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The Shadow of Dreams

Author since 2015 1Story 2 Followers
The Shadow of Dreams

In highschool, I had this friend who had really weird dreams. We would drive to school in the morning and she would tell me about them. They all had the same premise, and they all started a little ways into our junior year.

In the dream, she would wake up in a long dungeon-like corridor. It was dim, with only the light of torches to see through the dusty air. The passageway lead on for what seemed like forever; it twisted and turned in unrealistic and impossible ways. You could be going in a straight line, and end up where you were before, but when you turn yourself around, you’d be in a different place. She would walk along through the maze, fully aware that she was dreaming. It was like some surreal vision.

Once in a while, there would be a small wooden door in the wall. Inside it was always the same thing: a small circular room with a spiral staircase in the middle. The staircase would go up for what seemed like forever, but if she looked hard enough, she could see shapes up above. These were dreams. Some were hers, some were not. She tried many times to climb the stairs but she never got far. It was impossible, somehow. She could be climbing for hours, but when she looks down she’s still on the first step. She often felt uneasy in the dream, like she was not supposed to be there, or that she was breaking some law she had never heard of. It all just felt so wrong.

Every night it was the same dream. Alone, winding through a dungeon maze. For months she was trapped while she slept. She became tired and irritable during the day, and even refused to sleep some nights. In the mornings we would drive to school and she would tell me about the dreams, what she did.

She usually explored down in the places she had never been; she started making maps and drawings of what it looked like. At night, she would memorize the turns and twists, and during the day she would be writing and adding more to the maps. She hung them up on the walls of her room, making one big network of corridors. Every time I went to her house it was bigger. It was a little scary how quickly this had become her life. Her parents were worried for her, but they didn’t know about the dreams. I knew, and I was very worried.

One night while dreaming, she went in a direction she hadn’t before, and noticed more torches than usual this way. She followed as the hallway got wider and wider until it opened up to a massive, white marble staircase leading down into pitch black darkness. She excitedly ran up to it, but as she got closer her heart began to beat involuntarily. There was something wrong. She wasn’t supposed to be here. She looked down into the blackness of the hole, and she felt scared. The darkness wasn’t just a lack of light. It felt more physical than that, as if it was a thing, living at the bottom of the staircase. Frightened, she woke up in a sweat, leaving the stairway behind.

She told me the news that morning, and I had never seen her so excited. Months of the same dream, over and over again. FINALLY, something new. She said she was going to go down it, but it made me nervous. Her parents still didn’t know about the dreams, although they asked me what was going on, with all the drawings in her room I wasn’t surprised. I just told them she was working on something. But that didn’t make them feel better.

That night, she managed to find the descending staircase again. The white marble glowed in the light of the torches and made her stomach turn inside of her. Slowly, she traveled down step by step. It got darker and darker as she went. Occasionally, she would look back up to where the torches could be seen. The fading light was comforting. She stepped down into the darkness and it became colder with every step. Soon she couldn’t see anything around her, not even herself. Her heart raced as she looked back up to the hallway, but all she saw was black. The light was gone from view. Her heart pounded away in her throat as she tried not to panic.

She kept going, as slow as she could, feeling with her feet down the staircase. Slowly she descended, down and down, on seemingly endless stairs. Was it? She felt a slight breeze glide past her, just barely noticeable. Unnerved, she stopped. A draft? Trying to push the thought of it out of her mind, she descended once more, but as she went on, she kept feeling different gusts across her skin. Goosebumps crawled up her arm as she got the feeling that someone was staring at her.

Suddenly the staircase ended and there was a flat floor in front of her. She breathed heavily, and slowly reached her arms out, blindly feeling the air for anything.

“He-hello?” She called quietly. She felt a cold breeze on her face, coming from directly in front of her.
“Hello,” A deep, gravely voice came from directly in front of her face.

She screamed and backed up into the staircase as something grabbed her arm. She pulled up and up the staircase but the thing hung on. She shook her arm wildly and her heart hurt in her chest from pounding. She scrambled up the stairs, dragging the heavy thing behind her until she could see light again. Still struggling, she turned to see her attacker in the light, but came face to face with a shadow. It held firmly onto her with a boney hand as she wrangled around. She shouted and screamed, failing to get it off.

She woke up screaming as both her parents held onto her. Finally, daylight had come. Sweaty and exhausted, she breathed deeply to calm herself. Her parents were baffled. They started asking if she was okay but she brushed them off. Didn’t say a word to them just took a shower and left for school. With a shaky voice, she told me everything that happened and I was just as scared as she was. She couldn’t stop crying as she told me, and I didn’t know what to say. What can you say to that?

Sadly, and with some effort, she rolled up the sleeve to her shirt and revealed a series of long claw-like scratches down her forearm. I gasped. They were still fresh. What was going on? Till that moment I always thought this stuff was just dreams. I was wrong.

I asked her what she meant when she said a shadow had grabbed her, but all she could say was “It was pitch black, like a solid shape. It was as if no light could touch it.” I thought a lot about The Shadow that day. She never said that it tried to pull her into the darkness, only that it held onto her. I don’t think it was trying to pull her down. I think it wanted her to pull it up. Into the corridor? Into our world? I don’t know. I was scared.

She didn’t want to fall asleep, not ever again, and I can’t blame her. Even I didn’t want to sleep again. But no one can stay awake forever. The next morning I waited for her to pick me up, fiddling with my hands nervously while I waited. But she never came.

They said it was a heart attack; her parents were woken up to her screams again. They ran to her, tried to wake her, but couldn’t. She huffed and coughed, her body spasming as she grabbed at her chest. Then she fell silent. She died in her sleep without ever waking up. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if I want to know.

Most of the school showed up for the funeral. Lots of family too. I gave a short speech about her but that was it. I was the only person that knew, and it hurt so bad. A few weeks later I was out late running errands. I looked out the car window as I passed the cemetery where she was buried. My heart hurt as I thought of what happened. Pulling over, I grabbed the flashlight from my glove compartment and headed out into the night. I wandered towards her grave, wiping a few tears from my face, but then I stopped in front of it.

I still don’t know what I saw. It all happened so fast. There was fresh dirt all over the place, and a hole where her grave was. It was so horrible, and I felt so uneasy. But then it got so, so much worse. There were drag marks in the dirt, leading to the edge of the cemetery at the treeline of a small forest, and there she was.

I clasped my hands over my mouth to keep from screaming and stumbled back slightly. She was just standing there, watching me, still in the dress she was buried in. Her body was pale, and her eyes were black like a shadow. She tilted her head slightly and smiled, before walking away. I don’t know what happened to her in that dream. And I don’t know what happened in the cemetery. But I really don’t think it’s “her” anymore.

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PsycheinaSlowBoat avatar
1 month ago

Ain’t no haint like a black-eyed haint

1 month ago

I like this story. looking forward to your other stories