by Amy Skelton ©2014
Just in time for Halloween, a tale of night terrors, black magic, bondage and horror.
"O, I have passed a miserable night, So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights." -William Shakespeare
Lindsay woke to find herself tied to a chair. Her wrists and ankles were bound with rope that was tied so tightly she couldn’t move. She struggled to free herself but knew it was futile. She looked about her. It seemed to her that she was in an unfinished basement. The walls were bare brick and the floor was cement. It was lit by a single bulb hanging directly above her that gave such a dim light that she could see very little. She could hear no movement, not even a breath stirred in the darkness.
Lindsay called out but there was no answer. She tried struggling again and suddenly a voice boomed out from behind her: “I wouldn’t bother with that if I were you.”
Lindsay started and tried to turn. The chair seemed bolted to the floor. She heard the faint sound of footsteps moving closer. She was still trying to turn, to see who it was, when suddenly the floor fell from around her chair. It fell down into an abyss of blackness and fire soared up from the depths to surround her. Lindsay tried bending her wrists and ankles, frantically trying to free herself, screaming for help.
She was sweating and exhausted when she woke up. Another nightmare shuddered through her body as she dragged herself out of bed. Lindsay didn’t know how much more of this she could take. She had been having these vivid dreams all week and her work was beginning to suffer. She took a long hot shower and sat down at her kitchen table with a cup of coffee. She tried to think of a reason for the nightmares. There must be something going on in her life that would trigger some of the most awful dreams she’d had since childhood.
When Lindsay arrived at work, Diane looked up and said, “Still no sleep? Girl you need to have a stiff drink before bed. That’s what I do. It puts me right to sleep.”
Lindsay replied, “Getting to sleep is not the problem, it’s staying asleep that I’m having trouble with.” She didn’t want to tell Diane about the dreams she’d been having. It seemed ridiculous and childish to be so incapacitated by a few nightmares. She didn’t want anyone to know what she’d been going through so she simply told everyone she was having a bout of insomnia.
It took most of the morning for Lindsay to wake up. Several cups of coffee and a few sugary snacks were required to get her going. Like she had told Diane, she didn’t have a problem going to sleep. She was only dreaming too vividly and struggling too violently. The effort was more tiring than a full day at the office.
After work, Lindsay stopped by the gym. She needed to keep herself grounded somehow and perhaps a vigorous workout would distract her and straighten things out. She signed up for a kick-boxing class that was soon to begin and hurried to her locker to change. The instructor was an enthusiastic, well-built man around Lindsay’s age. She admired his muscular frame and was completely taken in by his soft, sympathetic brown eyes.
He announced that his name was Greg and introduced her and another new person to the group. After a few warm-up exercises, he let the others pair off and approached Lindsay and Tom, the other newcomer.
Tom was a spindly young man with brown hair and a nervous stammer. Greg showed them some moves and watched Lindsay and Tom practice on each other. Lindsay was nervous about hurting Tom. He was smaller than her and looked so young and helpless. She felt she really needed to hold back and that the class would be useless to her if she had to spar with such a partner. She finished the class, though, and when she was about to leave, Greg stopped her. “I could tell you were nervous about hurting that poor kid and I’m sorry for having to pair you up with him. If you would like, I can do some sparring with you in between classes.”
Lindsay declined with thanks. “I’m really too tired for a hard workout anyway. I thought it would help me but I have changed my mind.”
Greg replied, “I can tell you aren’t up to it today, but I hope you’ll join my class again sometime.”
Lindsay smiled to herself as she walked away. Greg certainly was nice to look at.
When she got home, Lindsay put a TV dinner in the oven and collapsed on the couch. She was so tired her eyes felt like sand. She turned on her laptop, checked her emails and downloaded a movie to watch. She didn’t have satellite or cable, feeling that paying for hundreds of channels she didn’t want would be insane, but there was plenty of entertainment available online. After dinner she laid on the couch and watched the movie. Gradually she fell asleep.
Lindsay walked through corridor after corridor of what seemed to be a hospital. It was completely deserted, not a single voice nor the hum of a machine broke the silence. She was wearing nothing but a hospital gown and was becoming scared and cold. Her bare feet made a soft noise on the tiled floor and she could hear the beat of her own heart. It beat faster as she went on.
She began opening doors and calling out, wondering where everyone could be. Lindsay turned down another hallway and saw a strange blue light coming from under one of the doors. She ran to the room and looked in the window. What she saw terrified her. There was a huge room with hundreds of bodies hanging from hooks attached to long rails running the length of the ceiling. The bodies were motionless and the faces were blue with cold. She tried the door and found she couldn’t open it. There was a noise coming from inside the room. It was like the screech of nails on a chalk board but continuous and growing louder. She saw the faces of the bodies change. They were still alive and crying out. “Help, help us!” they screamed.
She pulled and pounded the door with her fist and she heard a booming voice from behind her say: “I wouldn’t bother with that if I were you.”
She whirled around and saw that the corridor behind her was dark. The darkness was palpable. It seemed to reach out to her with wispy tentacles. One of the smoky strands touched her arm.
The living room was dark and the movie was over when Lindsay woke up.
She shivered in the darkness and headed up to bed. She hoped that would be the only dream she had that night. The images bothered her and she was beginning to be terrified to go to sleep. She decided to call her doctor next morning. Perhaps he could refer her to a specialist or something.
Lindsay got into bed. turned on the light and picked up a book. She was reading a light romance novel that would not induce nightmares. She lay on her side and read forseveral hours, not wanting to fall asleep. Lindsay began to yawn. The words were dancing around on the page, so she gave it up and turned out the light.
She stared into the darkness, thinking about the dream she had. She tried hard to reason why. She could think of no situation in her life that could explain why she was experiencing such terrible night terrors.
She soon fell asleep.
Late at night, Lindsay got on a subway, not sure where she was going. She was dressed in her nightgown and it was incredibly hot on the train. She rolled up the sleeves and unfastened the top two buttons. She was completely alone. Lindsay sat in the car as the subway rolled on. It came to a sudden, jolting stop. There was no platform or lights that she could see from the window. It seemed like the subway stopped in the middle of the line for no reason. Suddenly, metallic clasps closed over Lindsay’s wrists and feet. She struggled to free herself to no avail. She pulled as hard as she could and heard a voice in the darkness boom, “I wouldn’t bother with that if I were you.”
Lindsay stopped struggling. She began to have a sense of familiarity with the voice. She took the advice given her and became calm and sat still. The clasps released and the train began to move again.
In some confusion, Lindsay woke. It was ten minutes before her alarm was to go off. She felt great for the first time in a week. She went to work happy and full of energy and her co-workers noticed the change. Diane said, “Finally got a good night’s sleep eh? Glad to see you’re feeling better.”
Lindsay smiled and went to her office. It was a productive day and she was glad to finally get some work done.
* * *
Lindsay went to the gym again after work. The kick-boxing instructor, Greg, was not there. She had a nice work-out then went home tired and happy.
She vowed that if she had that dream again she would listen to the voice and everything would be okay. Perhaps she would visit her doctor and show him her records of the dreams she had been having.If she were to see a psychologist. It would be useful to have these things recorded. At least they would know what the dreams were about and they could try to pinpoint their cause. She sat down at her computer and stared at the blank screen. She was surprised that she had remembered her dreams so clearly. She opened up her computer and typed them out what she remembered of the night terrors.
As she went to bed that night, Lindsay was confident she could overcome the nightmares she had been having. She thought that she had figured out what to do and she was, finally, not afraid to go to sleep. She turned out her light and snuggled into the covers and quickly fell asleep.
When Lindsay woke she couldn’t move. She was lying on a bed, her wrists and ankles bound with something soft yet tightly tied. She could smell a slight aroma of incense, probably cinnamon. She could feel a cold draft brushing her skin and suddenly knew that this was no dream.
She started yelling as loud as she could and heard footsteps running toward her. The room where she lay was dimly lit by a candle in a distant corner. She heard a booming voice from the darkness say, “I wouldn’t bother with that if I were you.”
Lindsay stiffened and went silent. How could it be that the same voice from her dream was now here, in reality? She remembered the last nightmare she had. She heeded the advice of the voice and tried to calm herself. Even knowing that this was an entirely different situation, she thought that she might have a chance if she did as she was told. “Who are you?” she asked.
The voice replied, “I am the voice of your nightmares. I am the fear in the darkness. I am your worst dream come true.”
The voice had been silent for some time. Lindsay heard a grinding noise and could smell something metallic.
“What are you going to do to me?” she asked, crying.
There was no reply.
She lay there for some time trying to remember how she had gotten there. She had no idea what to do but she was still trying to think of a means of escape when the voice came back. He said, “There is no use trying to think of a means of escape. There are none. You are mine now.”
She asked again, “What are you going to do to me?”
“I am going to show you what fear really is.” He slashed the bonds from her wrists with a long knife.
Lindsay was still confused, but she remained silent. She was angry with the man for thinking she would be so easily scared by vague, egotistical statements like the ones he was making. She remained lax and unresponsive when he tried to pull her up. She pretended she had fainted and waited for her opportunity to act.
The man carried her to another room and put her on the floor in the middle of a large pentacle drawn on the cement. She was in a basement, like in her first dream. He thought she was unconscious so he didn’t try to restrain her. Lindsay thought, “how stupid can he be?” and lay still.
He began some kind of chant in a strange language she had never before heard.
She opened her eyes and tried to look around without moving her head. There were some things on the floor by her side that she recognized: a piece of clothing, a lock of hair and a bottle containing a tissue with blood.
Now she knew who the man was. All these things could only have been obtained at the gym.
She remembered having a nose bleed there a week earlier. Greg, her instructor, must have used those parts of her as a kind of black magic spell to infiltrate her dreams, she thought.
Greg was still chanting but he was no longer facing her. There was an altar set up against one wall and his back was to her as he spoke. Lindsay raised herself to her elbows and looked around.
There was a shovel in the area under the stairs. She jumped up and grabbed it, ran over to Greg and hit him over the head as hard as she could. He went down with a crash, jerked twice and was still. Lindsay gathered up all her things, including the clothing, hair and tissues and ran up to the main floor of the house. She bolted out the door and ran down the street.
Greg was not far behind her. He was a fast runner and caught up to her as she was rounding a corner. He grabbed her and pushed her down on the sidewalk and laid on top of her so she couldn’t move. Lindsay was panting hard and her heart was racing but she managed to gasp, “What the hell do you think you’re doing, Greg?”
He smiled down at her and replied, “I wanted you to know fear. I wanted you to be afraid of me.”
She lowered her eyebrows and said, “I don’t need you to show me fear and I am not afraid of you.”
She poked his eye with her finger and when he closed his eyes and let go of her to cover his eye with his hands, she rolled out from under him and got up.
Greg was on his back and she stomped on his crotch as hard as she could. He let out a scream that could been heard from afar. Another man came running from his house, a phone in his hand.
* * *
Greg was charged with kidnapping and aggravated assault and was sent to prison for twenty years.
Lindsay knew her nightmares were over. She never had another.
Amy Skelton was born in a small town in Ontario where she lived and grew up until she was old enough to move out on her own. She had no trouble making good grades in school. She wrote poems and stories when she was a child, but no one recognized or encouraged her talent until the 12th year of high school when she found an English teacher that was very supportive.
Amy has worked at many different jobs. She found all of them unsatisfying and dull. She went to a university for a year and did not learn any useful information, so she dropped out. Like many young seekers, she could not stand the thought of going thousands of dollars into debt for not learning anything that she could not learn on her own.