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Have you ever had a really bad dream? Have you had one bad enough that it would haunt you? Nightmares aren’t fun for anyone, but they’re really not fun for me.
You don’t know what it’s like to be alone. You may know what it’s like to be lonely, but not to be completely and utterly alone. There’s, literally, nobody there for you go to go to for help. “Mom, I’m hungry,” and then I wait for a little bit, expecting a response that doesn’t come. “Mom? Mom, are you there?” Still, I get nothing. “Why not get out of the chair and look for my own snack? This show can wait for a little bit, and she’s probably outside.”
I return to my seat after my snack and notice that something seems different. The T.V. is on, but I can’t hear it. I look towards it and its gone black, as though the powers out, but the lights are still on behind me. “Where’s the remote?” After a while of searching, I decide to just go and flip it on manually instead.
Click. The T.V. does nothing. Again, I hit the button, and again, nothing. “I should tell mom the T.V.’s broken… Where is she anyways?” I go to look for her, but gain nothing from it. “She should be here. It is a Saturday, after all, and there weren’t any plans for anyone to go anywhere…But then where are my brothers? And why’s it suddenly so quiet?” I listen a little closer, trying to pick out the breathing of the dogs behind me in their cages, some birds chirping outside, or even the ever-present whir of a fridge or computer fan. Complete and utter silence calls back to me, yelling at me with an intense ferocity. I walk to the door and turn the knob.
Outside, it seems completely normal, except for the blaring silence. Trees, still in the dull light, show no sign of wind. It’s getting dark, so it’s kind of a dull gray outside. Then I notice something else… I can’t hear the river.
By now I’m getting scared, so I decide to call someone for help. I rush to the phone and pick it up, finding my fingers dialing the number that my dad has owned for years. Ring-Ring… I wait for him to pick up, and then hear a click that means it’s been picked up and a familiar voice comes through the phone. “I’m sorry, the number you have dialed is incorrect, or is no longer in service. If you’d…” Click. I hang up the phone, and then try again. This time, the phone doesn’t make any noise at all. It’s dead. Now what?
The neighbors are always home! They’re both retired and never leave anymore. I can see the smoke coming from their chimney, anyways, which gives them away. They would leave home with a fire burning. And they definitely wouldn’t leave with all of their lights on… So I run over to their house, glancing at the river, and stop for a second to watch it. It’s still running along through the pasture, just as it always has, but the comforting gurgle and the pleasant lilt of it flowing isn’t there. “Weird…”
Ding-Dong. The doorbell announces my arrival at the neighbor’s house minutes later. The door remains still though. I ring it again and peak through the window. Nobody’s coming. I try the door, and it opens up as if nothing was wrong.
The first thing I notice is that the T.V. there is blank too. It sits there, and looking at it is like staring into space – deep, dark, and endless space. The only thing that gives away the power running through it is the streak that runs across it occasionally. The fire there is glowing light, but it’s a dull glow, and it’s not at all warm. Then I smell something, and manage to follow it to the kitchen. I discover there, a freshly cooked feast, and a table set for them and a bunch of guests. The neighbors, though, are nowhere to be seen.
Suddenly I’m at my dad’s house. I’m playing Call of Duty, but I’m getting bored of it quickly. I can hear dad’s T.V. on, so I decide to go and hang out with him. I get up and go out, but when I walk around the corner, everything is silenced. I come around the corner and the T.V. is blank here, just as it had been at mom’s house. The fear that I felt at mother’s house slowly returns as I walk towards dad’s chair. The chair is rocking like someone’s in it, but it’s slowing down, more like it was sat in, but someone quickly abandoned it. I peak over the top of the chair, worrying about what I’ll find. I find it empty and start to look around for dad when the phone rings.
“Hello?” Nobody answers me. “Hello? Is anyone there?” Beep-beep-beep… The phone’s been on too long and wants me to turn it off. I hang it up, but it won’t charge. I pick it up and try to turn it on again, but it won’t turn on anymore.
I suspect a power outage, then remember that the computers still on, so I go to unplug it. I get there and it’s still on. It’s just gone completely silent and locked up. I can’t get it to turn off though. It won’t even go blank if I unplug it. It’s like it’s frozen in time. I remember what happened back at mom’s house and nervously glance towards my neighbor’s house then. Everything looks normal, and when I go to open the door I’m blasted by a wave of normal sounds. It’s a perfect, bright blue day, cheery and happy in each and every way.
The neighbor’s house is loud, as it normally is, and now it all seems normal. Everything’s fine. It’s all just been a weird day-dream, right? The neighbors will be home, and I’ll get to go play with them now.
The window on the door rattles when I knock, and the door slowly creaks open. As it opens, it reveals a still, silent house. It is completely silent, and the only thing out of place is a piece of paper sitting on their kitchen table. I walk over to the table and look at the piece of paper, only to discover that it’s a half-completed homework assignment. The pencil sitting next to it is warm and it’s rocking a little, looking like it was just set down. But, again, there’s nobody in the house… Anywhere.
I slowly back out of the house yelling, hoping that maybe someone will hear me. Nobody comes, so I turn around and run through the door and out of the house.
Out into a gloomy, gray, and depressing day I go. Everything is now just as silent as everything was before, at moms and in dads. There’s almost nothing moving, except for the clouds, quickly soaring across the sky, and a swing, creaking while it swings back and fourth from whoever may have just been there. The fear working its way deeper into my thoughts begins to drive me nuts. It gets to be too much for me to handle, so I turn and start running. I need someone to help me, and it has to be someone I can trust. I find myself running towards a familiar place – my best friend’s house on the other side of town.
I make it as far as Main Street before I realize that something isn’t right. I can’t figure out what it is though. As I look up and down the street, I see that there are cars a short distance away, so I wait for them before I cross the street. I pace nervously around on the corner, waiting to hear them pass, but it seems to take forever. Finally I decide to turn around and find out why it’s taking them so long. With a shot of terror burying itself deep within me, and then a feeling of angry stupidity, I realize that they must be empty. They haven’t moved an inch since I last saw them.
I turn and run to the stoplight, seeing more cars there that I can investigate. Even knowing it before I see it, I get hammered with horrible, traumatizing news. The cars are still on, the engines are still running, but they too, are completely silent. Not a one emits even a little exhaust. And they’re all empty… Nobody’s in any of them.
Dripping with fear-caused adrenaline and driven insane with that same fear, I tear through town, sprinting down the street as fast as I’m physically able. I have only one thing on my mind – my best friend’s house. Is it still there? Will there be anyone in it?
I turn onto the street that my friend lives on and the insanity, caused by the extreme terror running through me, drives me to the thought that because their house is dark now, it should be loud, cheery, and pretty much normal inside when I open the door. I cling to this final hope of finding someone, and clench the doorknob, gripping it hard enough to cause it to bend in my hand. A trickle of blood running from where the doorknob dug into my hand, I turn the knob and slide the door open. Shutting my eyes tight, not wanting to see the truth, I walk in and run into the stairs. I remember what the house looks like then, having spent a lot of time there, so I feel my way around, and find the entryway to the living room.
I want to open my eyes now, and look at the scenery of the living room, but my eyes are fighting back. They scream with confusion, trying to obey my will and open, but then they counter that effort with the fear of what may be behind the darkness I’m in right now. After a few minutes I finally work up the strength to get my eyes open, and I look around my best friend’s living room.
It takes a second to absorb everything. I knew, deep down, that this is what I would find, but, as with the cars, I end up in shock. I simply look around the room, taking everything in, rejecting it, then taking it in again, trying to accept the fact that this is the truth.
For what seems like hours I sit there, looking around the desolate room. The radio’s power button glows, showing me that it’s on. A line streaks across the perpetual darkness of this TV too, revealing to me that that too, is on, though in the same state as all of the other TV’s. On the couch there lies a book. The same book that my best friend was reading, and opened to almost the same page... The remote is lying in another chair, right where his dad, who’d been like a second father to me, would’ve been sitting. A toddler’s cup, full of grape juice, rolls on its side in a kid’s high-chair. There’s no sign on the mother, but she would’ve been out with friends that night anyways.
As the shock hits me, my mind becomes dizzy with loneliness and my body becomes weak with fear. I struggle to make it to a chair before I collapse with an overwhelmingly gut-wrenching mix of emotions. When I finally make it to the couch with my friend’s book, I collapse into it, reaching for anything to try to comfort myself. My hands find the book my friend was reading and I curl around it, sobbing against a massive barrage of crushing loneliness, deafening silence, and maddening sorrow and fear.
Suddenly I wake up in my real house, freezing because I’ve kicked the blankets off while dreaming, but sweating at the fear of the dream. Shivering and crying, I stare into the darkness…
I finally work up the courage to get out of bed. I feel my way to the door and shakily make my way to my mother’s bedside. She’s there now, and everything’s fine, right? So why won’t this feeling go away?
To have to live with that dream is a great lot of trouble. Every second you live, you have to deal with at least a little bit of that loneliness… The scar that the nightmare left… It’s irreparable.
It’s not like much damage was done, but its damage that can’t be reversed. I’ll always live with that scar – that fear of loneliness that drove me nuts in that dream. It reminds me, though, that it’s good to be close to people. It helps me to remember that friends are one of the best treasures of this world. Hold on to your friends, was the whole lesson of the dream.
I treasure the dream for a couple of reasons. One is the lesson I learned from it in the paragraph before. I also got an experience from it that can be quite a burden to carry, but will help me to look at the world as a brighter place. It’s not completely silent. There are sounds that are both beautiful and terrifying, but sounds that won’t just leave me to the silence that was in that dream. To have to live with that silence haunting everything you do teaches you to find the beauty in everything, however ugly it may seem.
This dream may have scared me and scarred me, but it’s been a good nightmare to remember. It’s helped me through some hard times in my life, just by making them seem like nothing compared to the complete and utter terror that this dream inspired in me. I will not soon forget this nightmare, and I will not soon quit using it in my everyday life.