“Please let me go.”
A trembling whisper is the only form of communication I am able to use. This faceless man, dark and anonymous, pins me to the walls of my own mind. I know I am in a dream. Although I know none of this is real, my mind still forces me to feel every bit of fear this Dream Man brings about. I look over at the clock. A fake clock, mind you. A dream clock. It reads 11:00 p.m.
Click, click, click.
“Not again.” I think to myself.
A dark, dripping, shadowy tongue-like entity begins to emerge from what seems to be Dream Man’s face. Though my body is paralyzed with fear, I can feel a scream begin to rise out of my throat as this tongue gets closer and closer. I squirm vigorously and try to break free of Dream Man’s grasp. This fear seems irrational, yet all of me knows that this dark being could kill me in my sleep. I fight harder and harder, and through my struggles, I see the clock again. Dream Man sees it as well.
“2:47 a.m.,” it says in its deep, unholy tone. “See you tomorrow night, Katherine.”
I woke up in an even colder sweat than last night. The realization of what I went through again starts to set in, and hot tears begin to stream down my cheeks. Each night it’s one minute later than the last. The tears begin to slow, and eventually I manage to doze off again.
My alarm clock screams in my ears, and I anxiously leap out of bed.
“I’m never sleeping again.” I mutter to myself as I straighten up my pillows and lay my blanket flat. A sigh escapes my throat. This torture has been ongoing for 247 days, each night lasting a minute longer.
“Katherine? Come downstairs and eat.” my mom’s voice echoes from down the stairs, and my feet carry me to the kitchen. My mother greets me with a concerned look. I sit at the kitchen table.
“Is your new medication working?” my mom asks in a forcibly normal tone. “Are you still having your, um, ’dreams?””
I decide to lie.
“The dream wasn’t as bad last night. I think I’m starting to get better!” I say. My mom’s expression doesn’t change.
“Are you sure?” she says.
“I swear, mom.” I reply.
She shifts her eyes to the eggs she’s stirring on the stovetop, and I sigh knowing she thinks I’ve lost my mind.
“Mom-” I begin to say, but the rest of the words don’t come out. Suddenly, I feel as if I am choking, and my breath comes out in short gasps. My mom rushes over to me, the eggs still sizzling in the pan.
“Kate? Kate?” she squeals. I grab my throat and just before I hit the ground, I change locations. I find myself back in my mind, the walls dripping with black ooze, and the floors a spongey, pink texture. The feeling of choking disappears and is replaced with deep, thudding heartbeats.
“Why am I back in my mind?” I think to myself, panicking. I look up, my blood turning to ice. Before my eyes stands Dream Man, yet I am not his victim. I see Dream Man holding my own mother in front of itself, an arm-like entity around her neck, and it’s oozing, dripping black tongue nearing my mom’s face. The click, click, clicking noise echoes against the walls of my mind. A look of fear and confusion is painted upon her face.
“Mom!” I scream. She doesn’t react.
“She can’t see you, Katie.” The Dream Man spits in its classic deep voice.
“Please,” I sob, “What do you want from us? Why are you here?” I scream at this disgusting creature. I can’t take this anymore.
Dream Man lets go of my mother and throws her against the oozy black walls of my mind as if it had grown tired of her. She hits the wall with a thud, and Dream Man starts to glide towards me, black ooze following it with every step like a snail trail. Its face is usually black and featureless, apart from the dripping black tongue that emerges from a broad, grinning mouth. I am taken aback when Dream Man begins to grow human features, sprouting human eyes, human skin, and a human body. It no longer looks like a creature, and it looks like a man. I still refuse to call it a “he.” It sits down on the floor of my mind, its legs crossed, leaning towards me.
“Katie, sweetheart,” it says in a calm, deep voice. “Do you know what I am?”
My joints feel creaky and my throat is tight. “N-no.” I say to it. Why is this happening? My mind swirls with dull confusion and I try to back away from the creature.
“Not so fast, Katie, my girl.” It says as it captures me with its long, stretched tongue. I shriek as it pulls me closer and closer to it.
“Katie, I need you.” Dream Man croaks with its hands firmly grasping my shoulders. “You know I need you, right? I had to capture your mom just so I could talk to you.” A feeling of pure disgust and confusion rises within me, and I slap this disgusting oozing creature in front of me right in it’s fake, hideous, humanlike face.
“What do you want from me?” I angrily whisper again. But, instead of looking angry as I had hoped, Dream Man simply laughs.
“Katie. Kate. Katherine,” he says with a deep, shaky giggle. He throws me up against the wall, and my back strikes it with a thud. I look over at my mom against the other wall. Covered with ooze, she seems to be unconscious.
“Since you’re clueless,” it begins, “I’ll tell you a little something about me. I’m from Hell, heard of it?” It’s eyes glow red and its grin stretches to its ears. As it moves closer to me, the flames glowing in its eyes are visible.
“Y-yes I’ve heard of it-” I choke.
“Great!” It cuts me off. “Kate sweetheart, I had to make sure you were the one. It was. . . quite the process. Every night I came to visit you here. I grew quite fond of you Katie, so every night I decided to stay a minute longer.”
My mind is completely blank. I’m still confused. This freak hasn’t just been trying to just murder me in my sleep? Isn’t that the typical demon from Hell agenda?
“I, uh, what? Are you. . .” I squeak, "Are you trying to-”
The demon looks at me, a small grin plastered on its face, it’s eyes still glowing with flames.
“Katherine,” Dream Man says to me. “Will you be mine?”
A feeling of pure disgust leaps into my throat and I double over with a gag. This is worse than anything I could have imagined. A literal demon from Hell is trying to court me. Seriously? That’s what this was all about? I look up and face the demon, my eyes full of anger.
“Gosh, if I wasn’t so disgusted, I would be laughing at you right now,” I hiss at it with every bit of disgust in my body. Dream Man looks upset.
“Besides,” I say, pleased with how hurt this monster looks.
“I. AM. UNDERAGE!” I scream at it, grabbing its disgusting black tongue and wrapping it around its neck.
“This is my mind,” I spit at Dream Man. “Get out of my head!” I yell and give it 247 days worth of bottled up anger in the form of a solid kick. The demon hits the wall of my mind, just above where my mother lays. With a sound of glass breaking, I wake up laying next to my mother on the floor.
“Mom?” I say, shaking her. She wakes up startled.
“Katie!” she exclaims, and we hug.
“Mom, I think it's over now,” I say, relieved. “The dreams, I mean. Dream Man.”
She holds me tighter. She begins to squeeze tighter and tighter. Too tight.
“Mom? What’s wrong? You’re hurting me.” I say, fearful. I look at my mother's back, and below her is a puddle of thick, black ooze. She laughs a deep, bone-chilling giggle. It’s not her.
“Katie, my sweetheart, I finally got you.”