The Nightmares Are Back!

The last time I awoke screaming in terror and stinking of fear from a haunting Nightmare, was when (as you may recall) my evil side paid me an unwelcome late-night visit. Since then, things have been pretty calm. Then the Pandemic hits and resulting self-isolation’s. Stressed and alone for long stretches at a time is it any wonder one’s emotional mind slowly begins to unravel. Perceptions blur, thinking and overthinking, worries and fears, memories start to get tangled and before you know it — The Nightmares Return!

ONE NIGHT NOT LONG AGO…

Exhausted, I lay in bed, hands interlaced behind my head my mind racing in all kinds of crazy directions. After all, It was a very trying day. My old childhood friend was dying and not long for this world. In fact, a phone call could come at any moment.

Edward Ray, or “Einstein” as we came to call him because of his long unruly mop and natural smarts was an unlikely member of our old childhood band of brothers. Neither athletic nor outwardly adventurous he was in fact the exact opposite. Nerdy, awkward, and with a brain the size of a mountain.

Perhaps this, part of the reason he became so endearing to the rest of us. More than a friend he was a brother, going on now nigh 45 years or so.

And now he was dying…

As if spotlighted from above, a circle of white light illuminates the bed on which our dying friend lays. The circle of light extended beyond, just enough to encompass his childhood friends now gathered around him. Beyond them, an inky black darkness enveloped the rest of the room. Nothing else was visible…

You could hear the soft whispering of machinery, the quiet whoosh of expanding air, the faint beep of his digital heartbeat but you could not see from where these sounds were coming from. Behind, beyond the circled light, there was nothing. Nothing but an eerie and final darkness.

We were all there — Johnny-B, Petey Walker, Big Mack and myself all gathered around our dying friend as he lay hopelessly fighting for his life. Right down, as nature demands it, to his last mortal dying breath. “Let him go” I said to no one in particular “Please end his suffering.” The boys that gathered round his hospital bed (if that is where we were?) whispered together in agreement; Amen.

But Einstein, against all odds, continued to hang on. In fact, it looked like he was struggling to try and say something. Yet… looking down upon his frail cancer-ridden, emaciated body, was almost too much to endure. To say that just a mere shell of his former self remained of our old friend was delusional. For Einstein, in his current state, was for the most part, unrecognizable.

His eyes sunken deep down into his now skintight bony skull. Above the covers, his arms like brittle twigs lay useless at his sides and his color — his color was that of yellow death. No, this was not just a former shell of our childhood friend; It was a human skeleton of malnutrition, a dying hallowed-eyed imposter. It was an extreme example of the horrors endured by a man in the last stages of terminal cancer.

It was the very definition, of hopeless heartbreak.

I took his frail bony hand in mine and lowered my ear, close to his mouth. “Tell them” he whispered almost silently. “Tell them” he tried again “I love them — Love them all.” With tears spilling freely I looked up at the boys gathered round and solemnly gave them Einstein’s final message.

Final because, that was his final dying breath. Once his lungs expelled the air needed to whisper these last haunting words — they never again renewed their fill — Einstein had passed on.

This scene, as in a dream, starts changing. Now the circle of light is shrinking. No longer can I see my friends gathered round. They too are in the darkness if there at all, anymore. On my knees beside his death bed, my head face-down in my hands, I’m sobbing. Sobbing for the loss of my friend. Sobbing for the way he had to die. Sobbing for his family. Sobbing for the anguish of it all.

And now the circle of light is contracting once more. Now I too am disappearing into its oncoming darkness. “Goodbye old friend, we all loved you too” I said out loud, as the blackness around me now almost complete.

Just as I was thinking this now must be over. Surely this nightmare is finally coming to an end…

A bony frail hand shot out from the bed — and grabbed me by the wrist!

Vice-like in its grip, and deathly cold, It drew me quickly and effortlessly back into the circled light and into the horror that awaited.

Einstein’s dead body was sitting up on the bed and grinning. Pulling me closer and closer into its evil presence Its sunken dead eyes filmed over in a mucus grey and rolling wild in their sockets. Most of its sick dirty hair was left on the pillow, and what was left on him hung in long thin patch’s falling down across his grinning face.

The stink of death was everywhere. It surrounded him like a death shroud and as he pulled me ever closer, my eyes wide in terror, my mouth opening wide to voice a horrifying scream…

I awoke in the dark of night screaming…

Screaming freely and out loud in horror. Brandy (my cat) jumped off the bed and went fleeing in terror out of the room. His sudden movement sent my consciousness reeling towards grey and I almost passed out. “Stupid Fucking Cat” I shouted after it. “You know you’re not allowed in here!” My heart like a jackhammer was thudding in my chest.

“I’ve had it with these bloody nightmares! I can’t take this anymore!” I roared out loud to no one. With trembling hand I reached over to the lamp and turned it on. The digital bed-side clock said it was 4:13 am and seeing as sleep was cancelled for the rest of the night — I got my frightened sorry ass out of bed and on unsteady legs, headed for the bathroom.

It was there at the sink. While cupping the warm running water and splashing it on my tired old face that I first noticed. I froze in mid splash, the water trickling uselessly through my fingers and into the sink below. My hands still cupped though now empty below my haggard image — and in the mirror, I could see on my left forearm (just below the wrist)— an angry bruising welt?

As I slowly turned it over in wonder I could see in the mirror that it extended more than halfway around my forearm. Almost like…

Almost like…

Someone or something…

Very strong…

Had grabbed me there!

 

 

 

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19 thoughts on “The Nightmares Are Back!

  1. This is a helluva story — powerfully written — and a helluva dream, some scary shit going on there, make a good scene in a Stephen King movie. When did your friend Einstein die — 45 years ago in his teens of cancer? I must have misread that. Anyway, looks like he wants you to join him! Bloody hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, we new each other since high school, about 45 years ago or so now. He passed some 10 years ago, maybe in his early fifties. The dream I had was not long after that but as you can imagine I never forgot it. I get these crazy nightmares now and then. There’s more too. Lucky me!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I figured I had the age wrong — my mind really IS going, too many brain cells drowned over the years — anyway, I’m sorry about your friend, and that sure is a savage flashback dream. Have you looked up nightmares online? Maybe some advice how to stop them.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Funny you should ask Bill. I have. And I’ve gotten a lot of suggestions and advice from others as well. In fact, believe it or not, right at this moment I’m writing a post all about it. Just waiting for the next nightmare and you’ll hear all about it. Strange how that worked out.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I have one or two more worthy past nightmares to share, after that, it’s wait for the next one. Problem is, no telling when or if that will happen. So I was thinking about carrying this on as a fictional mini-series after that — What do you think?

          Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s a deeper meaning here bro…lucid dreaming…passing into another reality…?? And don’t blame the cat. The cat is your protector! Why do you think the Egyptians worshipped the damn things??

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Your subconscious is manifesting…I’m a Jungian at heart…I could also discuss your experimenting with DMT to flush this out of your system, but that’s a very deep conversation. (And no, I haven’t done DMT. I’m afraid I’d never return.)

        Liked by 1 person

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