The Dreamer

December 29, 2008
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Landon James is a curious man. This is to be expected, for he is also a kindergarten teacher. One of the reasons why he loves his job is that he gets to exercise his curiosity daily, in a thoroughly educational manner. It is now right at the beginning of the school year, and Landon is very excited. This is because his new class seems to be odder than any he has taught before. Perfect for the curious mind to handle.
The first things he noticed were their eyes. The thirteen children in his class all had strange eyes. They were all different, unique, yet strange. One girl had one eye that was the palest of greens, while the other was the deepest of blues. The pale boy sitting next to her had eyes that were almost pure black, which were hidden behind thick-rimmed glasses. And yet another scrawny girl in the back row had pupils that were such a light shade of gray, they were almost indistinguishable from the white around it. When Landon saw this, he was slightly disconcerted, yet still felt a thrill for all the fun he was sure to have that year.
That first day is the day that Landon James asked his kindergarteners about their dreams. The poor, eager man sat in the middle as he had the children sit in a circle around him. He was expecting stories of pretty ponies, perhaps even magical lands of candy. This proves that ignorance is, indeed, bliss. The first little boy that reminisced his previous nighttime memory said, “I dreamt of my little pigs in the barn. They were running around playing, and then my dog came and ripped their heads off. There was a lot of blood.” Next the little girl with the different colored eyes said, “I dreamt that my best friend Mary was found dead….In my bedroom. Her face was cut in half.” Landon, horrified, stood up. “Children, this is not funny.” But no one paid attention. The boy with the black eyes went on with his dream. “I dreamt that I was a werewolf. I was huge and hairy with big teeth, and went around biting people in the neck.” Then, “In my dream, I was king of the world. I sent all the grown-ups to drown in the middle of the ocean.” Landon was speechless. He shakily got to his feet and said, “Class dismissed.” Again, no one paid attention. The students, too, stood up, still in a circle around their teacher. They entwined fingers, trapping him inside, and then continued on with their dreams.
Landon James stood there, petrified in place, as the children kept on speaking one at a time in their strange, trancelike voices. At one point he screamed and clamped his hands over his ears, unable to bear the pain of the words he was being forced to hear. And what horrible words they were. The odd, innocent looking five year olds spoke of blood, and death. Death and destruction. Laughing at world hunger. Thriving in lands of no love. Burning cities. Dead animals. The last little girl even went so far as to say in a deep, raspy tone, “I dreamt that I killed my parents.” Still frozen in fear, Landon stood there, shaking and white, as his students slowly dismissed themselves, one by one, from the classroom. Finally, he was alone. After what seemed like hours of utter astonishment at what he had just witnessed, he too left the classroom to hurry to the sanctuary of his home.
Landon had a dream of his own that night. Actually, it was a nightmare. More than that, even. This nightmare of his defined pure terror. It pushed the boundaries of the kind of fear that was simply not allowed. As he tossed and turned in his tormented sleep, he did not know what to believe. If he was still dreaming when the beast came at him, or if he was awake. If the blood he saw was an illusion, or reality that was spewed across his own real, mutilated chest. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t think. All he knew was that he was trapped inside of a scenario that he had no chance of surviving.
Just as he lost all hope, he woke up. He was drenched in sweat, but he didn’t know why. He knew he had had a bad dream, but he had forgotten what it was about. The only thing he remembered was that at the end, there was a long, high pitched, terrible scream. The thing is, Landon had a feeling he had heard this same exact scream before. But when he tried to remember where in the world he could have heard such a horrible sound, he just couldn’t place it. He pondered this for a while, still tangled in his soaking sheets, until the sun came up. At this point Landon got up to go to work, to face a new day of teaching his new bunch of strange kindergarteners.
The next week of school that passed by was relatively ordinary. Of course, in this case, the definition of “ordinary” is something along the lines of, “No periods of time when the class full of five year olds band together into a sort of twisted demonic ritual.” However, it still wasn’t normal. Not by a long shot. Landon, still determined to pretend the occurrence on the first day of school had never happened, that it was some twisted, irrational figment of his imagination, tried to get the students to do normal kindergarten-related things. This didn’t quite work out.
When Landon tried to get them to play with blocks, the students got together into some sort of organized construction line, each with a handful of the play things. They went up one by one and carefully placed their pieces together. After roughly twenty minutes, an astonished Landon James gaped at what was apparently a perfect miniature model of the Empire State Building. When Landon attempted to get them to finger paint, they each silently bent over their own piece of art and went to work with the multicolored wonders. When Landon examined them at the end, he viewed what looked to be a gallery of distorted human faces and unnatural wild animals. However, even though these things were nowhere close to being normal, Landon was oddly unafraid. In fact, he was as curious as ever. He questioned his students as to where they had learned to do such, as he stated it, “incredible” things. He played games with them, trying to understand the full potential of what he had now convinced himself were his “gifted” students. He was so amazed by everything, so interested, that he was having the best time he had ever had in his teaching career. But there were two things that bothered him. One was that his students never spoke, never answered his questions. They just did their unbelievable things in unnatural silence. The other thing was that every night that week he had the same dream as before, with the same terrible, high pitched, oddly familiar scream.
Things were too good to last. One fateful day, during but the second week of school, Landon walked into his classroom knowing immediately that something was wrong. He was at once scared, and with good reason. First of all, as soon as he walked in, the boy with the pure black eyes came out of the shadows and slammed the door behind him, propping it closed with a chair and then standing menacingly in front of it, whilst wielding a vicious looking hand axe. Another thing was that all of the students were already present, even though it was so early. Landon was the only teacher in the building. It is key to note that the students were not only present, they were all also standing in an intimidating line, all wielding different, yet still menacing, tools. Some had rusty hammers and screwdrivers. Some had staplers and safety scissors. The rest all held identical, jagged looking daggers. As soon as he noticed the unmistakable look of murder in the children’s unnatural eyes, Landon dropped his things and tried to make a run for it. He had no chance. The kindergarteners pounced on him, seizing him with their inhuman grips. They brought him crashing to the floor, swarming all over him. They stapled his skin together, causing him unbearable pain. They stabbed his ears with the safety scissors, unmercifully torturing him. The ones with the daggers cleaved at him with immeasurable fury. When Landon saw his own blood being spilled by the pint, he realized something he should have realized on the first day of school. He should have run while he had the chance. For now he knew that these things he had been in the presence of were, of course, not children. They were demons. This fact seemed so obvious to him now. But he knew why he had refused to acknowledge it before. He had just been too curious, too thirsty to understand why these beings could do what they did. But now, it was too late. His body was being destroyed by the things, and he noticed something else. The ones with the hammers and screwdrivers were, for some reason, carefully removing the floorboards in a distant corner. When they had removed enough to leave a good sized hole, the beckoned the others over. Landon felt his body being lifted by the tiny, inhuman fingers. He didn’t understand what was happening. But he did soon enough. He was roughly shoved into the hole in the ground, at this point unable to feel any pain, his body already so numb and in shock that the hurt just didn’t register any longer. But when the demons started replacing the floorboards, started nailing them back in place, he realized the true predicament of his situation. But his body just didn’t have the ability to respond to the panic. As Landon James was buried alive, he screamed. And suddenly he realized why the screams in his dreams had sounded so familiar.





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trombonewriter said...
Jun. 29, 2009 at 11:26 pm
that was awesome, in the old-fashioned, awe-inspiring sense of the word. It's totally amazing, the way that he sort of knew what was going to happen but wouldn't admit it to himself. Your style rocks and is perfectly suited for this. Keep it up!
 
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