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The Dream

By , Parkland, FL
A Short Story

The man woke during the middle of the night. Shaken by his son, now eight years old, at the foot of his bed, the man groggily gazed at the clock on top of his night stand. It read the time as 3:39 am. The man, known for his son’s frequent night terrors, knew what his son was going to say before he even spoke. “Dad I had another nightmare.” Usually on nights such as these, the father would go back to sleep while his wife would get up, take their son back to his room, and comfort him until he would drift into a deep sleep. However, tonight, while his wife was off on a business trip, the duty fell onto the father. He got up, groaned, and began to lead his son back to his room. The father didn’t even bother turning on any lights as he walked through the halls; the fiery shine of the bulbs would only cause him more discomfort, and continued walking. Not even checking to see if his son was still behind him, the man slowly opened the door to his son’s room, ready to go back to sleep when he saw something in his son’s bed.

The object was resting right under the covers. Masked in darkness, it lay motionless seemingly unaware of the man entering the room. The man’s heartbeat froze, the hairs on his arms raised. He slowly crept up until he was at the foot of the bed, close enough to touch whatever was lurking under the covers. Adrenaline coursing through his veins, he braced himself for the consequences of his action. He grabbed the covers closest to him and with a sudden yank, threw them behind him. The object, once coated in darkness, revealed itself to him. It was his son.
Seconds seemed to last for years. Reviewing everything that had happened until then, the man could not make sense of what had happened. His son, curled on the bed, slowly opened his eyes and asked what his father was doing. Shaking, the father made some excuse as to not frighten the child when the realization that they were not alone hit him. The boy that had woken him was unmistakably his son. Or was it? Trying to remember, the father wasn’t sure if the child even remembered what the child looked like. As he was forgetting the child like a dream, the father realized there was a child who could have resembled his son. A perfect duplicate, a twin that had long been forgotten by the family. The father shook his head, this could not be. The sadistic twin had run away from home, resentful of the family’s disgust toward his macabre habits and sinister ways. Although he was never found police suspected that he had perished, left alone in the woods it was unlike a child to survive for long. His wife was distraught on hearing this news, after all, she was still the child’s mother. His son was too young to make sense of what had happened so he was told nothing, just that his brother had gone “on vacation.” The father, though, always suspected, always wondered, what if Donnie survived? What would he do? Would he seek to harm his parents, those who shunned him? Or would he move on, mature and seek a normal life for himself. It seemed he had not, for the father had a sneaking suspicion that he had not dreamt anything. As he began to think it through the father realized that his son would not have been able to find his family, let alone sneak in by himself. A sense of dread washed over the father as he started walking outside his son’s room. He turned the corner when suddenly a fast moving object appeared in front of him, smashing his face. The last thing he remembered was the sound of the cartilage in his nose snapping. When he awoke he found himself tied to a chair placed next to the fireplace in the living room. As he took in his surroundings he saw both his children seated on the sofa and his wife on a chair. All three of them stared intently back at him, as if under orders from someone. They all had glassy eyes, and sat still beyond any normal human could. He felt something cold behind him, something beyond his comprehension. Although he did not hear anything he noticed all three heads turn in unison toward his left, just where he had felt his shoulder being touched. A memory flashed before his eyes. He was twelve, just moved into an old house that would make the strangest noises. He remembered there his “imaginary friend” would tell him all sorts of horrible secrets and would give him orders like shooting the neighbor’s cat with a slingshot. Eventually his parents took him to see a psychologist and identify what was causing such violent behavior. After identifying the source as his imaginary friend his parents willed him to stop playing with “Horace”. Horace didn’t like this, the father remembered, but he soon forgot all about him. The only time he would see Horace again would be in dreams. Nightmares, specifically, dark nightmares with horrible scenes of mutilation, death, and despair. He realized Horace had never left him, but rather followed him, waiting for the moment to exact revenge on the father. Speaking lowly and in a language unknown to him, the father saw his family proceeded to stand up, and in unison, walk towards him. They all brandished blades and as they drew nearer the father saw only an absence of color where their eyes had been. They looked possessed and just as they were close enough to touch, the father screamed for the last time.
He woke up covered in sweat and tears, his blood coursing with adrenaline. “It was all a dream” he thought, when he suddenly turned his head to see his son standing at the foot of his bed. “Dad I had another nightmare” said his son, as he turned to see his alarm his heart skipped a beat, the clock read “3:39 am” and in the reflection of the clock, saw a dark shape looming above the body of his son. The father did not have enough time to scream as Horace exacted his revenge.



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