Monday, May 21, 2012

"The Man in Gray"

I was on a flight to LA, and could see dark clouds in the distance. I was about to doze off when I noticed him. He was two rows ahead of me and across the aisle. He was staring at me, smirking.

I'm afraid of flying, and he knew it. I could tell by the way he looked at me, taunting me with that smile.

Then I noticed his odd clothing: a gray jacket hanging open, exposing his black waistcoat that partially obscured his white dress shirt. And he had a hat, gray like his jacket and pants, which looked like the kind of hat reporters in the '30s or '40s might have worn. Or Dick Tracy.

I began to sweat. He continued to stare straight into my eyes, unblinking.

I turned away, looking again out the window. From where I sat I could clearly see the wing of the plane, which was kind of a blessing, as it somewhat blocked the view of the far away ground.

Absentmindedly, I glanced back toward the irritating and unnerving man. To my endless relief, his head was turned in front of him. He was looking down at something. He moved a bit and I could see that it was a pocket watch attached to a chain running from the pocket of his waistcoat.

At a certain point he seemed satisfied and put the timepiece away. He looked at me again, still smirking. His eyes flicked toward the wing that extended beyond my window. A finger scratched his brow.

Then, as though on cue, I felt a strong compulsion to look back at the wing along with him, like there was something important that I couldn’t miss out on; a morbid curiosity of sorts.

A bolt of lightning hit just outside my window. One of the engines erupted into a ball of orange flame, consuming a sizable portion of the wing. The tongues of flame licked toward me, a helpless feast.

Everyone panicked and screamed. The plane dove, descending at an exponentially increasing speed. I didn’t feel the crash.

I awoke on the ground, every inch of my body screaming in agony. Flames and debris surrounded me; it almost seemed like drowning in the middle of the ocean.

My vision was a bit blurry. I managed to turn my head to the side a little, and I saw his silhouette standing over me.

I blacked out again.

I've been in the hospital for weeks now. The doctors tell me that I shouldn’t be alive. They also say that this mysterious man is just some kind of hallucination brought on by the trauma I’ve experienced, and that the mind can fabricate false memories.

I know better.

This evening I’ve done nothing but watch television. Some reality show or other--I’m not really paying much attention.

Just now that annoying weather alert erupted loudly from the speakers. Text scrolled across the bottom of the screen, informing viewers that there is a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch until 7 p.m.

It is 6:59.

I know what happens next. He's standing in my room now, smirking while staring at his stopwatch. His hand is reaching up to scratch his brow.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Repeat After Me"

Wake up.

I said, wake up.

Congratulations, your operation was a success.

Open your eyes and see the new you.

"The new you."

Purification is not an easy task, especially not with somebody such as you. You had a little 'bird problem', I'm afraid. We managed it, though. There was quite a space to fill.

"Fill quite a space, I'm afraid."

This is the first time we've done this experiment. You couldn't feel pain, but if you could, it would have hurt quite a bit.

"Hurt quite a could pain experiment. A bit."

Yes, yes. You're probably moving through the stages faster than normal do to the amount of ink in your system.

"Ink, ichor. Water. Ponds. Substance. Knowledge. Perfection. Me, me. Perfection. Camper."

Hm. You're probably reaching the end of the repetition stages by now. Tell me, how do you feel?


Yes, feel. How do you feel?

"Hollow. Perfected. Purified. Hey..."

"Who are you? Where am I?"

You were in an accident. I'm afraid the Bright Ones could not help you in this situation. So I came in and fixed you. You are now perfect.

"The Bright... you mean... them... they're... gone? I'm empty. Empty. How... why-"

"It is no matter. I am perfect. WE are perfect."

"Wait. We? I don't... I don't understand. Yes, we do. We understand - there is no way we can't. We are perfect. No. I'm one person. An individual. Not many. No. We are many. We are thousands. We are one."

Ah... I was worried about something like this. You're going too fast through the phases... You're meant to be more than perfection.

"You. I know you. You're-"

That is not important. Why do you want to go back to the way you were before? The old you was imperfect. Those birds couldn't save your parents from the fire. They didn't stop the destruction of all that you loved. You are better off this way.

"Yes. We are. We're better off this way. No more running from the other beings. We are now part of the crowd."

"Ugh... hurts. Pain. Pain... why...? How...?"

Oh. Uh-oh. Nonononono. Stay with me here. This is not good. I'll have to press this button... remove some of the ink.


That was a bone... um... I don't think you need that anymore, anyway.

"Bone. Um. Anymore, don't think. Anyway."


Ah, no...

Your veins are NOT supposed to do that... Okay, okay. Aborting experiment. I'm afraid you'll have to be terminated.


"Door slam. New person. Black hood, robe. Beak mask. White mask. Feeling... sick. Polio. Swine flu. Black death. Chicken pox. Hypothermia. Chickenpox. Filariasis. Hurts. No, stop, don't- oh god.


Saturday, May 12, 2012


Private Delwan was tense and nervous as his scope scanned the area. He was seeing his first active combat duty, after all. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a silhouette in his view for a split second.

He retrained his scope searching for the silhouette again. Sweat dripped down his brow. He found it. It was the enemy. They were signalling to a small group behind them.

He was breathing heavily; he couldn't aim. His face was, by this point, drenched in anxious sweat. This was the moment and he was too scared to shoot.

His vision blurred; it was like he was looking through a cloud of smoke. He could hear war drums beating steadily in his ears, and it took him a few moments to realize it was keeping time with his heartbeats. He felt himself relax, his breathing becoming smoother.

He trained the sights and fired. The leader was down.

He reloaded quickly and took aim again. A bang and another enemy down.

Reload, aim, shoot. Reload, aim, shoot. It was as natural to him as breathing. Reload, aim, shoot.

Soon they were all dead, their blood congealing on the dusty road. He congratulated himself silently.

The blurriness cleared from his eyes at that moment and he gave a cry of horror as he truly saw the bodies on the ground, their faces wretched in pain. All of them women and children.

Friday, May 11, 2012


He sits at home, the television on in front of him. The sound is muted but still every word and sound booms in his ears, echoing continually. He turns off the TV but the voices and sounds don't stop.

He goes to bed. His room is dark, calm, silent. Still the sounds bounce around in his skull. Never dying, there for eternity echoing in his mind. 

He gets up and heads to his study. The sound of creaking floors and doors merge with the insistent sounds in his head. 

He slides open the drawer of a desk wincing at the scraping sound. He takes out the gun and loads it. The sound of the bullets falling into the chamber are each an ear splitting explosion of noise reverbrating forever in his cranium. 

He puts the gun to his head. He pulls the trigger and everything goes silent.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I am alone.

My family has disowned me (yet they keep coming to visit for some reason, just to fling more insults), I no longer have friends. I am locked in a cell.

It is a large cell, certainly, but they taunt me with a long table full of empty plates and platters.

I have been here for over a week now. I will soon die. The door is locked and no one will open it. My father and my wife point and laugh when I call for their help.

My ribs are showing; I am going to die of starvation.

I've tried eating this grey stuff on the walls, but it tastes bad.

It has begun to grow on my skin.

"The Sandman"

The Sandman is real. But he's not here to bring us sweet dreams; he's here to give us nightmares.

I wish I could forget. I just wish I could forget. But he won't let me. The images he's made me see, the visions of what is to come...

This account is being written at the initial suggestion of Nakamura-sensei, my psychologist here in Osaka.

It started about a week ago. I got into bed after a stressful day's work and drifted off with the help of some sleeping pills, as usual. I awoke in a place I couldn’t see. Gradually, my eyes adjusted. I seemed to be in some sort of cave, one that wasn’t carved too deeply into whatever hill or mountain it resided. Many stars shone brightly in the otherwise pitch-black sky. Too brightly. My head hurt. And I could feel, literally feel, how small and insignificant I was in comparison to the vast unthinking blackness of the universe. I was weak; I may as well yield to it.

My ears pricked up at that, in puzzlement. Yield to what?

Looking all around me, I realized that I was not alone. With me in this damp, cramped cave was a woman, lying prone on the ground, whimpering in pain and drawing sharp breaths. The light of the indifferent stars revealed a large belly--she was pregnant.

Otherwise we two were alone. I called to her, but she didn’t seem to hear me.

All at once her whimpers became unbearable cries as she went into labor. Try as I might, there was nothing I could do--I was frozen in place. After an intense period of screams echoing in the silent void, during which I wanted badly to wake up from this madness, the child was born.

To my horror, her newborn was not human, but some unspeakable, ungodly thing. The baby wore a gas mask; dark, hideous wings protruded from its back. A mark that looked like twin hourglasses was upon its chest.

Beneath the woman now was a puddle of blood. There was an instant where I thought I glimpsed some tentacles.

The woman died.

At a sudden strong pain in my chest and rapid thumping, I thought I would have a heart attack. The lights in the heavens outside grew to a searing intensity, as though giving reverence to the thing in the cave, as though it were a long-awaited king.

But there were also eyes all around, peering at the child. Looking upon it with the same revulsion I did.

I woke up outside, the lights of the city glaring in my face. I figured it was just another nightmare. I’ve had a few during my life, though this was the first time I’d been a somnambulist.

My eyes hurt, as though they’d been rubbed over with sandpaper.
I did my best to forget the whole thing--surely it was a fluke!

The next night I found myself on a steep hill. The sky was dark and lightning streaked across the heavens. Before me stood a terrible tree.

The tree was thick and tall--impossibly tall. Higher than the heavens themselves. And on the innumerable branches, dead branches full of black leaves, hung corpses of all shapes and sizes. Down along the bark flowed rivulets of red--of blood. These then streamed past my feet.

On the side of the tree facing me was a dark, bearded face, full of anguish. It was human, though it grew right from the trunk. Just above it was a sign that read: ANGEL OF DEATH.

My mind could not comprehend the unfathomable horror before me. I snapped awake, again outside. A cold breeze chilled my bones.

I started as gritty sand poured from my eyes when I opened them.

The third night was the worst. I was alone in darkness. I was cold. So cold. There was much suffering, I knew, though I couldn’t see it. Then I heard a faint voice singing. It grew louder. I trembled; I had no control of my muscles.

I knew this was the song that would end the world. And was comforting.

The Sandman came to me then, in the guise of a rabbit. His eyes were bleeding, and he carried a horn. In his other hand was a rolled up scroll, and a timepiece hanging by a chain.

"Hello," he said. “Your eyes bleed, too!”

Feeling my eyes tremulously, I saw that my fingers came back clean.

"Who are you?" I demanded.

"I am here to drive you mad. It's quite important, you know."


He smiled a bone chilling smile. "I am here to drive everyone mad. The End is coming, you know. I am its Herald.” The Sandman put the horn against his lips and blew.

I woke up again the next morning, and my pillow was stained red. My eyes had been bleeding; I could hardly see. I made an appointment with a doctor, hoping he could help, knowing the nightmare was far from over. The carnival of chaos is just beginning.

I've had that same dream every night since then. My eyes, to my relief, haven’t gotten any worse. I wish somebody could help me.

You see, it’s not just that I’ve had that nightmare over and over again. During the day when I am awake, I am stalked by thin, skeletal creatures that nobody else seems able to see. I have an extremely difficult time getting any sleep.

I tried to call the office of Nakamura-sensei today. I was told there was no such psychologist working for them, never has been.

The Sandman is real. But he's not here to bring us sweet dreams; he's here to give us nightmares. Even when we're awake.