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Fantasy Fiction Horror

This story contains sensitive content

(CW: Slight gore)


Author's note: This story is based off a dream I had.

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"I hate sleeping. Whenever I close my eyes for more than a few seconds, I see it. Not just that, but I sense it. Feel the fresh sea salty air burn my eyeballs. Because of that reoccurring nightmare, I now have a rational fear of the ocean. Not irrational whatsoever. I have a very logical reason to explain WHY I feel this way."


"...You want to know what it is? Fine, I'll tell you, for a price..."


"NO, I'm not asking for your soul. Just one simple doubloon, please."


"Thank you. See? Was it that hard to hand over some useless pocket change? Don't roll your eyes at me. It's rude."


"Anyways, let's get onto the story, shall we?"


"Every night, once I went to bed, the dream started immediately. I was standing on a dock. Foggy, with a cold breeze. A ship- no- a CRUISE ship was there in front of me. White, gold, silver, and bronze. I wandered inside, taking in everything around me. The smell of assorted gourmet food guided me to the fancy buffet."


"Expensive grub from all around the world, placed on a silver platter right in front of me. In a daze, I picked out a random nourishment, several other people around me did too. Sitting down at a beautifully set table with a warm white dining cloth and a lit golden candle holder, which was burning a clean linen scent."


"Mellow orchestra music was playing, and a stunning celebrity was singing along with it. I asked her to dance with me, she accepted the invitation. Everything was going smoothly until there was a sudden crash. The guests were panicking, the staff were trying to calm everyone down (which honestly wasn't working, I mean... would you tell someone to calm down who's having a panic attack? No, I don't think so.)"


"A guy, I would assume, is dressed in a red velvet coat, tipped with gold. Wearing some baggy beige trousers, gold buckle boots, and a pirate hat. Though, what caught my eye most was that he had a mask on. A white on, with black mesh eye slits and a matching black mesh mouth hole to breathe."


"His crew captured everyone and tied them up. He challenged me to a duel. One on one. His long metal saber against my small, dull, chipped dagger. The odds were against me, but if I didn't agree to fight him, he would throw all these innocent people overboard. It was raining really hard; the cruise was rocking back and forth violently."


"This is when things seemed... off. His entire crew were awfully odd looking. Not in the way where it was a deformity. One of them had a REALLY long, pointy nose. Another had shark teeth. I noticed that each member of his team had something that resembled oceanic creatures. As we dueled, which eventually led us up to the plank, my dagger took off a big chunk of his mask."


"It revealed his eyes. Those eyes, the pupils in slits, his hair hiding underneath his hat... I just knew what would happen next. Taking off the disguise, his true form was an octopus. He screeched and slid the saber into my stomach, then I fell off the plank. Into the water I went, sinking deeper while I bled to death."


"But then, lightning struck the cruise, which broke into perfect halves. It was on fire and sinking down with me, taking the pirates and innocents to their cold, salty death of drowning."


"The dream kept happening. Every single night. Not exactly like that, but it ends up the same. Getting stabbed and drowning."


"Yes, I went to a therapist about it. Did that help? NO."


"Screw that, I just continued on with my everyday life. People ask me 'are you okay? You seem tired.' OF COURSE, I SEEM TIRED. I HAVEN'T GOTTEN A GOOD AMOUNT OF SLEEP SINCE I WAS TEN YEARS OLD."


"I basically run-on adrenaline and caffeine. There is no energy left in this old body of mine. Alright no, I'm not THAT old, but you get the idea. That's beside the point. If you have a dream, don't follow it. Follow your ambitions instead. Your dreams can get you killed. Be smarter than that, kid."


"Did I ever get over the nighttime terrors? Yes, actually. Apparently, that very dream I had, meant something specific. I got metaphorically stabbed in the back by someone I trusted most and was left for dead. But my guardian angel had other plans for me. I got up off of my sorry bum and started a new life. That's how I'm still here today."


"So, here's my advice to you. Wise up and be logical. Those horror movies? Aren't real. Those scary stories? Absolute nonsense. As the one intellectual said: 'Reality is an illusion, and the universe is a hologram.'"


"Yes, that was a reference from Gravity Falls. I'm hip. I have swag."


"...ANYWAYS. If you end up in the same place over and over again, remember that you just need to get out of the loop. It'll be hard, but you can always start again and turn over a new leaf. Don't give up. It'll be worth it when you get to your goal."


"I never got over my fear of the sea though. Some people never get over their fears. That's normal though. Just like the dreams keeps happening even when the event already happened in real life. It's like my conscious is deliberately trying to torture me."


"It's interesting how humans are afraid of things they hate or don't understand. I understand the ocean, but have you ever thought that space is more explored than the deep blue sea? So many things that are still unexplored down there. The unknown is what keeps us up at night. Like when you ponder random topics in the shower."


"People get fears through trauma they had in the past, whether it's something that happens normally to everyone, or something totally out of the blue! Life is crazy and mother nature is a sadist. We all just have to take it anyways because we have no other choice in the matter. It's either deal with it or die, and I still have things I want to do before I pass."


"The decision is yours to make on what you want to do with your life. You write your own story. Become a legend. A hero, a villain, an average citizen. It's up to you to mold the way you want it to end. Hopefully you'll get a good Hollywood ending. I can't guarantee that it'll be perfect, but it will be yours and yours alone."

June 22, 2022 22:16

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40 comments

Moon Lion
05:12 Jun 25, 2022

It was a fantastic idea building a story off a dream, and more people should totally do that. I suffer from both insomnia and nightmares, and always, ALWAYS, remember my dreams, so I loved the kind of Ted Talk the narrator was giving. The story also ended on such a nice note :) despite the beginning part about night terrors. I don't know if I've shared this before, but I do love your style. Your original, raw, and authentic and everything style. I hope you don't lose that freshness and life in your stories, to make them "professional" or I...

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Ace Quinnton
16:34 Jun 25, 2022

I SHOULD'VE MADE IT AN ACTUAL TALK SHOW, that would've been even funnier! I'm a sucker for a happy ending, cliffhanger, or supposed happy ending where things went back to normal but still off... I have a lot of energy to spare, as an idea generator, I want to share my vibrant stories with the world so they can have a fun read and want more of it. People have always told me that I'm a child at heart with an 'old soul'. I don't think I'll ever lose that style because that's how I've always done it since I'm self-taught. Also, please ramble....

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Moon Lion
20:24 Jun 26, 2022

An actual talk show would be hilarious. Having a lot of energy and this much creativity is such a valuable trait. Would you ever consider writing a book or novel?

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Ace Quinnton
20:39 Jun 26, 2022

I'll keep that in mind for future stories: Make it in the point of view in a talk show victim- I mean... GUEST. My mind is always on, but my body is begging for rest and I'm too stubborn to give up. I have considered writing one, though I still have a long way to go. Though the Seemingly empty series might become a real published book series once I do some harsh editing. The parts are only chapters, after all.

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Moon Lion
21:34 Jun 26, 2022

Lol nobody would be a victim, they'd enjoy it!

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Ace Quinnton
21:36 Jun 26, 2022

Depending on the person, sure. Though, my close friends (who are, in fact, very introverted), would probably panic and want to leave as soon as possible. Question: Have you ever started writing a story here on Reedsy, and you are really getting into it, but then you accidently restart the page when you meant to click on a different tab? And all of your progress got erased? Yeah, I had that moment when writing a Seemingly empty part 4. I'm going to start writing it again tomorrow.

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Michał Przywara
20:43 Jun 24, 2022

A fun story :) The opening is interesting, and "I now have a rational fear of the ocean. Not irrational whatsoever." particularly caught my eye, because I was expecting "irrational." The narrator has a strong voice. Even though this is a monologue, the action is still pretty clear, and I like the little details like him charging his audience a doubloon. The dream is certainly unnerving, and wouldn't be fun to repeat each night, but I like the conclusion it leads to. Focus on what reality is, not what we feel reality should be. Thanks...

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Ace Quinnton
22:51 Jun 24, 2022

Thank you for reading and commenting. MC has a reason for being afraid of the ocean because of the reoccurring nightmare. The narrator was basically talking to you, the reader. I wanted it to seem like that, of MC telling a story to the crowd. I've had dreams like this one and several eerie kinds. I've even seen myself die in them. So that theory where "if you die in your dreams, you'll die in real life" is fake because I'm still here. The end was basically: Take off your rose-colored glasses sort-of-thing.

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Yves. ♙
03:08 Aug 08, 2022

Yes, dream stories! I've written a few myself. Isn't it so wonderful to get inspiration seemingly so easily? Then, of course, the challenge is to write it out... and theme it to a prompt, which you did so well!

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Ace Quinnton
15:58 Aug 08, 2022

Thank you for reading, commenting, and giving encouragement. Inspiration can come from anywhere if you observe it long enough. The theme, in my opinion, is what helps me along the way. Gives me a push to write, so I have an idea what do to. My brain and creativity take over after that. Soon, I'm typing away with a story in hand.

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Aiden Otaktay
22:59 Jul 27, 2022

"Screw that, I just continued on with my everyday life. People ask me 'are you okay? You seem tired.' OF COURSE, I SEEM TIRED. I HAVEN'T GOTTEN A GOOD AMOUNT OF SLEEP SINCE I WAS TEN YEARS OLD." Gosh, why is this so relatable- Ah, nightmares- I had one last night..it was interesting Anyways, I absolutely adore this story because it was so SO relatable- I felt like the MC was literally me Another thing I want to mention is the humor- it was so smoothly flowing idk how to describe it but it was just perfection (idk if it was even intended, m...

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Ace Quinnton
23:08 Jul 27, 2022

Maybe it's because you also haven't gotten a good amount of sleep since you were a very young age? Because I know I have. Mind telling me the nightmare? I have a book on dreams and their meaning (because my ADHD brain told to buy it out of impulse and random hyperfocus). I'm glad you had a relatable moment with MC. That's what I was going for. MMM YES. Humor for days. My humor is weird too, so don't feel bad about it. No English, there is only goblin noises and insomnia.

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Aiden Otaktay
23:21 Jul 27, 2022

Well, that explains it! Oh, it was weird- So in my dream, I woke up and had something in my ear. It looked like ear wax so I used a cotton bud, but it didn't even move and felt super crusty. So I put my finger and pulled the thing out (I'm just stupid in my dreams) and it kept coming out. It turned out that that thing wasn't some ear wax, it was a soft plastic tube that had blood in it. It was friczking filled with blood and for a moment I thought it was some part of my brain (smh) I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that a literal tube...

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Ace Quinnton
23:32 Jul 27, 2022

There are several meanings, so here's the ones I found: The dream means that you need to relax and take it easy. You are occupied with responsibilities and problems, and you can't find time for yourself. This is a dream that shows your curious nature, and you are seen in surrounding as a person willing to be up to date with all the events. Conversely, if the dream itself was disturbing and you felt bad, this dream shows that you do not want to know the truth and move away from the obvious things. That's cool, I've never had a lucid drea...

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Danny
01:15 Jul 06, 2022

Wow, how amazing! :0 I think I'm still a little loopy from reading through that, but the only thing you have to take away from this comment is that THIS STORY IS AMAZING!! I just loooove stories inspired from dreams and you managed to present the essence of your dream beautifully. It's interesting that you decided on a dialogue narrative to deliver the character's intentions, we all like seeing that creativeness ;0 This comment comes off a lil enthusiastic for a story so gory, but for someone who suffers from ugleh sleep terrors, this was a...

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Ace Quinnton
15:00 Jul 06, 2022

Thank you for reading and commenting. As someone who struggles with insomnia and is sleep deprived, nightmares played a big part in my dreamscape. I hated it so much. It sucked. But then, eventually, I got a dream book guide. So, I can lucidly dream, and know that it's all fake. I could control my dreams and force them to be good ones. I think there's YouTube tutorial on how to lucid dream. I suggest that you look into it if you are still struggling with night terrors.

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Danny
02:44 Aug 02, 2022

No problem! I'm going to be looking into that, thanks :)

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Ed Vela
19:27 Jul 05, 2022

I LUV'd the "slight gore" 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 BTW, IF u feel reading my latest adventure in the Luger/Pyke saga... https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/rnqtsk/

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Ace Quinnton
15:02 Jul 06, 2022

Well, the story wasn't really GOREY as much, so I stuck with slight gore, since there was only one scene with actual gore in it. I'll go look into your series. I haven't read any of them yet, but I definitely should. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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Ed Vela
22:32 Jul 06, 2022

And it is a SERIES! The original arc started with my story Cornflower Blue continued with The Puppeteer's Gambit, then went to Sombra de Soledad, then you'd have to read Proving Ground on the Water, then The Toughest Sanction, then No Home but the Quest and finally the culmination of that first series arc: The Long Shadows of Dusk! The 2nd arc of these two characters (Pyke & Luger) starts with The Soul's Midnight, continues in Sons Far Away, then goes to Strike Team: Luger, then Truth of the Quest, then Bone of the Kill and the latest one (b...

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Ace Quinnton
15:09 Jul 07, 2022

That'd definitely keep me busy. But I could use a good read right now, so you're in luck. I'll go read them in order so I can understand what's going on. I'd be interested to know if, one day, maybe you'd publish this series?

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Ed Vela
22:53 Jul 08, 2022

I might make the whole thing into a patchwork novel, but I'll definitely change one thing... I kill off two characters way early on that I think I'd keep in it through to the end in the rewrite. I think you'll know exactly who I mean when you read the third story: Sombra de Soledad.

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Dhwani Jain
16:58 Jun 28, 2022

Hey How are you? I have a new form link in my bio, I would like you to fill it. And about the stories of yours that I am yet to read: I do have them in my mind, but there's just so much work from school that I'm not able to read them atm. Will do that asap.

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Ace Quinnton
17:02 Jun 28, 2022

I'm doing good, ignoring the fact that I couldn't sleep for much of the night. You? I tried filling that out before, though I cannot access the information, nor can I give out mine. The new Seemingly empty (part 4) is out! I suggest that you should read that one when you can. No pressure, of course. Education is important.

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Dhwani Jain
09:52 Jun 29, 2022

Oh..I'm okay-ish. Um, what do you mean by that? I'll do that.

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Ace Quinnton
15:22 Jun 29, 2022

I meant that the firewall on my computer does not allow me on your wordpress page so I can fill out the form on your profile.

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Dhwani Jain
02:16 Jul 01, 2022

😢 That's sad How are you doing anyway

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Ace Quinnton
14:13 Jul 01, 2022

Let's see, my cousin is leaving with her mom back to Oregon but is leaving her brother with me for a week and a few days. Kind of nervous since he's not exactly the neatest person. Neither am I though. Went to Medieval Times with my family. That was fun, but I WISH I had the right clothes to dress up like a rogue then. How about you?

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14:50 Jun 24, 2022

This was really fun! I loved that the story was a conversation! You had me intrigued right away, partially because I love sleep xD and was wondering why the narrator hated it This had a beautiful Call of Cthulhu nuance that I LOVED! so you get extra points for me on that note. I thought the ending was very pointed and kinda beautiful. Write your own story, because at least then it's YOURS. well done!!

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Ace Quinnton
17:34 Jun 24, 2022

Thank you for reading and commenting. The narrator has sleeping issues. Insomnia, Sleep paralysis, night terrors, sleep deprived... MC claimed that they "basically runs on caffeine and adrenaline. There is no energy left in this old body of mine." I just looked up Call of Cthulhu, and I had no idea that I had a resemblance to that. I've told certain stories to other people in real life, and sometimes they tell me that the story reminds them of a [insert movie/book]. That oddly makes me...irritated when I find out that the idea wasn't COMPLE...

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18:04 Jun 24, 2022

I was wondering! As someone who loves but struggles with sleep, I understand that. I know what you mean. It's incredibly frustrating. But your story was still more original than MANY things I have read! "Call of Cthulhu" is a larger story telling theme that involves the strange and supernatural creeping into "our world." So hearing about the nightmare content, it almost felt like an actual being was forcing their way into his dreams! Ooooohh I will be sure to look that one up :)

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Ace Quinnton
18:11 Jun 24, 2022

I speak from experience because my sleep schedule has two moods: Either I could sleep all day and night or THERE IS NO SLEEP, ONLY ENERGY, CANNOT TURN OFF MIND. As an idea generator, literally ANYTHING can become a story if you examine it enough. That's why I love going places and looking at people so I can get character ideas. My mother and like to go to public spaces and make stories about the passersby. I highly suggest it. The movie is really good. Once you watch it, tell me who your favorite character is and why.

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23:26 Jun 23, 2022

You wrote a story in all dialogue, too! I do like the SHOUTING on occasion. Maybe try italicizing a word or phrase when your speaker is being sarcastic or ironic. Most relatable line: "I basically run-on adrenaline and caffeine."

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Ace Quinnton
23:28 Jun 23, 2022

Yes, good idea. I'll get to editing right now. Thank you for bringing that up. Also, that one line was basically me speaking through MC.

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23:36 Jun 23, 2022

You've done a good job fleshing the MC out and making an authentic character. Good work!

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Ace Quinnton
23:44 Jun 23, 2022

Thank you so much for reading and commenting, along with critique and encouragement. I appreciate it very much.

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