Happy Halloween. I had intended to write a book filled with nightmares of a Cthulhu/HP Lovecraft variety. I might still, but I have so much going on I decided to edit this one entry into a short piece of fiction, as a Halloween treat for my readers and friends. Copyright Alex Ness 2015, enjoy. All images are from the public domain.
"Slumber, watcher, till the spheres,
Six and twenty thousand years
Have revolv'd, and I return
To the spot where now I burn.
Other stars anon shall rise
To the axis of the skies;
Stars that soothe and stars that bless
With a sweet forgetfulness:
Only when my round is o'er
Shall the past disturb thy door."
“We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose.”
The day for Louis Jardon was long, laborious and mindnumbing. He arrived home at a late hour, fed his cat, drank a brief bottle of beer, bit into a left over sausage, and decided that he’d feel better and deal with things with a relaxing bath, and then a night of sleep. He was filled with dreams there. Perhaps stirred by the sausage. Perhaps the sausage had gone bad.
A beast approached me upon the street, where I had been walking. It stood upright, as a man, but was covered in hair, had protruding tusks, and smelled of sweat, and the smell of fecund fur, never washed. I was too stunned to move to avoid his approach. My gaze, well, call it a stare, never stopped, however rude it might seem. I didn’t fear for my safety, it was night, but I was not alone, surrounded upon the walk by dozens of pedestrians. They didn’t seem to notice me, though. And the beast walked past them, without alarm or regard.
The beast returned my gaze. And too, it stared, intently. The moon was out, the city lights shone, and my heart beat rapidly. The closer it came the more I dread. I was unable to move at all now. I stared, locked in place, expecting my death, sometime soon. But my fear was worse than my thoughts of death. I might die, but the fashion of which I might die was the worst thing to consider.
It continued until I could feel the beast’s breath upon my face. It smelled of death, and it was hot. I couldn’t move. The beast’s eyes burned holes in my own. And then I felt the beast’s claws clutch my throat. I could no longer breathe, and I felt as if my heart stopped. And my body fell to the cobblestone. And while I imagine it was horribly painfully painful, I felt nothing.
And yet, the world I knew changed permanently at that moment. I had no wounds that I could see, nor injuries that I might feel, but I was wide awake in a world that I did not recognize.
I heard a voice speaking to me. It spoke in a language I couldn’t understand by the sound, but, knew by my heart what it was saying…
“You are now alive for the first time. Do not lose your opportunity. The land you are in accepts everyone, but here you are lord. You are awake here but you are asleep in your waking world. This is the land of dreams so, tear off your cloak of flesh and become one with your nightmare. Here you are what you are not in life. The beast has freed you from your fears. You and your minutia and crisis filled years are over; there is no sorrow. Here there is only hunger, lust, joy, and the becoming fulfilled of them. Your ego will reign here, you are your own hero, you are the master, do nothing less than be yourself.”
I began to shiver. I could feel my body in the waking world being cold, but in the dream world I was poised to make a choice. Might I be a lord of an amoral world of choices, or should I wake and return to a land of limited choices, morality, and physical aging and sorrows?
In the depths of the distant lands, there is a watcher. Atop the tallest hill, there is a wall, from a fortress built many generations past. From his vantage point the watcher gazes out, knowing which way to look. The walls have only once been breached, when the unmen of the Death Cult poured over the land in numbers no one could stop. Like ants in a group frenzy they accepted death, in order to let the others climb forward and get across the wall. Some were stopped, but most continued on, in their primal thrust, flooding the land with violence, and death, that would only stop with the last unman dead. But even with that, the watcher just watched. Whether the people on the other side were ready, did not matter, his job was to make sure to raise the call, when these mindless beasts who formerly were men came, he would respond with the horn, and let his people know the final days were here.
I am sleep
Enter the light
Mind Eye’s open
But my throat
But for long?
Have I purpose?
Do I matter?
Behold my friends
Do I deserve life
Or am I dead
To this world
Am I alive
Can I be heard
Am I screaming?
I’ve been blinded
To the flaws
I have hoarded
Without a singlecare
Seconds are my own
I refuse to share
This life is my own
I might as well be king
As I sit
Upon my bone cast throne
Coming back from the shores, we took our Model T and my small family and new member of the family on a direct track home. We were excited. The day was beautiful, the sun was shining, and with the news that our business sold for far more than we had ever hoped, it was a celebration. The boardwalk was built up, and we enjoyed it. 1921 Atlantic City’s Boardwalk sold postcards that said "The World's Playground" and it surely was. I enjoyed the weekend with my wife and my three year old boy, and we had a surprise at the end.
And then, when he ate our child, we knew he wasn’t what we thought, but, we still could not release him. We watched him, even despised him, yet, became strangely attached to him.
How could Louis Jardon have known, his dreams became alive in the world known as the Dreamlands. And there, all that he dreamed existed, and he and his living world were myths and memories.