for a Dream follows the story of Jack Berkowitz -- a newly-married writer, who has been haunted by vivid nightmares since the day he met Catherine. One day she becomes infected with a terrible, terrible disease, and Jack makes the tragic decision to put her out of her misery...but will he ever be able to live with himself after killing the one person he loved so dearly? Witness a beautiful, yet tragic story of overcoming one's inner demons as Jack finds himself in the haunting reality of Midnight Falls, an abandoned city of unspeakable evil, where even your deepest darkest secrets become a terrifying reality. "Really good...kept trying to predict what would happen but every time some twist would be thrown in..." 30 Chapters 74 Pages

  • Author: Matt Cogar
  • Published: 2016-08-05 07:21:54
  • Words: 13709
Remedy for a Dream Remedy for a Dream