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 yet...it 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.