It wasn't another nightmare

Submitted into Contest #92 in response to: Set your story in a countryside house that’s filled with shadows.... view prompt


Fiction Mystery Horror

They killed my mom. They slaughtered my mother and made me watch. I woke up in a cold sweat again. Another horrible dream. Nightmares have been haunting me for over a month now. I am struggling to remember the last time I had a good sleep. Sometimes, the horrors do not seem as realistic as they normally do, so I can deal with those without waking up in the middle of the night with tears in my eyes. Tonight’s nightmare was different – it was so realistic; I didn’t even think I was dreaming. I witnessed my mother get murdered in cold blood by people with blurry faces in black clothing. I am not entirely sure if those were people at all, more like ghosts or shadows. Dark fog was surrounding the bottoms of their gowns, so I suppose they were not entirely human.

I got out of bed; my legs were shaking as I stood on the cold wooden floor. I walked to the window and looked out: the tops of the dark trees were shaking from side to side in a chaotic manner. The sky was dark, so it was hard to tell how late it was. The scenery that was laid in front of me did not bring me any comfort but just increased the crippling feeling of anxiety in the back of my head. I glanced at the alarm clock on my bedside table: half past seven in the morning. Too early and too cold to function but the thought of going back to bed was repulsive to me – falling asleep didn’t seem desirable at all at that moment.

I covered my shoulders with a woollen blanket and set off to light the fireplace and get a cup of tea; it was freezing in the house. The stairs were squeaking as I was stepping further down. A disgusting screeching sound was adding to the whole mood of the morning. When I finally reached the kitchen counter and put the kettle on the stove, I heard a noise coming from the living room. It was weird because I hadn’t turned on the fireplace yet. However, the sound that was coming from there did seem like crackling of the burning wood chips. I waited until the water boiled, and I poured it over some herbs I picked up outside earlier into the biggest cup I could find in my kitchen cupboards. I knew that it would be too hot to drink, but I still raised the beverage to my lips and made a sip. As I suspected, it was too hot, and I burnt my tongue. Spitting out the tea into the sink, and putting the cup aside, I trudged to the fireplace to make myself warm and check for the suspicious noise.

As I entered the room, it seemed normal, just one corner of the room appeared darker than usual. I briefly noticed it, but wasn’t too bothered about it. Thankfully, the fireplace was actually off, and the sound disappeared too. I lit the fire with matches that were on the little shelf beside the fireplace, and went back upstairs. Halfway there, I remembered about my left cup and reluctantly returned to get it. I passed the living room and didn’t hear the sound of wood burning, however, I continued walking. I grabbed my cup; it was still very warm but bearable. Once again, I was on my way back to my room. As I was going to walk upstairs, I realised that this travelling experience exhausted me, so I settled for sitting in the living room. To my surprise, the oak was smoking, not burning. I lit it for the second time, and glimpsed at the previously dark corner – it was the same as yesterday.

Worrying thoughts began crawling into my mind. Was there someone else in the house with me? That was the question I had to find the answer to as soon as I possibly could. I considered the fact of my sleep deprivation affecting my mind and perception of reality. Perhaps, I did not light the fire, instead I might have put it off because it was on. The thought of my insanity was even more unsettling than the thought of someone breaking in. The consequences of the second situation, for some reason, did not bother me as much as they should have done.

I grabbed a book from the shelf and sat on the sofa to pass the time. From time to time, I was looking at the fireplace to make sure it was still on. And it was on every time I glanced at it, but the fear that it planted into my brain wasn’t leaving me alone. This constant need of reassurance of my sanity did not allow me to focus on the plot.

A couple of dozen pages of checking and worrying, I finally started to calm down. This was when I felt a cold touch on my shoulder. Immediately I turned around but no one was there, which wasn’t surprising because there was no one in the house apart from me. I figured it was just a cold wind from outside. I turned my head back to the book and continued running my eyes through the words. I felt it again, but on my face, it touched my cheek and gently grabbed my chin. This could not have been just a simple wind blow. I finished the sentence and lifted my head to look around. A shadow without a face was standing right in front of me. I felt a piercing pain in my chest, eyes and stomach, then I fainted.

I woke up in my bed, the blanket was covering me. I threw it aside and took a deep breath – it was just another nightmare. A small sense of doubt was still present, so I rushed to the bathroom to look at myself. I tripped and nearly fell, but at the end I managed to get to the mirror. A faceless dark substance was staring at me from the mirror. I was one of them. It wasn’t another nightmare.

May 07, 2021 13:40

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