This was originally from my diary-x journal. One of the favorite stories I wrote on that one. Read at your own risk.
I stand collected in this mind of stages, and the dreams play into an exhibit standing in what can be described in a way that resembles an old church. Similar to the old churches residing in Naperville, Illinois. Old, Gothic and ravens perching on the crosses and the steeple of the chapel or even in downtown Joliet made of steel and stone. Such a dream played into memory fairly recently while under the influence of NyQuil and Tylenol PM. It’s often disturbing what the mind comes up when the body is exhausted from a lack of sleep, the type of exhaustion that comes to mind when the first time I visited Willowcreek Church in 1994.
It was from the lack of sleep back then and now that I had these kind of dreams, the ones where the ravens are perched upon the church steeple. The type of thing that comes to mind more so when I tried to fall asleep on the friend’s bed while he was getting ready for his graduation party. The dream that I remember from that brief sleep was the same dream I had recently, the details of this happened to be rather vague but what I do remember – happens to be rather disturbing.; just that I found in the dream the church having the word “Ichabod” written on it.
As some might ask or wonder what Ichabod means, it is a dark picture for those involved with the church meaning no revival. Often when I was dragged to different churches I kept thinking about what it meant in some shadows and memory it often stands within the dream.
“Can you hear my voice,” the preacher would say.
“The shadows are cast upon the wall while the cross shines in the darkness. “
All I would see when I was dreaming would be the thousand ravens perched on the cross and screaming; screaming for the dead before dawn because if they stopped the dead would go to hell. The word painted across the face of the preacher in blood was “Ichabod.”
Among the eyes and dreams that gather within the lost I watch within the weary eyes as I observe now of all the things that happened back then. It was in those nightmares it became a struggle with belief and the foreshadowing madness of the years to come. What was the faith in God that I believed in was waiting to pass away; that some form of the faith still existed but some parts of it was withered and torn. Something about the dream still gets to me to this day, I mean when I would have the dream now there would be other aspects creeping in there as in a woman dressed in a black gown toting a bible; she had this melancholy look to her face almost if she knew that someone died long ago and she was going to the funeral.
I asked her about why was she walking around she whispered one word, “Ichabod.,” it was in the shadow within the nightmares from the pastor’s minds if the idea that there would be no revival in their mind. I found myself hearing the silence of this whisper, the etchings of them meaning of which as the entity was saying, “all revivals are dead.”
Tongues that speak without the words of trust become the shadow of an unspoken blasphemy, all the nightmares that begin will not end until a preacher’s death after their benediction. It followed from there; each dimension it creates when the dream continues to go in the direction within one’s madness. Beneath it all when I stand there as an observer – all those dreams of while I stood in the church and congregations of the empty souls and wooden minds. My eyes were looking and nothing was to be found; only as it stands across their foreheads – the one word “Ichabod” was written across their faces. Ichabod, the shadow of the eyes when it says there is no revival – the eyes as they see from the horrors that can’t be said; or even seen. When they say think of the pure and lovely, what might be pure to some might be grotesque to others.
Faith –– something I will never have, but it was from the dreams that come from the result of the years, and what is in the mind when they sit there listening to the benediction. Of such it comes to mind when it collects, all that stands within the shadow and memories that draw from the sleeping body in the present day – and those dreams become the ghosts from ones past. In the yesterdays that come and past, memories from them gather from one year into the next and stand weathered in a madness of sickness and health. Years collected within the dementia, another faith that withers in the truth that died –– even when they try to find that reality of revival it would lead to the loss of many within the bizarre shadows as they dance within the memory and mind. Horror and faith within the landscape collected in nightmares and the patterns of disturbed sleep. I often thought about this dream back when I was eighteen, when I was first inside of Willowcreek then the bizarre dreams stand as they are written.
“Could someone tell me what is going on here?” I asked with a worried look my face.
The silence was strong, almost too overpowering and it was the only sound which could be heard as the dream continued. It collected from there, wandering as an entity all its own. Wandering, watching as they’ve remained upon their knees; taken from odd beginnings while the figure in black toting the holy book watches on. This entity was just an observer, knowing that it was either a revival or nightmare that waits to happen –– when it within whispers haunt the mind and dreams. Withered and torn as they watch the observer in black, she still sees the word “Ichabod” written across their face and their hands. While they tried to pray to the empty skies there was nothing that could heal them, all the blood remained on their hands and it would never be removed. All the nightmares within them as I stood there along with the observer in black, waiting and watching she stood. Another place on the cross were the ravens perched, the madness within while they wait for the God to heal them of the things they can never be delivered from. The things within their mind becomes the shadow of memory while the whispers chant the single word –– ICHABOD. That word becomes the beginning of all the whispers waiting for them as they wander; dreams within them become a message from the lost beginnings – waiting for them to awaken once again. Some who think these dreams should not be written, knowing their grotesque nature.
“What the hell is going on around here?”
“Could someone tell me please what the hell is going on?”
No one answered, and continues to project itself all the while it lasted for a number of years. Years this dream lasted, some time frames are sketchy at best but this is all of the dream I was able to remember. Sometimes the dream came about when I was in the medical office of the college. Another eye looking on, from another mind –– it collects from periods of time and being dragged to different fellowship groups. If they only knew what dwelled within me as far as the nightmares go, all that stands in time where the rains and shadow grow. That was how it was, all the dreams from there just foreshadowed everything to come – the years which were there looking on as an observer. All the dreams that stemmed from that visit – among the beginnings that stemmed from 1994, years and followed the implied faith after that gathered of years. Time when it collected, I watch the souls with blood on their hands.
“Someone answer me!”
Silence was the answer no one spoke a single word. It seemed that all that was able to be heard was one thing –– silence. All that stands within their prayers, the madness that devours – all the truth and faith that died. I watched and observed within a shadow of memory while the woman in black wandered around with her leather bound holy book in tow. While she walked the ravens just sat there perched in the darkness and shadows; their beady little eyes staring on as they didn’t have a soul of their own. The cawing and cackling in the darkness and watched the pews – the word “Ichabod” was the thing that appeared the most visible.
The horrors they see and never knew within nightmares of their memory and minds; the fire when they close their eyes become the bugbears that haunt them at night. The ideas of their faith and sickness, when God frowned upon them all –– even in the shadows watching the attendees on their knees whispering to the empty skies expecting an answer.
“Could someone tell me why the nightmares and spiritual migraines still persist; all that stands in my nightmares are madness and pestilence,” one screamed – it was while they were kneeling on the ground waiting for the answers they want and demand. Nothing came of them, just silence and madness. Their looking for the answers to what described heaven is the door opening to their personal hell instead. What wanders and watches, listens and does absolutely nothing to heal them of a sickness they were given. What they’ve known and all they’ve seen – all the horrors they watch and the horrors they feel, everything they see and devours their soul. All that wanders within the halls were the nightmares from my sleep, the years that stand there and wait when I was younger was there now when I got older. I heard when they were screaming within the walls of the House of God, madness received but never forgiven.
All the things they came to see – healing that they prayed for but when the moment comes no one would ever do so, denying the idea that medicine is there and science allowed them to live longer. Hanging onto life but they pray for death; within the eyes they see something that claims to be their God, but everything around them withers and turned to dust. Hands they were touched on the heads by allowed them to slumber but the shadows they keep follow within the eyes of dream. Gathered from the tired eyes as they face the wandering unknown. Waiting –– the ravens watch without a soul as the entity walks among the praying. As they prayed for the miracle it would never come or make itself manifest, just an empty promise and forgotten hope within their sickness and disease.
I watched them fall over like they were struck dead; madness they see and the madness they know – horrors of the mind tormented them in the soul. All of it came from one word written across their face, the word “Ichabod.” The label carried them much of life and into their demise, as I saw it within the dream – all their lines waited for the healing they would never get. They were too sick to receive it. All the sermons and benedictions they were told to believe and all the years they sat and listened to all that was once said – even in sickness they were asked to have undying devotion, and in the sickness leads to demise.
“What is going on around here? Could someone please heal us,” cried the leper. All that stood there was nothing but silence to their questions and plea, the answers they begged but never received. From them I stood with a torment to my eyes, and of those in the dreams haunting sleep after years of setting foot from one church to the next. One of those reasons being the damned dreams that haunted me from one year into the next.
“God – we beg you to heal us?” One of them moaned in pain, blisters of puss were breaking into full blown sores. Each sore resembled something of a wasp sting, with stingers the size of syringes –– from some way the observer looked one with the bible in her hand and clad in a long black dress and long rust colored cape. While she wandered around she heard the crows screaming all at once, as they would when the whippoorwills scream for the dead before dawn.
“Look around and all that will be seen, everything that will be said would help you gain some understanding,” she said in response, “I am not God, just a messenger he sent. The ravens are the observers to make sure some get healed from the sickness they cannot get healed from.”
She recognized the chilling word written across their forehead, the word “Ichabod.” It was then she knew that she wasn’t able to lay hands on them and pray, but it stood in the horror of her mind and memory – all the things that can be done can’t be healed. Each place they gather – the nightmares I watch from memory as I am now, the faith I walked away from always has a way of returning in one shape or form. Those are the kind of dreams that stirred from then as they remained now – for all eternity; that leads from age and life of me, madness had become of me – from all madness and eternity. As it stands in every mind, every withered faith; it would collect in the years of old dreams and wander in the nightmares shadowing the memory of all what was left behind. From the memory gathered from the faded years, all that remained within the nightmares and the broken sleep – are the words, “Blessed are the sick!”
I found myself waking up in that darkened room within the nurses office after hearing those four words, gasping and laying there upon the cot still ill.
“What’s wrong Nickolaus?” the nurse responded. She must of heard me gasping, “something must of really frightened you.”
“Just another nightmare, I don’t know something that must of came on from being this sick that I was the past few weeks,” I answered., “just strange since I was hit by the car more of them were getting even more horrific.”
I didn’t want to tell the details of this one in full detail back then because I knew they were just too chilling to relate at the time. This was the dream back then in 1997, but I find myself having some variants of the dream now when I write of them in my late twenties. They seem to come in a matter of years for some odd reason, the stress of it I think or guess; just really disturbing . I never really wrote about this one back then for some odd reason, just that it appeared to be so dark back then and didn’t want to really talk about it. Just that the whole idea of a church having no revival was frightening for me back then, now when I think about it now in my late twenties – the dream still haunts me.
“How long had you had these nightmares?” She asked taking my vitals.
“Hell – been years.” I just shrugged it off – I was too exhausted to go class that night; it was one of the classes I was failing and they wanted me to give a speech. All the coughing I did that day I was too light headed to get up. In fact I actually collapsed on the bed when I first got into there. I didn’t get that much sleep but the sleep I did get, was that nightmare. I never really wanted to think about that dream again back then, but looking at some of my more frightening dreams – I figured it was time to write this one out, the dream that stands for the rest of my memory. The one described as “The Ichabod.”
Site: Writings From The Grave
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|Reviewed by Irina Karstein (Reader)
|This has a poetic feeling to it, I can hear echoes of Poe and even Baudelarian's hellish symbolism. I enjoyed the imagery in this story, it is very good.|
|Reviewed by Isaiyan Morrison
|Wow, this was an excellent story. Sorry I just got to it.
I love how you brought me into your world.
Good f*cking job!
|Reviewed by Mitzi Jackson
|Whoa....when i read you, you take my mind to places
(dark) and it is so exciting!!!
loved this here
|Reviewed by Charles O'Connor III
|WOW, Nick I MUST SAY THAT IS SOME EXCELLENT MATERIAL. VERY VIVID AND DEPTHFUL. YOU CAPTURED PURE DARKNESS AND IT WAS A VERY COOL READ. WHATEVER CHURCH YOU SAW, I DON'T WANT TO GO. "Check out my new story, Mable's Grave". This one took me a while because i wanted to construct it perfectly.
TAKE CARE FRIEND,
CHARLES D. O'CONNOR III "WHEN RANDOLPH CARTER WAS THIRTY, HE LOST THE KEY TO THE LAND OF DREAMS,"- H.P. Lovecraft.
|Reviewed by Graham whittaker
|Good job Nick. Only just got time to read this. We can all get great fodder from the Universal Nightmare. Don't you wish we could all write like Poe? Nice work.
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|Excellent story, Nickolaus; very well penned!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D