Just a Dream? | Teen Ink

Just a Dream?

June 27, 2014
By GabrielleK. SILVER, Uniontown, Pennsylvania
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GabrielleK. SILVER, Uniontown, Pennsylvania
8 articles 3 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"On him does death lie heavily, who, but too well known to all, dies to himself unknown."
-Seneca the Younger

Author's note: I actually had this dream, and I wanted to write it down.

You wake up one morning to a crisp, fall breeze gracing your drowsy face. The air feels nice against your skin as the wind crawls across your flesh. The sensation cools your face, and tickles the spaces between your toes. As you start to awake from your slumber, you realize you’re not in any environment you are familiar with. Instead of arising from your usual bed you wake up on a pile of soft, dead leaves that crunch gently underneath your weight as you shift to get a better look around. You look out into a vast and empty terrain that seems almost otherworldly.
The sky is a mix of red, orange, and yellow that dance across a seemingly endless world like a fire. In the middle of the flames are what appear to be two completely different suns: one being black and the other white. The two partners in crime stand on either end of the sky, and stare into each other dreamily. The ground is mostly dead, yellowed grass that is about ankle high, and there are dried out sections of dirt scattered all over the ground. The patches of earth seem to form strange symbols and faces that you don’t understand nor want to understand.

A fear creeps into the back of your mind, the most terrifying kind of horror that you can face: ignorance. You don’t know where you are, or what’s happening to you, or what is going to happen to you. Your breath begins to pick up speed, your head begins to pound with pain, and your stomach feels as if it has been turned inside out: like you’re on some sort of sick, demented roller-coaster. You take a breath and think about all the events that happened before that led you to the moment you’re in right now. Every minute comes flooding back into your memory, and you begin to recall the evening before. I ate dinner, played around on the computer, watched TV… You think to yourself as you flash every moment in that time period through your head. Nothing out of the ordinary stands out to you.
This isn’t right; you think to yourself as you attempt to catch your breath, I fell asleep in a bed, in a room. The world begins to spin, and you feel like you’re a lost child with no mother in sight to keep you safe. You just want to be home, safe in bed and away from the danger that you think -- that you know -- is lurking out somewhere in the vastness.
You hold your knees close to your chest, and think. M-Maybe this is just a dream… You ponder, and let the idea roll through your mind. You’ve had dreams before; it’s actually quite a common thing, you recall. Yes, that’s it. I’m dreaming. You conclude, and your stress begins to melt away, and the weight of the world seems to be lifted off your shoulders. This is a- what’s the name of it? Lucid? Yea, yea it’s a lucid dream…. Just a dream and I know I’m dreaming.

You rise with a sigh, and begin to relax. Now slightly reassured, you smile softly to yourself as you stare up to a beautiful, flawless sky. I’ll probably wake up anytime now. You think, and lay back into your dead bed of leaves. Maybe I’ll eat breakfast when I wake up. That would be nice. You think out your day in your head happily. You feel completely and totally satisfied.

Until you hear the crying.

It comes out and reaches for you from somewhere in the distance. It sounds like a child; a little girl to be more exact. Her gentle sobs are barely palpable to your hearing, but it is enough to make your heart melt within your chest. You turn your head, and glance out toward the noise as you lift yourself off of the leaves, and step onto the ground, barefoot. You look down to see a pair of green plaid pajama bottoms and a shirt a color you have never seen before. Must come with the dream, you think in the back of your mind, and then venture off toward the sound.

You follow the sound of the girl, and you quickly realize she is near the grey mansion. You figure she must live there, and walk closer. Her cries become a little louder as you get closer to the girl, and you realize she’s saying something. You listen carefully, and make out the words “help” and “scary.” You wonder if you should keep going after hearing her say those strange words. However, your good will overpowers your fears and you continue on.

It feels like you ran a hundred miles before you finally reach the girl; the distance between the leaves and the mansion was farther than you assumed it was. You walk over to the little girl, and kneel down so you are the same height as she is. She’s wearing a light blue dress that looks old and worn from playing. The color of her long, fine hair is such a light blonde that it is almost grey, as if she was an aged woman. Although the mature color makes her seem older, it does not keep her hair from getting into large tangles and knots that most young girls get after a day of play. The girl’s flesh is as white as the wispy clouds on a near clear summer’s day, and looks to be as smooth as a pearl. “What’s wrong?” You ask softly, trying to reassure her.

The girl glances up at you with big brown eyes, soft as a baby’s blanket. You can see the large tears rolling down her rosy cheeks; kissing her gentle skin before dying off at her small chin.
“I- I’m scared.” She said, carrying an English accent in her tiny voice.

“What are you afraid of?” You ask, being as careful as you can so you don’t upset her.

She glances down, and shakes her head side to side; telling you no. You give a soft smile, and try to keep her as calm and collected as one possibly can. “You can tell me, maybe I can help you.” You say softly.

She takes a breath in and then exhales deeply. “It’s the ghosts. Th-They a-a-are scaring me.”

“Ghosts?” You ask.

“Yes, there are three of them.” The girl says, holding up three small fingers.

You raise an eyebrow, curious. “Three ghost? And they’re scaring you?” You ask her.

The girl nods, and fresh new beads of tears begin to hug at her cheeks. “Yes, and I need to catch them, but I don’t know how. I’m quite frightened of them… I just- I just don’t know what I should…” The girl begins to sob again. You think about what’s happening for a minute. This is weird, you decide, but I’ll wake up soon enough, and I might as well help her. Freaky or not… I don’t really have anything better to do. She’s a crying little girl. I can’t just leave her.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay. I’ll help you catch the ghosts. We’ll figure it out together.” You tell her, and smile. She looks up at you, with a smile on her face.

“Will you really help me?” She asks, with her big brown eyes staring at you.

“Of course,” you hold out your pinky, “pinky promise.”

The girl smiles and claps her hands happily. “Thank you!” She said, jumping in the air. “I’ll call you ‘helper’ because you’re helping me. I’m Nancy, so you can call me Nancy.” Nancy said, with a grin on her face.

“Alright, Nancy.” You say, not bothering to correct her and tell her your real name. “So tell me what you know for these ghosts. Anything you know will help.”

Nancy places two fingers on her cheeks thoughtfully, and taps them gently against her face: thinking. “Well,” she starts, “The first ghost isn’t real, the second one is real, and the third… The third is the scariest ghost… The ghost is- the ghost is…” Her lip begins to quiver, and you can see the pearls of tears forming in her eyes once again.

“It’s okay,” you quickly blurt out to her, hoping to prevent her from crying any more than she already has. “We’ll worry about that one later. Let’s work on the other one’s for now. Okay?”

“Okay,” she answered, with a sniff and she wipes away her tears with the back of her hand. You begin to wonder what each “clue” means. They just don’t make sense. One’s fake and the other’s real? There’s nothing on the last ghost, or thing, or whatever there is… Maybe it’s some sort of puzzle? You look at the girl, and see she looks about 5 years old. She’s a little thing… Maybe she’s being totally honest. She probably doesn’t even know what a riddle is, maybe she doesn’t even know what a lie is.

“Well,” you start to say, and sit down in an Indian style position: crossing your right leg over the left casually, “if the first goes isn’t real, the ghost is just in your imagination.”

Nancy looks at you, confused. “What do you mean?” She asks, lowering herself to sit in the same position as you.

“It’s just something you made up, because it’s not real.” You point a finger to your head, “it’s all up in here.”

“So how do I make him go away?” She asks.

“Close your eyes,” you tell her, “and think about the ghost. Then imagine a door closing him in a room.” You tell her. You’re pretty sure you saw the door thing in a movie once.

“Okay…” Nancy says, and she closes her eyes tightly. She breathes in and out very heavily, and you can see her little hands clenching into a fist. “I’m scared,” you hear her whisper. “I’m frightened.”

“It’s okay, Nancy.” You tell her. “Just picture the ghost, and slam the door shut on him. You can do it.”

Nancy’s little rosy cheeks become a bright red, and her eyes are pinched close. You feel bad that there’s nothing else you can do to help her at the moment, but all you can do is tell her she’s doing well and it’s okay. “I s-see it.” Nancy stuttered.

“Slam the door on it. Slam the door hard so he never comes back.” You tell her. She nods her head, and her cheeks start to lighten back to their original color. Nancy relaxes her hands, and opens her eyes to look at you.

“I did it. He’s all gone!” She says, and she claps her hands together.

You smile, and stand up to your feet. “I knew you could. You were great.” You tell her as you brush of the dirt from your weird pajamas. You look around you, and still see nothing but the empty mansion and the girl. “So, Nancy, where is this second ghost?”

“He lives in my house,” she tells you, and points her finger at the mansion. “That one, right there. He’s hiding somewhere in one of the rooms.” Nancy scuffs her shoe into the ground, trying to avoid the sight of her broken home.
You nod your head and stare at the house. You can tell it’s very old from the broken roof tiles, crooked wooden fence on the porch, peeling paint, and long weeds growing around the sides. You feel a sense of great discomfort as you look at the place, and a shiver crawls up your back like a spider. This is just a dream, you remind yourself, and soon you’ll wake up. Maybe even eat some breakfast. “We should get a move on then?” You ask to Nancy.
“Yes, I think so.” Nancy answers, and you both start on walking to the front door.
You walk with her, step by step, up to the door. You pray that the stairs don’t collapse underneath your feet as you lift up your legs, one by one, to reach the top of the porch. You watch as Nancy stares at the door; neither one of you moves, nor do either one of you dare to. The center of your world is the door and her stare.
“Helper, promise to keep me safe.” You hear her whisper. “Please, promise.”
“I promise.” You say. Nancy deeply inhales, and reaches her small hand out to the old, fake diamond doorknob that graces the wood door. Her wrist flicks to the right, and the door opens with a light click. As an uneasy sensation grabs a hold of you inside, and then both of you enter the mansion.
Suddenly, you are greeted with mirrors.

On all sides of you, you can see your own reflection. If you look down to the floor, up to the ceiling, to your left or right, you can see it: yourself. It reminds you of being in a fun house at some sort of creepy circus, but there are no silly mirrors or fun passageways, or friends to lead you along; it is just you and your reflection starring back into you. Your reflection seems to look into your heart, into your mind, and into your soul. You cannot escape from yourself, and that leaves you feeling cold and nearly helpless, as you are stunned in terror by your own face. You stare into your own eyes, and see the trembling fingers at the ends of shaky hands; you have no choice, you are forced to see yourself.

“Strange room,” you manage to stutter.

“It’s just always been like this. You get used to your reflection when you see it enough.” Nancy said, and smiled brightly. You could not smile back at her, even if you tried.

“The door’s this way,” she said. She points ahead, and you can just barely see the outline of the reflective entrance way to the area of the house. Nancy leads you, and then opens the door. You see that there is hallway. The hallway is long and narrow, with a low ceiling and gentle candle lights. Old, faded wallpaper, stained and torn, covers the walls of the narrow passage way. The floor is made up of old, dusty wooden planks that have chips and cracks all through it. Draped upon the aged wood is a long, blood red rug that races along with the rest of the ground. In the distance there seems to be very many doors, all which lead into some unknown (and you assume strange) room. Within corners filled with heavy layers of dust you can see big, thick cobwebs. The webs are so thick and stringy it almost seems like white cotton candy, with the exception of the large, fuzzy spiders that run across their homemade sweets.

The spiders come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They hurry quickly among their webs, preparing themselves feast of flies, cockroaches, and stinkbugs. You can almost feel their legs crawling on the back of your neck. The hairs on the spiders’ heads are palpable to your flesh, and you can feel a strange sensation of imaginary spiders creeping across your back. You run a hand across your head and back, feeling for the arachnids, but discover nothing. You try and relax your tense muscles, and observe the spiders in their work.

One spider stands out among the rest. An orange and black spider with a cross on her back slowly crawls up the thin strands of her home: carefully reaching out each leg like she is stalking her lunch. Caught within the web is a beautiful, royal blue butterfly. The wings of the gentle creature seem to be captive to the sticky strings of web, and her legs trapped within the web’s fibers. Slowly, and ever so carefully the spider approaches the butterfly. She looks at the helpless thing with 4 large eyes, and begins to show off her tiny, white daggers. The butterfly shows no struggle and no desire to escape, and stands it’s ground with dignity. However, as the spider leans in for a bite, the butterfly opens it’s mouth to reveal hundreds of little, sharp teeth. You gasp at the sight, and then watch in horror as the butterfly begins to devour the spider. You open your mouth to speak, but no words can escape from your lips. You just stand there, stunned.

“Pretty neat, isn’t she?” Nancy asks, smiling. “Her name’s Eve. I trained her to do that since the spiders were bothering her so much.”

You swallow deeply, and reply “Yes, she’s- she’s very well trained I can see…” You say to her. You keep an eye on Eve as she starts to unravel from the webs. Slowly the monster in disguise takes flight, and leaves soaring down the thin hallways.

“We should probably move along ourselves,” Nancy says, and starts down the hallway; you follow close behind.

You walk down the hall, and the ceiling seems to lower itself on you. Your head almost graces the tips of the ceiling, and the walls close in to hug your arms. You take a deep breath in, and wonder how there is possibly any room for air where you are. You cough out almost as soon as you inhale; the dust and dirt tickle at your throat until you’re choking on air. You gasp and your eyes water, but you finally manage to clean your system.

“Sorry, I know the house isn’t very tidy. My mum told me to clean it, and I only got to finish some of the rooms…” Nancy said, apologetically.

“It- It’s alright,” You hack, “but where exactly are we going?”

“Oh, one of the spare rooms. I know the ghost likes to be with my animals, so we’re going there to see them. Maybe we’ll even catch the ghost if he decided to stop for a visit there!” Nancy said, excitedly.

You nod your head, but wonder what exactly this “spare room” will be like, and you pray it’s nothing like the strange things you’ve seen so far. “What kind of animals do you have, Nancy?” You ask her.

She giggles, “Helper, you’re funny. You’ll just have to wait and see.” She stops at one door on the left with a gold doorknob, and she reaches to open it. She walks into the room happily, and you follow behind anxiously.

You walk into a room that is, what you think could very well be, the definition of cleanliness. It feels as if you just stepped into a modeled room from some sort of store magazine. It almost feels normal, like you’re awake again. Maybe this is a sign that I’ll wake up soon, you think happily to yourself. You quickly have a change of heart though, once you see Nancy’s pets.

Nancy walks up to you, holding a large aquarium. Inside you see at least a dozen snakes of all lengths, shapes, and sizes. Their bodies curve and slither over each other, their slender heads poking in all directions; some even look up at you. The ones looking upward at you jab their heads in your direction, showing you their large fangs as a threat. When that happens, Nancy shakes the aquarium.

“Stop that this moment,” she tells them. “My helper is not for you to bite.”

You swallow nervously as you watch the snakes move. You can almost feel them, sliding across your feet and slithering their serpentine bodies into your clothing; rubbing their scales across your skin and through your hair.

“Are they deadly?” You ask shakily.

“Not exactly,” says Nancy. “If they bite you, you won’t die. You’ll just see some things that aren’t really there.”

“Hallucinations, you mean?” You ask.

“Yes, that’s it exactly!” Nancy said, and then took they aquarium and set in on the corner in the room.

You keep watch on the snakes threw the corner of you eye. The sight of snakes piled on each other is repulsive and enough to make you sick to your stomach, but you fear their bite more than the sight: so you watch them carefully.

“What does this ghost look like, exactly?” You ask Nancy

“You can’t see ghosts, silly; not directly at least.” Nancy said, twirling around the room.

“What do you mean?” You ask.

Nancy stops, and looks at you as if you’re the biggest idiot that has ever had the misfortune of living. “I meant what I said, silly. You can’t see ghost, but you can feel them. Normally it’s weird stuff, like a smell or a sound… But you can’t see ghosts. The only time you can see a ghost is if they want to be seen, and they’re pretending to look like something else. Like a game of dress-up.” Nancy gives you a toothy grin, “But that almost never happens.”

You nod your head slowly, and look over at the aquarium nervously. You hope that the snakes are tangled, so they can’t slither out. Nancy looks around, and sighs heavily.

“I don’t think the ghost is here.” She concludes sadly. She spins her hair between her fingers and looks at the floor thoughtfully. “Do you think he’s here?” She asks you.

“I don’t think there are any ghost here.” You tell her, your eyes glued to the snakes.

“Well that’s good. Maybe we should go look somewhere else. I know another room he might hide in. It’s right down the hall.” Nancy says, and begins to walk out the door. You follow close behind. I don’t get how there could be more hallway. It’s bigger inside than it is outside; like that Doctor Who or whatever show. You think to yourself. Still, you figure anything can happen when you’re dreaming, so you continue with Nancy to the next room.

Nancy takes you to a large glass door. The glass on the door has a sort of wavy texture to it, so it is very opaque. She opens the door for you, and leads you inside.

The door shuts behind you, and leaves you in blackness. You are completely and totally blind to the world around you. The darkness wraps around you tightly, like a blanket, leaving you helpless. You turn around, praying that a new position would allow access to some type of insight about the room, but that doesn’t work. You’re afraid to move your feet any more after your first initial move, because for all you know the next step would be into a broken floorboard. So you stand there, perfectly still.

“Nancy where are you?” You ask, nervously.

“Getting the lights, wait one moment!” She replies. You stand alone, in total silence, and total darkness.

It’s not so much the dark that scares you, but rather the not knowing what’s in the dark. The house has been so strange… You have no idea what will jump out at you next. You just want to see. You don’t want to be ignorant of your surroundings, and you don’t want to be stuck in this unsure limbo. You just want to be out, you want- you need to see what’s going on. At this point you don’t care what you will witness within the new, exotic room Nancy has brought you to, you just want to see: to step out of the darkness.

“I think I found the light!” Nancy calls. You hear a flip, and then you can finally see. You look around you, and see a city. On the walls you see hundreds of people covering a plethora of races, weights, heights, ages, and sexes, all walking busily. Taxi drivers honk, and people in their own cars honk back. There are red lights, to green lights, to yellow lights, and then back to red again. With all the loud noise and all the people, it feels like you’re in the heart of a city.

“Isn’t this neat?” Nancy asks, standing next to you. You hold your breath as you stare at all the people, and hear all the noise.

“What city is this?” You ask her.

“It’s called Pittsburgh. It’s in Pennsylvania, in the United States.” Nancy said. “Did you know, they serve sandwiches with chips in them? Normally I prefer my chips with some fish, but they put theirs’ in a sandwich! How interesting is that?” Nancy asks. You nod your head, and watch as a man walk down the street with a coffee in his hand. His hair is combed back neatly, and he is wearing a black hat on his head with khaki pants and a blue dress shirt tucked in. He looks over, and stares back at you with large, brown eyes. It looks like he is observing you, as if he can actually see you standing there.

“Can I help yinz with something?” He asks, raising an eyebrow curiously. You jump back, startled.

“No, we’re fine. Thanks Mr. Smith!” Nancy calls back.
Mr. Smith flashes a white smile in reply, and with his free hand he waves good-bye. Shocked, you lean down close to Nancy.

“How in God’s name was he speaking to us?” You ask.

“I’m not exactly sure to be honest. My mother did that somehow. I’m not allowed to go further in the yard, you see, so she made this for me; so I can see how the world works.” Nancy said.

“Where is your mother at now?” You ask.

Nancy looks down sadly, and shuffles her feet. “W-well I’m not sure exactly. She said she was going to go to get us supper, but she must still be looking for something to eat.”

“How long has she been gone?”

“Seventy-four years or so.”

“Seventy-four years?”

“Yes. If I counted the time right.”

This is so freaky. I don’t even understand what’s going on anymore. You think. You take a breath in, and watch all the people walk around. They smile, exchange words, frown, exchange swears, and you just stand and stare at them all. The noise and the passing glances come across as a vexation and nothing more at first. Slowly, however, things feel like they’re moving faster and the noise is moving into a crescendo. You feel awkward and out of place, slow and sluggish to everyone and everything. You feel compression on your chest, claustrophobic to all the other beings wandering the streets of the city.

“Nancy is he here?” You ask.

“No, I don’t think so,” she shouts over the crowd, “but we can go look in other places!”

You shake your head in agreement, and Nancy begins to walk you out of the room. You notice the hallway lights have dimmed, but everything else seems to be the same.

“He might be upstairs,” Nancy chirps.

You look down at her and raise an eyebrow, “Upstairs?”
“Yes, there are two levels on the house. I’ll show you.” She says, and leads you a little further down the hall. She turns to her left, and opens a wooden door with a brass knob that reveals a stairway. The stairway’s lighting is much brighter than that in the hall, and the steps seem to be in fairly good condition. The walls and the floor are made up of a light brown wood that is lightly covered in a soft blanket of dust. The steps are a little steeper than average, but other than that it seems to be normal.

“I’ll walk you up,” Nancy says, and begins to march up each step; holding the skirt of her dress in her hands as she moves. You lift your foot and begin to climb up each step, and you look around. As you walk up, you notice pictures hanging askew on the walls. You pause, and turn to observe the first picture you encounter. You see it is a picture of a clown. He, or she, (you can’t really tell it’s gender) is smiling brightly, showing white teeth between thickly painted red lips. There’s blue painted around the eyes, and purple dots scattered across his/her white, dramatically painted face. The clown is wearing a party hat, and a large white collar with a suit of polka dots, stripes, and a gamut of colors. In the middle of the clown’s face is a large red nose, and it appears that the clown is going to honk it at you. You look at the picture, feeling disturbed by the smile. It feels like the longer you stare at the picture, the sharper the clown’s teeth become, and the larger the smile appears to be. You start to proceed up the stairs, trying to pay no mind to the disrupted image.
You try to ignore the previous image, but nothing can stop you from the other strange pictures you see out of the corner of your eye. You see men in dresses, looking happily at women dressed in suits made for men. On the other wall there is a giggling child on a rocking horse, levitating slightly off of the floor. In another you see a picture of a group of children; they look up at the camera with parted mouths and tired eyes with wrinkles decorating their small faces. You wonder how many more steps until you reach the top, because you can’t stand one more disturbed image staring at you.

Soon (but not soon enough) Nancy opens a door to the next level of the house. “Okay, here we are. Keep an eye out for him, he might be anywhere.” She tells you, and leads you forward. You take a step into the upper floor, and begin to ponder about when you’re going to wake up, and how on earth you were able to dream up such a bizarre place.

The area seems to be fairly normal and flawless with the exception of the draft you feel on your back. You look around for a sign of a window, but don’t see any openings. You look down at Nancy, walking happily in front of you. “Nancy, where’s the breeze coming from?” You ask her, “You don’t have a hole in the wall, do you?” You ask. You assume that the house is too old for any sort of air-conditioning or even an electric fan.

“No, you shouldn’t feel anything like that.” She says, and looks at you with wide, shocked eyes. “It must be him.” She says, and starts running down the hall.

“Nancy!” You call, and chase after her. She runs fast for a little girl, and you breathe heavily as you run to keep up with her.

“He’s going to show up as something scary,” she tells you as she sprints. “You can’t let him touch you, or trick you, or scare you. If he touches you, it’s all over.” She tells you.

“What’s all over?” You huff

“You are!” She exclaims, and opens a door. She runs inside, and you hop in with her.

“W- What do you mean?” You ask. You hear a click, and Nancy turns on a small light. You see you’re in a small closet, filled with coats that linger with an old musk.

“If he touches you, you die. That’s what I mean.” Nancy tells you.

“Wait, how?” You ask.

Nancy rolls her eyes, “The living and the dead can’t interact physically, and the dead can’t be brought back to life. The barrier between you and the ghost has to be broken if you touch him… And the only way for that work is if you die.” Nancy says.

You take in a breath, and curl up. This doesn’t make sense, this is crazy. You can’t die in a dream. This is crazy, I should just wake up. You tell yourself, and give yourself a pinch. You’re still there, with a little girl telling you that you could die.

“How- How do I get rid of him?” You say with a cracking voice and shaking breath.

“The same way I got rid of the first ghost. You have to close the door on him.”

“But the door is closed,” you say, looking at the closet door.

“You have to open it, and slam it on him; just like I did.” Nancy says.

“But what if he-“

“I won’t let him touch you.” Nancy says, and reaches for the door. “Are you ready?” She asks.

You feel tears in your eyes, but you can’t help it. Your life could end; this might be something so much more than just some dream. “Will I go home after this?” You ask, “If I help you get rid of these ghosts?”

Nancy smiles, “I promise you’ll leave here.” She says. You shake your head in agreement, and Nancy begins to crack open the door. You inhale slowly and deeply, and exhale carefully, for every breath is sacred. You are trapped in a limbo of non-fiction and fantasy, unsure on which side of the border you’ll find yourself on after Nancy opens the door. You wait patiently, and let yourself become acquainted to the familiar feeling of fear.

The door opens, and on the other side you see what appears to be a man in a hood, with chains draping his neck and wrists like elegant jewelry on a woman. His face is masked by a dark shadow, and his lack of identity leaves you in a state of vexation. You step forward slightly, hoping the simple movement will allow you to gain visual clarity. Suddenly, you see it: arising from the opaque darkness your eyes focus out a set of teeth: sharp, broken, and many in number; smiling cruelly at you. Above the wicked grin you spot to red eyes, serpentine in appearance. Your ears perk up at the sound of his speech. His voice is growly, yet melodic; his words are simple.


You look at him, and shakily you respond, “Hello.”

The thing folds his arms, “I heard you were looking for me,” he says, and his smile grows. “I’m flattered.”

Your eyes sting and you feel tears streaming down your cheeks. “You have to go away.” You tell him, not sure what else to say.

His response is a roar of laughter as deep and dark as sin. His voice emits into the halls, echoing off into the distance. “You want me to leave?” He asks you, his attitude gay and arrogant. “Why would I leave? This is my house.”

You gather every ounce of courage that you have, and retort “No, this is Nancy’s house. You don’t belong here.”

The hallway irrupts again with the sound of his laughter. The thundering chuckle pounds inside your chest and leaves your heart shaking. “Oh no,” He says to you, and he takes a small step forward. “It’s you that doesn’t belong here. We all know that you shouldn’t be here.”

“Then come here, and make me leave.” You tell him as you clench your fists angrily. His smile fades for only a moment, but it appears again as he slowly curls the end of his lips back into his original, horrific grin.

“With pleasure.”
The Second Ghost runs toward you, showing off claws at the ends of his fingers where nails should be. His carnivorous teeth look at you hungrily as his eyes observe you: his prey. You take in a breath, and tell yourself to shut the door. Time begins to slow down as your hand reaches for the knob of the door. The thing lunges at you, starving for a kill. You turn your arm and slam the door with all the strength you can muster. The door shuts with a loud slam, and you fall to your knees.

Your entire body trembles, and you realize that you’re crying. Nancy walks forward, carefully stepping over you, and she opens the door. Through large, salty tears you see an empty hallway. Relieved, you hug yourself into a ball.

“You did well.” Nancy says, and sits next to you.

“I-is h-h-he go-ne-ne?” You ask between quick and deep breaths.

“Yes, he’s not here anymore. You did it.” She tells you, and smiles. You try to smile back, but you can’t. All you can do is ask her the question that’s been running in the back of your mind since you first woke up in her strange little world.

“Can I go home now?” You beg.

Nancy shakes her head, telling you no. “The third ghost is still waiting. He’s upstairs on the roof.” She tells you.

“Will it be easier than this one?” You ask.

Nancy taps her chin thoughtfully, and closes her eyes: pondering. “I don’t think it will be easier, but it will be faster.” Nancy tells you.

You nod your head, and pick yourself up from the ground. You brush the dust off of your pajama pants, and Nancy motions you to follow her. You walk carefully behind her, wiping away the tears on your face.

Nancy leads you upstairs, and onto the roof of the house. You look outside, and notice nothing has changed. The suns are still in their place, the ground is the same, and the sky still stretches on into eternity and beyond. The only difference is that you’re up very high. You walk over to the edge, and look over. Your heart begins to pick up its pace as you look over. The ground is a million miles below you, and suddenly you feel faint. Your breath is caught inside your lungs, your hands are shaking, and you head feels dizzy.

“Helper, don’t look down!” Nancy yells, and you take a step back. You close your eyes tightly, and turn away. You slowly recover you breath and courage, and you swear to yourself not to look over again.

“Where’s this ghost at?” You ask, getting back on task.

“On the roof.” Nancy says.

You look around, and don’t see anything but a few broken tiles scattered about the rooftop. You remember that you can’t see ghost: only feel them. Even then… You don’t feel anything strange other than the fact that you are dangerously high up. You look at Nancy, and raise an eyebrow curiously.

“Nancy I don’t think the ghost is up here.” You tell her.

Nancy smiles, and then begins to giggle. “No, the ghost is here. Think really hard.”

You rub your head, and close your eyes tightly. Frustrated, you kick a piece of a tile away. You open your eyes, and look at Nancy; then realize her eyes are no longer brown but a blood red.

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“Wait- there’s no way…” You stutter, taking a fearful step back. Nancy claps her hands together happily.

“Oh yes! Go on, go on and say it. You know the answer!” Nancy says excitedly.

You take a shaky breath and mutter softly, “It’s you.”

Nancy laughs, and jumps around happily as if she had just won a game. “Oh yes, it is me! You figured it out!” She says.

You stare at her, scared and confused. You turn your head to the side, and sigh with distress. “Why? Why would you go through all this trouble? And who was that downstairs? And what are you going to do to me?” You ask.

Nancy stops, and sighs, “Must I truly spell it out for you?” She asks, and sits down on the roof. “Very well, allow me to explain.

“I’m an angel; or at least at one point I was. When Lucifer betrayed God, I took his side. So now I’m a fallen angel… ‘One of the lost children,’ the angels call me. We feed on souls, we fallen angels. I try to be nice and eat only the souls that are not whole: the ones that are broken inside… I devour the souls of lost children, lost like my brother and me. That ‘ghost’ downstairs was him; he helps me catch souls like you.”

I’m a lost child? You wonder to yourself, I’m really one of them?

“Why go through the struggle though? Why didn’t you just get it over with when you first saw me? Why? -“

“The house?” Nancy finishes. “Oh, what fun is there in just eating you? I like to get to know my food… I like to see how they look, how the react, how they sound, how they...” A smile forms on the girls face, “how they smell.” She says, and she licks her lips.

You look back over the edge, wondering if you could try to jump off the roof in hopes of dying quickly, but you quickly throw that idea away: realizing you can’t muster up the courage to go near the end of the roof again. You ponder on whether you can take a step toward the doorway back downstairs, hoping to run. Where you will run to, you don’t know though; but every part of you is screaming and aching for you to get out of here.

“Are you going to try to run?” Nancy asks, quickly picking up on your scheme, and she stands back up. “Do you want to play some more? Do you like my game?” She asks, and claps her hands together. “We can play ‘hide-and-seek-.’ I’ll count to ten, and then you can try to hide. I love games.” Nancy smiles softly, and slowly brings her hands to cover her eyes. She draws in a deep breath, and slowly speaks the word “one.” With her voice emanating in the sky, you begin your swift decent down the stairs.

You run down the stairs, and walk into a room full of mirrors. This wasn’t where we just were. You think to yourself in a panic. This is the first room we were in -- this is where we began.

“Two!” Nancy counts loudly at a tormentingly slow pace. You see the door on the other side of the room, and you run to it. With sweat and tears cloaking your face, you reach out to open the door. With the flick of your wrist your attempt to turn the knob -- only to realize that it’s locked. You let a small shriek escape from your lips, and then you hear the next number. “Three!”

Angry and afraid, you decide your only chance of escape is to smash the mirrored door down. You take a few steps back, and you run toward the door at full charge. You hit the door with a large crash and some pieces of the mirror fall with a shatter upon the mirrored floor; even so, the door still stands: an obstacle in your way of reaching the outside. As you feel your blood oozing from your arm, the next number is spoken. “Four!”

You take another few steps back, and go to take another running start at the door. Again you run at full charge into the door, and the door begins to become even looser as you slam your body into the door. One more charge, you think, one more time and it will come down.
With the third and final run, you charge at the door. The entire wall comes down with a crashing shatter, and you begin to run down the hall.
You run, but are forced to stop when a wall of white thread is blocking your path. All over the white are bugs from the size of your palm to the size of your pinky nail. They scurry over each other and all around, never slowing, never stopping. You decide your only hope for survival is to run through it.
You run through, hearing small hissing noising coming from the bugs you just trampled. You can feel them in your shirt, biting at your flesh and running across your head. You can feel their legs digging into your cuts, and their webs clotting with your blood. You keep running though, and you keep moving.
You reach the end of the hall, and throw open the door. All over the floor you see snakes. They’re slithering all across the floor, and through the walls. Your stomach can’t stand the sight, and you become sick on the floor. You breathe heavily, and spit out the disgusting taste in your mouth. You can barely breath, but you know the only way to have a chance of life is to run through them. You gather up all your courage, and begin to run through. A roar of hisses echo’s into the room as you step on the snakes. Many retaliate, and bite your ankles and legs. You feel a sharp pain as their venom flows from their fangs into your flesh. You fight off the pain, and continue to run.
You make it through the room, only to find yourself in front of a door to the next room. You push aside your fears, and open the door.
As soon as you open the door you are greeted with a room full of people, and notice that everyone who opens their mouth emit the sounds of cars in traffic. There are loud honks, sirens, and blares of loud rap music shrieking into your ears; shattering your eardrums. It feels like the people are closing in around you, and their noise only grows louder and louder by the second. You can hardly breath, and again you begin to feel faint. You force yourself through the crowd. Finally you make it to the door, and stumble out: falling face-first down onto the floor.
You pick yourself up, and run again. However, you don’t get far down the hallway without having to go through another door. Oh my Lord, please make it stop.
You throw open the door, and see a long staircase. The stairs begin to spiral and swirl, and you can barely make them out. Curse those snakes! You think to yourself, and attempt to take a step down. As quickly as you can you walk down each step as your entire world continues to spiral out of proportion.
“Ten!” Nancy hollers.
You don’t stop, you keep moving. You know that the moment you give up is the moment you die, so you keep pushing. As you walk down, you pass the pictures, and you can hear the people in them laughing at you and whispering about you. You shake your head. “Shut up!” You hear yourself saying, “Shut up, shut up, shut up!” You regret what you said, because you begin to feel their hands. They start to grab at your clothes, and the whispering turns into screams.
You can hear what they’re saying,
“I have the human! I’m getting a reward for capturing-“
“No, I’ve got the human!”
“No, I do! I have the little mortal!”
You pull away from their grasps, but with too much force. You fall down the rest of the stairs as you continue to feel hands trying to capture you. You keep rolling down the stairs until you reach the bottom, and land on your back. The wind get’s knocked out of you, and you can’t breathe.
You pick yourself up and look around. You see a long hallway, and you’re afraid Nancy’s brother is waiting for you at the end. You look around for somewhere to hide. You look to your left, and see the closet that you and Nancy hid in earlier. You reach out toward the spinning doorknob, and after several misses of trying to grab it, your shaky hands manage to open the door. You run in, and slam the door shut. You’re then left alone with your pounding head. What do I do?... You wonder frantically, what do I do?!
You think as you hear footsteps walking across the wooden floor upstairs. You begin to think. I can’t do anything! I can barely see! You think to yourself, and then realize something. Wait… I’m in a closet without any windows, and there’s no light on. You think to yourself. I shouldn’t be able to see at all. You look around you, and notice there is a small, bright light coming from a small hole at the bottom of the back wall. Maybe it will lead to the outside… You wonder, and go to grab at the hole. You dig your fingers under the space, and pull as hard as you can. A small chunk of the wooden wall comes out, and the light becomes brighter. You continue to pull, trying to make a big enough space for you to crawl through. As splinters dig underneath you finger nails you can hear Nancy’s footsteps walk down the stairs. You try to move faster, but making a hole in the wall is taking longer than you hoped. You take your foot and kick the wall. It breaks just enough for you to crawl through. As you try to fit through, you can hear Nancy breathing right outside the door, and you can hear the sound of the doorknob slowly turning.

“Ready or not,” she says quietly. “Here I come.”

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