Become a Fan
A Child's Dream
By April L. Smith
Friday, August 19, 2005
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
I had this nightmare as a child and for some reason it still sticks in my brain to this day. Maybe even then, I was not so naive. Maybe even then I knew my brother would always be "lost" to me...our relationship would never be what I wished for--that of close and loving siblings.
The corridor stretched out before me, long and unyielding, straight as a yardstick.
It seemed to extend forever in its infinity and I struggled, squinted, to make out where it ended. I was frightened, frightened as only a child can be, feeling prickles of dread and unease tickle teasingly along my spine. The hair at the back of my neck stood erect, as if a foul breath had traveled over my skin.
“Keep going, April. Keep moving. We’re almost there.” Mr. Sheahey ordered, sensing my hesitation, and he pointed one long, almost skeletal finger down the unfathomable length of hallway.
“But where are we going? Where does this lead?” I asked uncertainly. Darkness shrouded the elementary school, pressing in hungrily along the left wall, which was lined from floor to ceiling with windows. The night was alive and hungry. It pawed and snorted and licked at the glass, a beast waiting to devour me. Somehow—maybe instinctually—I knew this.
A pale glow emanated further ahead of us, and the sound of the principal’s heeled shoes clicked a staccato rhythm along the tiled floor. My senses were alive and tingling, crackling with inner electricity.
I can’t go down there. I thought anxiously. I don’t know why, but I just can’t.
Images clamored for attention in my head, skittering across my awareness like restless ghosts. Ghoulish faces baring fangs and wearing thorny head pieces, blood red eyes and cackling voices…I could almost see these faces in front of me, clear as a mirror image.
This path would lead me to some type of hell.
From beside me, Mr. Sheahey clucked and sighed, clutching tightly to his chest a manila folder and a sheaf of loose-leaf papers.
“We’re going to the gymnasium.” He replied slyly, but his eyes betrayed him. They were dark and swirling orbs, almost black and bottomless. I felt myself falling into them and it was an unsettling feeling, dizzying, like when you stood up quickly and all the blood rushed to your head. I stumbled and reached out to steady myself, my fingertips grazing the icy cold glass, but I recoiled in revulsion. I would not touch those windows.
I can not touch them! My brain screamed irrationally. Fear ruled me and wrapped its fingers tightly, possessively, around my body.
We continued on, passing classrooms with closed doors, their single rectangular shaped windows all dark. Ominous. A sudden noise to my right stopped my feet in midstride and I gaped.
It was the principal’s office, lit up like a Christmas tree and buzzing with activity. I peered into the open doorway. Incessant phones rang, keyboard keys clacked repeatedly and voices emanated shrilly—but the room was empty.
“What’s going on?” I asked in confusion.
“We’re picking up another.” Mr. Sheahey said simply. His dark hair, graying at the temples, was greased back from his head. It shone like oil under the harsh fluorescent light that spilled out into the hallway and puddled at his feet. He impatiently shifted his stack of papers to his other arm and consulted his watch. I was standing close enough to see that the dials were frozen, forever locked into the position of 2 o’clock.
A.M. or P.M.? I thought dazedly. Mr. Sheahey nodded to himself and looked up.
A figure moved into the hallway, a familiar face in a strange world. Short bowl-cut brown hair framed a slightly chubby, dimpled face.
“Sean!” I gasped as recognition washed over me. “What are you doing here?” My brother glanced briefly, uninterested, at me and then turned back to Mr. Sheahey.
“I was sent to the principal’s office.” He replied in an uninflected monotone. His usual mischievous grin was gone and he looked strangely catatonic. His facial features were well at odds with the flashy cartoon-patterned pajamas he wore.
“Off we go.” The principal barked and marched on. Despite his unusual attitude, I was strangely comforted by my younger brother. We’d never been close, and often fought, but his presence was like an anchor to my ship on a turbulent sea. I slid my hand into his and clutched reassuringly to his cool, loose fingers. He didn’t clutch back.
A strange noise began, a whisper that turned into a roar, as we walked deeper and deeper into the monster’s belly. I felt like I was being greedily consumed. Shadows leaned and swayed, dancing erratically to their own chilling rhythm. My breath quickened and my pulse raced. I struggled to breathe as the air thickened. It was like walking through mud. Gelatinous and clinging, the air pulled and tugged at my limbs. I forced my way on, Sean by my side.
When the floor opened up before us, a black and yawning maw, a scream stuck fast in my throat. Mr. Sheahey, who had already passed over the spot, turned back to stare. He did not look surprised, nor did he look pleased. He pursed his lips in disgust, impaitience.
Sean teetered on the edge, like a climber losing his grip over a mountainous chasm. His cool fingers slipped through mine, light as air, and I struggled to grab hold of them.
He was falling.
Almost as if in a slow motion reel, I watched his body swing forward and slowly fall down, down, down, until his head was nearly level with my ankles. The black cavernous hole swallowed up his body and I could almost hear it crunch hungrily on his bones.
And then, as quickly as it had opened before us, the floor resealed with a swoosh of air.
Horror gripped me, tight and unyielding, and a cry of fear strangled me. I bent forward, retching, choking on it, as tears blinded my vision.
Sean’s head. Oh God, Sean’s head.
Now separated from his body, it rolled around and around me like a ball, a loose marble, his chocolate brown eyes staring sightlessly. Despite my revulsion and despair, I looked closely at it. There was no blood. No tendons, no muscles, no nothing. Just a clean slice.
“Like a robot.” I whimpered illogically, for what else could be decapitated and not bleed?
“Oh, God, Sean—I’m so sorry!” Tears slipped soundlessly down my cheeks and chin. I knew then that he was lost to me. Lost forever. And it was as painful as if I’d lost an essential part of myself. I was falling into a bottomless, black abyss.
And then I woke up.
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|Reviewed by Jennifer Lane
I really enjoyed this story. Your writing is very descriptive I love your style. I loved that this story was about a dream. I have several dreams that I have never forgotten, and I believe that dreams sometimes make the best stories! I also viewed some of your other works and I really enjoy your style!
|Reviewed by Jean Pike
|Scary and sad, and your take on this dream is most insightful. Again, wonderful (chilling) descriptions. I'm not sure I would sleep with the lights off ever again.|
|Reviewed by michelle noble
|woah strange dream iv never had dreams like that. my sisters and i are very close always have been. i just cant imagine how terrifying that would be. and to think its still in your head today. wow i liked the story though.|
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|chilling, but effectively written! brava, april!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in tx., karen lynn. :(
|Reviewed by Felix Perry
|Wow very shocking and deep meaning story I am sure but the way you write it is so vivid it kept me gripped to each and every word intil I reached the ending...but not an ending, perhaps the start of a great short story on novel waiting to be written and perhaps that is the meaning of the dream as well. wow